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  • Address: Avenida A and Calle 8, Panama City, Panama
  • Hours: Daily, hours vary

Panama City ATTRACTIONS See all

San Jose Church Tours

Everyone loves a good pirate story, and Panama, a country that has received more than its share of pirate attacks, has plenty of them. Perhaps the most endearing tale to survive to this day is about a church built in the original Panama City in the late 1600s. The intricate altar inside, made of mahogany and covered in gold, had both Colonial and indigenous art influences and was appropriately called the Golden Altar.

According to the legend, English pirate Henry Morgan arrived in Panama in 1671 and then sacked and burned Panama City. He soon turned his attention to the church, which was under construction. Knowing what was to come, a priest darkened the precious golden altar to make people think it was just wood—the pirates believed the ruse and the altar was saved.

The altar was later taken from the destroyed city to the San José Church in the new city, which was protected by fortified walls, and has since been restored to its golden beauty, easy for all to visit.

Practical Info

The church is located on Avenida A and Calle 8, near most central Panama City sites. The entrance is free, but opening times vary.

Tours & Tickets

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Panama City and Canal Sightseeing Tour, Panama City, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Panama City and Canal Sightseeing Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 42 Reviews

Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour and visit the most important sites and landmarks of Panama. Tour both the historical and modern areas of Panama City and visit ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $104.99
Panama City: Two Sides of San Felipe, Panama City, Bus & Minivan Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Panama City: Two Sides of San Felipe

See two different sides to Panama City on this guided 4-hour tour. Meet your friendly local guide and then set off for the upscale Spanish Quarter where the ...  Read more

Location: Panama City, Panama
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $95.00

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