Mitad del Mundo, The Middle of the World (almost)

The small South American country of Ecuador is literally in the middle of the world.  The equator cuts through just north of the capital, Quito, dividing the hemispheres, so naturally, there’s a monument.  If you are one of those people who loves a great photo op, this is the place for you!

There are many plans to gentrify the area with stores and eateries, but for now there isn’t much around except an 30-meter-tall obelisk with a giant globe on the top.  It points visitors in the direction of north, south, east, and west (note for non-Spanish speakers: O is for oeste, which means west). There is a giant yellow line on the ground dividing the northern and the southern hemispheres, so of course you have to take a few photos straddling the line, walking it, or as I chose, a backbend yoga pose. While you are there, you can find a few places to buy trinkets and even some animals on the grounds. I personally paid $3.50 to see the monument, but skipped the museum, which would have cost a few extra bucks to get in.

How to get there

It cost less than a buck to take the nearly 20 mile ride on public transportation from Quito to La Ofelia to Mitad del Mundo, but you pay the price in time. It took between an hour and an hour and a half each way. If you do decide to take the bus, make sure you ask the driver where it’s going before you get on and pay attention. We ended up taking the right color bus back into Quito, but it took a different route than the other blue bus, which landed us two miles away from our hotel.

I did not cab, but the man at  my hotel said it would cost about $25 each way, which is pretty good if you have five people, but not if there’s only one or two.

History lesson

Oh and get this—apparently they built the monument in the wrong spot. Thanks to modern technology, we now know the true middle of the world is really a few hundred feet away!

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