The Panama Hat Trail, by Tom Miller
Panama hats being a misnomer, the indispensable accessory of Bogart is Ecuadorian born and bred, but named for their proliferate use by workers building the Panama Canal. Renowned travel writer Tom Miller turns his attention to the quirks of Ecuador while following the trail of Panama hats from their origins as coastal
palms to the finished product as straw hats in the Sierra. Miller is adept not only at describing the geography of Ecuador and the history of the hat, but also at observing of the quirks of Ecuadorian culture.
Savages, by Joe Kane
Like most oil-producing countries, the politics of petroleum have had a profound effect on Ecuador, its people, its government, its trade. One of the tribes most dramatically affected by oil production in Ecuador is the traditional Huaorani – like the oil, based in the Oriente, or Amazonian jungle. Joe Kane is a journalist who spent time with the Huaorani investigating the impact of oil production on their community. While
has been criticized for its clear bias in favor of the Huaorani, it is a fascinating account of what can happen in populations affected by the quest for oil. Just remember to keep a grain of salt at hand while you read.
For general information on Quito, the website created by the Minister of Tourism provides a wealth of excellent information in English and Spanish (if you can forgive them the occasional translating error).