Just south of the uninteresting town of Cayambe is Quitsato. This marker, built in 2006, claims to be the only tourist location exactly on the equator, within a 1mm margin of error according to GPS and GNSS equipment. For US$1, a quick explanation will be given about the non-profit Quitsato project and why it was carried out. The marker itself is actually a sundial with large markings on the ground around it.
Across the road is another small spot that claims to be on the equator. It is a large stone globe with a line running under it. For US$5, a taxi from Cayambe will take you to these sites.
The True Equator?
According to a local expert, however, the Quitsato sites are not exactly on the equator. The only site he believes that can truly claim this honor is the pre-Inca Catequilla site, which is a hill near La Mitad del Mundo. Is he right? Personally, I believe the Quitsato site is accurate.
To get to Cayambe, you can catch a bus from Quito’s Carcelén bus terminal on the north side of the city (about 90 minutes). Buses also leave from Otavalo (45 minutes). Cayambe itself has different bus terminals for each company. I used a company serving Quito and Otavalo.
You can also find a taxi to the archaeological site of Cochasquí. It should cost US$25 including waiting time.
Lunch in Cayambe
For lunch, we ate at Bucanero Marisquería. Their specialty is cheap ceviche. It was ok. We shared a bowl of ceviche and an order of patacón for just under US$10.