Pile – Montecristi


4.5 hours approx.

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




From 65 USD per person

About this tour

With this half-day shore trip in Manta, experience the Art of Traditional Weaving of The Toquilla Straw Hat (Panama Hat Making) – A True Intangible Cultural Heritage declared by UNESCO. 

Immerse yourself in the authentic story of the world-famous Panama Hat on this half-day cultural tour. You’ll journey to the tranquil village of Pile, home to some of the finest hat weavers, and meet Master Weaver Simón Espinal, recognized as the greatest artisan alive. Simón will share his story and demonstrate the intricate process of hat-making – an enduring tradition in his family and community for generations.

Watch in awe as Simón and local weavers transform simple strands of toquilla straw into elegant works of art. Try your hand at some of the techniques and get a true appreciation for the skill and patience required to craft these timeless hats. This hands-on experience offers an unparalleled glimpse into the heart and heritage of the Ecuadorian coastal region.

Complete your adventure in the charming town of Montecristi, where the final touches are put on the hats before being shipped around the globe. You’ll have the special opportunity to purchase your own customized Panama Hat hot off the press – the perfect memento of a memorable day embracing cultural traditions and connecting with the local community.

This shore excursion offers a one-of-a-kind experience of Ecuador’s living history and its celebrated craft. By supporting local artisans, you help preserve this UNESCO-recognized Intangible Cultural Heritage for future generations. An authentic adventure into the real Toquilla Straw Hats awaits!

What´s Included

  • 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 Best Weaver Standing

You’ll visit a master weaver in his home, one of the last to practice this intricate art in Ecuador. He will offer you a rare glimpse into the trade secrets that produce the finest Panama Hats in the world. Watch as he transforms simple strands of toquilla straw through the boiling, drying, and weaving that culminate in an elegant work of wearable art.

The weaver will explain each step in vivid detail and even teach you some of the skills to appreciate the immense talent and patience required. You’ll gain insight into a tradition that has been passed down through families for centuries. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn from a living legend and witness a part of history that may soon be lost.

Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage

Montecristi the crafts town

Are you ready for the grand finale of our wonderful excursion? We’re heading to a charming hat shop where skilled hat curators bring their hats for the finishing touches. You’ll get to witness the final steps of the hat-making process and even customize your own!

Choose your preferred quality, select a shape that catches your eye, and pick a band color that suits your style. The shop owner will then personalize your hat right before your very eyes. It’s like watching freshly baked bread come out of the oven!

By the end of your visit, you’ll have a deep understanding of the care, time, and dedication put into every hat. And you’ll have a newfound appreciation for these symbols of comfort and craftsmanship that is more than what meets the eye. This authentic experience forever connects you to Ecuador’s cultural heritage and the human spirit. A day you will never forget!

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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- July 22 - Coral Princess: Tour Taste of Ecuador - 10 seats left!

- July 22 - Coral Princess: Manta & Montecristi Highlights - 6 seats left!

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