Terrain shapes and bedrock
The topographic structures in the mountainous country
have a clear extent to the east-west. Along the Pacific
coast to the south is a narrow coastal plain,
forming the smallest of the topographic regions, a tenth of
El Salvador's surface. It includes several lagoon lakes and
is bounded to the east by the large Fonseca Bay, which has
important deep-water ports.
Two parallel mountain ranges form highland areas in the
interior of the country, separated by a central plateau. The
southern mountain range, which rises 1,200 m above
sea level, has about 20 volcanoes. At the far west is Izalco
(1,910 m above sea level), which is also called the "Pacific
Ocean Lighthouse" because at the beginning of its activity
it had regular eruptions at five minute intervals. Among the
other volcanoes are Santa Ana, which is also the country's
highest peak (2 365 m above sea level), San Salvador and San
The inner plain is between 400 and 800 m above
sea level. and covers a quarter of the country's area. It is
intersected by the valley line to the most significant of El
Salvador's approximately 300 rivers, Lempa. It flows up into
Guatemala, passes through Lake Guaya and continues through
most of El Salvador until it falls into the Pacific. The San
Miguel River dewateres the eastern parts of the country.
The northern mountain region, which consists of
two separate chains, Metapán and Chalatenango, has altitudes
of 1,500-2,000 m above sea level.
The bedrock of El Salvador consists mainly of tertiary
volcanic rocks, while young alluvial formations are found
along the coast. The most nutritious soils are of volcanic
origin and are found in the southern mountainous area, while
the soil cover of the inner plain and valley area is thin
COUNTRYAAH, El Salvador has a humid tropical climate. In the lower
areas along the coast and in the valley of the Lempa valley,
the average temperature is between 25 and 29 °C, while the
mountain regions have monthly averages between 17 and 22 °C. The capital city of San Salvador, located 650 meters
above sea level, has a monthly maximum of 35 °C in March
and a minimum monthly average, in January, of 14 °C.
Heavy rain falls during the period May-October, providing
95% of the annual rainfall, while the dry season ("summer")
lasts from November to April. The lowland along the Pacific
coast receives a rainfall of 1,700 mm per year, while levels
between 600 and 1,000 m above sea level. on average, they
receive 1,800-2,500 mm per year, the deeper valleys, on the
other hand 1,100-1,500 mm per year.
Plant-and animal life
Deciduous dry forests and savannas with smoother tree
vegetation constituted the original vegetation types. The
forests were cleared and burned early by the Indians, and
even before the colonial period, many of the forests had
disappeared. Today, only about 5% of the country's area
carries some form of forest, most of which is heavily
influenced by culture and constantly exploited by firewood.
Mangrove forest has disappeared, among other things. to give
way to planting coconut trees. The higher lying areas of the
mountains are mostly covered by grassland.
Because of the biotope destruction and the high
population density, wildlife is also significantly poorer
than in most other Central American countries. Larger
mammals are very few. Birds that are still seen are
hummingbirds, parrots, pigeons, tyrants and finches. Among
the reptiles, rattlesnakes, iguanas and teju lizards are
relatively richly represented.
El Salvador has a national park with international
status, El Imposible Y El Balsamero.