Nicaragua Geography

Nicaragua Geography


Nicaragua borders on Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south.

Nicaragua is in the western part by a running from northwest to southeast grave sink (Nicaragua sink) with the Nicaragua (km 8 264 2) and the Managua (1040 km 2) determines the to the Pliocene was filled with sea water.

The western edge of the depression is formed by a series of volcanoes; seven were active in historical times and, in addition to destruction, brought valuable ash rain to regenerate the agricultural soils, which had been intensively used since pre-Hispanic times; earthquakes frequently occur in this zone (e.g. violent tremors destroyed the capital Managua in 1931 and 1972). In the south, a mountain range up to 900 m high rises between the rift valley and the Pacific. To the east, up to 2 107 m (Mogotón) high mountain range separates the depression from the Caribbean coastal plain (Mosquito coast), which is rich in wide swamps and lagoons.


On the Caribbean side, the pine savannahs in the north to south are followed by tropical rainforest, which turns into evergreen mountain forest above 600 m above sea level. There are also mangroves, palm swamps and human-degraded savannas. Rain-green mixed forests with oaks and pines cover the western areas of the central mountain region above 800 m above sea level, in lower areas rain-green, moist forests with legumes predominate. The formerly rain-green dry forests in the interior of the rift valley have largely been cleared in favor of agriculture.

In 2018, a quarter of the country’s area was protected. Nevertheless, the deforestation continues. In 1990, 38% of the national territory was still covered by forest, but this figure fell to 26% by 2016. There were successes in environmental protection in the fight against the pollution of Lake Managua by untreated sewage from households and businesses. In February 2009 the first sewage treatment plant in Managua, financed by Germany with € 25.5 million, was inaugurated. Today, 75% of the capital’s sewer system is connected to the sewage treatment plant, so that 150,000 cubic meters of wastewater can be treated every day.

The planned interoceanic canal poses a major threat to the ecosystems of Lake Nicaragua and the rainforests of the Atlantic coast. No start of construction was in sight until 2020 due to the uncertain financing of the project.


León, city ​​in West Nicaragua, near the Pacific coast, (2019) 172 200 residents.

Bishopric; University; Food, shoe, cotton industries; Railway junction.

The five-aisled cathedral (18th century) with neoclassical facade and dome is one of the largest sacred buildings in Central America (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011).

Today’s León was founded in 1610 on the site of the old Indian capital Sutiaba after the old León (founded in 1524) on Lake Managua was destroyed by an earthquake.


Chinandega [t ʃ -], capital of the province of the same name in Nicaragua, in the coastal plain on the Pacific, 97 400 residents; Processing of agricultural products (sugar cane and cotton growing area); connected to the port of Corinto and Managua by rail.


Masaya [ma saja], city in Nicaragua between Nicaragua – and Managua, at the foot of the volcano Masaya (635 m above sea level; last eruption in 2008; National Park), (2019) 132 100 residents.

Masaya Province Administrative Headquarters; Center of an agricultural area.

Granada (Nicaragua)

According to itypetravel, Granada, is the capital of the department of the same name in Nicaragua, on the northwest shore of Lake Nicaragua, with (2020) 132 100 residents.

Catholic bishopric; Architecture museum; Textile and food industry, sawmills, tourism; Port.

Baroque church La Merced with richly decorated facade (end of 18th century) and mighty, articulated corner tower (1781–83, completed after destruction in 1892); the cathedral from 1880 replaces the colonial building which was destroyed by fire in 1856 (1529).

The city, founded in 1523 by the Spanish conqueror F. Hernández de Córdoba, has retained its colonial character despite being destroyed by arson (in the 16th century by F. Drake, in 1856 by the American adventurer W. Walker). Before 1858, Granada rivaled León further north for position as the capital of Nicaragua.


Estelí, capital of the Estelí department in Nicaragua, 71,600 residents; in the highlands north of Lake Managua; Bishopric; Tobacco growing.

Nicaragua Geography

Léon Cathedral (World Heritage)

The cathedral, built in the 18th century, contains elements from the Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical periods. The richly decorated interior is flooded with light and contains sacred works of art such as a Flemish altar painting and a number of old statues.

Léon Cathedral: facts

Official title: Léon Cathedral
Cultural monument: Between 1747 and 1860 built five-aisled cathedral of León with neoclassical facade and dome as the largest sacred building in Central America; diverse mix of styles from renaissance, baroque and neoclassicism with impressive lighting conditions; richly ornamented vault, diverse sacred works of art, wooden Flemish altar, painting with 14 stations of the suffering of Jesus by the Nicaraguan painter Antonio Sarria; Combination of Spanish art with regional influences, including European baroque elements with the local Antigua-Guatemala style
Continent: America
Country: Nicaragua
Location: León, 90 km northwest of Managua
Appointment: 2011
Meaning: Extraordinary and powerful example of a Central American religious building; outstanding homogeneous connection of different European and regional stylistic influences; unique expression of the social, religious and artistic syncretism of Latin American society in the 18th century.


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