The most visited tourist site in continental Ecuador made reforms to its structure, its attractions, its museums and its admission policies. Since 2016, the Middle of the World City has become ‘pet friendly’, although this feature is hardly known. There are no restrictions.
Visitors can freely access all areas of the complex with the payment of their entrance fee of USD 5. Thus, it is not unusual to find dogs accompanying their owners in the guided tours of the squares, shopping areas, the 12 museums of the city and also in the recently renovated chapel. While the guides make the exhibitions in the exhibition of ancestral homes, the pets walk around the house sniffing the ancestral pieces and others remain lying next to their owners.
Then you can follow the tour through the Plaza del Cacao, a sample that seeks to rescue the production of cocoa of fine aroma. Ciudad Mitad del Mundo recently launched its own brand of chocolate and cocoa products to promote itself among national tourists.
The rules to enter are the same as apply to any public space in the capital. It is necessary that pets use a collar and leash at all times and it is important that owners carry plastic bags to collect their waste. It is also recommended to bring water and food if necessary.
Marcela Costales Peñaherrera, vice-prefect of Pichincha and president of the Board of Directors of the Empresa Pública (EP) (public compamy) of Turismo Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, recognizes that there was a need to innovate. “Pets must have recreational spaces,” she says. “Letting pets in is part of making the Middle of the World friendlier to the whole family,” she adds. Every year 825,000 tourists arrive at the site. Of these, 35% attend with their families, according to information from the EP.
The monument can also be accessed with due precautions. When saving valuable archaeological pieces, owners are advised to take care of pets and avoid entering with very anxious animals, so that accidents do not occur.
The city also adopted several animals. Today there are about 24 dogs inside the complex. Many were abandoned and others arrived from the surrounding area. “The artisans and the people who take care of them take care of them, they feed them and many of them take them to their houses at night”, explains Katherine Tituaña, guide of the Middle of the World. For this reason festivals and fairs of pet ownership have been held for two consecutive years. Foundations and social animal rescue organizations from Quito participate in them. (I)