Walk the historic streets, float the famous canal, and spend some time exploring the beaches, rain forests, or indigenous villages of the surrounding countryside—here are some ideas on how to spend three days in Panama City.
San Jose Church (Iglesia San Jose)
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(Iglesia San Jose) in the new city, which was protected by fortified walls, and has since been restored to its golden beauty, easy for all to visit.
Daily, hours vary
Avenida A and Calle 8, Panama City, Panama City
The church is located on Avenida A and Calle 8, near most central Panama City sites. The entrance is free, but opening times vary.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to San Jose Church (Iglesia San Jose)?
Attractions near San Jose Church (Iglesia San Jose):
What else should I know about attractions in Panama City?
- Things to do in San Blas Islands
- Things to do in Limon
- Things to do in Cartagena
- Things to do in San Jose
- Things to do in Quepos
- Things to do in Medellín
- Things to do in Jaco
- Things to do in Puntarenas
- Things to do in Monteverde
- Things to do in Santa Marta
- Things to do in Armenia
- Things to do in Caribbean Coast
- Things to do in Central Valley
- Things to do in Central Pacific
- Panamá Viejo (Old Panama Ruins)
- Metropolitan National Park (Parque Natural Metropolitano)
- Mi Pueblito
- Plaza de Francia
- Afro-Antillean Museum of Panama (Museo Afro-Antillano de Panama)
- Presidential Palace (Palacio de las Garzas)
- Casco Viejo
- Metropolitan Cathedral
- Panama Interoceanic Canal Museum (Museo del Canal Interoceánico)
- Ancon Hill (Cerro Ancon)
- Miraflores Locks
- Panama Canal
- Fuerte Amador Cruise Port
- Bridge of the Americas (Puente de las Americas)