Ecuador's straw hat

Expedition Tours

29 November 2021

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MADE FROM THE FIBERS OF THE “TOQUILLA”

 

A type of palm that grows in Ecuador’s coastal tropical forests. The elaboration of the hats begins with the cultivation and care of the palm trees, followed by the harvest. The process includes separating the actual fibers from the green outer skin, steps that include outdoor sun-drying, use of wood-fire and other inherited ancient techniques to ensure that the raw material is of the very best quality.

Montecristi, Jipijapa and Pile are among the most representative among dozens of towns and villages, especially along Ecuador’s central coast, that have been for centuries the suppliers of the quality material to fabricate the famed hats.

 

The weaving of these hats has also been adopted as a native art and craft by skilled artisans of other localities including Cuenca, Gualaceo and Sigsig on Ecuador’s Southern Andes.  The weaving process can take from one day to eight months depending on the quality expected for the final product, which includes a specific number of points on each row of the weaving. The skill passes on from generation to generation and provides entire rural communities with quality work and prestige, while injecting pride and income to the life of these mostly quaint and simple villages.

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