Along with Brazil and Colombia, Ecuador is one of three South American countries intersected by the equator – a fact not altogether surprising as Ecuador directly translates as ‘equator’ in Spanish. It sits around 15mi north of Quito, making it an easy excursion from the capital. Here’s how to reach the equator line in Ecuador.
The first scientific measurement of the equator was carried out by a group of French and Spanish scientists during an 18th-century expedition, led by Charles Marie de La Condamine, Pierre Bouguer and Louis Godin. Setting sail from France in 1735, they arrived in Quito in 1736 – passing through Colombia and Panama en-route.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
After several years of painstakingly measuring distances using the triangulation method, they proved that the Earth isn’t a perfect sphere, but that it bulges at the equator and flattens slightly at the poles. As part of the expedition, they determined the location of the equator: a 24,901mi (40,075km) line wrapping around Earth’s circumference at zero degrees latitude, equidistant from the north and south poles.
Finding the Real Equator Line in Ecuador
In 1936 – to mark the 200th anniversary of the equator expedition – the government of Ecuador commissioned a 10m (32.8ft) high monument, which was placed at a site now known as the ‘Ciudad Mitad del Mundo’ – Middle of the World City. This was later replaced by a 30m (98.4ft) high monument topped with a five-ton globe, built between 1979 and 1982.
There’s a yellow line – which supposedly represents the equator – leading up to the monument and inside, you’ll find a small museum dedicated to the indigenous cultures of Ecuador. The Ciudad Mitad del Mundo complex is open every day from 9am until 6pm and entry costs $5 (£3.65).
Subsequent readings – using modern GPS technology – indicate that the precise location of the equator is actually around 240m (787ft) to the north, but some scientists suggest that the equator is better imagined as a strip which is a few miles wide – due to the fact the north and south poles aren’t completely static.
It’s also worth checking out the Intiñan Solar Museum – open 9.30am until 5pm daily – less than a 10-minute walk from the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, which claims to be the true home of the equator. It features several interactive exhibitions and outdoor activities loosely based on the science of the equator and you can get your passport stamped to commemorate your visit. Entry costs $4 (£2.92) and includes a guide.
There are various other equator monuments in Ecuador – such as those in Cayambe and Calacalí – but if you want to snap an iconic photo with one foot in either hemisphere, head to the Intiñan Solar Museum of Ciudad Mitad del Mundo.
Interested in visiting? You’ll have the option to do so as part of Culture Trip’s exclusive eight-day Ecuador adventure, led by our Local Insider.
Getting to the Real Equator Line in Ecuador
The cheapest way to get to the equator is to take the Quito Metrobus from the La Ofelia bus terminal – at the northern end of the purple line. From there, board a bus directly to the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo – just ask the bus driver to make sure you’re getting on the right one. The total journey costs less than $1 (£0.72) and can take less than an hour if traffic is light, but can be significantly longer at busier times.
If you’d rather travel by private vehicle, expect to pay around $20 (£14.61) each way for a taxi from the city center. Official taxis are yellow, have orange number plates and feature registration numbers on the doors and windscreen. Apps such as Uber and Cabify, meanwhile, are safe and reliable alternatives.
There are also plenty of tour providers offering half and full-day trips from the city center, many of which also include a ride on the TelefériQo gondola and a visit to the Pululahua crater.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.