Montecristi Ecuador: Birthplace of the Panama Hat

Amelia And JP VLOG 259: A short drive past the eastern side of Manta, Ecuador is a small town with a big mountain and a long history called Montecristi.

This little town is famous for being the birthplace of the Sombrero de Paja Toquilla, more commonly known as the Panama Hat.

In the 1850’s, several Ecuadorians went to Panama to sell their straw hats at the busy trade centers.

As people from Panama travelled to California for the gold rush sporting their straw hats, they were often asked where they got their cool, breathable, shady sombreros.

Since the hats were purchased in Panama, people started calling them Panama Hats even though they originated in Montecristi, Ecuador in the early 1600’s.

Montecristi is a popular tourist attraction for Ecuadorians and foreign travelers alike. The civic center has a wonderful museum and a train that was made in Philadelphia and brought to Ecuador in 1907.

We had a great day learning about this historic area, walking around the colorful town, and seeing how the iconic Paja Toquilla Hats are made. Look for our new hats in our upcoming videos!


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