Countries That Lie on the Equator

Map of the World & Equator
Jennifer Thermes/ Photodisc/ Getty Images

Although the equator stretches 24,901 miles (40,075 kilometers) around the world, it travels through the territory of just 13 countries. And yet the landmasses of two of these countries do not touch the Earth's equator. Located at 0 degrees latitude, the equator splits the Earth into Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and any location along the imaginary line is equidistant from the North and South Poles.

The countries of Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Maldives, Indonesia, Kiribati, Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil all lie along the equator, but the landmasses of Maldives and Kiribati do not touch the equator itself. Instead, the equator passes through water controlled by these two island countries.

Seven of the countries are in Africa—the most of any continent—while South America is home to three of the nations (Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil) and remaining three (Maldives, Kiribati, and Indonesia) are island nations in the Indian and Pacific oceans. 

Of Latitude and Seasons

In geographic terms, the equator is one of five notable circles of latitude that help provide relative locations on an atlas. The other four include the Arctic Circle, the Antarctic Circle, the Tropic of Cancer, and the Tropic of Capricorn

In terms of seasons, the plane of the equator passes through the sun at the March and September equinoxes. The sun appears to travel directly north to south over the equator at these times.

Because of this, people living along the equator experience the quickest sunrises and sunsets as the sun travels perpendicular to the equator most of the year, with the length of days being almost entirely the same throughout—daylight lasting 14 minutes longer than nighttime.

Climate and Temperatures

In terms of climate, most countries that lie along the equator experience much warmer temperatures year-round than other areas of the world that share the same elevation. That's because of the equator's near-constant exposure to the same levels of sun exposure regardless of the time of year.

Even so, the equator offers a surprisingly diverse climate due to the geographical features of countries that lie along it. There is little fluctuation in temperature throughout the year, though there may be dramatic differences in rainfall and humidity, which are determined by wind currents.

The terms summer, fall, winter, and spring don't really apply to regions along the equator. Instead, people who live in the especially humid tropic regions refer to only two seasons: wet and dry.

Can you imagine skiing at the equator? While you won't find a developed ski area, you will find snow and ice year-round on Cayambe, a volcano in Ecuador that reaches to 5,790 meters (nearly 19,000 feet). It is the only place on the equator where snow lies on the ground year-round.