Home>>Central America Atlas

Panda Volunteer Picture

Printable Central America Maps,Central America Country Maps

Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent. Central America consists of the states of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Central America is part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, which extends from Northern Guatemala through central Panama. It borders Mexico to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, the North Pacific Ocean to the west; and Colombia to the south-east.

Central America has an area of 524,000 square kilometers (202,000 sq mi), or almost 0.1% of the Earth's surface. As of 2009, its population was estimated at 41,739,000. It has a density of 77 people per square kilometer or 206 people per square mile.

Central America is the tapering isthmus of southern North America, with unique and varied features extending from the north-western borders of Belize and Guatemala southeastward to the Isthmus of Panama where it connects to the Colombian Pacific Lowlands in northwestern South America. Alternatively, some physiographists locate its northern border at some point in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico.

Central America has an area of some 592,000 square kilometres. The Pacific Ocean lies to the southwest, the Caribbean Sea lies to the northeast, and the Gulf of Mexico lies to the north. Most of Central America rests atop the Caribbean Plate.

The region is geologically active, with volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occurring from time to time. The 1976 Guatemala earthquake killed 23,000 people. Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, was devastated by earthquakes in 1931 and 1972, the last one killed about 5,000 people. Three earthquakes devastated El Salvador, one in 1986 and two in 2001; one earthquake devastated northern and central Costa Rica in 2009 killing at least 34 people. In Honduras a powerful earthquake killed 7 people in 2009.

Volcanic eruptions are common in the region. In 1968 the Arenal Volcano, in Costa Rica, erupted and killed 87 people. Fertile soils from weathered volcanic lavas have made it possible to sustain dense populations in the agriculturally productive highland areas.

Central America has many mountain ranges; the longest are the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, the Cordillera Isabelia and the Cordillera de Talamanca. Between the mountain ranges lie fertile valleys that are suitable for the people; in fact most of the population of Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala live in valleys. Valleys are also suitable for the production of coffee, beans and other crops.

China Tour Package