Honduras: Natural and Geographic Landscape

Honduras: Natural and Geographic Landscape

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 22:06
Posted in:

Honduras, located in northern Central America, is mostly mountainous. Lowlands are located along its Pacific and Caribbean coasts as well as the river valleys of the interior. The majority of the population resides in the central highlands which is an economically important agricultural region.

Geography of Honduras

Honduras is situated in northern Central America, bordering Nicaragua in the southeast, El Salvador and the Pacific Ocean in the southwest, Guatemala in the west, and the Caribbean Sea in the north.

Honduras is the second-largest country in Central America, with an area of approximately 112,090 sq km (43,300 sq mi). Its area includes the Bay Islands in the Gulf of Honduras off its Caribbean coast.

The country's Caribbean coastline is about 700 km (430 mi) in length. The Gulf of Fonseca forms its roughly 153 km (95 mi) coastline on the Pacific Ocean in the southwest.

Much of the land area of Honduras is mountainous. Lowlands are found primarily along the coasts or river valleys.

The climate of the tropical coastal lowlands is generally hot with high humidity. The climate becomes more temperate as it is modified by elevation toward the interior. In the coastal lowlands, annual temperatures average 26 - 29 °C (79 - 84 °F), while in the highlands annual temperatures average 16 - 24 °C (61 - 75 °F).

Honduras is also prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding.

Biodiversity

Honduras has rich flora and fauna, including various endemic species. According to the Honduran Ministry of Environment, MiAmbiente, Honduras has 7,524 registered species of vascular plants, 718 species of birds, 228 species of mammals, 211 species of reptiles and 111 amphibians, 2,500 species of insects, and 672 species of fish.

However, many of these are threatened by habitat destruction.

Map of Central America

Location map of the countries of Central America

The Natural and Geographic Landscape of Honduras

Topography

More than 75% of the land area of Honduras is mountainous. Lowlands are located along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts as well as the river valleys of the interior.

The highlands of the interior are dissected by numerous upland valleys and small peaks. Its primary surface features are oriented in a general east-to-west direction.

The Volcanic Highlands in the southwest contains the highest peaks, with Pico Congolón at an elevation of 2,500 m (8,200 ft), and Cerro Las Minas at 2,850 m (9,350 ft), the highest point in the country.

Topographic map of Honduras

Topographic map of Honduras

Geographic Regions

Honduras can be divided into four distinct geographic regions:

  • the eastern Caribbean lowlands

  • the northern coastal plains and mountains

  • the central highlands

  • the Pacific lowlands

Eastern Caribbean Lowlands

The eastern Caribbean lowlands, along with their mountain slopes, occupy about 20% of the land area of Honduras. The northern part of the Mosquito (Miskito) Coast is located here.

Hot and humid, this region is densely forested in the interior highlands. Lumber is an important industry. The scattered population is mainly supported by subsistence agriculture and fishing.

Northern Coastal Plains and Mountains

These alluvial coastal plains and mountains of the north make up only about an eighth of the land area of Honduras. However, they contain approximately a quarter of the total population.

This is an economically important agricultural region. The rich, loamy soils are vital in crop production which includes rice, cassava, palm oil, maize, bananas, citrus fruits, and beans. Cattle-raising is also prevalent.

The coastal region supports important ports of import and export as well as railroad lines to and from the interior. Located on the northern Caribbean coast of the country, Puerto Cortes is the largest seaport in Central America.

Central Highlands

The Sierra de las Minas mountain range runs from east to west, taking up two-thirds of the country's territory. The central highlands contain the vast majority of the population.

Here, the mountains are rugged. Cerro Las Minas, the highest point in the country, is located in the western part of the region.

Numerous flat valleys lie at elevations between 600 - 1,200 m (2,000 - 4,000 ft). The soils, derived from lava and volcanic ash, are generally fertile.

Agricultural production includes coffee, tobacco, wheat, corn, sorghum, beans, fruits, and vegetables; and supports raising livestock such as cattle, poultry, and hogs.

Pacific Lowlands

The Pacific lowlands which are located adjacent to the Gulf of Fonseca and the lower mountain slopes, constitute only a small part of the country's land area and support an equally small part of the population.

The fertile soils of the lowlands support agriculture that produces sesame seed, cotton as well as some corn and sorghum. Cattle are raised on the lowland pastures and coffee is grown on the nearby uplands.

Honduras regions map

Honduras regions map

Bodies of Water

Notable Rivers

  • Ulúa River

  • Goascorán River

  • Lempa River

  • Coco River

  • Tepemechín River

  • Chamelecón River

  • Aguán River

  • Sico River

  • Paulaya River

  • Platano River

  • Sigre River

  • Patuca River

  • Sumpul River

  • Goascoran River

  • Nacaome River

  • Choluteca River

Notable Lakes

  • Lake Yojoa

  • Caratasca Lagoon

  • Ticamaya Lagoon

  • Chiligatoro Lagoon

  • Guaimoreto Lagoon

  • Warunta Lagoon

  • Madre Vieja Lagoon

  • Losa Micos Lagoon

Natural Regions

The natural landscape of Honduras includes rainforests, cloud forests, and mangroves, as well as savannas and mountain ranges with pine and oak trees. In addition, its Caribbean coast in the north hosts a portion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.

Ecological Regions

The following is a list of ecoregions in Guatemala, as defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Guatemala is in the Neotropical realm. Ecoregions are classified by biome type - the major global plant communities determined by rainfall and climate.

Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests

  • Central American Atlantic moist forests

  • Central American montane forests

Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests

  • Central American dry forests

Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests

  • Central American pine-oak forests

  • Miskito pine forests

Mangroves

  • Gulf of Fonseca mangroves

  • Northern Honduras mangroves

Map of Honduras

Administrative Map of Honduras

Administrative Divisions

Honduras is divided into 18 departments:

  1. Atlántida

  2. Choluteca

  3. Colón

  4. Comayagua

  5. Copán

  6. Cortés

  7. El Paraíso

  8. Francisco Morazán

  9. Gracias a Dios

  10. Intibucá

  11. Islas de la Bahía

  12. La Paz

  13. Lempira

  14. Ocotepeque

  15. Olancho

  16. Santa Bárbara

  17. Valle

  18. Yoro