Costa Rica is relatively small - 19,700 square miles (51,100 sq. km), ranking it 129th in worldwide landmass. Costa Rica's size is commonly compared to the state of West Virginia (24,231 sq. mi., 62,758 sq. km) and the European state of Denmark (16,629 sq. mi., 43,069 sq. km).
Don't let Costa Rica's small size fool you; it is a vast country of rolling mountains, open plains and lush river valleys. These natural features prevent the construction of super highways that would, in theory, connect relatively close locations.
Most destinations are separated by only 50-100 miles (80-160 km) but can often take two to four hours to drive between them due to poor, windy roads. The Pacific Coast alone is 801 mi (1,290 km) of curvy inlets and bays, some of which are not navigable by car. The Caribbean coast is significantly smaller than the Pacific, stretching a mere 132 mi (212 km). However, only about half of the coastline is navigableby car, as the northern Caribbean is made up of a series of rivers, estuaries and mangrove forests that - aside from being protected - consists of terrain that is not easily built into roads.
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