All the panama hats in the world are of course made here in Ecuador. The exclusive raw material is the straws of a plant which is growing in the coastal parts of this country.
This picture is taken outside a combined museum and hat shop in Cuenca. Here will you find hats in all sizes, different qualities and a wide specter of prices. You could also get a demonstracion of the complicated process of making them.
But why do they call them "pananahats" then? Well, you se, for export to Europe they had to send them trough the panama canal. And so the europeans thought it was a panamanian product. The hat were also frequently used by the workers during the construction of the canal.