A Beautiful Country
Nicaragua is a country of unspoiled natural landscapes: it offers virgin beaches on the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, along the Caribbean coast, an amazing volcanic chain, the largest lake in Central America, cloud forests in its northern region and magical colonial towns in the Pacific region of western Nicaragua. Granada, one of the oldest cities founded in continental American, is a case in point. The combination of a natural paradise and intriguing history make Nicaragua a unique destination in the Americas.
Nicaragua contains 7% of the world's biodiversity.
20% of the country's territory is protected as national parks or biological reserves.
Nicaragua´s diverse fauna includes: jaguars, pumas, turtles, monkeys, tropical birds, and crocodiles.
Nicaragua has 3 biosphere reserves.
Ometepe Island, located in Lake Nicaragua, is the largest island in the world within a lake formed by two volcanoes.
Bosawas biosphere reserve is the largest rainforest north of the Amazon.
Cerro Negro is one of the few active volcanoes in the world where sandboarding can be practiced.
La Flor National Reserve is one of the seven most important sites in America for massive turtle spawning.
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The country covers a total area of 130,600 square kilometers and contains a diversity of climates and terrains. The country's physical geography divides it into three major zones: Pacific lowlands, wet, cooler central highlands, and the Caribbean lowlands.
The Pacific lowlands extend about 75 kilometers inland from the Pacific coast. Most of the area is flat, except for a line of young volcanoes, many of which are still active, running between the Golfo de Fonseca and Lago de Nicaragua. On the Pacific side of the country, there are the two largest freshwater lakes in Central America: Lago de Managua (56 kilometers long and 24 kilometers wide) and Lago de Nicaragua (about 160 kilometers long and 75 kilometers wide).
Surrounding the lakes and extending on the northwest of them along the rift valley of Golfo de Fonseca are fertile lowland plains highly enriched with volcanic ash from nearby volcanoes. These lowlands are densely populated and well cultivated.
The triangular area known as the central highlands lies northeast and east of the Pacific lowlands. This rugged mountain terrain is composed of ridges 900 to 1,800 meters high and a mixed forest of oak and pine alternating with deep valleys that drain primarily toward the Caribbean. The eastern slopes of the highlands are covered with rain forests.
The eastern Caribbean lowlands of Nicaragua form the extensive (occupying more than 50 percent of national territory) and still sparsely settled lowland area. These lowlands are a hot, humid area that includes coastal plains, the eastern spurs of the central highlands, and the lower portion of the Río San Juan basin. Pine and palm savannas predominate far south. Tropical rain forests are characteristic from the Laguna de Perlas to the Río San Juan, in the interior west of the savannas, and along rivers through the savannas. Fertile soils are found only along the natural levees and narrow floodplains of the numerous rivers, including the Escondido, the Río Grande de Matagalpa, the Prinzapolka, and the Coco, and along the many lesser streams that rise in the central highlands and cross the region en route to the complex of shallow bays, lagoons, and salt marshes of the Caribbean coast.
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