Honduras Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Honduras?

Overview:

The Republic of Honduras is situated in the middle of six republics comprising, along with Belize, the Central American Isthmus between Mexico and Panama. Roughly triangular in shape, Honduras is the bend in Central America and has a 459-mile Caribbean coastline to the north and narrows in the south to 89 miles at the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded on the west by Guatemala, the southwest by El Salvador, and the east and southeast by Nicaragua.

Honduras also has insular possessions, including the picturesque Bay Islands, formed by the summit of a submerged mountain range in the Caribbean. Farther northeast lie Swan Islands, previously used by the U.S. as a weather research station and now recognized as Honduran territory.

Honduras has an estimated land area of 43,277 square miles, second largest of the six Central American republics, it ranks 14th in size among all Latin American nations. However, population distribution is unequal. The northeastern part is thinly inhabited. It comprises 45% of the entire national territory and only contains 9% of the population.

Honduran topography is exceptionally rugged. The Central American Cordillera (mountain range) crosses Honduras from east to west, making it the most mountainous of the six republics. Three-quarters of the country is composed of rugged hills and mountains, ranging from about 900 feet to nearly 9,350 and averaging about 4,000 feet in height. Tegucigalpa is at 3,200 feet above sea level. Government estimates list 64% of the land surface as mountainous and 36% as plains and valleys. The highest mountain peaks are in the southwest. Lowlands make up the northern and eastern coastal plains, a narrow southern coastal plain, and the river valleys. The principal rivers are in the north and flow into the Caribbean. Geographically and commercially, the country consists of two general regions: the highlands of the interior and southern Honduras and the tropical, banana-producing North Coast. Southern coastal lowlands are grouped with the highland region because of their economic linkage with Tegucigalpa and their southwest central location.

Geography - note:

has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast

Climate:

The climate in Honduras varies between the mountainous interior and the coastal lowlands and between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The interior is much cooler than the humid coast, and temperate Tegucigalpa has maximum temperatures averaging between 77°F and 86°F. The rainy season technically begins in May and lasts until October. This means that the interior and Pacific coast are relatively dry between November and April, but on the Caribbean coast it rains all year. The wettest months on the Caribbean coast are from September/October to January/February.

Honduras Use of Natural Resources

Honduras Environment

Climate:

The climate in Honduras varies between the mountainous interior and the coastal lowlands and between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The interior is much cooler than the humid coast, and temperate Tegucigalpa has maximum temperatures averaging between 77°F and 86°F. The rainy season technically begins in May and lasts until October. This means that the interior and Pacific coast are relatively dry between November and April, but on the Caribbean coast it rains all year. The wettest months on the Caribbean coast are from September/October to January/February.

Terrain:

mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains

Natural Resources:

timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower

Natural Hazards:

frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast

Irrigated Land:

339 Square Miles
879 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

urban population expanding; deforestation results from logging and the clearing of land for agricultural purposes; further land degradation and soil erosion hastened by uncontrolled development and improper land use practices such as farming of marginal lands; mining activities polluting Lago de Yojoa (the country's largest source of fresh water), as well as several rivers and streams, with heavy metals

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Honduras Geography

Geographic Location Central America
Total Area 43,278 Square Miles
112,090 Square Kilometers
Land Area 43,201 Square Miles
111,890 Square Kilometers
Water Area 77 Square Miles
200 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 944 Miles
1,520 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 339 Square Miles
879 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km
Coastline 517 Miles
832 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 15 00 N, 86 30 W
Terrain mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains
Highest Point 2,870 Meters
Highest Point Location Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m
Lowest Point Location Caribbean Sea 0 m
Natural Resources timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower
Time Zone UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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