General Geography

Honduras is the second largest country of the Central American region, sharing borders with Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. The nation’s northern coast is washed by the Caribbean Sea, while the Gulf of Fonseca in the Pacific Ocean washes the southern shores.The Central American Mountain Range runs the country through from northwest to southeast, dividing it into two major zones: the eastern and western regions with peaks way over 2,000 meters high. The surface is equally run through by rivers that flow both into the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Lowlands in the southern region make up a plain stretching out all along the Pacific coast. There are plenty of volcanic-origin islands and islets southwest in the Gulf of Fonseca. Huge fertile valleys in the lowlands are located near the Caribbean Sea and are especially reserved for banana plantations. There are also huge land extensions in Honduras completely barren. Most of the population is concentrated in the western half of the country. The area near Puerto Cortes –spreading northbound from the Yojoa Lake all the way to the Caribbean Sea- is also highly populated.The Islands of the Bay off the Caribbean coastline are highly important from a tourist standpoint. The Cisne Island (Swan) and the Cochinos Keys (Pigs) in the Gulf of Fonseca; the Island of the Tiger, where the Amapala and Zacate ports are located, and many other islets are worth mentioning.Honduras is located in the low latitudes between 12° and 19° north latitude. Due to this location, sunrays fall almost vertically over the surface, thus receiving a great amount of solar radiation. The climate is warm and humid along the shores (a mean temp hovering 31 degrees Celsius), a tad milder towards the mountainous zones. There are two clearly defined seasons: a rainy season from June to October and a drought season starting in November through May.

Geographical Extension

The Republic of Honduras embraces 112,492 square kilometers of total surface.

Geographical Division

The national territory is divided in 18 departments broken down in self-governing municipalities. The 18 department governors are appointed by the president and the functions of the local offices are just economic and administrative.These are the departments: Atlantida, Colon, Comayagua, Copan, Cortes, Choluteca, El Paraiso, Francisco Morazan, Gracias a Dios, Intibuca, Islas de la Bahia, La Paz, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Valle and Yoro.


The country abuts the Caribbean Sea to the north; the Gulf of Fonseca and the Pacific Ocean to the south; El Salvador to the southwest and west; Guatemala to the west; Nicaragua to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the northeast.


The Honduran shores are washed by the Caribbean Sea up north and the Gulf of Fonseca in the Pacific Ocean down to the south.The western portion of the northern coast features a mixed relieve as a result mountainous movements and the so-called marine invasions, deeply modified by watercourse sedimentation and sea undercurrents during the Quaternary Age. These phenomena exert a considerable influence on the formation of barriers down at river mouths. However, the eastern portion is marked by immersions for being a gully-pocked plain boasting numerous sandy lakes. By and large, the northern coast is more rugged than the Gulf of Fonseca, and both wider and longer.The southern coast is higher ground, that is, steeper as it rolls up to the Gulf of Fonseca and it’s totally stripped of lakes and ponds. This particular feature makes it saltier than the northern coast. This is what experts call a typical immersion shore.Honduras possesses two major archipelagos, one in the Caribbean sea and the second one in the Gulf of Fonseca. Islands and islets from the first archipelago are of mountainous and coral origin, while those in the second are of volcanic formation.The Islands of the Bay are of mountainous origin and are made up of the main archipelago in the Honduran side of the Caribbean Sea, consisting of the following islands: Utila, Roatan, Santa Elena, Barbereta, Morat and Guanaja. Total surface is 260 square kilometers. The Swan Islands are also part of this archipelago.On the other hand, the islands from the archipelago in the Gulf of Fonseca are of volcanic origin and their formation goes a long way back to the Third Age when the tectonic movement that eventually gave rise to the gulf depression occurred. Among its islands, Zacate Grande, Tiger and Merenguera can be found.


Due to the mountainous nature of the Honduran territory, the country’s topsoil is run through by countless watercourses. The two main flowing are the Caribbean and the Pacific. As a general rule, water separation between both flowing is determined by the Southern Mountain Range.Caribbean Flowing: Rivers here are longer and deeper. These are the main rivers flowing here: Chamelecon River: Running down for 200 kilometers, it’s good for sailing in a strip of about 50 kilometers from its mouth up. Its course stretches out for about 400,000 square kilometers. It starts off the eastern mountainside of the Gallinero Range, making its way down the departments of Santa Barbara and Cortes, and some of its tributaries are Chinamito, Chiquito, Blanco, and Tapalapa.Ulua River: Due to the size of its course, this river is highly important for the region, embracing a considerable chunk of the country’s national economy. Its course comprises 21,964 square kilometers and runs through ten different departments. It drains the Sula Valley measuring 100 kilometers long and 35 kilometers wide. Its main tributaries are Jicatuyo, Otoro, Humuya, Sulaco and Blanco.Lean River: It has tributaries in the Numbre de Dios Sierra and in its mouth near the small port of San Cristobal, forming the Colorado Barrier. Out of the river’s 60 kilometers, 25 can be canoed from the mouth up. Its main tributaries are Texiguat, Mezapa, Jilamo, Alao and Cangelica.Aguán River: It starts off the Sulaco Sierra and runs through the ample Aguan Valley. It spreads for about 225 kilometers, with 80 navigable kilometers. Its main tributaries are Jalegua, Macara, Yaguale, Mame and Locomapa. Sico Tinto River: It spreads for some 215 kilometers.Patuca River: It’s born out of two huge rivers and tributaries: the Guayape and the Guayambre.Coco River: This is the natural frontier of Honduras and Nicaragua and ranks as the longest Central American river with over 550 kilometers long. It starts in the department of Choluteca, where it’s called San Marcos River, and slides into Nicaragua where locals call it Tapacale. Pacific Flowing: Rivers flowing into the Pacific Ocean are shorter than those in the Caribbean Flowing. Its valleys are generally narrow, save in the Coluteca River. Its major watercourses are: Choluteca River: Some of its tributaries are Zamorano, Texiguat, Orocuinan and Namale.Goascoran River: It sprinkles the valley bearing the same name and stretches out for 115 kilometers. Lempa River: It crosses El Salvador to flow into the Pacific Ocean, though its major tributaries come from Honduras. All of these Lempa’s tributaries start off the Southern Range and the most outstanding ones are Torola, Guarajambala, Mocal and Sumpul.


The Yojoa Lake, embracing the departments of Cortes, Comayagua and Santa Barbara, is Honduras’ sole natural lake. The name Yojoa is a Mayan term meaning water accumulated on the ground. The lake takes in water from currents sliding down the Santa Barbara mountains from 650 meters high. Its total surface is estimated to be 330 square kilometers and 210 meters deep.The country’s central and southern regions sport some very small ponds, some of which run dry during the winter. Some cases in point are the Caratasca, Brus, Guaymoreto and Ebano ponds.

National Flora

Honduras’ flora is varied, especially the rainy jungle, also known as tropical rainy forest, one of the most breathtaking vegetal formations abundant in extremely moist areas with very high temperatures. Pines and finches are the name of the game in these regions and a typical example of this kind of vegetation is the Mosquitia area. There are plentiful vineyard species known as lianas. Orchids also abound. Due to area’s humidity, trees are enormous and their roots don’t run deep into the ground, while their leaves are also abundant and huge. Trunks are straight up and smooth and their very first branches and twigs begin close to the tops. Honduras’ rainy jungle stretches into the northern region of the country at some 600 meters high. A well-defined drought season is nonexistent here and its surface embraces roughly 29% of the total land. Among the major species here, the royal cedar, (cedrela mexicana), common cedar (cedrela odorata), mahogany (swetonia mahogoni), Maria’s Tree (calophyllum brasiliense), cortes (tabebuia guayacan), espavel (anacardium excelsum), Amazon guava tree (tarminalia amazonia) stand out here.There are plentiful palm tree species along the coastlines and motley flowers. It’s commonplace to find fabric-producing plants like cotton and a great variety of medicinal herbs such as balms and rubber-producing trees.

National Animal

The country’s wildlife is extremely rich. However, huge animals are not commonplace. Yet, there’re hundreds of amphibious, reptile and bird species, as well as an incredible assortment of lizards, monkeys, bats and tree birds. The lack of a cold season is suitable for such insects as wasps, ants, pismires, mosquitoes, gnats and others to be buzzing around all year long. As to mammals, there are boars, wart boars, peccaries, jaguars, cougars, wildcats, dwarf cougars, bats and anteaters. As far as birds are concerned, there are countless species of hummingbirds, sparrows, woodpeckers, owls, toucans and yellow-ringed parrots, as well as coastal green parrots and condors.Among crawlers; boas, rattlesnakes, green turtles, alligators, crocodiles and lizards that change the color of their skin from green to brown.Tortoises, hawk-bill turtles, toads and climbing frogs are equally abundant in the country.