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Pacific coast: Visit the birthplace of the Panama hat

Visit the birthplace of the Panama hat

With a misleading name owing to old trading routes rather than its place of origin, you could be forgiven for placing the centre of the Panama hat industry about 1,000km too far north. But no, it really comes from Ecuador, where it has been popular for three centuries.

Montecristi is the birthplace of the Panama Hat and is still where the finest examples are made, although mass production has moved south to the city of Cuenca. The highest quality ‘Montecristis’ can hold water and even pass through a wedding ring.

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