We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Want the lowest hotel prices? You're in the right place. We check 200+ sites for you.
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: Avenida A & Calle 8, Panama City, Panama
Phone Number:
2288943
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Fee: No
Description:

Built soon after the first Spanish settlement in the 16th century, this...

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.

read more
Book In Advance
More Info
US$104.99*
and up
Panama City and Canal Sightseeing Tour
More Info
US$95.00*
and up
Panama City: Two Sides of San Felipe
More Info
US$138.00*
and up
Luxury Half Day Panama Canal and City Tour

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 508 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 101
    Excellent
  • 83
    Very good
  • 36
    Average
  • 1
    Poor
  • 3
    Terrible
Gold altar

You'd never know from the outside but the church's Gold Altar makes it a worthwhile stop. The itself church is small.

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 weeks ago
AClarke625
,
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Add Photo Write a Review

508 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 224: English reviews
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
335 reviews
258 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Another old church in Casco Viejo. The Augustinians who built it were forced out in the 1830s during the revolutionary days of Bolivar. When they came back 60 years later, they salvaged what they could. The interior dates from 1913, not my prefered period of religious architecture. The church looks desperately in need of an overhaul. Plants grow on top... More 

Helpful?
Thank Robert937
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Level Contributor
231 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

You'd never know from the outside but the church's Gold Altar makes it a worthwhile stop. The itself church is small.

Helpful?
Thank AClarke625
Culver, Indiana, United States
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The gold alter was amazing, the history of moving it was mind blowing, how cool to be able to see the statues on every wall, so detailed.

Helpful?
Thank JoelyS
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Level Contributor
118 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We had our tour person make a quick stop to see. Very nice old church. The gold wall at the alter was amazing. Good for a quick stop to see.

Helpful?
Thank pjaquinto
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
113 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 January 2017

This is one of several churches in the Casco Viejo area. It is probably the least restored of the active churches but is still an interesting spot. The gold leaf altar is a must-see. Hopefully the restoration funding that has improved several other churches in the area will make it's way to this historic building.

Helpful?
Thank William B
UK
Level Contributor
23 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2017

Nothing special to say about this church. Just another 2min stop on your trip. If you passing by then you can stop for a moment but if you missed it you will not cry.

Helpful?
Thank M M
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
75 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 January 2017

Although the history of the altar being painted black is contested - it is a beautiful altar and church to visit.

Helpful?
Thank Diana15241
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
1,068 reviews
497 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 424 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 January 2017

San Jose is a pretty little church, and a nice place to take a short break from the brutal heat and humidity!

Helpful?
Thank rollngstone
South Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
198 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2016

Have tried to see this church several times but always it was closed. It has a famous altar in it that is worth the trip. Apparently it was painted black so pirates wouldn't know it was golden. The gold shows now though. Lovely artwork and part of a old Panama church restoration project. Free to enter and to take pictures... More 

Helpful?
Thank Scott W
Level Contributor
104 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 December 2016

The myth is the altar was coated with mud or tar to disguise the "gold" from which it is made so the pirates would not steal it. I was disappointed it was a myth. The outside of the church is badly in need of repair but it is worth a peek inside.

Helpful?
Thank Lori Z

Travellers who viewed San Jose Church also viewed

Panama City, Panama Province
Panama City, Panama Province
 
Panama City, Panama Province
Panama City, Panama Province
 

Been to San Jose Church? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of San Jose Church and other visitors
2 questions
Ask a question
Sioux Falls
2 months ago
Nashville, Illinois
over a year ago

See all questions (2)

Questions? Get answers from San Jose Church staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?