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San Jose Church

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Address: , Panama City, Panama
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Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Fee: No
Description: Built soon after the first Spanish settlement in the 16th century, this...
Built soon after the first Spanish settlement in the 16th century, this small church features the famous Golden Altar (Altar de Oro), which is made entirely of pure gold.
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$105*
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Panama City and Canal Sightseeing Tour
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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  • 36
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A GREAT STORY..

Don't miss this church in the old city . This is the famous Golden Altar that was once painted black to hide it beauty and worth from the Pirates.

5 of 5 starsReviewed August 22, 2015
Pettitt5
,
Fl.

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293 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Fl.
Level Contributor
130 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2015

Don't miss this church in the old city . This is the famous Golden Altar that was once painted black to hide it beauty and worth from the Pirates.

Was this review helpful? Yes
North Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
59 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2015

This is just one of those places that you'd have to see it to believe it! Absolutely breath taking!!

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2015

Yes this is a very old and historic church and you walk the old city and stop to see this great achitecture. I really liked it.

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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2015

it was a beautiful church in the old city. We stopped her as part of our tour of the old city. It was amazing inside & you can take pictures.

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Memphis
Level Contributor
269 reviews
106 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2015

The altar of San Jose Church is made of pure gold. It is magnificent and must be seen. It is easily incorporated into a walking tour of Casco Viejo.

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Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
38 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2015

This beautiful Colonial church is a must see if you visit Casco Viejo. It has a magnificent altar made of gold. Legend says that is was saved from being plundered by the infamous pirate, Henry Morgan, by painting it black. It is simply breathtaking!

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Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2015

When you walk in and see the gold wall it knocks your socks off. There are a few niches along the sides that contain interesting art work as well

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Level Contributor
34 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2015

Lovely place and an even nicer staff working there. For free (donation optional) you can view the gold altar, grounds and a museum of colonial religious artifacts. They were quite happy to show us around, tell us the story, show us the yard where circles were made with animal bones, etc. If you haven't heard the story it's as follows... More 

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Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
38 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2015

If you have been to Europe, you can skip this one. It's good but not great. If you are in town and are just dropping by that's fine but I wouldn't go out of my way to visit the church.

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Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
379 reviews
114 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2015

This mostly masonry church has a date in stone as you walk in of 1875, but I believe it is older than that. The information inside is all in Spanish, so it's hard/impossible to learn about it's history there. They are renovating and asking for donations for this as you enter.

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?