Here in the Coffee Axis of Colombia we have a pretty temperate climate most of the year with plenty of year round sunshine. What most visitors to this area don’t know, is the local secret to keeping the sun off in a comfortable and stylish way.
The sombrero’s of Aguadas, Caldas have been famous throughout Colombia since the 1870’s. Made from the Iraca palm, they are made up of beautifully woven fibers which are distinctive in both quality and beauty. They are superior in every way for comfort, quality and fit. Especially if you know who to buy from.
How to Buy An Authentic Sombrero Aguadeño Hat
During a recent visit to Manizales in the Department of Caldas, I decided to go live the experience. It took some research online and local gossip to find out that you can purchase an authentic Aguadeño sombrero, or hat. Make sure when you ask for directions you say it as “Sombrero Aguadeño“, to prevent confusion. They will probably even be surprised that a gringo even asked!
Cost: 140,000 COP or about $45 USD – Not a bad price for a quality hat.
With the harsh intensity of the sun near the equator, severe burns and skin cancer, can easily become an issue in the lives of those who fail to exercise caution. While sunblock is a valid option, rather than slather your face in toxic chemicals, just do what your ancestors did, and put on a Sombrero Aguadeño hat!
On the fly of picking out my hat and gleefully handing over my pesos, I managed to have a quick chat with the owner. His name is Samuel Hurtado Mejia. Their hats are made from the original fibers of the Iraca palm. They are started by weavers in Aguadas. The hats are woven by hand. Aguadas is the pueblo which the hats are named for. They are then shipped to, and finished, in Manizales. Samuel is a 3rd generation hat maker who came to Manizales 30 years ago and who had learned from his parents.
Now he is teaching his own sons to take on the family business, and in the process carrying on the traditions of his ancestors. He is carrying on a unique Colombian tradition that has been made famous by characters like Juan Valdez and are exported around the world. For tourism this is an almost untouched opportunity to experience something unique and authentic.
Artesanias De Aguadas: Lugar de Origen www.jshsombreros Visit them in person: Cra. 22 No. 28-14 Manizales, Caldas Colombia Cell: 310 432 9962 ~ 310 540 5367 Sombreros para El Mundo Samuel Hurtado