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San Jose Church, Panama City

(4.2/5 based on 500+ reviews on the web)
The whitewashed walls, quaint bell tower, and large wooden door immediately give away the age of San Jose Church, built not long after the first Spanish settlement here in the 16th century. Enter to see the main attraction: its impressive main altar, carved from wood and covered in striking gold leaf. The story goes that when an English pirate attacked the city, the Jesuits painted the altar black to hide its value and convince the insurgents to leave it behind. While the pirates sacked the old town, the altar remained, and takes pride of place to this day. San Jose Church is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our custom trip planner, Panama City Edition.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • From the outside this is a run down plain looking building.... then you walk in and wow! The gold altar and the side altars are lovely works of art. Take a few minutes and look at each altar and the d...  more »
  • I went here on a walking tour of Old Panama with a bus group from Decameron Resort. This Church is lovely. The story of the pirates & disguising the gold was interesting.  more »
  • I'm not a church person, however, this is a must see for the gold, as well as the history of the church.  more »