This is Central America!
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids|January 2021
It’s time to visit Central America. But first, it helps to know exactly where Central America is. Despite its name, it is the southernmost part of North America, which can seem a little confusing. It makes up most of the isthmus dividing the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. An isthmus is a narrow strip of land that connects two larger landmasses and has water on both sides.
Marcia Amidon Lusted

Central America is located between Mexico and South America, and it includes seven countries: Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize. Because they are part of the isthmus between North America and South America, no Central American location is more than 125 miles from the sea.

LET’S EXPLORE EACH OF CENTRAL AMERICA’S SEVEN COUNTRIES

Belize: Land of the Maya

Belize is on Central America’s northern coast and shares a border with Mexico. It is 8,860 square miles in size, just a little larger than the state of Massachusetts. But despite its small size, Belize has a wide variety of geographical features, from mountains and forests to coast with coral reefs and more than 450 tiny islands known as Cayes (which is pronounced “keys”). The Maya civilization flourished in Belize for more than a thousand years, and amazing Mayan ruins are everywhere, including the ancient city of Caracole with its towering pyramid. Belizeans come from many different cultures, and they speak English, Spanish, and Belizean Creole.

Guatemala: Volcanoes and Ruins

Guatemala also borders Mexico to the north and Belize to the east. With an area of 42,042 square miles, it is one of the larger Central American countries. It is known for its chain of 27 volcanoes that run for 180 miles from north to south. Unfortunately, most of Guatemala’s population lives in the volcanic region, so eruptions and earthquakes take a heavy toll on lives and property. Guatemala is also known for its rain forests and its many Mayan ruins, including the Mayan city of Tikal. Lake Atitlán, which fills a huge volcanic crater, is one of Guatemala’s most beautiful sites. Guatemala’s population is very multicultural. Its official language is Spanish.

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