Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras



Geographic Coordinates:



Total: 21,041 sq km

Country comparison to the world: 153

Land: 20,721 sq km

Water: 320 sq km


Area – Comparative:

Slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Land Boundaries:

Total: 545 km

Border countries: Guatemala 203 km, Honduras 342 km


307 km

Maritime Claims:

Territorial sea: 12 nm

Contiguous zone: 24 nm

Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


Tropical; rainy season (May to October); dry season (November to April); tropical on coast; temperate in uplands.


Mostly mountains with narrow coastal belt and central plateau.

Elevation Extremes:

Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Highest point: Cerro El Pital 2,730 m

Natural Resources:

Hydropower, geothermal power, petroleum, arable land

Land Use:

Arable land: 31.61%

Permanent crops: 10.93%
Other: 57.46% (2011)

Irrigated Land:

449.9 sq km (2003)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

25.23 cu km (2011)

Freshwater Withdrawal (Domestic/ Industrial/ Agricultural):

Total: 1.84 cu km/yr (22%/14%/64%)
Per capita: 301.9 cu m/yr (2007)

Natural Hazards:

Known as the Land of Volcanoes; frequent and sometimes destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity; extremely susceptible to hurricanes.
Volcanism: significant volcanic activity; San Salvador (elev. 1,893 m), which last erupted in 1917, has the potential to cause major harm to the country’s capital, which lies just below the volcano’s slopes; San Miguel (elev. 2,130 m), which last erupted in 2002, is one of the most active volcanoes in the country; other historically active volcanoes include Conchaguita, Ilopango, Izalco, and Santa Ana.

Environment – Current Issues:

Deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes

Environment – International Agreements:

Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
Signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography – Note:

Smallest Central American country and only one without a coastline on Caribbean Sea