Cuenca High Life logo

Cuenca News

Cuencanos and expats love a parade; They like it even better when they’re in one

There was a sea of Panama hats on Calle Rafael María Arízaga Sunday morning.

Photos and text by Bartley D’Alfonso

One of the highlights of Sunday’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of Cuenca being named a World Heritage site by UNESCO, was the morning Heritage Walk, or Caminato por El Patrimonio.

A priest and Miss Cuenca accompany the famous El Niño Viajero and a perplexed angel during the Caminato por El Patrimonio.

Sponsored by Mayor Pedro Palacios and the Museum Casa del Sombrero, in celebration of Cuenca’s famous Panama hat (Sombrero de Paja Toquilla), the walk on historic Calle Rafael María Arízaga began at Avenida Huayna Cápac with several hundred marchers — including a few dozen expats — almost all them wearing Panamas. Every shape and style of the iconic hat were on display, including Fedoras, the Classic, Pork-Pie shaped, wide brim Gambler, the iconic Optimo, the finely woven Portofino and a variety of women’s models.

The crowd walked 18 blocks to the new Parque de La Libertad, accompanied by street dancers wearing colorful Cholo Cunecano outfits, a military and school band and university and high school students from several institutions. (Scroll down to see more of the action.)