Unesco recognizes the real Panama Hat

LA PINTADA, Panama (AP) — Cultural authorities at UNESCO have recognized the artisans of Panama for their distinctive woven hats. No, not those hats; the famed “Panama hat” comes from Ecuador.

Panama’s real contribution to the world’s hat heritage is the pintao, or painted hat, handmade from five different plants and a dose of swamp mud.

Production of the circular-brimmed hats is still a family affair carried out on a household scale. The industry’s center is La Pintada, a district about 170 kilometers (105 miles) west of Panama City.

“They don’t have anything (artificial), no machinery; no factory as such exists here in La Pintada,” said Reinaldo Quiros, a well-known artisan, and designer who sells hats out of his home. “Each artisan in his own home makes the hats maintaining the techniques taught by his ancestors.”

The widely known “Panama hat” is a brimmed hat traditionally made in Ecuador from the straw of the South American toquilla palm plant. The hats are thought to have earned their misleading name because many were sold in nearby Panama to prospectors traveling through that country to California during the Gold Rush.

Artisans of the truly Panamanian pintao hat start with the fibers of several plants that are cured and then woven into braids that are wrapped around a wooden form and sewn together from the crown of the hat down.

Pasion Gutierrez, 81, grows some of the plants around his house in El Jaguito outside La Pintada, while others are found high in the mountains. Gutierrez, his wife Anazaria and several of their children and grandchildren make pintaos.  His eyesight doesn’t allow him to do the fine needlework anymore, but he harvests, prepares and braids the fibers.

On a recent day, Gutierrez said he’d gone out the night before to cut agave leaves because they believe the quality of the fibers is best when harvested under a full moon.

“It’s no good with a new moon,” he said.

Several bands of fiber are dyed black with the leaves from a different plant and then stuck in mud for three days. The fibers are woven into fine geometric designs and integrated into the hat giving it its name.

“The pintao hat has become an integral part of regional outfits throughout the country worn during traditional dances and community festivities,” the United Nations’ heritage arm’s statement said.

Depending on the quality of the work some pintao hats can cost hundreds of dollars. Authorities estimate that 4,000 of La Pintada’s 25,000 residents work creating or selling the hats.

Pedro Mendoza, a 50-year-old hat maker, hopes that the UNESCO recognition takes the pintao hat beyond the country’s borders.

“It’s really good what’s happened,” he said. “The hat for us is a way of life.”

Original article:  https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/unesco-recognizes-panamas-hat/4180101.html 


Blokarting: Sailing on Land

By Briana Reece

When people think of sailing, they mostly think they need water and a boat, but what if you could sail on land?

Blokarting, is an extreme sport created by combining hand gliding and land sailing, but what’s the difference between land sailing and blokarting?

Two words… hand steering. It all comes down to the fact that you can control the movement by steering your pod with the help of the wind.

The creation of this yatch dates back to 1999, when the New Zealander Paul Beckett, saw a fun, fast and compact toy, which would offer adventure to people of all ages, gender and even those with disability.

Now imagine you are placed into a small compact unit and it has two wheels in the back and one in the front. When you enter this small “cart or pod”, a seatbelt is placed around you and instructions are given. It sounds simple, you pull a rope to go faster, if you let it go your speed will decrease, and most importantly if you feel you’re going to tip over place your hands on the steering. Then you just sit back, grab the rope, place your hands on the steering and get ready to be blown away. Just make sure you’re not going against the wind.

The experience

It was scary at first, especially when you know you could tip over because of the wind. You feel like you´re in control, but at the same time you´re not because you´re depending of the wind to help you move. Having to pull or let go of the rope while trying to hand steer required coordination. It was like driving a manual car, the rope is your shift stick and clutch; and the hand steering is your steering wheel

There were times when one of my tires lifted, and my first thought was move towards the lifted tire and let go of the rope to maintain balance. It´s not easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, you´re able to enjoy the ride and feel the adventure, especially in every turn you take.

Having begun in New Zealand, Blokarting has managed to make its way to South Africa, Australia and will soon be available in the hidden and forgotten Island of Naos at Causeway, Amador.

Don’t miss this opportunity, check out Panama Landsailng Adventures for more information or contact us for reservations.








Women adventure week in Panama (June 18 – 24, 2016)


An active outdoor program just for women during the week of June of 2016. This 7 day adventure includes: Beach combing in Bocas del Toro, active and cultural activities in the City and in the highlands of Panama, bilingual guides, and the fun of the City. Great opportunity for professional networking. This will have a maximum of 20 participants and minimum of 10. Includes: all transfers, 6 night of lodging – 2 nights in Panama City and 2 nights in the highlands of Boquete, 2 nights in Bocas del Toro, day tours, all breakfasts, lunch during tours, entrance fees to national parks and attractions, information kit and taxes.

Day 1 – Welcome to Panama!  Today at the appropriate time an EcoCircuitos representative will meet you at the Tocumen International Airport to assist and transfer you to your hotel located in Panama City. At this time you will also receive an EcoCircuitos information kit that will provide you with all the details for your stay in Panama. Once you arrive to your hotel, please check-in. MARRIOTT EXECUTIVE.

Day 2 – Day 2 Kayaking the Panama Canal Watershed & Rain Forest Discovery Center Early in the morning you will be greeted by your guide in the lobby of your hotel to begin your kayaking adventure in the Panama Canal Watershed. As you begin your journey into the Panama Canal Watershed you will leave the Panama City limits and enter in to the Soberania National Park, building will slowly be replaced by secondary and primary rain forest, and you will pass the former Fort Clayton, Miraflores Locks before entering the Park. Keep your eyes open for toucans, sloths and other animals as they awake with the morning sun. Once you reach dock you will receive a safety briefing and introductory paddle lesson before slipping into your kayaks to start paddling into the heart of the Panama Canal Zone. Seated at water level in your kayak will give you an interesting perspective of the Panama Canal in action. Our guide will lead you to places of special interest, while educating you about the flora and fauna of the area. After kayaking we will visit the Rain Forest Discovery Centre, where we will learn more about the Panamanian rain forests´ secrets. Climb the rain forest tower that is 30 meters high with emergent trees reaching 40meters. It is an amazing experience in the core of the tropical rainforest. We will have a picnic lunch, while observing the numerous species of humming birds in the area.

IN THE AFTERNOON: The Highlands of Panama

You will be transferred to Albrook Domestic Airport to take your one hour flight to David, the capital of Chiriqui Province. ****Flight is not included***Upon arrival, you will be met by an EcoCircuitos Representative and transferred to Finca Lerida state coffee lodge. This Ecolodge is nestled in the middle coffee plantation and surrounded by a private natural forest reserve. You will wake up to the symphony of birds and to the aroma of our home grown “Finca Lerida” Estate Coffee brewed specially for you. All the rooms are individually decorated and named after birds found in Finca Lerida Highlands. (B, pic nic lunch)

 Flying within Panama has a luggage weight limit of 25 pounds (lbs) per person.

Day 3 – Los Quetzales Trail This is considered one of the most spectacular trails in Central America and one of the most popular hikes of the western highlands. Depart from your hotel in Boquete at 7:00 AM in a 4×4 to the ranger station in Baru National Park where you will begin your trek along the Quetzales Trail. Walk through different elevations and landscapes giving the group the opportunity to see a great variety of tree, plant and bird species, including the Resplendent Quetzal, the Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Silvery-throated Jay, Black-faced Solitaire and the Barred Becard. Includes: Transportation, Box Lunch, and specialized Guide. Duration: Full day tour. This trail is only recommended for experienced hikers and people with an excellent physical condition due to its difficult nature. (B, pic nic lunch)

 Day 4 Transfer to Bocas del Toro Archipelago (A day Tour!!) You will be transferred by land and boat from Boquete to Bocas del Toro Archipelago. You will pass through the Talamanca Continental Divide and you will enjoy the amazing landscape of our highlands. Enjoy the view of some areas of the Palo Seco and La Fortuna Natural Reserves during the transfer. Upon arrival to Almirante (Bocas del Toro Mainland pier), you will board a water taxi that will head you to Isla Colon. (Boat transfer 25 minutes) Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Check in at the hotel Playa Tortuga. Transfer duration: 3 ½ hrs approx.

 Day 5 Bocas del Toro Archipelago After breakfast you will visit a local indigenous community where you will learn about their conservation initiatives to protect their surroundings. Look for local wildlife species such as Three-toed Sloth, the quintessential Red poison-dart Frog, White-faced Capuchins and Howler Monkeys, along with many bird species, and venture inside a rainforest cave. Later today, after an outdoor lunch you will enjoy a tour of Bastimentos Marine National Park to snorkel, and relax at the beach. Lodging will be at a hotel in Bocas. (B,L)

 DAY 6 – Return to Panama City  Return to Panama City and upon arrival Full Day Historical City Tour During the half-day morning tour you will visit the ruins of Old Panama, climb up the Cathedral tower, visit the Old Panama Museum and then continue to Casco Viejo (the old city compound), which dates from the late 1600’s. A bilingual guide will describe the events in history leading up to the eventual movement of the capital city to its present location. Casco Viejo is home to monuments to Ferdinand de Lesseps and other Frenchmen instrumental in the ill-fated attempt of the French to construct a canal through Panama. Your tour ends with a visit to the Panama Canal Museum. 
The full day tour continues with a visit to the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal where large ships can be seen transiting the canal. Enjoy a presentation by the Panama Canal Authority on the history of the Panama Canal and marvel at the workings of this feat of human engineering. Lunch will be serving at a local restaurant. The tour then continues to the Panama Canal area, including the town of Balboa, formerly part of the Panama Canal Zone. You will stop at the folk art market at the old YMCA building. Late afternoon you will return to your hotel in Panama City. (B,L). (B)  ****Flight is not included***

  Day 7 – Departure At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the Tocumen International Airport for your outbound flight. You will arrive at the airport approximately 2 hours before your departure time. Note: customers will be picked up 3 hours before their flight time. ** END OF SERVICES**

Prices upon request!

The program includes:  6 nights of lodging , Private transfers in and out of Tocumen International Airport, Tours as mentioned above, bilingual guide accompany the group during complete itinerary, Breakfast at all mentioned hotels, Information kit, Lodging taxes

The program does not include:  Optional activities, International airfare and taxes, Departure taxes ($40.00 per person for Panama), Meals not specified in the itinerary, Domestic and international flights, alcoholic beverages, Personal equipment,
Extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service, etc.), Gratuities

Rates are valid until June 15th, 2016 and subject to change due increases on fuel prices

  • Prices are net per person.
  • Prices are given in US Dollars.
  • Prices are subject to change without previous notice depending on any significant increase in rates, taxes, fuel or due to availability problems.
  • Prices are based on the minimum of paying participants previously informed.
  • If the minimum number of paying participants changes, the rates would also change
  • Tips for drives and guides not included

Note: This is a quote not a reservation. Please note that all quotations given are subject to availability at the time of reservation and cannot be guaranteed until payment is received. Please note that credit card payments are subject to processing fees.

EcoCircuitos realizes that has important environmental and social responsibilities in and out of the office. We create memorable travel experiences in Panama’s natural history and cultural heritage.   Our office team and suppliers ensure quality service, cultural sensitivity, local knowledge, innovation and social and environmental responsibility. As travelers ourselves we believe giving something back is essential. Therefore we work with our team, suppliers and customers to ensure that benefits will contribute directly to the communities we visit and their environment.

For more information, please visit our Responsible Travel Policy link.

Encourage the channeling of part of our revenues towards supporting the conservation and sustainable use of Panama’s biodiversity. We are committed to the conservation of protected areas, education and local community development.