Quito and the Middle of the World
Quito's colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a stroll in Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop's Palace. Visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and its awesome gilded interior. Continue on to the Monastery of San Francisco, one the of great religious buildings of the New World; its impressive façade and atrium lead to its Baroque interior (below right), heavily influenced by Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar.
Then continue to the Equatorial Monument (below left), 25 Km (16 miles) to the north of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, which shows the different Native American groups living in Ecuador. Beside the monument there is a colonial-style town, complete with main square, church, post office, bullring, cafeterias, restaurants and many gift shops with postcards and souvenirs. You will get a certificate for having crossed the Equator.
Entrance fees are included.
DAILY DEPARTURES. This excursion can be taken either on a regular 'seat-in-coach' basis, or as a private journey with your own driver and guide. Prices on request.