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Nicaragua - Enviornment


Nicaragua Environment

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. It's bordered to the north by Honduras, to the south by Costa Rica, to the east by the Caribbean Sea and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. The country has three distinct geographic regions: the Pacific lowlands, the north-central mountains and the Caribbean lowlands, also called the Mosquito Coast or Mosquitía. The fertile Pacific lowlands are interrupted by about 40 volcanoes, and dominated by Lago de Nicaragua, which is the largest lake in Central America. The Mosquito Coast is a sparsely populated rainforest area and the outlet for many of the large rivers originating in the central mountains. To date, 17% of the country has been given national-park status.

Lago de Nicaragua supports unusual fish, including the world's only freshwater sharks, as well as a huge variety of bird life. The cloud- and rainforests in the northwest contain abundant wildlife including ocelots, warthogs, pumas, jaguars, sloths and spider monkeys. Avian life in the forests is particularly rich: The cinnamon hummingbird, ruddy woodpecker, stripe-breasted wren, elegant trogon, shining hawk and even the quetzal, the holy bird of the Maya, can all be seen. The jungles on the Caribbean coast contain trees that grow up to almost 200ft (60m) high and are home to boas, anacondas, jaguars, deer and howler monkeys.

Nicaragua's climate varies according to altitude. The Pacific lowlands are always extremely hot, but the air is fresh and the countryside green during the rainy season (May to November); the dry season (December to April) brings winds that send clouds of brown dust across the plains. The Caribbean coast is hot and wet; it can rain heavily even during the brief dry season (March to May). The mountains of the north are much cooler than the lowlands.

Nicaragua was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in November 1998, when more than a year's worth of rain fell in in just seven days. A series of violent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the fall of 1999 didn't help the situation much.



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