The Pan-American Highway (Portuguese: Rodovia / Auto-estrada Pan-americana, Spanish: Autopista / Carretera / Ruta Panamericana) is a network of roads measuring about 47,958 kilometres (29,800 mi) in total length. Except for a 159-kilometre (99 mi) rainforest break, called the Darién Gap, the road links the mainland nations of the Americas in a connected highway system. According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's longest "motorable road". However, because of the Darién Gap, it is not possible to cross between South America and Central America by traditional motor vehicle.
The Pan-American Highway system is mostly complete and extends from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in North America to the lower reaches of South America. Several highway termini are claimed to exist, including the cities of Puerto Montt and Quellón in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina. No comprehensive route is officially defined in Canada and the United States, though several highways in the U.S. are called "Pan-American".
The Pan-American Highway passes through many diverse climates and ecological types, from dense jungles, to arid deserts, to cold mountain passes. Since the highway passes through many countries, it is far from uniform. Some stretches of the highway are passable only during the dry season, and in many regions driving is occasionally hazardous.
Pan American Highway System
The Northern Pan-American Highway travels through 9 countries:
>> Canada >> United States >> Mexico >> Guatemala >> El Salvador >> Honduras >> Nicaragua >> Costa Rica >> Panama.
The Southern Pan-American Highway travels through 9 countries:
>> Suriname >> Guyana >> Brazil >> Venezuela >> Colombia >> Ecuador >> Peru >> Chile >> Argentina.
Important spurs also lead into Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay:
The Pan-American Highway goes north out of Mexico into the United States at Laredo, Texas. From there, no official route exists between there and Prudhoe Bay. Stretches of road lay claim to the Pan-American Highway in Canada and the United States. Interstate 35 is named Pan American Expressway through San Antonio, Texas. The Pan American Highway Association claims U.S. Route 81 from McPherson, Kansas to Watertown, South Dakota. The Alaska Highway through Alaska, the Yukon and northern British Columbia also claims to be part of the Pan-American Highway, as well as the Dalton Highway in Alaska, which is the only year-round road in North America to reach the Arctic Ocean (the ice road from Inuvik also reaches the Arctic Ocean).