The longest road in the world is located in America: you will see 14 countries and all climate zones - ForumDaily
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The longest road in the world is located in America: you will see 14 countries and all climate zones

The Pan American Highway is a network of roads stretching from Alaska to Argentina, a distance of about 48 kilometers, reports Brilliantmaps.

Chile. Pan-American Highway. Road.

Photo: iStock.com/dit:filosofistock

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Pan American Highway is the longest highway in the world. However, it is not easy to travel because the route is interrupted by the 160-kilometer Darien Gap (a large area of ​​undeveloped territory on the border of Central and South America). Read about the ideal route with the opportunity to see all of America in our material.

The highway consists of both official and unofficial parts. The official section, called Autopista/Carretera/Ruta Panamericana in Spanish, runs from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on the US border, to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. We wrote about 23 ideal routes for traveling around America in this article.

However, there are extensive unofficial areas both north and south of it.

The route of the road runs through 14 countries:

  • United States;
  • Canada;
  • Mexico;
  • Guatemala;
  • Salvador;
  • Honduras;
  • Nicaragua;
  • Costa Rica;
  • Panama;
  • Colombia;
  • Ecuador;
  • Peru;
  • Chile;
  • Argentina.

What is the Pan American Highway?

The route passes through all major climate zones and a wide variety of landscapes, including arctic tundra, boreal forests, mountains, prairies, arid deserts and tropical jungles.

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Moving north to south, the route begins in Dead Horse, Alaska, near the Prudhoe Bay oil fields, and follows the Dalton Highway for the first 662 kilometers to Fairbanks.

The Dalton Highway was built in 1974 as a supply route for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. It became the first transport artery included in the list of the most dangerous roads in the world (according to the BBC).

From Fairbanks there is a 155-mile connection to Delta Junction at the northern end of the Alaska Highway, the next part of the route.

The Alaska Highway was built in 1942 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a wartime project involving approximately 10 military personnel. This section was intended to link Alaska to the contiguous 000 states via Canada to help defend against a possible Japanese attack.

The original length of this highway was about 2700 kilometers, but, as of 2012, the road was shortened to 2232 kilometers. Now its entire length is paved.

The Alaska Highway ends at Dawson Creek, British Columbia. From there the route continues to Edmonton, Alberta. After Edmonton there are two possible routes.

The first passes through Minneapolis before following Interstate 35 through Dallas/Fort Worth to the Mexican border in Laredo, Texas.

The second route passes through Calgary, Alberta and Billings, Montana before connecting with Interstate 25 through Denver, Colorado to Las Cruces, New Mexico. From there the road follows Interstate 10 to San Antonio, Texas, where it connects with Route XNUMX.

In practice, given the unofficial status of the routes through Canada and the United States, other alternatives are possible.

Beginning of the official section

The Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo, located just across the border from Laredo, is the beginning of the official section of the Pan-American Highway.

From there, the route goes to Mexico City along Mexican Federal Highway 45 and then to the Guatemalan border along Mexican Federal Highway 190.


It then crosses Central America through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

With the exception of Honduras, the route passes through the capitals of each of these countries, as follows:

  • Guatemala City (Guatemala);
  • San Salvador (El Salvador);
  • Managua (Nicaragua);
  • San Jose (Costa Rica);
  • Panama City (Panama).

One of the most difficult sections of the route takes place in Costa Rica. The road rises to a height of 3335 meters with the ominous name “Peak of Death” (Cerro de la Muerte).

The route through Central America ends abruptly at Javiz, at the edge of the Darien Gap, and resumes on the other side in Turbo, Colombia, South America.

In Colombia, the route passes through Medellin and Cali before crossing the border into Ecuador at Tulcan.

In Ecuador, the route passes through its main city - Quito. Rising 2850 meters above sea level, it is the second highest capital city in the world. From here the route heads south into Peru, where it follows Peruvian Highway 1.

It runs the entire length of the country and connects all major coastal cities, including the capital Lima. At the intersection of Peru and Chile, the road enters the Atacama Desert. It then follows Chile Route 5 through Antofagasta to Valparaiso.

There is an unofficial highway line that continues along the coast of Chile Route 5 and ends in Quellon on the island of Chiloe.

At Valparaiso, the official route heads east along Chile Route 60 through the Andes into Argentina, where it crosses the Pampas at Buenos Aires.

The last unofficial section of the Pan American Highway extends 3045 kilometers from Buenos Aires along Argentina National Route 3 to Ushuaia, passing through Bahia Blanca and Comodoro Rivadavia.

Towards the southern end, the route returns to Chile and crosses the Strait of Magellan (a short ferry ride). Then he returns to Argentina and further to Ushuaia.

Undeveloped land

The record for the fastest car trip from Ushuaia to Prudhoe Bay (mostly along the Pan-American Highway) is held by Tim Cahill and Harry Sowerby. They completed the route in twenty-three days, 3 hours and 22 minutes.

Tim wrote about his experience in the book Road Fever. In 2003, Kevin Sanders broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest time on a motorcycle. It took him 34 days.

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No story about the Pan-American Highway would be complete without discussing its missing link, the Darien Gap.

This area of ​​undeveloped swamps, forests and mountains is located on the border of Panama and Colombia. So far, plans to build a road through this area have come to nothing.

There are a number of reasons for this, including:

  • the enormous difficulty and cost of building a road over such difficult terrain;
  • pressure from tropical forest environmental organizations;
  • concerns from indigenous groups such as Embera-Wunaan and Kuna that the road could pose a threat to their traditional cultures;
  • fears that the road would ease the entry of foot-and-mouth disease (a viral disease that is transmitted to humans from an infected animal) into North America.

These undeveloped lands attracted many.

The first crossing of this territory in a Land Rover jeep in 1959 took 136 days!

British cyclist Ian Hibell was the first to cross this territory by land in a rover. He traveled from Cape Horn to Alaska between 1971 and 1973. The first motorcycle crossing was made by Robert L. Webb in March 1975.

In addition there were several treks on foot, one of which was done by George Meegan. In 1981, he walked the entire distance from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska in 2425 days!

The most unusual pedestrian was the evangelist Arthur Blessitt. He crossed these territories in 1979 with a 3-meter wooden cross as part of what the Guinness Book of Records recognized as the "longest round-the-world pilgrimage."

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