Nicaragua is a tropical country located in Central America; south of Honduras and El Salvador and north of Costa Rica. It has a long coast along the Pacific Ocean in the west and another one to the Caribbean Sea in the east, and the country is also home to numerous lakes – including the famous Lake Cocibolca (also known as Lake Nicaragua) which is Central America´s largest lake. Some lakes in Nicaragua are old volcano craters that have filled with water, such as Laguna de Apoyo and Laguna de Tiscapa.
Nicaragua is broadly divided into three geographical zones:
The Pacific lowlands are where a majority of the Nicaraguans live, and where you find major cities such as Managua, Granada, León, Masaya, and Rivas. It is also where Central Americas two largest lakes are located: Lake Cocibolca and Lake Managua.
Fertile lowland plains are found around the two big lakes and extend to the northwest along the rift valley of the Gulf of Fonseca. Plant growth is promoted here by the ash raining down from active volcanoes, as this landscape is punctuated by several large volcanoes belonging to the Cordillera Los Maribios mountain range.
The Pacific lowland region of Nicaragua is known as tierra caliente, i.e. “hot land”. The temperatures are high year-round, and the dry season lasts from mid-November to April or May. Typically, the rainy season is also broken up by a period of drought in July-August known as the canicula.
The highlands of North-Central Nicaragua are famous for their production of coffee, cattle and dairy. Large tracts of land are still forested here, and the coffee is shade-grown in special coffee forests that contain a variety of flora and fauna. Parts of the Nicaraguan highlands have cloud forests, which are rich in ferns and orchids.
The highlands have a cooler climate than the lowlands, especially at the higher elevations. The region is referred to as “tierra templada”, and some of the very highest elevations even experience a frosty night once in a blue moon. The rainy season is both longer and wetter than in the Pacific lowlands.
You probably know that Amazonas is the largest rainforest in the Americas, but do you know that the second largest is found in Nicaragua? A lot of the Nicaraguan rainforest is located within the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve in the Caribbean lowlands. The reserve is still relatively unexplored, but we do know that thousands of plant species grow here, alongside several hundred birds species. Quetzals, macaws and harpy eagles are just a few examples of birds that are present in large numbers here. Examples of mammals that live in Bosawás are jaguars, cougars, anteaters and tapirs.
The largest river on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua is Río Coco (Wanki), which is actually the largest river to run entirely within Central America. It originates in the mountains of Madriz in north-western Nicaragua and flows east for over 840 km before it reaches the Caribbean Sea. Along its way, it forms the border between Nicaragua and Honduras.
The lowlands of Nicaragua have a climate characterized by high temperatures and high humidity year-round.
Just a few examples of animals that live in the Nicaraguan wilderness:
Roughly one-sixth of Nicaragua is designated protected areas, such as national parks, nature reserves and biological reserves. At the time of writing, the country has 78 protected areas which combined cover over 22,400 square kilometres.
PROTECTED AREAS IN NICARAGUA
Alamikamaba Natural Reserve