Ecuador

Ecuador – Equator Tours

Introduction

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We offer tours just to the Middle of the World Equatorial complex, a tour with lunch nearby, or tours that combine time in Quito’s Old Town plus a visit to the Monument – whichever you decide, we’re sure you’ll have a great time!

Some historical background about the Ecuador

In 1736 a team of scientists sponsored by the French Academy of Sciences arrived in Ecuador with the most up-to-date astrolabes, compasses, telescopes and other scientific instruments. Part of their mission was to calculate the precise position of the notional equatorial line as it passed through the country. They also wanted to take readings to resolve contemporary disputes about the shape of the earth. The work of the eight-year Geodetic Mission in Ecuador showed that the earth did indeed bulge in the middle, as English scientist Isaac Newton had predicted. At the same time the scientists helped lay the foundations for the metric that eventually became the global standard.

The complex

Busts of these twelve learned scientists (nine members of the Academy of Science in Paris, two Spanish mathematicians and one Ecuadorian scientist) can be seen be seen at La Mitad del Mundo (The Center of the Earth), some 15 km (nine miles) north of Quito. More prominent than the busts, though, is the massive 30 m (100 ft) high obelisk of volcanic rock capped with a brass globe four meters (13 ft) in diameter. This tapered tower was built in 1986 to replace a smaller one erected in 1936 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Geodetic Mission. The massive monument straddles the equatorial line as delineated by the scientists – but it’s a few dozen metres off the true Equator!

The complex of facilities surrounding the monument at La Mitad del Mundo has developed a theme park atmosphere. Partially built as a typical colonial town, there are gift shops, restaurants, a tourist office, a planetarium, a very good model of Old Quito and even a bullring, which is used occasionally. But the main attraction is the monument itself that houses an excellent ethnographic museum.

Packages

MT-129, Quito and the Middle of the World (4½ hours, daily) (private)

Visit Quito’s historic centre and then travel to the Equator Monument, with lunch in a nice restaurant in the area.

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MT-130, Quito & the Middle of the World tour 4½ hours, daily morning only, shared

Visit Quito’s historic centre and then travel to the Equator Monument.

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MT-131, Quito & the Middle of the World plus lunch, 6 hours, daily, private

Visit Quito’s historic centre and then travel to the Equator Monument, with lunch in a nice restaurant in the area.

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MT-134, Tulipe: Ancient Sun Culture, full day with lunch, Wednesday to Sunday, private

Travel via the Equator to the cloudforests northwest of Quito to learn about the intriguing cultures that inhabited the area and erected the archaeological site called Tulipe.

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MT-126, The Middle of the World (3 hours, daily) private

The Equatorial Monument, 25 km (16 miles) north of Quito, marks the Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere.

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