No trip to Quito, Ecuador would be complete without a visit to Mitad del Mundo, Spanish for Middle of the World. Mitad del Mundo is the tourist attraction marking where the equator runs through Ecuador just a short drive outside of Quito. Everyone takes cheesy photos with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one foot in the southern hemisphere.

My right foot is in the northern hemisphere, left foot in the southern hemisphere.

I’m only 5’1″ so when I didn’t stand on the metal base, I just looked like a floating head behind the sign.

A guide does silly tricks to demonstrate how water flows down a drain in different directions depending on which side of the equator you stand, and other quirks of physics. There was also quite a bit of indigenous history and culture to learn about.  They even had llamas and a little pen with cute furry guinea pigs running around.

One of many symbols of the indigenous history

Cute fluffy guinea pigs

I think this was a llama. Could’ve been an alpaca. I can’t remember or tell the difference.

Before calling it a day, we made a quick stop at the original monument that marked where the equator was once thought to be. Even though the location turned out to be inaccurate, it was impressively close considering they didn’t have modern technology like GPS.

original equator monument

Mitad del Mundo is a little cheesy, a bit of a tourist trap pulling you in simply because of the novelty of standing in the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time. But for most of us, it is hard to resist attractions such as this, and it wasn’t expensive. It was definitely interesting with plenty of indigenous history to learn about, and well worth a few hours for a visit.

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21 comments on “Mitad del Mundo

  1. Jaime

    Jaja yup I think everyone must go there. I know I will be going some day. Great pics I love the lama!!!

    So um what year was the original monument built that they got it wrong? Why dont they just move it to the right position???

    1. Ali Post author

      Thanks Jaime! The pictures I’m in are at the accurate equator b/c there’s a museum there now. The picture at the end with the huge monument is the older one that’s slightly off. I believe it’s *really* old but I don’t know the exact year. But move it? Do you see how big it is?

  2. Andrew

    Great look at the Center of the World. :)
    So the GPS center area is a red line in bricks on the ground with a bunch of stuff on it?

    Did you take a tour bus out there or just go by yourself?

    1. Ali Post author

      Yes, the GPS accurate equator is the line of bricks in the 2 pictures I’m in. The school organized a tour one of the days I was there so I went with them. You can easily go on your own though by bus or taxi, it’s not too far outside of Quito.

  3. Sheepish

    I have been enjoying your travelogues (since this is the closest I will probably be to somewhere else) You mentioned Denver, a couple of months ago I nearly passed out 2 hours after exiting the plane. I know I’d not make it up a flight of stairs in Quito…lol.

    1. Ali Post author

      Wow that’s awful! Yeah if you had trouble in Denver, you’d probably really struggle in Quito. The trick to high altitude cities is to start low & gradually moving higher. Not always practical or convenient though! Thanks for reading!

  4. Abby

    That actually looks like a really fun afternoon! I’ve always wanted to go to Ecuador but again didn’t make it on my last big trip. Someday!

    1. Ali Post author

      It was fun, and more interesting than I thought it was going to be, lots of history. Definitely add Ecuador to the never-ending list!

  5. Jenny

    OMG This was one of the first places I went to when I took my first real backpacking trip! I went there with my Spanish tutor and I would have completely missed the museum if she didn’t help me find it. I actually didn’t know that they aciddently built the monument in the wrong place. That is hilarious.

    As far as originality, I remember a skateboarder ollieing the equator line and filming it.

    1. Ali Post author

      I don’t remember the whole back story about the monument in the wrong place, maybe I should’ve read up on it before posting this…oh well! that’s awesome about the skateboarder you saw!

  6. Zablon Mukuba

    you are right going to Jaja is a must, I see you took the photo with both of your feet on opposite hemispheres of the world :-)
    it looks like fun. how long did you stay there?

    1. Ali Post author

      Thanks! It was really interesting to learn all the history, I enjoyed it.

  7. CJ

    I was there in La Mitad del Mundo a few years ago. It is a very interesting place to visit. There is also another funny trick they do with an egg, they put an egg above a nail wich is exactly located in the equator line, and the egg just stands still on top of the nail, it doesn´t fall from the nail. The explanation they give is that gravity is zero in the equator line. I´m not sure if that explanation is accurate or not, but the egg doesn´t fall, that´s amazing!

    1. Ali Post author

      I think they did that egg trick too while I was there. They did a few things, and I feel like some of them might’ve been rigged but it was still interesting.

  8. Pingback: Equator in Quito, Ecuador - Ctrl Alt Travel

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