The Hats Street in Casco Viejo has become a trend on Instagram. This idea has been done in other parts of the world to decorate colonial neighborhoods. Making open umbrella streets has been seen in many places, it was even done at one time in the colonial neighborhood of Panama City. The other trend is to put flags between the streets. Aniel Beltran, the creator of Hats Street in Casco Viejo got the idea from his trips to Colombia and Puerto Rico.Booking.com
Hats Street in Casco Viejo
On December 29, the inauguration of Hats Street in Casco Viejo was held, which is located on Calle Primera that leads to Plaza of France and the Monumental Complex of Las Bovedas. At the inaugural event, hats were given to the participants and there was a stage with salsa music and Carnival-style murgas.
This external exhibition shows almost a thousand pieces suspended in the air with transparent cables. It was made possible by the support of the French Embassy, which allowed the hats to be hung on its side. It also had the participation of the Minister of Culture, the director of the Casco Viejo Office (OCA) and congress woman Mayin Correa.
Every year a different concept will be done on the Hats Street in Casco Viejo. The theme for first year was colorful hats. This project, which contributes to the growth of tourism in Panama City, will be exhibited during the summer from the end of December, when the high season begins, until April. It is not possible to keep the hats hanging in the rainy season as the weather would end up destroying them.
Aniel Beltran’s store is called Guayacano Hat. Looking through the hats you will see a sign at the end of the hanging display pointing towards his store. Creating the Hats Street in Casco Viejo was an excellent marketing strategy since people go to take photos and end up entering the store.
Aniel opened Guayacano Hat 20 years ago when Casco Viejo was beginning to be a tourist area. The store was originally smaller, if you look at the floor you can see its original size because of the cobbled floors, while the expansion at the back has more modern floors.
This hat store in Casco Antiguo originated from the initiative of a neighbor who sold hats and suggested opening a store.
Many tourists come to Panama looking to buy a Panama Hat that Aniel tells me are made in Ecuador. We talked about it being popularized by the visit of the president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, in 1906, the first time that an American president made an official trip outside the country. He wore a hat to mitigate the heat and when asked about it he said it was a “Panama Hat.” The Guayacano Hat store has a statue of Theodore Roosevelt.
The quality of a Panama Hat is measured by its grades that range up to grade 60, which costs up to $50,000. Many people are scammed with Panama Hats. The easiest way to know if it is a real hat is to see the beginning of its construction, which should be from the center of the top of the hat.
While the Panamanian hat, called Sombrero Pintado, is of better quality depending on its turns. It usually has between seven to 16 turns. Aniel tells me that his sombrero pintado hat has 18 turns. In the back of the store there is a display that shows the process of making a sombrero pintado that is made by artisans in La Pintada, province of Coclé.
They have about 500 different hat models in the store. Many of these hats can be seen displayed on the Hats Street in Casco Viejo. Their clients are both Panamanian and foreigners. Guayacano Hat’s hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.