Learn about the craftmanship of hatmaking from local experts.

Pile, The Origin of the Toquilla Hat

Visit a local family at their home in this rural community of Pile where the best hat weavers live and work to immerse in the ancient secret of weaving techniques of the toquilla straw, to fabric the well-known worldwide Panama hat, a genuine treasure that begins in the small town of Pile.

  • Visit a local family at their home in this rural community of Pile and learn the ancient secret of weaving techniques of the toquilla straw, to fabric the well-known worldwide Panama hat.
  • Be witness of the preparation of the toquilla straw to get the fine strands that will become hats.
  • Understand the way of living of inhabitants of this small village, the sociocultural characteristics of Pile's traditional straw-hat weaving, emphasizing the status symbols, the ritual logic of the weaving and fabric the hat, and how it outlines, strengthens, and delimits the appropriate way of seeing and living the world.
  • Help this small community to continue preserving their ancestral legacy in conjunction to the care of the natural surroundings.
  • Difficulty level

    Level 2: Moderate - some mobility needed

  • Duration

    4hrs30

  • Max. passengers

    30

  • Booking code

    A-MEC8

  • From

    99 €

  • Notices

    Comfortable walking shoes, rain coat, cotton light clothing (long sleeves and long trousers preferably) / Insect repellent and sun screen strongly suggested. Camera and binoculars if possible.

On this occasion you will have the privilege of visiting a local family at their home in this rural community of Pile where the best hat weavers live and work.  Pile, a tiny town well-known for its weavers who maintain their ancestral techniques to offer the fabric of the world's finest hat. 

Depart and drive to the town of Pile to immerse in the ancient secret of weaving techniques of the toquilla straw, to fabric the well-known worldwide Panama hat, a genuine treasure that begins in the small town of Pile.  

An introductory briefing will explain the sociocultural characteristics of Pile's traditional straw-hat weaving, emphasizing the status symbols, the ritual logic of the weaving and fabric the hat, and how it outlines, strengthens, and delimits the appropriate way of seeing and living the world in Pile. 

Next, walk through the tiny dirt streets along the town visiting one of the local family of weavers. A demonstration is held in real time and space (weavers' houses, where knowledge is practiced and transmitted ancestrally).  You will witness of the preparation of the toquilla straw to get the fine strands that will become hats.  Then a demonstration of the world's finest weaving, in which you can participate, you can live the experience when trying to knit after they have been taught the technique.  The visit is intended to allow the guests to observe and analyze all spatial, symbolic, and functional characteristics with respect to the weaving. 

At the end of the visit a typical snack will be offered by the community. 

Then board the coach to drive to back to the pier. 

Practical information: 

  • Language: English, French and German (Extra cost for French and German). 

  • Included: 1 x 500 ml bottle of water per person on the coach.   02 salty typical plantain and/or cassava snack + fresh juice or hot coffee served by the local community. 

  • Remarks/requirements: Comfortable walking shoes, rain coat, cotton light clothing (long sleeves and long trousers preferably) / Insect repellent and sun screen strongly suggested.  Camera and binoculars if possible. 

  • Walking information: Distance: 800 metres walk along the town on uneven surfaces, muddy and slippery, specially during rainy season (Dec-May).

  • Wheelchair accessible: No.