Souvenirs from Panama do not usually include the Panama hat – these are usually made in Ecuador, despite being made famous by the balding Ferdinand de Lesseps when he was building the first canal. There are finely woven straw hats from Panama can be found in the towns of Ocu and Penonome. Duty free items may be purchased in the Duty Free Zone of Colon. However, outlets in Panama City can arrange to send an item from the Zona Libre directly to the airport where you can collect it when leaving the country. Handicrafts include the brightly colored molas, a multilayered textile sewn by Kuna Indian women.
The Wounaan and Embera Indians make baskets woven so tightly that they will hold water. They also make wood and tagua carvings. Tagua is a nut commonly known as vegetable ivory. Replicas of Huacas – traditional objects made before the arrival of the Spanish that probably convey religious or spiritual meanings, these can be purchased in various materials from gold to clay. In addition to handcrafted souvenirs, Panama is developing an interesting art market, boosted by the production of paintings, sculptures and other manifestations of visual artists from Latin America, Europe and the United States. Prestigious art galleries and specialists can provide you with the information you need to have access to the best of art, being offered in the capital.
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