Central America

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Central America is a region in the southern tip of North America, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven relatively small countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Central America has several supranational institutions, with all countries not necessarily being members. Wikipedia claims that "there is anecdotal evidence that demonstrates that Salvadorans, Panamanians, Costa Ricans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans continue to maintain a Central American identity. [...] Belizeans are mostly associated to be culturally West Indian rather than Central America." Belize has an unusually large share with African ancestry.

Encyclopædia Britannica

Central America, southernmost region of North America, lying between Mexico and South America and comprising Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize. (Geologists and physical geographers sometimes extend the northern boundary to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico.) Central America makes up most of the tapering isthmus that separates the Pacific Ocean, to the west, from the Caribbean Sea. It extends in an arc roughly 1,140 miles (1,835 km) long from the northwest to the southeast. At its narrowest point the isthmus is only about 30 miles (50 km) wide, and there is no location in Central America that is more distant than 125 miles (200 km) from the sea. Humid swamps and lowlands extend along both the west and east coasts, but four-fifths of Central America is either hilly or mountainous. The western band of Pacific coastal lowland is narrow and overshadowed by mountain ranges, and, except in Nicaragua and Honduras, the eastern plains along the Caribbean are also narrow. Elevation steadily increases west of the Caribbean lowlands, until, toward the Pacific Coast, plateau highlands culminate in mountain ridges and some 40 volcanic cones, some of which attain elevations of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 metres). Some of Central America’s volcanoes erupt violently from time to time, and earthquakes frequently occur in the region. The weathered volcanic lavas produce a fertile soil, however, and the highlands of the volcanic zones have consequently become highly productive agricultural zones and areas of dense population.[1]


Of the many mountain ranges within Central America, the longest are the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, the Cordillera Isabelia and the Cordillera de Talamanca. At 4,220 meters (13,850 ft), Volcán Tajumulco is the highest peak in Central America. Other high points of Central America are as listed in the table below:

High points in Central America
Country Name Elevation (meters) Range
Belize Doyle's Delight 1,124 Cockscomb Range
Costa Rica Cerro Chirripó 3,820 Cordillera de Talamanca
El Salvador Cerro El Pital 2,730 Sierra Madre de Chiapas
Guatemala Volcán Tajumulco 4,220 Sierra Madre de Chiapas
Honduras Cerro Las Minas 2,780 Cordillera de Celaque
Nicaragua Mogotón 2,107 Cordillera Isabelia
Panama Volcán Barú 3,474 Cordillera de Talamanca

See also