Calacalí was the second stop on a longer Northern Ecuador road trip. See our complete Northern Ecuador travel guide.
Between Mindo and Otavalo, you must pass just north of Quito along with the small town of Calacalí. In the center of town Calacalí has a smaller version of the Mitad del Mundo, only 10 km down the road. While the monument is smaller and does not have the surrounding museums and cultural heritage information like in Quito, this monument is free to visit and also located on the equator!
Turns out the monument is first monument to celebrate the equator, built in 1936. It was originally located in Quito, but was replaced by the current, larger monument, which is there today. The things you learn researching a place to visit or write a blog post about can be just as interesting and informative as visiting the place itself!
At the edge of Calacalí is the entrance road to El cráter del Pululahua. A few minutes down the dirt road and we stopped to talk with a car headed out. The locals told us that the crater is simply a grass filled crater. We were told that while it is a beautiful place to see orchids, the hour drive down the dirt road did not warrant a quick visit.
If you are looking to relax for several days inside a unique and active volcano, this is the place to go. If you are simply looking for a day trip, like we were, it is not recommended.
At this point during a Northern Ecuador roadtrip, one would normally stop and spend a few days in Quito. However, we have already toured around Quito several times before, so it did not make it onto our already packed itinerary this time. Check out our post of things to do in Quito for a complete Quito travel guide.
We did stop for lunch at the Centro Comercial El Condado in northern Quito, right off a roundabout we had to take anyways towards Otavalo.