Honduras is located at the great bend where Central America sweeps east into the Caribbean from the base of Mexico and then takes an abrupt 90-degree turn southward before trending eastward again to link with South America. The second-largest country in Central America, after Nicaragua, Honduras covers 112,491 square kilometers, an area about the size of England. While one imaginative geographer likened Honduras’s shape to that of “a sleeping basilisk,” the more prosaic-minded among us see an inverted triangle, the apex pointing due south into the Pacific Ocean and the base (bulging on the eastern side) facing north into the Caribbean Sea.
The country’s perimeter consists of a 342-kilometer border with El Salvador, a 256-kilometer border with Guatemala, a 922-kilometer border with Nicaragua, 735 kilometers of north-facing Caribbean coastline, and 153 kilometers of southern, Pacific coastline. At its widest point—between Cerro Montecristo, on the border with El Salvador and Guatemala, and Cabo Gracias a Dios, bordering Nicaragua—Honduras extends 675 kilometers.
The main landmass of Honduras sits roughly between latitude 16° N on the north coast and 13° N at the Golfo de Fonseca, and between longitude 83°15’ W at Cabo Gracias a Dios and 89°20’ W near Nueva Ocotepeque. Honduras’s Caribbean possessions, the Swan Islands, lie at latitude 17°30’ N.
Approximately two-thirds of Honduras is covered by rugged mountain ranges, or cordilleras. These mountains are the country’s principal defining geographic feature and have played an important role in shaping Honduran history.
Flat areas are found mainly along the narrow north and south coastal plains, the jungle-covered lowland plains of the Mosquitia, and a very few inland valleys.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition