|Rep¨˛blica de Nicaragua
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Nicaragua is located in Central
America and borders Honduras in the north, the Caribbean
Sea in the east, Costa Rica in the south and the Pacific
in the west. With an area of 129,779 km², the country
is the largest republic in Central America and about
three times the size of Switzerland. The state territory
also includes numerous small islands in the Caribbean
Sea, such as the Corn Islands.
Mountains rise in northern Nicaragua and in the
middle of the country. The Cordilleras in the north
(Cordillera Isabella) reach up to 2 100 m, on the border
with Honduras is the country's highest peak, the Cerro
Mogot¨®n (2 107 m). In the southern part of Nicaragua,
the Cordillera Chontaleña runs in a north-south
direction. In the west of the country is the Pacific
basin landscape (Nicaragua valley) with the two lakes
Nicaragua (8 264 km²) and Managua (644 km²). Lake
Nicaragua is the largest freshwater lake in Central
America. Between the two lakes and the western Pacific
coast lies a chain of volcanoes, some of which are still
active, the highest of which are the San Crist¨®bal with
1,745 m and the Concepci¨®n with 1,610 m.
In the east of Nicaragua runs the Caribbean lowlands,
which is only sparsely populated and extends around 70
km. The country's largest rivers run here, all of which
flow into the Caribbean Sea (e.g. Coco, San Juan, Grande
The capital, Managua, is located on the south bank of
the lake of the same name in the Pacific lowlands.
Nicaragua has a tropical, humid climate with high
temperatures all year round. Average temperatures in the
country's lowlands are around 27 ˇăC all year round, and
in the higher regions between 15 ˇăC and 20 ˇăC. With
annual rainfall of up to 6,000 mm, the east coast of
Nicaragua is one of the rainiest regions in the world.
On the Pacific coast in the west of the country fall up
to 1 900 mm per year. Here the rainy season lasts from
May to October, in the east the rainy season is much
longer. The driest region in the country with annual
rainfall of around 1,000 mm is the Nicaragua Depression.
Flora and fauna
The Caribbean lowlands in the east of Nicaragua and
the eastern slopes of the mountains are largely covered
by evergreen rainforest with a large biodiversity. In
the mountains in the center of the country, the
rainforest changes into mountain forest from a height of
approx. 600 m, mixed forests predominate from approx.
900 m, which then change into coniferous forests.
Mangrove forests and vast marshes can be found on the
coast. In places where the rainforest was cut down, pine
forests are now growing. The Nicaragua valley in the
west of the country is largely used for agriculture.
The wildlife of Nicaragua is rich in species, for
example pumas, jaguars, ocelots, various types of
monkeys and many reptiles such as alligators and snakes
(e.g. boa constrictor) live in the rainforest areas. The
diverse bird life includes parrots, hummingbirds,
toucans and pelicans.
About 5.47 million people live in the Republic of
Nicaragua, with the fertile coastal plains in the west
of the country being very densely populated, while only
about a tenth of the population lives in the eastern
half of the country (Caribbean lowlands). A little less
than two thirds of the people live in cities; by far the
largest city is the capital, Managua, on the shores of
the lake of the same name, in the area of which around
1.37 million people live. Other major cities are Le¨®n
(395,000 metropolitan area), Masaya (315,000,
metropolitan area) and Chinandega (440,000, metropolitan
The largest population group with about 70% are
mestizos (hybrids with Indian and white ancestors), the
second largest group are whites with about 17%, blacks
have a population share of about 9%. The remaining
residents, Indians, just like the black population live
predominantly in the eastern part of the country. A
small minority are the Garifuna (so-called black
carrots, hybrids from Black Africans and Caribbean
Indians) who immigrated to Central America around 1800.
Population growth is around 1.9%.
The official language and colloquial language is
Spanish. Creole English and the different languages of
the Indian tribes are also spoken (eg Rama, Misquito,
Sumo). According to COUNTRYAAH, 85% of the population are Catholic Christians.
Protestants (Moravian Church) form a religious minority.
The average life expectancy is 70 years. Children are
required to attend school for six years and the literacy
rate is around 68%.
Nicaragua is a presidential democracy, the
constitution dates from 1987. The head of state is the
president, who is also head of the government and
commander-in-chief of the armed forces (Daniel Ortega
Saveedra since January 2007). He is elected by the
people for a term of five years. An unlimited number of
terms has been allowed since 2014.
The legislature lies with the parliament, which
consists of one chamber (Asamblea Nacional). The 92 MPs
are elected by the people for a term of five years, of
which one seat is for the former president and one seat
for the second place in the presidential election.
Nicaragua is divided into 15 departments and two
autonomous regions (North Atlantic and South Atlantic).
Somoza dictatorship, civil war and major natural
disasters (1998) caused severe damage to the Nicaraguan
economy, from which the country has not yet recovered.
42% of the population live below the poverty line, 45%
are underemployed. The country is highly dependent on
Agriculture generates a fifth of the gross domestic
product (GDP) and employs almost a third of all workers.
A large part of the export earnings is generated by
agricultural products. The main crops are coffee,
bananas, sugar cane and cotton, and corn, millet, rice,
beans and citrus are also cultivated. Fishery products
(shrimp, fish) are important export goods. Customers are
the USA, El Salvador and Costa Rica.
Around 27% of GDP is generated in industry. The most
important branch is food processing, there are also
companies in the chemical, metal and textile industries.
Nicaragua has mineral, mineral, gold, silver, zinc,
copper, iron and lead deposits. The country's energy
requirements are largely covered by water, wind and
geothermal power plants.
Machines and vehicles, industrial goods and fuels
from the USA and other South American countries are
The road network in Nicaragua covers around 19,000
km, of which only around 10% is paved. The country's
most important port on the Pacific coast is Corinto.
Around 2,200 km are available on inland waterways. There
is an international airport near the capital, Managua.
Currency is the Cordoba (= 100 Centavos).