Located in center of the American continent, Nicaragua is the largest Central American country. Nicaragua is home to very rich biodiversity, a truly stunning array of flora and fauna. There are forests of different types, subtropical dry forest, tropical rain forest, mangrove forest, wetlands, grass savanna and tree savanna. On the Pacific side there is mostly tropical dry forest and savanna. In the north, in the mountainous regions, there are cloud forests and pine forests. The two longest rivers in Central America run along the borders of Nicaragua. The Rio Coco (the longest at 680 km or 423 miles) runs along the northern border with Honduras and the Rio San Juan runs along the border with Costa Rica in the south. The Rio San Juan area has both tropical wet forests and rain forests. There are many miles of coastline and beaches as well.
The Pacific Basin is dotted with innumerable volcanoes, lagoons and lakes. The two great lakes are Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua and there are also 15 crater lakes. In the middle of Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America and 21st largest by area in the world, is Ometepe Island formed by two volcanoes.
The climate (always hot) and the minimal altitudinal variation have created an environment where diversity has bloomed. There are about 250 species of amphibians and reptiles, about 250 species of mammals, 700+ species of birds, 640+ species of fish, 350+ species of trees, 12,000+ of species of plants (as many as 600 orchids alone) and perhaps more than 250,000 types of insects. There are many creatures as yet undiscovered in the wilds of Nicaragua.
Some standout species are the jaguar, puma, ocelot, tapir, deer, anteater, macaw, quetzal, harpy eagle, and toucan. There are diverse types of monkeys including spider, howler and capuchin monkeys. There are also many types of lizards and snakes, including boas. Plus birds, bats, frogs, crabs, spiders and crocodiles. There are sea turtles on both coasts and a species of shark, the bull shark, which can tolerate the fresh water of Lake Nicaragua.
All these species are distributed in the different biomes from the country. There are a number of protected areas with nearly 20 percent of the territory listed as protected. The Reserve of Bosawás is the third largest reserve in the world and has the second largest rain forest in the Americas after the Amazon. There are other vast reserves such as the Guatuzos and Indio-Maize Reserves and the central part of the country is sparsely populated. This has helped preserve the biodiversity but logging and deforestation are still a problem. Agriculture abounds in more populated regions. Agricultural products include coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soy and beans. Animal products include beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products, seafood, shrimp and lobster.
In Nicaragua, locals and tourists enjoy volcano hiking, surfing in the pacific, diving in the Caribbean on Corn Island and wildlife viewing along the Rio San Juan and in many other parts of the country.