Countries of Central America

Nicaraguan women wearing the traditional Mestizaje dance costume were photographed by Omar Caldera on November 20, 2006.
Nicaraguan women wearing the traditional Mestizaje dance costume were photographed by Omar Caldera on November 20, 2006. | Source
St. Herman's Cave in Blue Hole National Park in the Cayo District in Belize was photographed by Yourexhalekiss in March 2003.
St. Herman's Cave in Blue Hole National Park in the Cayo District in Belize was photographed by Yourexhalekiss in March 2003. | Source

On which continent is Central America located?

  • North America
  • South America
See results without voting

Seven Countries on One Peninsula

The sub-continent of Central America, a peninsula between North America and South America, is comprised of seven countries.

  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama

The official language of one of the countries in English. One of the countries does not have any army.

Read about all seven countries, and then take the Test Your Knowledge of Central America quiz which follows. Not all quiz answers appear in the text. If you don't know the answer to a question...guess. After you've taken the quiz, please post your score in the Comments section at the end of the article. It's fun to compare the score you received with the scores my other readers have gotten in the quiz.

Central America

show route and directions
B markerCosta Rica -
[get directions]

C markerEl Salvador -
[get directions]

D markerGuatemala -
[get directions]

E markerHonduras -
[get directions]

F markerNicaragua -
[get directions]

Belize

Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize is the only country in Central America in which English is the official language.

El Castillo, pictured below, is part of the Xunantunich Mayan archeological site. Xunantunich served as a ceremonial center in the Belize Valley area from 600 to 1000 AD—the Late and Terminal Classic periods in Mayan history. The ghost of a woman with glowing fire red eyes who is dressed all in white has been seen at El Castillo several times. The woman walks up the steps of El Castillo and then disappears through a wall in the pyramid-shaped castle.

El Castillo, a Mayan archeological site in Xunantunich, Belize was photographed on December 3, 2006 by Ian Mackenzie.
El Castillo, a Mayan archeological site in Xunantunich, Belize was photographed on December 3, 2006 by Ian Mackenzie. | Source

Belize

Costa Rica

There are several active volcanoes in Costa Rica, among them Arenal, Irazu, and Poás—pictured below. Poás is located in Poás Volcano National Park. The volcano’s main crater is 950 feet (290 meters) deep. There are frequent small eruptions, either water (geysers) or lava. The last major eruptions occurred during the period between 1952 and 1954.

Costa Rica is one of the world’s 22 oldest democracies. It is a peace-loving country which abolished its army in 1949.

This photograph of the crater of Poás volcano in Costa Rica was taken by Peter Andersen on December 6, 2004.
This photograph of the crater of Poás volcano in Costa Rica was taken by Peter Andersen on December 6, 2004. | Source

Costa Rica

El Salvador

El Salvador, which is the smallest country in Central America and the most densely populated one, has 300 rivers, 14 lakes, and 25 volcanoes, two of which— San Miguel and Izalco— are still active. The US Dollar has been the official currency in El Salvador since 2001.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe—pictured below—in San Salvador, El Salvador took 40 years to build. The feast day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, held on December 12, is one of the three most important religious celebrations in Central America. In December 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to the Aztec Indian Juan Diego. This apparition caused the Aztec conversion to Catholicism in Central America, South America, and Mexico.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in San Salvador, El Salvador was photographed by Teko salvadoreño on December 4, 2010.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in San Salvador, El Salvador was photographed by Teko salvadoreño on December 4, 2010. | Source

El Salvador

Guatemala

Santo Tomás Church in Chichicastenango, Guatemala was built circa 1545 on the platform of a temple which pre-dates Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. The steps of the church—pictured below—originally lead to a Mayan temple. A market takes place in the town square which borders the church and frequently extends to the church’s steps, which are considered sacred Mayan ground.

This market on the steps of Santo Tomás Church in Chichicastenango, Guatemala was photographed by Gabridelca in the summer of 1997.
This market on the steps of Santo Tomás Church in Chichicastenango, Guatemala was photographed by Gabridelca in the summer of 1997. | Source

Guatemala

Honduras

The La Moskitia area of Honduras, home to the Miskito Indians ethnic group, was popularized in the novel "The Mosquito Coast" by Paul Theroux. The novel was made into a movie starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, the trailer for which appears below.

Honduras, unfortunately, has the world’s highest murder rate, according to studies published in September 2012 by the United Nations. The reason for this is drug trafficking and the country being used as a transit point for cocaine being transported to the United States. Soldiers ride on all buses traveling in Tegucigalpa, the capital city, in an attempt to prevent gangs from boarding the buses and robbing passengers.

This typical house in Nacaome, a municipality in the Honduran department of Valle, was photographed by by Alfredo Bianco Geymet on June 24, 2008.
This typical house in Nacaome, a municipality in the Honduran department of Valle, was photographed by by Alfredo Bianco Geymet on June 24, 2008. | Source

Honduras

Nicaragua

The largest and most sparsely populated country in Central America, Nicaragua’s first Spanish settlement was the town of Granada, founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba. (A typical Nicaraguan street in Granada is pictured below.)

Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and is second to Haiti in being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

This typical Nicaraguan street in the town of Granada was photographed by Milei Vencel on November 23, 2011.
This typical Nicaraguan street in the town of Granada was photographed by Milei Vencel on November 23, 2011. | Source

Nicaragua

Panama

Traces of villages dating from 2500 to 1700 BC have been discovered in Panama, the southernmost country in Central America. The first European to explore the Isthmus of Panama was not Christopher Columbus. Rodrigo de Bastidas, a Spanish explorer who sailed with Columbus on his second voyage to the Americas, discovered Panama in 1500 on a voyage which he organized, and founded the city of Santa Marta a year before Columbus reached Panama.

The Panama Canal Gatun locks were photographed by Stan Shebs on January 2, 2000.
The Panama Canal Gatun locks were photographed by Stan Shebs on January 2, 2000. | Source

Panama

Test Your Knowledge of Central America

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Comments 46 comments

Jordanwalker39 profile image

Jordanwalker39 4 years ago from GA

Great hub! I really enjoyed reading it. I learned a lot today, I am going o have to put some ice on my head...


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Jordan (Jordanwalker39),

I'm glad you enjoyed my Hub. Thanks for reading the article and being the first to comment.

Did you take the quiz? If you did, please post another comment and tell us what score you received.

Did absorbing so much knowledge at once give you a headache? I've published a dozen or so geography quiz Hubs. Perhaps you should pace yourself when reading the other ones.


Jordanwalker39 profile image

Jordanwalker39 4 years ago from GA

yep, I got a 26% I need to go take a geography class. I will try to pace myself next time. haha.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Jordan,

Thanks for stopping by again. If you take one of my geography quizzes every day for the next two weeks, you'll be an *expert* in no time.


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Daisy this was truly so very informative and interesting too. I re-learned quite a bit that I hadn't thought of since my high school geography classes. Thank you so much and truly wonderful hub article. Have of course voted up, shared and tweeted too!!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Janine,

Thank you for reading my article, commenting in it, sharing it, and tweeting it. I appreciate your support of my writing.

I have created and published more than a dozen geography / quiz type of Hubs. I took a break from writing this type of article for a while.

Some of my readers have mentioned in their comments in other Hubs I've published that they enjoy my quiz Hubs, so I decided to publish another Hub in the series. I'm thinking about creating a *Countries of South America* Hub next.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I think this one is your best yet on this series. Great way to learn geography while enjoying the tour.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

This is a very interesting hub. I have visited several of those countries and have always had a wonderful time. I love all your pictures and the interesting facts for each country. Voted up!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Dianna (teaches12345),

Thank you for reading my article and including such a wonderful comment.

I think the formatting of this Hub is better than some of my earlier geography quizzes...and there is more variety in the types of capsules I used.

What I found especially interesting is that the smallest Central American country is the most densely populated, and the largest Central American country is the most sparsely populated.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Pam,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I've traveled to more than 30 countries, island nations, and island dependencies, but I've never been to Central America. I've been to Mexico and a few South American countries, but not the peninsula between those areas.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

Love geography - loved this Hub but only got a 73% :((.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

suziecat7,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article, taking the quiz, and commenting. Your score is still a passing grade, so that's good!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Sad to say that although I've been to Mexico, I've not ventured further south to these places. You make them sound fascinating. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Aurelio (alocsin),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I appreciate your continued support of my geography Hubs / quizzes.

With all the traveling I've done, I haven't been to any of the Central American countries, either. I've been to Mexico and a number of countries in South America...Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Venezuela. After doing the research for this article, I've added Central America to my "to visit" list.


Jordanwalker39 profile image

Jordanwalker39 4 years ago from GA

I had better buy a lot of ice! haha.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Jordan,

Thanks for visiting again. I hope learning something new doesn't give you so much of a headache that you'll need the ice.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

I know so little about Central America even though my husband spent 18 months in Panama when he was in the Army. This was very educational and a great read Daisy.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mary (tillsontitan),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. My geography / quiz Hubs are a painless way to learn...for me while doing the research, and then for my readers.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

Daisy - Great geography lesson. I happen to favor Costa Rica. In fact I favor it enough to want to retire there. I don't like cold weather in the least being a Florida boy.

The Frog


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

The Frog Prince,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and commenting.

From what I've read, Costa Rica is a popular retirement location for Americans. I don't like cold weather, either. I've lived in Southern California for so long, I've gotten used to spring and summer weather all year long.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Interesting hub, daisy.

You enlightened me with many countries and now i can quiz my kid over it ;)

Voted up and sharing it across


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ruchira,

Thanks for reading my Hub, commenting in it, and sharing it. If your kid takes the quiz, please post another comment.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

This was an interesting virtual journey! I didn't take the quiz since I'm watching The Voice and wouldn't be able to concentrate. I like the photos!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Linda (Sunshine625),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. You can always come back and take the quiz another time.

I did something differently this time...I selected the photos and then wrote the article. Wikimedia Commons is a great resource for images for my geography articles if I don't have my own photos to include in my Hubs.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

A great hub with amazing photos.Eddy.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Eddy (Eiddwen),

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and commenting. I have Wikimedia Commons to thank for the photos in this Hub, although I do try to use my own photographs whenever I can.

I've published at least a dozen geography / quiz Hubs. I hope you get the chance to read some of the others.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

What an interesting part of the world! I enjoyed this hub about the countries in Central America and learned a lot. Thank you, Daisy!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Martie,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I had forgotten a lot of what I had learned in school about Central America. I enjoyed doing the research for this Hub. I learned a lot myself.


Mama Kim 8 profile image

Mama Kim 8 4 years ago

Great hub!! Very engaging and interesting ^_^ I only scored a 60% on your quiz though... I guess my short term memory isn't what it used to be ^_^ Although I went back and read about Costa Rica... I couldn't find where is said they banned hunting as a sport.

Wonderful hub I'm voting a bunch and sharing!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sasha (Mama Kim 8),

Thanks for reading my article, taking my quiz, and adding your comment. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

You missed the statement in the top section of the article..."Not all quiz answers appear in the text."


Mama Kim 8 profile image

Mama Kim 8 4 years ago

yup... that's what I missed... ^_^ I thought I was going crazy, lol. Again... fantastic hub!!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sasha,

Thanks for visiting again. I sometimes skip over introductions and go right to the main part of the story.

If you get a chance, you might like to read some of my other geography / quiz Hubs.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hi Daisy, and what an excellent hub this is.

Very informative and useful information as only you can do it....

Voted up and away

John


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

John,

It's nice to hear from you again. Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. I appreciate your very kind words.

Have you read my South America article? That one has some of my own photographs in it.


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

I just love reading your hubs on geography. I was so bad at it in grade school. :p Your outline and picture make it pleasant to read and come back to read it again. (too bad they didn't have books like this when I was growing up!) Love you, love your hubs! ♥


midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

A great, informative hub, well researched with excellent photos. You have made me want to visit South America. Thanks for the motivation!! Sharing!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Lisa (Rusticliving),

Thanks, my fellow Californian, for reading my article, taking my quiz, and adding your comments. I appreciate your very kind words. This was a fun Hub to research and write!

I published a Hub about California recently. Did you know there are 150 ghost towns in our state? I hope you get a chance to read that article.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Michelle (midget38),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting. All of the photographs I used in this Hub were from Wikimedia Commons. It's my primary source for images when I don't have my own to use.


Asp52 profile image

Asp52 3 years ago from England

Very interesting hub on an area of the world that is largely ignored by news articles. I know Belize is still used by the British Army for training in Jungle conditions and survival. And that El Salvador went to war with one of it's neighbours over a football match in the 1970s. Other than that my general knowledge of the region is sparse.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Andy (Asp52),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I've traveled to more than 30 countries and island nations and dependencies, but I've never been to any of the Central American countries. After researching and writing my article, I've put Central America on my "to travel" list.


Asp52 profile image

Asp52 3 years ago from England

I would like to see what the region has to offer as well, maybe when the children have grown up and moved out!!!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Andy (Asp52),

Thanks for visiting again. Traveling will probably be easier for you when your children are older.

I've published quite a few travel articles and geography quizzes. I've been having a terrible time deciding to which destination I should travel using my frequent flier miles. Every time I publish a new article, that's my destination of choice.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Daisy,

I studied geography in school, but the course did not include Central America. Later, when I began taking interest in world politics, I came to know about some of these countries. I took the quiz, and I could not answer more than 5 questions.

I have never included quiz in my hub, and I will like to try this capsule one of these days.

Cheers


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Vinaya,

Thanks for reading my article, taking the quiz, and commenting.

When I was in the Apprentice Program, it was suggested that we learn how to use all the capsules. Perhaps you'll have an opportunity to use the quiz capsule while you're in the program.


Vector design profile image

Vector design 3 years ago from California

Really nice article Daisy. Thanks for this hub.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Saim (Vector design),

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.

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