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Barranco's Panama Hat Factory
If you didn't already know, the Panama hat is one of the chief exports of Ecuador. There is some inexplicable irony, in that the hat is named after another country (Panama is a country in Central America), but make no mistake, this dapper hat is Ecuadorian through and through; simply because the natural straw the hats are made from is only found on the Ecuador coastline.
Here is Cuenca is the original Panama hat factory that has been making the hats since the 1940s. You can learn all about how different styles of the Panama hat are created and finished - and of course it's compulsory to try out the styles on yourself!
Barranco's Panama Hat Factory also features a museum, which delves into even greater detail about the Panama hat and its history in the country. The museum puts on *free* daily tours for its visitors who are eager to expand their knowledge on this accessory. One of the highlights at the museum has to be discovering the gripping story of the Paredes Roldan family, who established the business of manufacturing the hats and exporting them in the 1940s.