Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Standing at the Middle of the World in Quito, Ecuador

We had two free days in Quito, Ecuador, before our trip to the Galápagos Islands. One day was spent exploring Old Town on a walking tour and sipping on coffee in the Plaza Foch neighborhood. The other day was spent visiting the nearby “Middle of the World” monuments. Yes, I know it’s a bit cheesy. Yes, I know the sites aren’t technically even geographically correct. That said, it’s a site I’ve wanted to visit since I was in elementary school, and because we were so close (less than an hour away!) I just couldn’t resist.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

There are two monuments/museums on the equator located around 50 minutes from Quito—one is the official government monument, Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, that was actually built in the incorrect location. The other, Intiñan Museum, was built on what is said to be the correct geographical location, but we heard that this location wasn’t exact either. Either way, it was fun to explore the region and learn a bit more about the equator and Ecuador as a whole.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

There are several ways to reach the Middle of the World monuments; the most common are taking a taxi, joining a tour, or driving yourself. Prior to arriving in Quito, we were pretty stressed with several work projects, so by the time we arrived we just needed a break. We didn’t rent a car, so to avoid the hassle of booking a taxi, we decided to take the easy route and booked a group half-day tour through Viator. We had a couple of credits to use, so we figured the simplicity of a guided tour would be worth the extra cash out of our pockets.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

On the morning of our tour, our guide met us at our hotel at 9:00 a.m. sharp. We had to wait a few minutes for our car to arrive, and when it did, we realized we were the only participants on tour that morning. So, rather than a group tour, we would be heading out on a private tour! Our itinerary for the morning included stops at the Intiñan Museum, the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve and an ice cream shop.

Intiñan Museum:

Our first stop of the day was the Intiñan Museum, which is said to be the “correct” geographical location of the equator. We heard that this location is still not exactly 0° and that the line is just a bit farther down the road. Whatever the truth is, the museum located here is a fun stop. We joined a tour and were led through several exhibits depicting life in Ecuador over the years. We even saw some examples of what a shrunken head would look like! It reminded me of one of my favorite Goosebumps books that I read as a child.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Then it was time for demonstrations on the equator. We saw water spin in opposite directions on each side of the line and straight down with no spin on the line. We saw eggs balance on nails, and Micah even balanced an egg himself! And, we saw demonstrations where your resistance and balance are different off and on the line. While I’m not completely convinced the skinny red line is the true equator line, it was still fun to see.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

We enjoyed the historicy lessons, the demonstrations and taking photos on the line. All in all, I’d say it’s worth the stop if you are in the area and don’t take it too seriously.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve:

I had no idea what to expect for our second stop. We knew nothing about the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve, and when we arrived we were awed by the beautiful views in front of us. The reserve is located in the caldera of a collapsed volcanic crater. The crater of the volcano is used as farmland and agricultural terraces have been producing crops for over 500 years. I would have loved to visit the farms in the valley, apparently there’s even a hostel there, but we only had time to check out the views from the overlook. There are also some shops at the site if you are looking for souvenirs.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Ciudad Mitad del Mundo:

Initially, I thought we were going to skip this monument because of how our guide talked about it. I was bummed because this was the one I wanted to see most as a kid. Thankfully, I misunderstood, and after the geobotanical reserve, we made our way to the monument.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Admission to the complex wasn’t included in the tour, and we each had to pay a few dollars for entrance upon arrival. From the description on the tour website, it was hard to tell if this entrance fee should have been included or not, and looking at it now, it looks like it was additional if you wanted to go inside. I’m still not 100% clear on it, but just know that there may be an additional fee for entrance to the complex.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

After getting our tickets, we went inside the complex for a look around while our guide waited outside for us. We didn’t go into any of the shops, the museum or the monument itself because all I really cared about after the first tour was to see the monument and get a few photos. So, that’s what we did! We posed like goofs standing on the line and with our feet in both hemispheres, but we didn’t get as creative as some of the people there. It was certainly a fun spot to people watch, ha!

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Ice Cream Treats:

Last but not least, we made a stop at an ice cream shop on our way back to the hotel. I’m also not sure if the ice cream shop is typically part of the tour, as there was no mention of this stop online. We pulled into a small roadside parking lot, and our guide took us to the back of the shop to see how the ice cream was made. As we watched the man in the kitchen stir the cream, we were told how the process worked and the ice cream was created.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Then we were brought back to the storefront where we had multiple samples and our choice of ice cream in a cone or cup. We were expecting to pay for the ice cream since the tour description stated that food and drinks were at your own expense, but we were pleasantly surprised when our guide picked up the tab. I ordered half guanabana and mora, and Micah picked the mango and naranjilla. As we ate our delicious ice cream treat, we heard more stories about Ecuador’s history, and it was a wonderful way to close out our day.

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

Middle of the World Tour, Quito, Ecuador

While I can’t say the tour blew our expectations out of the water, it still was a fun way to fulfill a childhood dream. We had a great time with our guide, enjoyed learning about the history of Ecuador, and had fun standing in “both hemisphere’s” at once. Even though the list of places I want to visit has changed and grown significantly over the years, it’s nice to look back and know that dreams don’t have to die even if they are constantly changing.


Have you been to the any of the Middle of the World monuments? Would you like to visit, too?


  • Indrani
    Posted at 09:25h, 15 July Reply

    Visiting the equator is my childhood dream too! The place looks so cool with monuments and good amount of greenery.
    Egg balancing and water rolling in opposite directions all sounds so unreal and yet seeing it for real… how wonderful can that be.

  • Gokul Raj
    Posted at 10:01h, 15 July Reply

    It would be great to get a pic with the 0 deg latitude signboard. Also the landscape of the place looks really amazing.
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  • Karla
    Posted at 08:58h, 16 July Reply

    I’ve always wanted to visit Ecuador, I feel it’s interesting and yeah, I would like to know how life is in the iddle of the world! Seems really interesting.

  • Barb
    Posted at 09:03h, 16 July Reply

    It must have been cool to stand above that yellow line that signifies the middle of the WOrld. The ice-cream looks absolutely delicious too. Sounds like a great trip!

  • Kerstin from Travel with Mei and Kerstin
    Posted at 05:33h, 17 July Reply

    I visited the Mitad del Mundo 16 years ago when I traveled through Ecuador and Peru with the Ruta Quetzal. It was awesome to stand on both hemispheres at the same time! It seems like your guys had fun too!
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  • Travelwith2ofus
    Posted at 06:27h, 17 July Reply

    Ecuador is definitely on the list of countries I want to visit. Like you, I also want to visit the middle of the earth monument. I just got to see it. Intiñan Museum also seem to be worth a visit and definitely Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve as well.
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    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 11:24h, 25 August Reply

      It’s just something you have to see if you are close, lol! We really loved our quick stop at the reserve, too–such pretty views!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Columbus, OhioMy Profile

  • Danijela WorldGlimpses
    Posted at 07:14h, 17 July Reply

    Love the Museum at the “correct geographical location of the equator”, hehehe. Sounds interesting all together, and your pictures are just lovely. Such a lovely scenery there!

    Posted at 04:03h, 18 July Reply

    So cool to say that you have been literally in the middle of the world. I would love to see more of Latin America and this is definitely a stop I would like to take. The ice cream looks like the perfect treat to finish the experience!

  • Megan Jerrard
    Posted at 05:05h, 18 July Reply

    Sounds like a really cool day! Even if it’s not exact, you’re still in the very close proximity – the Viator tour sounds like a great way to go, and includes a lot more than I would have known to check out if I had rented a car myself. Don’t you love it when you’re the only people on a group tour … free private upgrade :D!! Did the water really spin in opposite ways or is that more of a tourist gag?

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 11:12h, 25 August Reply

      Exactly! Even if it’s not 100% accurate it’s still pretty close 🙂 We like the tour option too–saw a few things we would have missed otherwise. And yes! Love the free private upgrade! The water did spin the opposite ways, but we still felt like it was a tourist gag–we were tying to figure out if they did something to make it that way–seems so weird that it could be true, haha!
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  • Arnav Mathur
    Posted at 12:58h, 18 July Reply

    The middle of the world is so Instagrammable and photogenic. Visiting the equator has always been there on my bucket list, but haven’t got the chance to visit till now. But after reading this post I know where I need to head out to. What I the really like about the place is that there are other things to do as well, making a visit to the middle of the world worth it.
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  • Adele Swart
    Posted at 12:28h, 30 September Reply

    What tour company did you use? Thanks.

  • Adele Swart
    Posted at 06:59h, 12 October Reply

    If you really really want to do latitude zero, is it better to go early in the morning or later in the day? How much time did it take? I want to see everything- museums, ships, etc.

    Thanks in advance. We’ll be there in early February.

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 02:33h, 13 October Reply

      Hope you have a great trip, Adele! We went on a 4 hour tour and it left around 9 a.m. Our tour included stops at the Intiñan Museum and Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, and then super quick stops at the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve and for ice cream. None of them were very busy when we were there, but I’m not sure if it was the season we visited (April), the time of day, or some other reason. Unfortunately because we took a tour I’m not sure what the best time of day is to visit, but there are a ton of tour options that visit all the latitude zero spots or you could think about doing it on your own too. Enjoy!
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