El Salvador Geography




By: Hugh C. Talley


When it was suggested that I write a post on El Salvador geography I thought it was a great subject and would be easy to write about, however after researching this I found it to be a bit complex, but very interesting.

El Salvador borders the North Pacific Ocean to the south and southwest, with Guatemala to the north-northwest and Honduras to the north-northeast. The Gulf of Fonseca (Golfo de Fonseca) separates El Salvador from Nicaragua. El Salvador is the smallest Central American country.

El Salvador is the only Central American country without a coastline on the Caribbean Sea.

The terrain of El Salvador is mostly mountains with a narrow coastal belt and the central plateau. The land area is 8,124 Square miles.

El Salvador is located within what is called the Ring of Fire, a series of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean.

According to volcanologists, the vast percentage of potentially damaging volcanoes stand in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Five of these are located in El Salvador: Izalco, Santa Ana, San Salvador, San Vincente, and San Miguel.

The Santa Ana volcano, also known as Ilamatepec, erupted on the first of October 2005. This was its first eruption since 1904. Reportedly there was a flood of boiling mud, water, volcanic ash and it was said that lava rocks the size of cars shot out of it.

There are many volcanic lakes, the largest is Lake Ilopango, located directly east of San Salvador. Lake Ilopango is the crater of an extinct volcano at an altitude of 1,450 ft. and has an area of 40 sq. mi. The lake is now a popular tourist resort.

Approximately 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire. IN January and February of 2001, there were two major earthquakes in El Salvador, the January quake was a 7.6 and the February quake was a 6.1. There were many deaths and injuries, many people lost their homes from mudslides.

I have experienced many small trimmers since moving here in 2011, they usually only last 3-4 seconds. Where we live in Cara Sucia, there has been no major damage from earthquakes in recent years. I must say though when we have a trimmer, it has me worried.

El Salvador has hundreds of rivers. The most significant is the Lempa River; some sources say it rises in the mountains of Honduras, flows south across the central plateau and empties into the Pacific Ocean, Wikipedia states that it Originates in Guatemala, crosses the northern mountain range, flows along the central plateau and cuts through the southern volcanic range to empty into the Pacific Ocean. The Lempa River is El Salvador’s only navigable river.

El Salvador has 191 miles of coastline with some of the best beaches in the world. Unlike most of the Central American coast, El Salvador does not have Atlantic Coastline; it has only Pacific Coastline. People from all over the world come to El Salvador for surfing. The beaches here are very nice and it is a great place to enjoy and relax.

This is a brief report on the geography of El Salvador, after doing a few days of research I realize how complex the geography of this small country is. I have found this study very interesting and I do hope that you will find this interesting.

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I have added some maps and pictures. The maps are not very clear, if you google El Salvador geography maps you will get some good maps.


  Ring of Fire






Map of El Salvador


Mountians of El Salvador






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