What to do at the Mitad del Mundo


One of the many special features of Ecuador is its location on the equator. Therefore, during a trip to this beautiful and diverse country, a visit to the equator should not be missed. In the north of the capital Quito is one of the most popular destinations – the Mitad del Mundo.

This special place is located only about 30 km away from Quito and is easy to reach both by public transport and by car.

The Ciudad Mitad del Mundo

The so-called “City of the Center of the World” is a large area with many small museums, a monument, restaurants and much more. With an entrance fee of 5 USD per person you can visit all these attractions.

equator monument

We first climbed the impressive 30m high monument. This was built in 1979 to mark the center of the world. The location was chosen based on measurements taken in 1736. Unfortunately, these measurements were not that accurate. Today we know that the monument is not exactly on the equator. Nevertheless, it is very worthwhile to climb the tower. Spread over six floors you can get information about the different regions of Ecuador and see exhibitions. Once on top of the tower you can enjoy a great view over the valley and the surrounding mountains.

view over middle of the world area

Viviendas Ancestrales

Next we visited one of the many museums in the “city”. The interactive exhibit showed the traditional ways of building houses in Ecuador. For example, there is a house built in the typical style of the coastal people, another is typical of the Andean highlands, and another is typical for the rainforest. What immediately stands out are the different materials used, such as clay, straw or bamboo.

Plaza del Cacao

Chocolate lovers will find a wide selection of treats at the Plaza del Cacao and can learn about the history and production of chocolate.

Beer Museum

For those more interested in beer, there is a craft beer museum. There, the history of beer from the beginnings in Ecuador during the Quitu-Cara period, through the time of the Franciscans to the current production is thematized. In addition, there is a small production in the museum where you can see first hand how it is made.

Planetarium and Lamas

Another highlight is the planetarium. This was opened in 2003 and shows a 22 minute projection of the biggest stars, galaxies and planets.

Animal lovers can admire the beautiful animals in the llama enclosure.

Museum Inti Ñan

IntiNan museum site at middle of the world

About 500m away you can visit the museum Inti Ñan and do experiments on the real equator. The entrance is only possible with a guided tour, which can be longer or shorter depending on a person’s time. We didn’t have too much time, so we opted for a short guided tour of 30 minutes. We couldn’t see everything the museum has to offer, but it was still worth a visit!

The guides explain, among other things, the peculiarities of the equator and the sun, like for example the Coriolis Effect, with vivid experiments. Especially impressive is an experiment that shows how the water flows out of a sink in the south, in the north and on the equator. You can also try to balance an egg on a nail and walk across the equator with your eyes closed. All harder than expected and definitely more difficult than doing it next to the equator.

museum middle of the world

However, the museum also consists of exhibits of the Inca culture and wants to give visitors an understanding of the culture and way of life of the original inhabitants of Ecuador. Located in the center of the museum is a traditional hut, which even houses guinea pigs. Our guide explained that these animals were sacred in the Inca culture and the people saw in them special powers. According to them, they can sense the energy that surrounds a person and make themselves heard with loud noises when it is bad. In our group, however, they fortunately remained quiet.

Due to our limited time we could not visit any of the other huts. For instance, the museum has a hut that corresponds to the construction of the Shuar culture, Huarani culture and Kichwa culture.

Geobotanical Reserve Pululahua

Pululahua crater from the rim

Located just a few kilometers from the museums is the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve. The reserve is an inhabited volcanic crater with an area of 19 square kilometers, which lies directly on the equator. Due to the volcano, the flora and fauna in this place is very special. From a viewpoint you can overlook the whole crater if the weather is good. Unfortunately we were not so lucky. In the afternoon there is usually a thick cloud cover in the crater and blocks the view, so it is best to come here in the morning. There is also a possibility to walk from the viewpoint down to the crater. In the crater itself you have the opportunity to go for a bike ride, horseback riding, camping or hiking to explore this special place.

Overall, I can say that a day trip to Mitad del Mundo is definitely always a good idea, as there is a lot to explore and learn.

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