Friday, November 30, 2012

Jipijapas- Panama Hats

                                       Hey Dude, nice hat.  Where did you get it?

                                                Looks nice on a gal too.

True Panama Hats come from Equador, not Panama, but are also made in the Yucatan of Mexico.

Street vendors sell them in the cities of Merida and Campeche, but we came here to the small village of Becal to get one from the craftsman himself.

This is the center of hat making in the Yucatan, and nearly everyone in town works in the hat industry.

Almost every family has a workshop cave in their back yard.

The damp air in these caves keeps the fibers moist and pliant, essential for the tight weave needed in a top quality hat.

                      There are almost 2,000 of these family caves in the village of Becal.

Leaves from the jipijapa palm tree are fashioned into Toquilla Straw for making the hats.

The finer the weave, the more supple and softer the feel, and the better looking it is.

Small towns like this are found all over Mexico, waiting for the adventurer to arrive.  The craftsmanship is often excellent, the people are warm and friendly and they are often so impressed and feel honored that we have come to their small village to see them. The best way to do this is to take your time and explore slowly in a small RV.  To learn more about Panama Hats, go to:

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