Pile – Pacoche – Montecristi


7.5 hours approx.

Timing is adaptable to travelers’ needs (Cruise ship schedules)


Moderate to Strenuous (If walking the entire forest trail)


From 80 USD per person

About this tour

Get ready to discover the richness of the Ecuadorian region on this unforgettable day tour in Manta.

Learn about the fascinating story behind the famous Toquilla Straw Hats, also known as “Panama Hats,” which hold the distinction of being a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Begin your journey with a stroll through the picturesque Pacoche Wildlife Refuge, a famous landmark on the Ecuadorian coast. Here, you’ll see the palm trees from which the weavers get the straws and the incredible wildlife that inhabits the area, including the impressive howler monkeys.

Meet the legendary weaver Don Simon, who is considered the best Toquilla Straw Hat weaver in the world. He will welcome us into his home at Pile, a little weaver’s village. We will share his story and explain and demonstrate the process from straw to the final product.

At the end of the tour, we’ll visit Montecristi, the town where all the weavers take their hats to sell. We’ll stop at a shop where the hats are finished, and you’ll witness the final steps of the process and even have the privilege of getting your customized hat. While in Montecristi, we’ll also visit a short museum and have some time to indulge in the top street stores.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore the region’s cultural heritage and bring home a customized Toquilla Straw Hat as a memento of your unforgettable journey!

What´s Included

  • Lunch
  • Bottled water
  • All entrance and activities fees
  • Cruise Terminal / Hotel pick up and drop off (You would have to take the free shuttle bus to Cruise Terminal)
  • Professional Local Guide (Spanish, English, German or French).
  • *Does not include gratuities

Cancellation policy

  • If you cancel at least 7 calendar days in advance, there is no cancellation fee
  • If you cancel between 3 and 6 calendar days in advance, you will be charged a 50% cancellation fee
  • If you cancel within 2 calendar days in advance, you will be charged a 100% cancellation fee
  • For cruise ship travelers: If the ship doesn´t dock due to inclement weather conditions, political matters, or covid-19 related reasons, there is no cancellation fee

The itinerary

The Weaver

We would first go along the Ruta del Spondylus, a scenic drive along the coast, to a small village called Pile.

The last man in Ecuador to weave extra-fine Toquilla Straw Hats will let us into his house, tell us his story, and show us how he works. His hats are unfortunately not for sale as he custom-makes them and takes several months to make one.

Be witness to this intangible cultural heritage declared by UNESCO in 2012.

Walk Through The Forest

We would then go to the Pacoche Wildlife Refuge. Where you can take a 1h30 walk through the forest with a nature guide, who will teach you about the plants and during which you should be able to observe howler monkeys in their natural environment, as well as birds and other small animal species.

*The second half of the trail is strenuous and is not recommended for people with walking or heart problems

Ecuadorian Lunch

After the walk, we will head to San Lorenzo fishing village to have a typical seafood lunch with ocean views.

Toquilla Straw Hats Shop

Once in Montecristi, our first stop will be in a Toquilla Straw Hat Shop. Here you will see the final touches of finishing this piece of art.

Choose the quality of what you want, the owner of the shop will trim the extra straws from it, press it with the shape you choose, and sew your favorite color of the band.

Careful, the hats come out of the press hot, just like freshly baked bread!

Museum and Handicrafts Shops

Find about the Ecuadorian Revolution in Ciudad Alfaro Museum and Mausoleum (optional)

After visiting the museum, we will go to the town of Montecristi, where you can immerse yourself in the local stores and shop for all kinds of Souvenirs and the famous Panama Hats.

The complete day tour from Manta!

Do you need more information?

We can adapt this itinerary to your needs. Contact us!

See related excursion:

Cdla. Barbasquillo 130802
Manta – Ecuador
Phone: +593 995 376 249

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