On Avenida A at the corner with Calle 8 is the Iglesia de San José. Built in 1673 and since remodelled, the church is exceptional only as the home of the legendary Baroque Golden Altar, one of the few treasures to survive Henry Morgan’s ransacking of Panamá Viejo in 1671 – it was apparently painted or covered in mud to disguise its real value.

One block west of San José, Avenida A emerges onto Plaza Herrera, a pleasant square lined with nineteenth-century houses. This was originally the Plaza de Triunfo, where bullfights were held, but was renamed in 1922 in honour of General Tomás Herrera, whose equestrian monument is at its centre. Herrera was the military leader of the short-lived independence attempt in 1840; he went on to be elected president of Colombia, but was assassinated in 1854. Note that beyond the plaza lies the no-go slum area of El Chorillo, which was devastated during the US invasion of Panama, leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Panama features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

16 pictures that show the colours of Panama

16 pictures that show the colours of Panama

After a recent trip to Central America, travel photographer Nori Jemil shares some of her best pictures of Panama.  The geographically strategic isthmus of …

30 Dec 2015 • Nori Jemil insert_drive_file Article
10 things you didn't know you could do in Panama

10 things you didn't know you could do in Panama

There’s a whole lot more to Panama than its famous canal. Hiking, rafting, surfing and diving are just a few of the excellent adventure activities on offer, a…

08 Sep 2015 • Megan Eileen McDonough insert_drive_file Article
A little piece of paradise: visiting Panama’s San Blas Islands

A little piece of paradise: visiting Panama’s San Blas Islands

Let’s clear one thing up straight away: getting to the San Blas islands is not easy, whichever way you’re coming from. And that’s quite deliberate. The…

23 Oct 2014 • James Rice insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month