They are only made in Ecuador, specifically around Montechristi on the coast, and around Cuenca in the mountains.
Inferior versions, often using the same straw, are woven in Columbia, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico. They may appear similar, but they are by definition not a Panama hat. In our modern age, any white hat is called a Panama, whether they are made of plastic, paper or felt.
This week a lady contacted me, saddened by the quality of the Panama she ordered on Amazon. When I saw the photos, I explained it was a paper hat from China and that she had been tricked. After looking all over the world she ordered the Creme Brûlée - she will love it.
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