Somewhat off the beaten track, Nata, Panama, is one of the oldest Spanish colonial towns in the country. The main reason for visiting this sleepy village, 85 mi/135 km west of Panama City, is to see its beautifully restored 16th-century church, the oldest in North America (construction started in 1522), which has been declared a national historic monument. Of special interest is the church's intricately carved wooden altar, which incorporates Amerindian motifs, such as feathered serpents and sculpted plants, with traditional Christian symbols.

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