Honduras is the second largest country in Central
America, after Nicaragua. It is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the
north and northeast, Nicaragua to the southeast, the Gulf of Fonseca
(which opens to the Pacific Ocean) to the south, El Salvador to the
southwest and Guatemala to the northwest.
Mainland Honduras has four distinct geographical areas: the interior highlands, the Mosquito Coast, the Caribbean coast and the lowlands near the Gulf of Fonseca. There is also a group of islands off the north coast called the Bay Islands.
Most Hondurans live in the interior highlands, an area of extinct volcanoes in central Honduras. The Mosquito Coast is a hot, humid region of dense rainforests in the east, inhabited mostly by the Garífuna and indigenous peoples such as the Pech and Miskito. The rainforests make travelling by road difficult, so most people on the Mosquito Coast travel by boat or by airplane.
The rest of the Caribbean coast of Honduras is
known as the north coast. There are many banana and sugar plantations
along the coastal plain. The Pacific lowlands is a small strip of land
24 kilometres wide on the Gulf of Fonseca. It is a fertile plain formed
by volcanic soil, which has washed down from the mountains. In the Gulf
of Fonseca, there are two islands that are 670-metre volcanic cones,
El Tigre and Zacate Grande.
The Bay Islands are tropical islands in the Caribbean. The islands are the tips of ancient volcanoes. The three largest islands are Roatán, Utila and Guanaja. They are in the middle of a barrier reef, and some have dense jungles, coconut palms and sandy beaches. Whales and sharks are found in nearby waters.
The Honduran climate varies depending on the region.
In the interior highlands, it is usually pleasantly warm (between 15 and
20°C) throughout the year. The coastal areas, however, are usually hot
and humid. Honduras experiences a rainy season from May to October and a
dry season from November to April.
Honduras is subject to hurricanes and flooding. In 1974, 10,000 Hondurans lost their lives in Hurricane Fifi. Hurricane Mitch in 1998 also had a disastrous effect in Honduras. Winds of up to 290 km/hr and rainfall of up to one metre caused floods and mudslides, killing more than 6,000 people and destroying buildings, roads and crops. Recovery has been slow and was set back by more flooding and by mudslides caused by heavy rainfall in 1999.