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Patterns of Economic Development

Transportation

The mountains of Central America present a major obstacle to overland transport, and the only surface transportation artery linking all the countries of the region is a section of the Pan-American Highway. Railroads connect the Caribbean and Pacific coasts in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama. Inland water transportation is of little economic importance, but Central America has several important seaports, such as Puerto Santo Tomas de Castilla and Puerto San Jose in Guatemala; Puerto Cortes in Honduras; Acajutla in El Salvador; Corinto in Nicaragua; Puerto Limon in Costa Rica; and Bahia las Minas in Panama. The Panama Canal is a major shipping link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; Panama took over its operation from the United States in 1999. A crude-petroleum pipeline across western Panama was completed in 1982. Airlines provide transportation among the big cities of Central America and serve some remote mountain communities.

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