The Middle of the World Monument (La Mitad del Mundo) commemorates the site where the 18th-century French explorer Charles Marie de la Condamine once calculated the globe's equatorial line. A trapezoidal monument in the center of the park houses a viewing platform; a small museum on the equator pays tributes to local indigenous cultures.
While most visitors come to the Middle of the World for a photo op with one foot in either hemisphere, there’s more to this day-trip destination than just a painted line. The 98-foot stone obelisk, which contains an Ethnographic Museum, is surrounded by a replica of a traditional Amazon village. Visitors will also find a small planetarium, a scale model of colonial-era Quito, a Craft Beer Museum, and Cocoa Museum, all on-site. Many Quito sightseeing tours include a visit to the Middle of the World Monument, but you can also combine your visit with some shopping at the Otavalo craft market or a Pululahua Volcano hike.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Middle of the World Monument offers a fun photo op for first-time visitors.
Be prepared for lines at the ticket office; this is one of Quito’s most popular attractions.
The monument and museum are both wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Located about 14 miles (23 kilometers) north of Quito near San Antonio de Pichincha, Mitad el Mundo is reachable by car, taxi, or public transportation. Skip the transport hassle by choosing a tour with hotel pickup and drop-off.
When to Get There
The monument is open daily from 9am to 6pm. The site is predictably crowded during the high season (June–September), so if you want a solo photo op, come first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. On weekends, locals hang out at the monument and the area comes alive with folk music and dance shows.
The Real Middle of the World
Technology has come a long way since 1736, and modern GPS satellite technology has placed the real equatorial line about 980 feet (300 meters) north of the present-day monument. To visit the real equatorial line, check it out on your GPS-enabled device and head to the nearby Intiñan Solar Museum, which is five minutes away by car.