I spent one week in Quito before moving to Cotacachi for my last three weeks, and the one thing I regret not doing is visiting the Half of the World in Quito. The name sounds like a book from Jules Verne, and I knew I would love to see what the Half of the World looks like. My trip from Cotacachi to Quito was a long one. I have to take a bus from Cotacachi to Otavalo (20 minutes) and then to Quito (2 hours) and then a 40-minute taxi to the Half of the World. The cost was less than 15 dollars for the whole trip, and I will say it was well worth it. Right away, I noticed that Half of the World is a fun, friendly place to be in. The colors are bright and the small area is converted into a touristy town where souvenir shops and restaurants are located all over the town. Everywhere you see a mix of people: French, German, U.S. Americans, and Ecuadorians visiting their lovely attractions. I also felt a sense of membership being up there away from the city; it really felt like an excluded part of Quito, where everyone shares the common interest of seeing Half of the World.
I saw pregnant guinea pigs, which look so funny to me, pre-colonial indigenous huts, pyramids, and the Half of the World monument. I loved it all. It was honestly one of the best tourist attractions Ecuador can offer, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to see the Half of the World, a wonder that many in the States don’t even know about.
When I got home at 8 pm, my host sister’s birthday celebration was happening, and family from Quito and the community came to visit. We had cake and we talked about the different between Ecuador and the U.S., where our discussion led us to the differences in Quito and Cotacachi, a place where there is no stress, fresh air, and a close community, compared to Quito’s high stress levels and pollution issue. We talked about the move all around the world to be more environmentally friendly and future economic plans that my host family has for Tunibamba; they plan on building a hostel in the community in order to attract more tourists by the next 2 years. At the end, we took a picture and said goodbye to one another, hoping to see each other soon if I ever come back to visit them.