Central America is located in the center of the American continent and is surrounded by two oceans: the Pacific and the Atlantic. Central America is divided into seven independent countries, in addition to Insular Central America. Below we show you its political division, its physical means, the hydrography and the stretch of the Pan American Highway that corresponds to it.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
The political division of Central America consists of a total of seven independent countries:
- Costa Rica
- The Savior
The center of the American continent is located specifically between the southern border of Mexico and the western border of Colombia.
According to this political division, below we show in a table what is the territorial extension of each country, as well as the capital of each one:
|country||Capital||Territorial extension (km²)|
|Costa Rica||Saint Joseph||51,100|
|The Savior||San Salvador||21,041|
For its part, Insular central america, territory also called the Antilles or the Caribbean, is formed by an extensive number of archipelagos formed by the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles and the islands of Bahamas or Lucayas. This region of Central America is located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and, together, they form an arc that goes from Florida (USA) and eastern Yucatán (Mexico) to the west coast of Venezuela.
Below we show you the independent countries that make up Central America along with its capital and its surface:
|country||Capital||Territorial extension (km²)|
|Old and bearded||St. John’s||440|
|Dominican Republic||Santo Domingo||48,308|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Basseterre||261|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines||Kingstown||388|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Port of Spain||5,130|
Central America is a tropical isthmus through which North America and South America connect. It is a mostly mountainous region, while steep, in which several mountain levels coexist linked, in turn, to the North American and South American structures.
Also, this region of the American continent is dominated by geological systems in which there is one of the largest volcanic axes of the planet known as Central American volcanic arch; Thus, in the interior it is estimated that there are up to 60 volcanoes, mostly extinct, while on the Pacific coast there are more than 31 active volcanoes.
Some of the most important volcanoes in Central America are: Arenal Volcano (Costa Rica), Irazú (Costa Rica), Cerro Verde (El Salvador), San Miguel Volcano (El Salvador), San Vicente Volcano (El Salvador), Volcano from Atitlán (Guatemala), Chicabal Volcano (Guatemala), San Pedro Volcano (Guatemala) and Concepción Volcano (Nicaragua).
In addition, the earth's crust of Central America is considered especially unstable when it is located on the western edge of the Caribbean tectonic plate, which moves southeast.
In the northern part, on the other hand, there is a sedimentary terrain based on sandstones and limestones, as well as an area of fractures that extends towards the southeast area, giving rise to the lakes of Central America.
Central American rivers are characterized by being short (because of the isthmic geography that we talked about in the previous section) and because it corresponds, mainly, to the Atlantic side. Panama is where the greatest influx of rivers is observed, due to the proximity to the oceans that surround this region of the American continent.
In general, the rivers of Central America fulfill several functions, among which is that of making border, as with the Segovia and Coco rivers, located between Honduras and Nicaragua.
The longest rivers in Central America flow into the Caribbean Sea, while the rest (the shortest and largest) flow into the Pacific Ocean. The longest river in Central America is the Coco River, belonging to Nicaragua and Honduras, with a length of 680 km.
The most important rivers in Central America are the ones mentioned below:
|Usumacinta||Quiché (Guatemala)||Gulf of mexico|
|Lempa River||Chiquimula (Guatemala)||Usulután and San Vicente (El Salvador)|
|Ulúa||Sierra Opatoro (Honduras)||Gulf of Honduras|
|Motagua River||Quiché (Guatemala)||Border between Honduras and Guatemala|
|Coco River||Border between Honduras and Nicaragua||Caribbean Sea|
As for the lakesCentral America has an extensive number, most of which are born from an extinct volcano, so that, in reality, they are cratérico lakes. Below we mention the most important lakes in Central America:
- Belize: Four Mile Lagoon and Laguna del Río Nuevo.
- Costa Rica: Botos Lake, Arenal Lake and Diego de la Haya Lagoon.
- The Savior: Lake Güija, Lake Ilopango, Lake Coatepeque, Laguna Verde de Apaneca, Laguna de Olomega and Lake Suchitlán.
- Guatemala: Lake Atitlán, Lake Amatitlán, Lake Izabal, Laguna de Chicabal and Lake Petén Itzá.
- Honduras: Yojoa lake.
- Nicaragua: Lake Cocibolca, Lake Managua or Xolotlán, Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve and Apoyeque Lagoon.
- Panama: Gatun Lake.
The pan-american highway, Pan American Route or, simply, Panamericana consists of a highway system through which the northern hemisphere of the American continent joins the southern hemisphere, specifically, it goes from Alaska to Patagonia. In total, its length reaches 48,000 km, making it the longest road in the world.
It is worth mentioning that, as it passes through Costa Rica, the Pan American Route is renamed Interamerican Highway and it is divided into the Interamerican Highway North and the Interamerican Highway South, according to the direction in which it is conducted, that is, towards the north or south of San José (Costa Rica).
Thus, in its passage through Central America, the Pan American goes through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Next we mention the zones through which it passes in each of these countries:
|Guatemala||San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán, Sololá, Quiché, Chimaltenango, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala, Santa Rosa and Jutiapa|
|The Savior||Santa Ana, La Libertad, San Salvador, Cuscatlán, San Vicente, Usulután, San Miguel, La Unión, Santa Tecla and Cojutepeque|
|Honduras||Choluteca, Nueva Ocotepeque, Santa Rosa de Copán, San Pedro Sula, Siguatepeque, Comayagua, Tegucigalpa, Danlí, El Paraíso, Toncontin Airport, Nacaome, San Lorenzo, Choluteca, Frontera La Fraternidad and Frontera El Guasaule.|
|Nicaragua||Madriz, Estelí, Matagalpta, Managua, El Espino, Somoto, Carazo, Granada, Rivas, Jinotepe and Peñas Blancas.|
|Costa Rica||Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Alajuela, Heredia and San José (North Interamerican Highway). San José, Cartago and Puntarenas (South Interamerican Highway).|
|Panama||Border of Paso Canoas, Chiriquí, Veraguas, Population of Pacora and Darién.|
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