The Oldest Church in the American Pacific still in Existence

Santiago Apostol Minor Basilica
Santiago Apostol Minor Basilica.

In the province of Coclé, in the Nata District, it is Santiago Apostol Minor Basilica or the Parochial Church of Nata, its construction begins in the year 1522, but it does not end until more than 100 years later, it is currently 495 years old.

This Church is among the 10 wonders of Panama.

Santiago Apostol Minor Basilica has 4 bells, their names were

  • Santisimo Sacramento y Purisima Concepción,
  • San Joseph y Santa Roa
  • and Santiago el Mayor,
  • the fourth is not known a name, however, it was added about 200 years later.

In Plaza Mayor de Santiago Apostol, in front of the Basilica, there are large stones like wheels, they were used to grind the material used in the construction of the Basilica, they are from San Cristobal Hill.

Main Square of Santiago Apostol
Main Square of Santiago Apostol

Honestly, for the years that it is, I thought it would be in very bad condition, but the truth is another, to enter that church and know that it is almost 500 years old, that it is still used and in such good condition, it is incredible

Under this Basilica, there are many stories, as there are some tunnels, with several exits, used by the Spanish and possibly also by the indigenous people.

It has not yet been able to complete its journey. Over the years and by accident the tunnels and tombs are discovered.

Natá de los Caballeros, was the first city in the interior of the Republic, it was very prosperous, however, now it is a town with vestiges of the colonial era.

Interior of Santiago Apostol Minor Basilica
Interior of Santiago Apostol Minor Basilica.

The Basilica is a National Historical Monument, according to Law 68 of the year 1941.


There is no entrance fee, you only have to go when there is mass to visit it inside.

How to get to Basilica Menor Santiango Apostol?

Getting there is very easy, simply take the Panamericana highway, then enter the town of Natá, and in the center, 650 meters away, as in many towns in the interior, is the Basilica.

Updated: 2021.

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