Nicaragua Geography


The climate is tropical with two seasons, the rainy season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April). Temperatures range between 25 to 35 degrees Celsius all year round. The hottest months are March and April; then the land on the Pacific side is dusty and parched, and the heat in the cities becomes difficult to bear. Those who can go to the beach during Holy Week (Semana Santa). At the beginning of May, the beginning of the rainy season brings the longed-for relief.

The climate in the country varies depending on the geographical location and altitude. Temperatures are milder in the central mountains, and the lush vegetation survives the dry season more easily than in the Pacific. The Atlantic region is predominantly permanently humid: Here rain showers can also be expected in the dry season, and the amounts of precipitation in Bluefields and San Juan del Norte reach lonely record values of 4-5,000 mm.

Ecological risks

According to a2zgov, Nicaragua is the scene of natural disasters. The devastation of the devastating earthquake of 1972 can still be seen in Managua today. Since part of the city lies directly over an earthquake crack, it was not clear for a long time whether the destroyed city center could be rebuilt at all. Argentine geologist José Viramonte stated in April 2010 before the Academy of Geography and History of Nicaragua that Managua is located in the center of a highly explosive volcanic area. The lagoons could explode and bury the capital in minutes under water floods and hot lava flows. The outbreaks of 1932 and 1972 could repeat themselves at any time, you just don’t know when. “I’m not saying this to alarm, but we have to face the dangers that lie in wait for us,” said the geologist. The awareness that the earth can open up and devour us at any moment is part of an attitude towards life in Nicaragua to which foreigners have to get used to.

The whole country is highly endangered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The state institute INETER has a current map with the seismic activities of the last 10 days. In May 2015, the eruption of the Telica volcano was watched and filmed by tourists. At the beginning of December 2015, the Momotombo volcano (the beautiful mountain cone can be clearly seen from anywhere in Managua) awoke from its relative calm since 1905. Its plume of smoke rises 8 km, and there is local ash rain. INETER speaks of “a lot of energy” in the mountain, but initially only sees “light and moderate” eruptions.

In August 2016, the documentary filmmaker Sam Cossman from “National Geographic” carried out a spectacular exploration of the Masaya volcano. Impressive images can be viewed of his descent into the crater. Cossmann and his team also installed a system of wireless sensors on their expedition that will enable future outbreaks to be predicted. In its May 2019 issue, National Geographic published the report Exploring the Volcanoes of Nicaragua.

The hurricanes (tropical rainstorms) must also be mentioned here, the intensity of which has increased sharply in recent decades. The Hurricane Mitch raged in 1998 in Central America; Nicaragua has suffered at least 4,000 deaths and billions of dollars in damage. In September 2007 a new catastrophe came in the form of Hurricane Felix, which wreaked havoc on the Atlantic coast. On November 3, 2020, the tropical storm ETA reached the Caribbean coast near Bilwi (Puerto Cabezas) and destroyed many Miskito villages and the region’s transport links. The clean-up work had barely started when a second disaster followed on November 16 in the form of Hurricane IOTA. The number of strong storms in the Caribbean has increased and, according to experts, is a consequence of climate change (see also the HISTORY and STATE government and political corona crisis and hurricanes ETA and IOTA). According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2019 (German Watch), Nicaragua is one of the 10 countries that are most at risk from climate change worldwide (damage assessment 1997-2018). After Puerto Rico, Honduras, Myanmar, Haiti and the Philippines, it landed in 6th place.

Another hazard that can occur as a result of earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions is landslides (deslizamientos). Current information from INETER. Work has been carried out in this area over the past ten years to enable risk assessment and crisis prevention at the endangered areas.

It is not particularly surprising that disasters are always an important issue in politics. After Hurricane Mitch, there was massive criticism of the corruption and ineptitude of the then Alemán government. The opportunity to combat the social causes of environmental degradation with disaster aid from abroad (at least 1.5 billion US dollars for Nicaragua) was not used. In the case of hurricane “Eta”, which struck Nicaragua on November 4, 2020, criticism of the government’s crisis management is already being voiced. The consequences of Nicaragua’s risk of crisis are long-term and far-reaching. Any serious forecast about the future development of the country must take into account the high risk of natural disasters.

Concepción Volcano on Ometepe Island Nicaragua