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Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America with an area of 130,000 km². It is bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

The main mountain range is the Central American Cordillera, including Isabelia and Dariense chains in the north and Chontaleña chain in the south. Sierra de los Maribios, a volcanic mountain range that stretches along the Pacific coast, has about 25 volcanoes, of which 7 are active.

On the country’s western side, a large depression forms Cocibolca and Xolotlan lakes. Lake Cocibolca, which means "freshwater sea" in native language, covers 8,600 km². It has two volcanic islands, Ometepe and Zapatera as well as the archipelago of Solentiname, all of which have a rich pre-Columbian history. Lake Xolotlan, further north, covers 1,100 km². It is bordered on the south by the capital city, Managua. The country’s eastern slope is formed by the Caribbean coastal plain, which is partially covered with rainforest.

Coastal regions of Nicaragua have a tropical climate with an average temperature of 27ºC. In the central area of the country at higher elevations, average temperatures range from 15 to 26ºC. The rainy season extends from May to November with regional variations.

The country has a population of about 5.3 million, 60% of which lives on the western half of the country and 56% of which is classified as urban.

Managua, with 1.3 million inhabitants, is the capital and the main administrative and business center of the country. The city of Matagalpa (200,000 inhabitants), known as the "Pearl of the North", is located in the second most populated region of the country and coffee is its principal agricultural product. The city of León (174,000 inhabitants), known for its architecture from the colonial era, is an important religious, cultural and tourist center. The city of Masaya (170,500 inhabitants), known as "the city of flowers", is an industrial and commercial center. The city of Granada (110,000 inhabitants) has many churches and colonial monuments, which are among the oldest in the country. It is also much visited by tourists.

Spanish is the official language of Nicaragua. In the autonomous regions, English, Creole and four indigenous languages are spoken.

Nicaragua has many natural resources such as forests that cover about 43% of the country, despite the high rates of deforestation. The country’s soils, rich in volcanic materials deposits, are extremely fertile. Nicaragua contains deposits of gold, silver, copper and salt.

The vegetation is tropical and subtropical. Pine, mahogany and ficus trees are abundant, as well as a wide variety of tropical fruit.

Puma, deer, jaguar, tapir, several species of monkeys and alligators and a wide variety of reptiles are among the many types of wildlife found in Nicaragua. Hummingbirds and grackles are very common and there are still some macaws. The Guardabarranco (Eumomota superciliosa), although uncommon, is the national bird, and frangipani, the national flower. Madroño (Calycophyllum candidissimum), with its fragrant white flowers used to adorn altars dedicated to the Virgin in December each year, is the national tree.

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