Next up is Montecristi, located only 20 km away below an imposing hill. This colonial town was founded in 1628, when many of the inhabitants of Manta fled inland to avoid the frequent pirate plundering to which the port was subjected. Montecristi is renowned as the center of the Panama hat industry (contrary to popular belief, they are not made in Panama!). Visit some of the artisans here, and watch as they use "paja toquilla," a special straw obtained from certain palms of the Ecuadorian coast, to knit these special hats. Of course, there will be time for shopping if you would like a souvenir! Also visit the town's main square to see the statue of Eloy Alfaro, the famous President of Ecuador who was born here in the early 1900s.
Continuing with the tour, your next stop will be at La Pila. After the discovery of archeological figures from the ancient Ecuadorian cultures, the imaginative inhabitants of this tiny village began to produce imitations of the master peices of their forefathers that are almost exactly the same as the originals. These ceramics are part of this display.
Upon returning to Manta, you will make a stop at the Tagua button factory. "Vegetable Ivory" is the name used for the Tagua nut, found in the rain forest in parts of Colombia and Ecuador. Although it is soft at first, when dried out it becomes as hard as ivery and can be carved as such. Seeing the process of peeling, cutting, and then making buttons, sculptures and souvenirs with this vegetable ivory is particularly interesting.
Departures: 09:00 AM, 01:00 PM,
Meeting instructions: Specific pick up or taxi instructions will appear on your voucher after you purchase your trip.
Special instructions: All transportation, a great English-speaking guide, entrance fees, and bottled water are all included. Food, beverages, and gratuity are not included.
Please note that the Tagua button factory is closed on weekends.