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  • Excellent48%
  • Very good38%
  • Average12%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
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“golden altar”(51 reviews)
“gold alter”(12 reviews)
“henry morgan”(14 reviews)
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.
Suggested duration: < 1 hour
As featured in 3 Days in Panama City
Avenida A & Calle 8, Panama City, Panama
+507 228-8943
Ways to Experience San Jose Church
from US$104.99
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All reviews golden altar gold alter henry morgan casco viejo beautiful altar gold leaf de oro gold plated nativity scene old town lots of history priest baroque beauty statues panama
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1 - 10 of 266 reviews
Reviewed yesterday

Most amazing artistry ... the details of the town of Bethlehem transported you back to the time of Jesus' birth

Thank Carol R
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Our private guide took us here on our walking tour. Impressive simple architecture with of course, the famous gold altar. The subject of many suppositions throughout its life, it probably did survive being pillaged by pirates! Maybe!

Thank PasssionateTraveler
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The old cathedrals in Panama City were gorgeous. Even as a non-Catholic, the beauty of the old cathedrals was stunning. This was part of the tour we got when we booked for the Panama Canal tour and it was fascinating.

Thank Judi Z
Reviewed 8 October 2018

Fascinating detail on a large (miniaturized) scale. There are signs directing to the inner room, but you might miss them if you get bored with the initial rooms off the main sanctuary.

Thank twbriscoe
Reviewed 8 October 2018

was impressed by the altars here. the day I came there were many children rehersing a performance. worth a quick visit

Thank yuanxiz2016
Reviewed 23 September 2018 via mobile

Part of our city tour we stopped off at San Jose church. Restored church that’s mostly for tourists is free to go in. The alter was once made of all gold now just plated.

Thank nhvacabadfood
Reviewed 23 August 2018

A beautiful and sacred site. The golden alter was amazing. We have visited in the evening for concerts, but the daytime was really nice, also.

Thank Mary P
Reviewed 22 August 2018

This church's gold was save by the Priests, who covered it with tar, so The Pirate Henry Morgan would not loot it as he did almost everything else in Panama. Nothing like it!

Thank Marcia H
Reviewed 29 June 2018

This is probably the most beautiful church in the old town in terms of its highly-decorated high altar (altar de oro). In addition to the altar, the church also has a very large nativity scene that features many different Bible stories. It is almost like...More

Thank The_Traveling_Expat
Reviewed 28 May 2018

I went to San Jose because I had been told that the gilded altar had been hidden from Morgan the pirate. However, the plaque at the front of the church explained that the altar had been gilded much later than the sack of Panama. That...More

Thank ecmenendez
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Questions & Answers
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Elaine H
7 April 2018|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from Jodi F | Reviewed this property |
It is free and open to public
Allen B
11 December 2016|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from rhamba k | Reviewed this property |
Sorry dont know
Sara G
9 January 2015|
Response from Grace H |
Hi Sara the cost is free and is open all day im not really sure for the hours maybe from 12:00 pm until 8:00 pm.