Iglesia Santo Domingo and the Arco Chato

The Iglesia Santo Domingo in Casco Viejo is mostly crumbling ruins but is best known for its Flat Arch spanning the interior that stood without supports for centuries.
Arco Chato at Iglesia Santo Domingo in Casco Viejo
This post may include affiliate links.
Click here for more information.

The Iglesia Santo Domingo (or Church and Convent of Santo Domingo) isn’t much to look at anymore. It has long been a shell of brick ruins. There’s no roof, and while there are still walls, they’re mostly crumbling. It was built in 1678 but destroyed by fire in 1756. It has been in ruins ever since.

But the most famous aspect is the Arco Chato, or Flat Arch, that spans from one side to the other, at about 35 feet high and spanning 49 feet. There aren’t any supports, and the fact that it remained standing was one of the things that local advocates pointed to when talking up Panama City’s seismic stability when the choice for where to build a canal linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans was down to a choice between Panama and Nicaragua.

The Flat Arch did eventually fall–in November 2003–and has since been resurrected.

Gate of Iglesia Santo Domingo in Casco Viejo

On the Map

Where to Next?

Travel Advice for Panama

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Panama (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Panama here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Panama here.

Guidebooks for Panama

If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Panama. Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.

Lonely Planet Panama 8 (Country Guide)
  • Fallon, Steve (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
The Rough Guide to Panama (Travel Guide) (Rough Guides)
  • Guides, Rough (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Fodor's In Focus Panama (Travel Guide (2))
  • Fodor's Travel Guides (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Frommer's Panama (Complete Guide)
  • Frommermedia Llc
  • Gill, Nicholas (Author)

Travel Insurance For Your Trip to Panama

I never travel without travel insurance, and I've run into several situations where I've had to make claims. I consider it essential.

But shopping for travel insurance can be a pain and confusing. Thankfully, there are some travel insurance comparison sites that show you a wide range of plans, make it easy to compare coverage, and can save you money at the same time. And the coverage can be much better tailored to your specific needs than the checkbox offering at travel booking sites or through your credit card.

These are some good places to shop for travel insurance for your next trip to Panama :

Hopefully, you won't need it, but if something goes wrong, you'll sure be glad you have it!

On This Page