Mitad del Mundo, Quito

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Statue in front of UNASURHow is it possible that I only just visited Mitad del Mundo? After all, I’ve lived in Quito for over two years and somehow managed to skip entering the grounds of this famous tourist destination.

Part of the delay was for construction on the brand new UNASUR building. UNASUR is an international organization of 12 South American nations. I waited until their new headquarters for the General Secretary was finished so that photos would reflect the importance of the site not just to Ecuador, but to all of South America.

Unasur at Mitad del Mundo

Visiting the Equator

Finally, with friends visiting from afar, I took the plunge. And I had a blast playing tourist, taking my photo in front of the huge monument that marks the latitude 0°0’0″ and visiting the outdoor platform at the top of the monument to take in the 360-degree views. This same building also holds a museum that is not very engaging. But the opportunities for great photos far outweighed the broken science exhibits.

View from atop the Monument

Of course, this isn’t the only location in Ecuador, nor in the world, that falls along the line of the Equator. In fact, one of our favorite stops on the road to Cayambe from Quito is a small pullout with a cement block monument of its own. They claim to be the original Mitad del Mundo.

Either way, it seems crazy not to visit at least one of the places dedicated to the Equator. If you are staying in Quito and have a couple of hours to spare, a trip out to Mitad del Mundo is worth it if only for a picture or two. I highly recommend combining any visit with an overnight trip out to one of the many eco-lodges near Mindo, or a day trip to the ancient ruins of the Yumbo at Tulipe, or just a morning hike to see the hummingbirds in the dry desert habitat of Jerusalem Regional Park.

Mitad del Mundo near Quito, Ecuador

Details on Entering Mitad del Mundo

The opening hours of the monument are Monday through Thursday from 9am until 6pm and Friday through Sunday from 9am until 7pm. Try for late afternoon-evening for sunset shots. A full pass costs $7.50 for adults and $3.75 for children and includes entrance to the grounds, including restaurants and shops; the museum (not great but only way to enter the building and get the view), and the planetarium.

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