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Address: Panama City, Panama
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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Visit San Jose Church like an insider
Top Rated
$105*
and up
Panama City and Canal Sightseeing Tour

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 244 reviews
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  • 112
    Excellent
  • 98
    Very good
  • 29
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
Altar of Gold

We've enjoyed telling the story of the pirate Morgan and his visit to San Jose Church to steal gold, but instead, ending up giving the church a donation. Research it.

4 of 5 starsReviewed April 9, 2015
McCorn1
,
Chicago, Illinois
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244 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2015

We've enjoyed telling the story of the pirate Morgan and his visit to San Jose Church to steal gold, but instead, ending up giving the church a donation. Research it.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Ozark Acres, Arkansas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2015

very interesting. Great preservation of history, architecture and design. Stained glass was breathtaking. A must see for all visitors.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Sao Paulo
Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
39 attraction reviews
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2015

the church is not always open. check before you go. gorgeous altar. it looks gold but it's carved in wood. but still worth visiting.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Baltimore, Maryland
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2015

20 min of your time to see some amazing altars. Even if not for religious experience the historical significance is worth this stop.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Norwalk, Connecticut
Top Contributor
164 reviews 164 reviews
23 attraction reviews
137 helpful votes 137 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2015

It was wide open we walked in to light candles but they had these new wire up candles I put my money in but it didn't light up...could see why the priest painted it black so captain Morgan could not take it...what a great idea...

Was this review helpful? Yes
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2015

Very details and amazing to see it. Also they can keep it for so long without any damages. Amazing. Thanks to our guide, Rudy, we know the history behind it. You definitely need a tour guide or read it before you go.

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Petersburg, Virginia
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
14 attraction reviews
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

My tour group visited this church for about 30 minutes. The views were spectacular. The golden alter is an amazing tribute to God. The architecture is something special. We were able to walk around and take pictures without disturbing the parishioners who were very nice as well as understanding that we were touring the establishment.

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Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Top Contributor
221 reviews 221 reviews
98 attraction reviews
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2015

I have seen a lot of old churches, but I cannot remember that I have ever been so impressed by an alter as I have by this one, - gold everywhere. It was a big surprise because it was hard to see from outside that the Church was going to be so impressive inside!

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Edmonton, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
14 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2015

This beautiful church has the most ornate alter-piece entirely made of gold. A walk through any old church is always a delight, and this one is beautiful. Welcoming and reverent.

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parisf
Top Contributor
204 reviews 204 reviews
130 attraction reviews
151 helpful votes 151 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2015

This church is located right in a rather narrow, dilapidated street in Viejo Panama (Old Panama) city. It is in a residential area near Plaza Herrera on Calle 8/9 Avenida A. Upon entering the Church, it is dark but the sight of the famous golden altarpiece is located right in the center of the church. It was saved from being... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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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?