Seven kilometres south of Cayambe, just before the turning to Cangahua and Hacienda Guachalá, at Km70 on the Panamericana, is the Quitsato equator monument (wwww.quitsato.org), taking the form of a giant sundial (reloj solar), spanning 54 metres across with a ten-metre-high cylinder, placed exactly on the equator, as its gnomon to cast a shadow. From this huge clock face, a compass rose of light stones inlaid into dark allows you (or one of the guides on hand, at least), not only to read the time, but also the month, while other features indicate the solstices and equinoxes. The words “quitsa to” mean “centre of the world” in the language of the Tsáchila people, and one of the goals of the monument is to link Ecuador’s modern identity as an equatorial nation to the ancient cultures of the region, who well understood these techniques of charting celestial movements and knew the position of the equator to a degree (pardon the pun) that is only just becoming clear. The on-site Museo Cultura Solar explains in fascinating detail these links to the past, including good coverage of La Condamine’s geodesic mission to Ecuador in 1743, and encourages the reappraisal and rescue of the region’s many languishing and under-researched archeological sites

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Ecuador features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a…

02 Mar 2016 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
19 places for a digital detox

19 places for a digital detox

Find peace at Buddhist monastery, Nepal Trim out the religious and/or mystical connotations and Buddhism boils down to something quite simple – brain trainin…

14 Nov 2014 • Neil McQuillian camera_alt Gallery
Things to do in Ecuador beyond the Galápagos

Things to do in Ecuador beyond the Galápagos

There's so much more to Ecuador than just the Galápagos. Chitra Ramaswamy went on her own voyage of discovery to find the best things to do in Ecuador, beyond …

07 Nov 2014 • Chitra Ramaswamy insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month