129,494 sq km (49,998 sq mi)
Population (2009 est.):
Capital and largest city (2003 est.):
Managua - 1,390,500 (metro. area)
Other major cities
: Leon, Granada, Jinotega, Matagalpa, Chinandega, Masaya, Rivas
Spanish 98% (official)
Roman Catholic 73%, Evangelical 15%, Moravian 2%, none 9%
GMT-6, Daylight Savings Time is not observed
AC 120V/60Hz, American type plugs with 2 flat blades are used
Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, is bordered by Honduras to the north, Costa Rica to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
The capital of Nicaragua, Managua, is the second largest city in Central America and home to about a quarter of country's population.
Nicaragua is known for great biodiversity, unique ecosystems and abundance of wildlife.
Almost 20% of Nicaragua's area is designated as protected areas - biological parks, nature reserves and national parks. Over 15% of country's territory is covered by rainforest, mostly on the Atlantic lowlands.
Nicaragua has three distinct geographical regions: the Pacific Lowlands, North-Central Highlands (the Amerrique Mountains), and the Atlantic Lowlands (Mosquito Coast). The Pacific lowlands region, on the west of the country, home for about a half of country's population, is the most populous region in Nicaragua. It consists of a broad, hot, fertile plain with several large volcanoes belonging to Cordillera Los Maribios mountain range. Lake Nicaragua, situated in this region, is the largest freshwater lake in Central America. Atlantic lowlands are mostly covered by rainforest and are sparsely populated.