Geography in Honduras, Honduras Map Geography - Allo' Expat Honduras
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Honduras Geography


Situated in Central America, Honduras has a total area of 112,090 sq km (43,278 sq mi), with a length of 663 km (412 mi) east northeast-west southwest, and 317 km (197 mi) north northwest-south southeast. Comparatively, the area occupied by Honduras is slightly larger than the state of Tennessee. It is bounded on the north and east by the Caribbean Sea, on the south by Nicaragua and the Gulf of Fonseca, on the southwest by El Salvador, and on the west by Guatemala, with a total boundary length of 2,340 km (1,454 mi), of which 820 km (509 mi) is coastline.

Under the terms of an arbitration award made by Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1906, Honduras received a portion of the Mosquito (Miskito) Coast, or La Mosquitia, north and west of the Coco (Segovia) River. Citing Honduras's failure to integrate the territory, Nicaragua renewed its claim to the entire Mosquito Coast in the 1950s and brought the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In February 1957, Honduras created the new Department of Gracias a Dios, made up of the former Mosquitia territory. The ICJ determined in 1960 that Nicaragua was obligated to accept the 1906 arbitration ruling concerning that country's boundary with Honduras. The judges ruled, by a vote of 14-1, that once a valid arbitration award was made in an international dispute, it became effective, and remained so, despite any lapse of time in carrying it out.

The two tiny Swan Islands (Islas del Cisne), lying at 17°23′ N and 83°56′ W in the west Caribbean Sea some 177 km (110 mi) north northeast of Patuca Point, were officially ceded by the US to Honduras on 20 November 1971. For administrative purposes, they are included under the Department of Islas de la Bahía, whose capital is Roatán on Roatán Island. The Swan Islands had been effectively held by the US, which asserted a claim in 1863 to exploit guano, and had housed a weather station and an aviation post.

The capital city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, is located in the south central part of the country.

Honduras is mountainous, with the exception of the northern Ulúa and Aguán river valleys on the Caribbean Sea and the southern coastal area. There are four main topographic regions: the eastern lowlands and lower mountain slopes, with 20% of the land area and no more than 5% of the population; the northern coastal plains and mountain slopes, with 13% of the land and about 20% of the population; the central highlands, with 65% of the area and 70% of the population; and the Pacific lowlands and their adjacent lower mountain slopes, with 2% of the area and 5% of the population.

The width of the Caribbean coastal plain varies from practically no shore to about 120 km (75 mi), and the coastal plain of the Gulf of Fonseca is generally narrow. The highest elevations are in the northwest (almost 3,000 m/10,000 ft) and in the south (over 2,400 m/8,000 ft). Many intermontane valleys, at elevations of 910 to 1,370 m (3,000 to 4,500 ft), are settled. The old capital city, Comayagua, lies in a deep rift that cuts the country from north to south. Tegucigalpa, the modern capital, is situated in the southern highlands at about 910 m (3,000 ft). There are two large rivers in the north, the Patuca and the Ulúa. Other important features include the Choluteca, Nacaome, and Goascorán rivers in the south, Lake Yojoa in the west, and Caratasca Lagoon in the northeast.

The northern Caribbean area and the southern coastal plain have a wet, tropical climate, but the interior is drier and cooler. Temperature varies with altitude. The coastal lowlands average 31°C (88°F); from 300 to 760 m (1,000 to 2,500 ft) above sea level the average is 29°C (84°F); and above 760 m (2,500 ft) the average temperature is 23°C (73°F). There are two seasons: a rainy period, from May through October, and a dry season, from November through April. Average annual rainfall varies from over 240 cm (95 in) along the northern coast to about 84 cm (33 in) around Tegucigalpa in the south. The northwest coast is vulnerable to hurricanes, of which the most destructive, Hurricane Fifi in September 1974, claimed some 12,000 lives, caused $200 million in property damage, and devastated the banana plantations.

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