Central America Facts

Our Central America Facts for Kids bring you lots of interesting and fun facts on this region in the Americas.

Map of Central AmericaMap of Central America

Top 25 Central America Facts 

1. Central America is a region in the Americas. This region is usually described as a land bridge or isthmus between the North American and the South American continents.

The Americas are often separated into three regions: North America, Central America and South America.

However, keep in mind that when talking about continents, we usually speak about North American continent and the South American continents and Central America is usually referred to as a region belonging to the major part to the North American continent.

2. Central America borders the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea of the Atlantic Ocean

El Salvador only borders the Pacific while Belize only borders the (Caribbean Sea) Atlantic Ocean.

Please note that sometimes the Caribbean islands are included in Central America country listings too.

3. There are 7 countries in Central America. Click on the flags to learn more about these countries:

Central

America

Belize FlagBelize
El Salvador FlagEl Salvador
Guatemala FlagGuatemala
Honduras FlagHonduras
Nicaragua FlagNicaragua

The Central American countries Belize and Guatemala border Mexico while Panama is considered a transcontinental country and borders Colombia that is a country belonging to the South American continent.

4. Largest Country: Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is slightly larger than the state of Pennsylvania/USA or slightly smaller than Greece or about double the land area of Sri Lanka.

5. Smallest Country: El Salvador

El Salvador is about the same size as the state of New Jersey in the USA or a bit larger than Slovenia or double the size as Lebanon.

6. Largest Capital City: Guatemala City in Guatemala.

The largest capital city of the region is Guatemala City with a population of 3 million people.

Guatemala CityGuatemala City

7. The capital cities of the seven countries are: 

  • Nicaragua: Managua
  • Honduras: Tegucigalpa
  • Guatemala: Guatemala City
  • Panama: Panama City
  • Costa Rica: San José
  • Belize: Belmopan
  • El Salvador: San Salvador

8. The northernmost country of Central America is Belize, the southernmost country is Panama.

The southernmost point off the mainland is Cocos Island, a Costa Rican island. Cocos island is located about 550 km/ 342 miles to the southwest of the country in the Pacific Ocean.

Costa Rica's Cocos IslandCocos Island

9. A mountain chain runs the length of Central America from Mexico to Panama. The longest chain and highest mountains are located in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas that crosses Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. 

10. Volcanoes: The region is often affected by natural disasters due to volcanic activities, earthquakes and tropical storms and hurricanes.

More than 200 volcanic eruptions took place in the Central American region in the last thirty years. The most active volcanoes are located in Guatemala and in northwestern Costa Rica where the Arenal volcano is located.

Arenal volcano in Costa RicaArenal volcano in Costa Rica

11. Highest Mountain: Tajumulco in Guatemala.

The highest mountain in Central America is a volcano called Tajumulco in Guatemala. Volcán Tajumulco is 4220 m/ 13,845 ft high.

12. Biggest Lake: Lake Nicaragua.

Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America.

Lake Nicaragua with Isla de OmetepeLake Nicaragua with Isla de Ometepe

13. Biggest Island: Isla de Ometepe (Spanish and Nahuatl, meaning: Island of the two mountains) in Lake Nicaragua is the world's largest island in a freshwater lake. The island is formed by two volcanoes.

More Central America Facts

14. Population of Central America: There are about 48 million people in Central America. 

Smiling GuatemalansSmiling Guatemalans

Guatemala is the most populous country with about 18.2 million people. Most of the people in the region live in rural areas, in the fertile mountain valleys and along the coastline. 

Belize is the least populated country in Central America with a population of under one million people.

15. People of Central America: Amerindian ethnic groups dominated in the area until the colonisation. Mayans and Aztecs Mayan population still accounts for about half of the Guatemalan people and the Mayan language is still spoken by a third of the population in Guatemala. This country also recognises 21 Mayan languages.

Xunantunich Mayan ruins in BelizeXunantunich Mayan ruins in Belize

16. The largest cities in Central America are:

  • Guatemala City/ Guatemala
  • Panama City/ Panama and 
  • San José in Costa Rica

17. Languages in Central America: The main languages of the region are Spanish and English as well as many local languages. Spanish is the most spoken language in the region with more than 85% of the population in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama speaking Spanish.

18. The official language in Belize is English, as Belize once was a British colony. Belize only gained independence from the UK in 1981. This country was the last to gain independence in Central America.

19. Religion: The main religion is Christianity (95%). Most people in the region are Roman Catholics but there are also larger numbers of protestants and followers of other Christian faiths. The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in León/ Nicaragua is the largest church in Central America.

Cathedral Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in León in NicaraguaCathedral of León in Nicaragua

Central America Facts
Landmarks and Attractions

20. Attractions and major landmarks in Central America include:

  • Belize: Great Blue Hole is a marine sinkhole in the Lighthouse Reef about 70 km/ 43 miles off the Belize coastline. This round-shaped hole is about 124 m deep/ 407 ft. and is popular with scuba divers.
Blue Hole in BelizeBelize's Blue Hole
  • Maya ruins and colonial towns
  • Guatemala’s volcanic Lake Atitlan and the pools at Semuc Champey 
  • Nicaragua’s rainforest which is the largest in the Western Hemisphere
  • Panama’s cloud forest and the Panama canal
Panama CanalPanama Canal

The Panama Canal is an artificial waterway that is 82 km/ 51 miles long. It connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean. The canal was first opened in 1914 and was further extended in 2016. It now has three sets of locks and there are artificial lakes and a reservoir.

and so many more attractions to visit... we will upload more here soon!

Central America Facts
Wildlife and Biodiversity

21. Animals: In Central America there are tapirs, piranhas and anacondas and many other animals. The toucan is also unique to the Americas and endemic in Central America. The birds with the colourful bills live in hollow trees in the tropical rainforests.

Toucan birdToucan bird

22. Biodiversity: Costa Rica is a megadiverse country and has the highest biodiversity of the Central American countries with over 13,000 species and especially high numbers of Amphibian and reptile species.

23. However, Belize is the country in the region with the most well protected natural territory as about 40% of the country have official protected status. The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

Central America Facts | Economy

24. Economy: Guatemala has the largest economy of the Central American countries.

The most important agricultural produce and natural resources of the region are coffee (El Salvador), bananas (Honduras), bananas and pineapples (Costa Rica) or Palm oil (Guatemala).

BananasBananas

25. Main natural resources in Central America are minerals such as iron ore (used to make steel) or nickel and agricultural produce such as bananas, coffee, sugar, cocoa and seafood/fish. Timber is an important export product too.

Test your Knowledge

Popular Pages

Useful Resources for Central America Facts

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Central America." WorldFactBook. Last accessed 27 May 2021
  • Global Volcanism Program. "Tajumulco." Smithsonian Institute. Last accessed 27 May 2021
  • National Geographic. "World Atlas for Young Explorers". Washington: 2010. pages 86-92
  • Millennium. "Earth Condensed - The World Atlas." Millennium House. 2009


Image Credits on Central America Facts page: Shutterstock.com and wikipedia commons

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Central American countries' land area 

  1. Nicaragua
  2. Honduras
  3. Guatemala
  4. Panama
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Belize
  7. El Salvador

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