On our second day we headd to the centre of the Earth, or El Mitad del Mundo, 26km North of Quito. The cheapest way to get there is by visiting El Panecillo (meaning small bit of bread as the hill looks a bit like one.) first. El Panecillo is a hill with a massive angel statue on top, it’s Quito’s answer to Rio’s Christ the Redeemer.
Pick up a taxi from the centre if Quito and pay no more than $2 to reach the top of El Panecillo. When you’re finished admiring the statue look for one of the blue public buses with a huge “Mitad del Mundo” signs on the front. For 40 cents, the bus will take you the whole way. It does take just over an hour, but you’ll be entertained by rappers and comedians along the way.
As you’d expect, Mitad del Mundo is a bit of a tourist trap. The are marked out as the Equator line is enclosed within a tourist town full of shops, restaurants and a few museums.
However, the real Equator is actually 200m or so North of the 30m high monument which marks the spot. Ecuador is in the process of getting a monument built in the correct place, but this may take a while.
Notes: Cuidad Mitad del Mundo costs $3 to enter, plus another $3 to enter the ethnographic museum under the monument (prices August 2014)