Learn about the craftmanship of hatmaking from local experts.

Pile, 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. Immerse yourself in the age-old technique of weaving toquilla straw into the world-famous Panama hat.

  • Visit a local family at their home in this rural community of Pile and learn about the age-old technique of weaving toquilla straw into the world-famous Panama hat.
  • Witness how they prepare the toquilla straw in fine strands that will become hats.
  • Understand how the inhabitants of this small village live and the sociocultural characteristics of Pile's traditional straw-hat weaving. You will see how the weaving can be a status symbol and understand its ritual logic—you can even note how it outlines, strengthens, and delimits the way Pile’s inhabitants see (and live in) the world.
  • Help this small community continue preserving its ancestral legacy and to care for their natural surroundings.
  • Difficulty level

    Level 2: Easy

  • Duration

    4h30

  • Max. passengers

    30

  • Booking Code

    A-MEC8

  • From

    $ 132

  • Notices

    Comfortable walking shoes, rain coat, light cotton clothing (long sleeves and preferably long pants). We strongly suggest bringing insect repellent and sun screen. Camera and binoculars, if possible

Enjoy 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 is a village well known for its weavers, who maintain their ancestral techniques to make the raw materials for the world's finest hat.

In Pile, immerse yourself in the age-old technique of weaving toquilla straw into the world-famous Panama hat.

A brief introduction will explain how the inhabitants of this small village live and the sociocultural characteristics of Pile's traditional straw-hat weaving. You will see how the weaving can be a status symbol and understand its ritual logic—you can even note how it outlines, strengthens, and delimits the way Pile’s inhabitants see (and live in) the world.

Next, walk through the town’s tiny dirt streets to visit a local weaving family. This demonstration is authentic, as it is in the weavers' house, where knowledge is practiced and transmitted ancestrally. Witness how they prepare the toquilla straw in fine strands that will become hats. They will provide a demonstration of the world's finest weaving. You can also participate in this experience after they have taught you the technique. The visit is intended to allow the guests to observe and analyze the spatial, symbolic, and functional characteristics of the weaving.

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

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

Practical information:

  • Language: English (French and German at extra cost)

  • Included: 1 x 500 ml bottle of water per person on the bus. 2 x typical salty plantains and/or cassava snack + fresh juice or hot coffee, served by the local community.

  • Remarks/requirements: Comfortable walking shoes, rain coat, light cotton clothing (long sleeves and preferably long pants). We strongly suggest bringing insect repellent and sun screen. Camera and binoculars, if possible

  • Walking information: Distance: 875 yards through the town on surfaces that are uneven, muddy and slippery, especially during rainy season (December – May).

  • Wheelchair accessible: No.