The Republic of Nicaragua, located in Central America, is bounded on the north by Honduras, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, on the south by Costa Rica, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Its area is 129 494 km2. Within its borders lie the two largest lakes in Central America, Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua, totalling 9 300 km2.
Lowlands extend along the Pacific coast from Honduras to Costa Rica, with a chain of mountains and active volcanoes along the coastline. Lakes Managua and Nicaragua lie in the central and southern sections. The region is subject to severe earthquakes.
Inland, the land rises to plateaux of about 450 m or more. The central mountain range, the Cordillera Isabelia, with peaks of up to 2 100 m, runs from north-west to south-east through the centre of the country. The highest point is Pico Mogoton, on the border with Honduras, at 2 107 m. Many of the mountains are forested, with deep valleys between.
The eastern lowlands, known as the Mosquito Coast, extend approximately 70 km inland. Much of the land is forested, divided by rivers that flow from the highlands to the Caribbean. Among these are the San Juan, the Río Grande, the Escondido and the Coco.
Nicaragua's climate is tropical, with temperatures varying mostly with the altitude. The coastal regions have a hot climate, with a mean average temperature of 27° C. In the central highlands the temperature varies between 16° and 27° C. A rainy season occurs from May until early November. Annual rainfall in the Pacific lowlands and central highlands generally ranges from about 1 000 mm to 1 800 mm, with a few areas in the highland exceeding 2 500 mm. The Caribbean coast receives from 2 500 to more than 6 000 mm per year. Hurricanes occasionally strike the eastern coast.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.