|• Total||130,370 km2 (50,340 sq mi)|
|Coastline||910 km (570 mi)|
|Borders||Total border: 1,231 km (765 mi)|
|Highest point|| Mogotón |
2,438 metres (7,999 ft)
|Lowest point|| Pacific Ocean |
0 metres (0 ft)
|Longest river|| Coco River |
750 km (470 mi)
|Largest lake|| Lake Nicaragua |
8,264 km2 (3,191 sq mi)
|Exclusive economic zone||123,881 km2 (47,831 sq mi)|
Nicaragua (officially the Republic of Nicaragua Spanish : República de Nicaragua [reˈpuβlika ðe nikaˈɾaɣwa] (
Nicaragua covers a total area of 130,370 square kilometers (119,990 square kilometers of which is land area) and contains a variety of climates and terrains. The country's physical geography divides it into three major zones: the Pacific lowlands, the wetter, cooler central highlands, and the Caribbean lowlands.
The natural regions are the following:
The Pacific lowlands extend about 75 kilometers inland from the Pacific coast. Most of the area is flat, except for a line of young volcanoes, many of which are still active, running between the Golfo de Fonseca and Lago de Nicaragua. These peaks lie just west of a large crustal fracture or structural rift that forms a long, narrow depression passing southeast across the isthmus from the Golfo de Fonseca to the Río San Juan.
The rift is occupied in part by the largest freshwater lakes in Central America: Lago de Managua (56 kilometers long and 24 kilometers wide) and Lago de Nicaragua (about 160 kilometers long and 75 kilometers wide). These two lakes are joined by the Río Tipitapa, which flows south into Lago de Nicaragua. Lago de Nicaragua in turn drains into the Río San Juan (the boundary between Nicaragua and Costa Rica), which flows through the southern part of the rift lowlands to the Caribbean Sea.
The valley of the Río San Juan forms a natural passageway close to sea level across the Nicaraguan isthmus from the Caribbean Sea to Lago de Nicaragua and the rift. From the southwest edge of Lago de Nicaragua, it is only nineteen kilometers to the Pacific Ocean. This route was considered as a possible alternative to the Panama Canal at various times in the past.
Surrounding the lakes and extending northwest of them along the rift valley to the Golfo de Fonseca are fertile lowland plains highly enriched with volcanic ash from nearby volcanoes. These lowlands are densely populated and well cultivated. More directly west of the lake region is a narrow line of ash-covered hills and volcanoes that separate the lakes from the Pacific Ocean. This line is highest in the central portion near the cities of León and Managua.
Because Western Nicaragua is located where two major tectonic plates collide, it is subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Although periodic volcanic eruptions have caused agricultural damage from fumes and ash, earthquakes have been by far more destructive to life and property. Hundreds of shocks occur each year, some of which cause severe damage. The capital city of Managua was virtually destroyed in 1931 and again in 1972.
The triangular area known as the central highlands lies northeast and east of the Pacific lowlands. These rugged mountains are composed of ridges 900 to 1,809 meters high and a mixed forest of oak and pine alternating with deep valleys that drain primarily toward the Caribbean. Very few significant streams flow west to the Pacific Ocean. Those that do are steep, short, and flow intermittently.
The relatively dry western slopes of the central highlands, protected by the ridges of the highlands from the moist winds of the Caribbean, have drawn farmers from the Pacific region since colonial times. The eastern slopes are among the wettest places in the world, being too wet for agriculture, and have an economy dominated by timber extraction.
The eastern Caribbean lowlands of Nicaragua form the extensive and exaggerated (occupying more than 50 percent of national territory) and still sparsely settled lowland area known as the Costa de Mosquitos (Miskito Coast). The Caribbean lowlands are sometimes considered synonymous with the former department of Zelaya, which is now divided into the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (Región Autónoma de la Costa Caribe Norte, RACCN) and the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (Región Autónoma de la Costa Caribe Sur, RACCS) and constitutes about 45 percent of Nicaragua's territory.
These lowlands are a hot, humid area that includes coastal plains, the eastern spurs of the central highlands, and the lower portion of the Río San Juan basin. The soil is generally leached and infertile. Pine and palm savannas predominate as far south as the Laguna de Perlas. Tropical rain forests are characteristic from the Laguna de Perlas to the Río San Juan, in the interior west of the savannas, and along rivers through the savannas.
Fertile soils are found only along the natural levees and narrow floodplains of the numerous rivers, including the Escondido, the Río Grande de Matagalpa, the Prinzapolka, and the Coco, and along the many lesser streams that rise in the central highlands and cross the region en route to the complex of shallow bays, lagoons, and salt marshes of the Caribbean coast.
Temperature varies little with the seasons in Nicaragua and is largely a function of elevation. The "hot land" is characteristic of the foothills and lowlands from sea level to about 750 meters (2,461 ft) of elevation. At night temperatures drop to 21 to 24 °C (69.8 to 75.2 °F) most of the year.
The tierra templada, or the "temperate land," is characteristic of most of the central highlands, where elevations range between 750 and 1,600 meters (2,461 and 5,249 ft).The "cold land" at elevations above 1,600 meters (5,249 ft), is found only on and near the highest peaks of the central highlands. Daytime averages in this region are 22 to 24 °C (71.6 to 75.2 °F), with nighttime lows below 15 °C (59 °F).
Rainfall varies greatly in Nicaragua. The Caribbean lowlands are the wettest section of Central America, receiving between 2,500 and 6,500 millimeters (98.4 and 255.9 in) of rain annually. The western slopes of the central highlands and the Pacific lowlands receive considerably less annual rainfall, being protected from moisture-laden Caribbean trade winds by the peaks of the central highlands.
Mean annual precipitation for the rift valley and western slopes of the highlands ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 millimeters (39.4 to 59.1 in). Rainfall is seasonal—May through October is the rainy season, and December through April is the driest period.
During the rainy season, Eastern Nicaragua is subject to heavy flooding along the upper and middle reaches of all major rivers. Near the coast, where river courses widen and river banks and natural levees are low, floodwaters spill over onto the floodplains until large sections of the lowlands become continuous sheets of water. River bank agricultural plots are often heavily damaged, and considerable numbers of savanna animals die during these floods.
The coast is also subject to destructive tropical storms and hurricanes, particularly from July through October. The high winds and floods, accompanying these storms often cause considerable destruction of property. In addition, heavy rains (called papagayo storms) accompanying the passage of a cold front or a low-pressure area may sweep from the north through both eastern and western Nicaragua (particularly the rift valley) from November through March.
Hurricanes or heavy rains in the central highlands where agriculture has destroyed much of the natural vegetation also cause considerable crop damage and soil erosion. In 1988 Hurricane Joan forced hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans to flee their homes and caused more than US$1 billion in damage, most of it along the Caribbean coast.
total: 130,370 km2
land: 119,254 km2
water: 10,380 km2
Northernmost point: North of Liwa Sirpe
Southernmost point: Trinidad, Río San Juan
Westernmost point: Pacific coast at Gulf of Fonseca, Chinandega Department
Easternmost point: Miskito Cays archipelago, North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region
Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Mogotón 2,438 m
arable land: 14.57%
permanent crops: 1.76%
other: 83.66% (2011.)
Irrigated land: 942.4 km2 (2011)
Total renewable water resources:' 196.6 km3 (2011)
Contiguous zone: 24 nautical mile s (44.4 km; 27.6 mi)
Territorial sea: 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi)
Exclusive economic zone : 123,881 km2 (47,831 sq mi)
Nicaragua is subject to destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and occasionally severe hurricanes. It currently faces deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. It is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, the Nuclear Test Ban, and the Ozone Layer Protection, and has signed but not ratified the Law of the Sea.
The Republic of Colombia is situated largely in the northwest of South America, with some territories falling within the boundaries of Central America. It is bordered to the northwest by Panama; to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; and it shares maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.
El Salvador borders the North Pacific Ocean to the south and southwest, with Guatemala to the north-northwest and Honduras to the north-northeast. In the southeast, the Golfo de Fonseca separates it from Nicaragua. El Salvador is the smallest Central American country and is the only one without a coastline on the Caribbean sea.
Honduras is a country in Central America. Honduras borders the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. Guatemala lies to the west, Nicaragua south east and El Salvador to the south west. Honduras is the second largest Central American republic, with a total area of 112,890 square kilometres (43,590 sq mi).
Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua, is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country's capital and largest city and is also the third-largest city in Central America, behind Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak their own languages and English.
Panama is a country located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. Panama is located on the narrow and low Isthmus of Panama.
Guatemala is mountainous, except for the south coastal area and the vast northern lowlands of Petén department. The country is located in Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Honduras and Belize and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico. Two mountain chains enter Guatemala from west to east, dividing the country into three major regions: the highlands, where the mountains are located; the Pacific coast, south of the mountains; and the limestone plateau of the Petén region, north of the mountains. These areas vary in climate, elevation, and landscape, providing dramatic contrasts between hot and humid tropical lowlands and highland peaks and valleys.
The Gulf of Fonseca, part of the Pacific Ocean, is a gulf on Central America, bordering El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
San Juan de Nicaragua, formerly known as San Juan del Norte or Greytown, is a town and municipality in the Río San Juan department of Nicaragua.
Territorial disputes of Nicaragua include the territorial dispute with Colombia over the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank. Nicaragua also has a maritime boundary dispute with Honduras in the Caribbean Sea and a boundary dispute over the Rio San Juan with Costa Rica.
Nicaragua produces coffee, cotton, bananas, sugar and beef cattle.
The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the Republic of Nicaragua.
Los Chiles is the capital city of the canton of Los Chiles in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. It is also the name of the distrito (district) that includes the city. The district of Los Chiles covers an area of 535.93 km², and has a population of 11,064.
The Central America bioregion is a biogeographic region comprising southern Mexico and Central America.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Nicaragua:
Water resources management in Nicaragua is carried out by the National water utility and regulated by the Nicaraguan Institute of water. Nicaragua has ample water supplies in rivers, groundwater, lagoons, and significant rainfall. Distribution of rainfall is uneven though with more rain falling on an annual basis in the Caribbean lowlands and much lower amounts falling in the inland areas. Significant water resources management challenges include contaminated surface water from untreated domestic and industrial wastewater, and poor overall management of the available water resources.
The Western Caribbean Zone is a region consisting of the Caribbean coasts of Central America, from Yucatán in Mexico to northern Colombia, and also the islands west of Jamaica. The zone emerged in the late sixteenth century as the Spanish failed to completely conquer many sections of the coast, and northern European powers supported opposition to Spain, sometimes through alliances with local powers.
The Spanish conquest of Nicaragua was the campaign undertaken by the Spanish conquistadores against the natives of the territory now incorporated into the modern Central American republic of Nicaragua during the colonisation of the Americas. Before European contact in the early 16th century, Nicargua was inhabited by a number of indigenous peoples. In the west, these included Mesoamerican groups such as the Chorotega, the Nicarao, and the Subtiaba. Other groups included the Matagalpa and the Tacacho.