Middle of the World Visit near Quito, Ecuador

Have you ever heard of the terms “center of the world, Ecuador”? I had no idea there was an exact location where you could go and stand at the location of latitude 0 longitude 0 in Ecuador! Latitude 0 0 0 is the earth’s center point – 0 degrees latitude, 0 minutes, 0 seconds. People come from around the world to stand at this exact location in Ecuador. We had an entire day to spend doing a day trip from Quito and so we hired a driver to take us from Quito to the Pululahau volcano, the equator line (middle of the world) and the monument dedicated to  “the middle of the world”.  The funny thing is that this monument was actually built in the wrong place, but I will tell you about that a little later…

Pululahau Volcano, near the middle of the world Ecuador

Our first stop was the Pululahau volcano viewing spot. In the photo below, we are being blown away by the winds, with the inhabited volcano crater down below known as Pululahau. The vendors at this stop were the best place to buy inexpensive and quality souvenirs. Believe me, we saw a lot of places to shop while in Ecuador, but none compared to the quality and the prices and the people that we found here. It was completely worth a quick stop to see the view and to shop for souvenirs.

Ecuador, Middle of the World , Quito, Equator

 

The Real Equator: Latitude 0 0 0 – Center of the World Ecuador

Then it was off to the Intiñan Solar Museum, the true middle of the world! Here we learned a little about the history of the people of this country.  Is Ecuador on the equator? Of course, it is and it has had a huge impact on the people who live here. Our guide drove us down a dirt road past a small bridge to this next spot that has a sign mentioning the location. FYI: there was a small admission fee.

We also learned about how the equator affects gravity in Ecuador. The cool thing about the stop to latitude 0 longitude 0 is that it is an interactive site with several activities and tests that you can participate in. Some of those activities were the water twirling test and the egg balancing test. Our guide told us about the world’s centrifugal forces and how these tests work.

Video of the “middle of the world”. Latitidue 0 longitude 0.

Ecuador, Middle of the World , Quito, Equator, Latitude 0 longitude 0

Is Ecuador on the Equator? Globe notating the equator line in the middle of the world.

Ecuador, Middle of the World , Quito, Equator, Latitude 0 longitude 0

latitude 0 longitude 0

Quito, Ecuador and Latitude 0 0’ 0”

The real fun begins when you get to take part in the fun scientific activities that they offer the kids (and adults(. A few of the activities are:

  • Trying with all your might to balance the egg on a nail head on the equator line.

 

Ecuador, Middle of the World , Quito, Equator

Can you balance an egg on a nailhead?

  • Witnessing of the Coriolis Effect: water draining and funneling counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, and clockwise in the southern hemisphere and then straight down or no direction at all on the equator line. 

Is this a trick? or real science?

Ecuador, Middle of the World , Quito, Equator, Latitude 0 longitude 0

Coriolis Effect

  • Walking the equatorial line with your eyes closed.
Ecuador, Middle of the World , Quito, Equator, Latitude 0 longitude 0

Family portrait at the Middle of the World, Quito Latitude 0 longitude 0

Ecuador Equator: Are there two?

So here is the rest of the story:

There are two equators in Ecuador! Not really, but there was a huge tribute built to the Ecuador equator. The only problem is that it was built in the wrong place.  Today, it is indisputable that the Intiñan Solar Museum is the true middle of the world, which has been proven with modern GPS instruments.

Quito, Ecuador and Latitude 0 0’ 0”

Now we move on to Ecuador’s other equator:  The Equator Monument, also known as Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, which was built by French scientists in 1938. They did not have the benefit of GPS back then, so they missed the center of the earth (0 latitude and 0 longitude) by less than 100 meters (which I think is pretty good)! This is only a little less than the length of 2 football fields.  This “Middle of the World” location is on a tract of land located about 26 km from Quito and is easy to get to. At this location, you will find the monument to the equator, which was built to highlight the approximate location of the equator from which the country takes its name. There is also the Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo or the Museum of the Middle of the World here as well. It was here that for many years, tourists would come to stand at the exact location of latitude 0 degrees. They wanted to stand on the yellow painted line on the ground that was marked to be precisely the Earth’s Center point – 0 degrees latitude, 0 minutes, 0 seconds. Except later with GPS, it was found out that this is not the spot!  Oops! Can you imagine how they felt when they found out?  It turns out that the Equator is less than 100 meters to the north, where we were before. But of course, we visited here anyway!

Ecuador, Middle of the World , Quito, Equator, Latitude 0 longitude 0

The Monument in the middle of the world.

Quito, Ecuador and Latitude 0 0’ 0”

Our son Diego, who loves bugs, got the opportunity to have bugs crawling on him at the local museum here in the middle of the world, where they have live demonstrations about local culture, agriculture, and religious significance of the Ecuadorian people.

(and that is a CAY man Island shirt if you are wondering!)

I also wanted to mention that the people that work here readily admit that a mistake has been made. They tell tourists who ask about it where to find the actual Equator

“Turn left at the gate, and it’s 100 meters on your left,”

Both places had fascinating displays making a trip here interesting and worthwhile.

I have written this post in a series of posts about our family trip to Ecuador:

Post #1:  Cuenca, Ecuador:  Stepping Back in Time

Post #2: Chordeleg:  A Day Trip from Cuenca

Post #3: The Markets in Cuenca, Ecuador

Post #4:  Ahh! The Foods of Ecuador

Post #5:  Equestrian Countryside of Cuenca

Post #6:  Quito: A Visit to the Middle of the World  (This post is the #6 post)

UP NEXT:

Post #7: A City Upon a Hill:  Quito, Ecuador

Post #8:  Montanita, Ecuador: Out of my Comfort Zone

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2018-02-21T15:20:34+00:00

7 Comments

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  5. Cultural Tourism: Quito Ecuador August 10, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    […] Then, buildings upon buildings. Clutter and old plastic bottles lined the streets. The hustle and bustle of this nation’s capital has many sights, sounds and smells that cultural tourists want to experience. […]

  6. Ann Greenspan September 22, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Please let me know how to contact th driver.
    We would be interested in hiring him..
    Did he conduct the tour in English?

    • Cacinda Maloney September 22, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      We got him through the hotel, and no, no English!

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