History of Cotacachi

Cotacachi is an artisan city that is famous for its leather goods and handicrafts. Cotacachi residents are also well known for their bizcochos (a type of bread stick) and queso de hoja (soft cheese wrapped in a plant leaf).
The city of Cotacachi holds a UNESCO medal for being free of illiteracy. In 2000 the entire canton was declared the first ecological county of South America.
An annual Fiesta of San Juan, San Pedro, y San Pablo in late June is celebrated in the city with many different ceremonies and a parade that sometimes degenerates into a rock-throwing expression of hostility between members of the indigenous Kichwa tribe and the mestizo majority population that co-exist uneventfully throughout the rest of the year. The ritual is a temporary enactment of social upheaval via the symbolic storming of the city, remembering ancient rivalries.
Distinctive black leather hats for the fiesta are worn by some male participants during the ceremonies and the parade. The San Juan hats have greatly-exaggerated, stiff and circular flat brims that extend over the shoulders and crowns that are high, square, and pointed, bearing many types of symbols. Perhaps intentionally, the design also serves to protect wearers from the rocks. Sometimes intervention by police is required if parade participants become too rowdy