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"Panama Hats" Quito Local Custom Tip by acemj

Quito Local Customs: 51 reviews and 98 photos

  Catalina rockin' the Panama hat
by acemj

Of the places I visited in Ecuador, Cuenca is the most well-known for making Panama Hats, but I took this picture of Catalina wearing one in Quito, so that's why it's here. The tragic thing about these hats is that they're on original product only made in Ecuador, but Panama gets the credit because they were very popular among gold prospectors heading to California in the 19th century and among workers on the Panama Canal at the turn of the twentieth century and most were actually purchased in Panama. During the World's Fair in Paris in 1855, they were mistakenly introduced as "Panama Hats" and the rest is history.

I didn't buy one (I'm not a big hat guy), but I can see how they would be popular. The highest quality hats called superfinos are so well-made that they can be rolled up to fit inside a pinkie ring, they are extremely light and can be unpacked without even one crease showing. They feel light and airy on the head and dry quickly as well. An authentic superfino can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars!

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 10, 2008
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