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.
Location
Address: Avenida A and Calle 8, Panama City, Panama
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Hours: Daily, hours vary
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Panama City and Canal Sightseeing Tour

Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Panama Canal and view the notable landmarks of Panama City with a knowledgeable guide. You’ll drive through historical areas like Casco Viejo (Old Quarter), famous for its plazas, parks and Spanish colonial architecture. Visit Paseo Las Bóvedas and witness Miraflores, one of the Panama Canal’s impressive locks, including a stop at the Miraflores Visitor Center. Choose between a half-day or full-day tour, which includes lunch and a visit to the Amador Causeway for incredible vistas over the city and canal.
  • Duration: 7 hours
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US$104.99
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  • Duration: 7 hours
From
US$104.99

Panama City: Two Sides of San Felipe

Get acquainted with the two sides Panamá City's historical quarter, San Felipe, on this 4-hour cultural tour. With your local guide, visit the wealthy Spanish Quarter as well as the ethnically diverse pockets where everyday Panamanian citizens lived and worked. In Casco Antiguo, visit Las Bovedas, El Arco Chato and El Altar de Oro of San Jose Church. Walk through formerly dangerous parts of the city, now thriving centers of community and business. Listen to your guide's commentary about the history and culture of the city along the way. Dinner and round-trip transportation from Panamá City hotels are included.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$95.00
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  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$95.00


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