Costa Rica - Transportation



San José is linked to both coasts by railroad and by highway. The Inter-American Highway, 687 km (427 mi) long, connects Costa Rica with Nicaragua and Panama. Another major highway runs from San José to the Caribbean coast beyond Limón. As of 2002 there were 37,273 km (23,161 mi) of roads, of which 7,827 km (4,864 mi) were paved. Motor vehicle registrations in 2000 included 103,335 passenger automobiles and 132,520 commercial vehicles.

Of the three railroad lines, the Atlantic Railway between Limón and San José and the government-owned Pacific Electric Railway between San José and Puntarenas are interconnected; in 1974, the government nationalized the Northern Railway, taking ownership away from the British. A railway line operated by the Banana Company of Costa Rica (246 km/153 mi) is used mainly for company business. Some 27% of the total 950 km (590 mi) of railway was electrified as of 2000.

Principal ports are Puerto Limón on the Caribbean Sea and Puntarenas, Caldera, and Golfito on the Pacific. As of 2002, Costa Rica had one merchant vessel of more than 1,000 GRT totaling 1,716 GRT. There are about 730 km (454 mi) of seasonally navigable waterways.

There were 152 airports in 2001, 30 of which had paved runways. Líneas Aéreas Costarricenses, S.A. (LACSA), the national airline, provides domestic and international services centered at Juan Santamaria International Airport near San José, as well as, service by fifteen international passengers lines and 22 cargo lines. In 2001, 751,700 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

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