Terrain shapes and bedrock
COUNTRYAAH, the Central American part of the Cordillarians meets the
interior, most of Nicaragua, and on both sides of this
highland coastal plains are spreading. The inner,
mountainous part between 600-100 m above sea level, tierra
templada, consists of older bedrock, covered by Mesozoic
rocks. It is highest in the north, where the Entre Ríos
Cordillera reaches 2 103 m above sea level. at the top
Mogotón and Isabelia Cordillera 1 750 m above sea level. In
the middle of the country, the slightly lower Dariense
Cordillera and Huapí Mountains extend, to the south the
Chontaleña Cordillera and Yolaina Mountains. Between the
chains are the streams and fertile valleys.
The eastern coastal region is particularly wide, about 80
km, low and swampy. The coast, the Mosquito Coast, is here
heavily broken with lagoons, delta, sandbanks and coral
reefs. The western coastal region has a belt with some 40
volcanoes, some active as the Masaya Caldera. Volcanic
eruptions and earthquakes are a constant threat to
cultivation and settlement, while the volcanic ash provides
a fertile soil.
In southwestern Nicaragua is a sink with the big lakes
Managua and Nicaragua. The Tipitapa River dewateres the
former to the latter, from which the San Juan River flows
into the Caribbean Sea. The largest river in Nicaragua, the
Río Grande de Matagalpa, flows east as does Coco, which
borders on Honduras.
Eastern Nicaragua has a tropical rainforest climate,
where the annual average temperature is 26 °C and the
average annual rainfall is 3,800 mm, as a result of damp
pass winds from the northeast. The rainy season lasts about
nine months. Western Nicaragua lies in the rain shadow and
receives a maximum of 1,900 mm per year, which falls during
May – November, and is almost steep in nature with 27 °C in
annual average temperature. In the mountain area, the annual
average temperature is slightly lower, about 18 °C.
The flora houses about 7,000 species but is still poorly
explored. The land area is covered by about 30% of tropical
rainforest, but the number of endemic species is considered
to be rather low. Along the Atlantic coast there is a large
lowland forest area that is crossed by rivers and which is
closest to the coast consisting of swamp forests. In the
interior of the country there are areas of mountain
rainforest, but mostly the land there is cultivated.
Especially in the northeast, there are coniferous forests,
and pine trees in Nicaragua have their geographical southern
border in Central America.
Several economically important forest trees are
threatened with extinction due to forestry, e.g. madroño
(degami, Calycophyʹllum candidiʹssimum),
Indigoʹfera argeʹntea, Caribbean cedar, cocoa and the
newly discovered genus Macrohasseʹltia.
The mammalian fauna is rich with both nectic and
neotropical features. Five species of cat animals occur,
including: jaguar, cougar and ozelot. Other predators
include tayra, gray fox, mule bear, common nasal bear
(Naʹsua naʹsua) and five species of skunk. In the
forests there are three species of monkeys: actual capucin (Ceʹbus
capuciʹnus), mantle monkey (Alouaʹtta
palliaʹta) and red spider monkey (Aʹteles
geoffroyi [-ro i ʹi]). Of ungulates can be
mentioned Central American tapir (Tapiʹrus baiʹrdi).
In the forests many neotropical bird groups are
represented, i.a. hummingbirds, toucans, trogons,
slow-moving birds, counter-moons and cuttlefish. Spring and
autumn pass large numbers of migratory birds. Among the
reptiles are the green iguana, the lizard crocodile (Crocodyʹlus
acuʹtus) and several species of turtles. In Nicaragua,
there are many species of cichlids as well as the normally
marine species of bull shark, tarpon and sawfish.
In 2010, there were two national parks in Nicaragua. In
addition, there were 46 larger nature reserves and
individual areas with other forms of protection, a total of
11% of the country's area.