The Equator Line In Quito

So apart from having a gorgeous climate Ecuador’s capital city, Quito also has a whole list of interesting activities to fill your days with. As well as gazing at the beautiful colonial buildings and hoofing around the countless museums and art galleries, Quito also plays host to a very special title.

It was here in 1736 that Frenchman Charles Marie De La Condemine first made the measurements that prove the equatorial line. Now, this in

bus to mitad del mundo

This is the bus you need for the Mitad Del Mundo

its own right might not seem spectacular, but Quito has gone to great lengths to make it an attraction in its own right.

To be fair, there is an odd pleasure knowing that one is standing slap-bang, right in the middle of the equator…indeed, the photo opportunities are numerous. Just take it from me, it makes for a fun morning out.

You can book a tour and get on a minibus with the crowds, or, if you would prefer to do it ‘on the cheap’ then follow these steps to get your ‘equator-fix’ whilst also being on a budget.

NOTES:

We visited in August 2015 so prices were as stated.

The exchange rate at the time was $1 – £0.64 UK sterling

The sun was very strong, so bring a hat and lotion

Using only public transport and paying to get into both sites, the total cost per person for the outing came to $8.80 (transport was from old town to the site and back)

1) Get on the blue ECOVIA line (centro-sur) anywhere and head north. The very last stop is called ‘OFFELIA’. This journey will cost you $0.25 no matter where you get on. Remember that during rush hour, the ECOVIA buses get VERY crowded, so consider leaving after 10am.

2) Get off at the OFFELIA terminal and look for the departure stop that says ‘MITAD DEL MUNDO’. The stop is on the side of the terminal closest to where the snack stalls are.

3) Get on the bus that is headed to MITAD DEL MUNDO. Bare in mind that the government has helpfully named the blue bus company that runs the service ‘Transferico Mitad Del Mundo’, which ALL the buses have plastered across the top. YOU are looking in the bottom left of the windscreen for the destination. If in doubt, ask. The people are very helpful.

4) This bus will cost $0.40 each and will take approx. 30 mins to reach the MITAD DEL MUNDO site. It will likely take an hour if you travel during rush hour.

5) Keep your eyes peeled on the left as, the MITAD site is directly next to a giant steel building that is very futuristic looking. This is your get-off point. From here if you look up the hill, you cannot miss the monolith statue that marks the equator line.

6) The entrance fee to this site was $3.50 each (this was entry only….the price to visit the planetarium and museum was more).

mitad del mundo monument

The Miatd Del Mundo Monument. Its rather large.

7) The gardens are nicely landscaped, and make for a pleasant wander around before fooling around trying to get an original photo of yourself standing on the equator line. There are plenty of expensive snack/drink shops inside the site.

8) Of course, as EVERYONE on Twitter will inform you, the French dude got the measurements slightly wrong back in 1736, and the ACTUAL centre on the 5km wide equator is a few hundred metres away. If you want to visit the TRUE centre line (and get your photo op), then exit the site you have just been in and turn left immediately.

9) Walk along this road for a few moments and you will see a sign pointing left. This is the entrance to the TRUE 0’00’0 latitude. This place is incredibly small, has a little rockery and some cacti. The entrance price is $4.00.

The Museo Inti Nan (the REAL equator line)

The Museo Inti Nan (the REAL equator line)

10) If you decide to pay to get your mug next to the sign, you’ve done it, and hopefully, you have come up with an entertaining way to mark the occasion. (I decided to try and capture the monument through some bubbles my husband was blowing…ok, so we may be 30 and 40 respectively, but where’s the fun in being a grown up?)

11) To get back to town, there is a bus stop directly outside the monument site, which will take you back to OFFELIA for another $0.40.

12) From the OFFELIA station, you can, of course, get back on the ECOVIA route, but we were really hungry and the buses looked SUPER packed. So, we jumped in a taxi. As a matter of reference, the taxi on a meter from OFFELIA to Parque Carolina set us back $5.50. Not cheap, but it was worth it.

So, all in all, even though the monument and equator jaunt isn’t going to win any prizes for best activity on planet earth, it was a lovely morning out, the scenery was great, and we even got another chance to goof around with a digital SLR and a tube of ‘Avengers’ bubbles. Worth it just for that to be honest.

(This blog was written by Alex Harker. You can tell as, there is no sarcasm or reference to death)

If you have done this trip recently and any details have changed, please let me know in the comment box below.

 

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