DixPix Photographs

     

TROPICAL CENTRAL AMERICA

 
     
  Terrain - LAKES AND RIVERS  

 

It is no secret that the tropics are wet.  Obviously rivers are everywhere, and some are rather energetic, given that highlands are often close to coastlines.  Lakes, at least natural ones, are not typical of the landscape, as there has been no glacial gouging and few agents that produce closed basins, but there are a few major exceptions such as Lake Nicaragua.

 

When it rains in the tropics it can be a downpour of biblical intensity, at least so it seems to unaccustomed gringos.  It isn't a cold rain, however, so no fear of hypothermia, and the onslaughts are usually short. Click to see big picture (640x451 pixels; 141 KB)
On the other hand, the mists and fogs can last, there is a reason that the term 'cloud forest' has become definitive. Click to see big picture (640x422 pixels; 95 KB)
The impressive Sumidero Canyon in the Chiapis State of Mexico.  Here the Grijalva River has used a natural crustal weakness to cut a cleft of immense size. Click to see big picture (640x428 pixels; 112 KB)
Also in Chiapis, the lovely Agua Azul waterfall complex.  The water color is enhanced by an underlying coating of travertine, a form of limestone. Click to see big picture (595x480 pixels; 98 KB)
Here a crew is setting up for a beer commercial at the base of Agua Azul.  Officially it is called Cataractas de Agua Azul. Click to see big picture (640x418 pixels; 81 KB)
Near Agua Azul is another outstanding falls, this going by the name of Misol Ha.  One can actually walk on a ledge behind the cataract, just like in the movies.  It is reputed to have a 35 meter drop. Click to see big picture (640x414 pixels; 96 KB)
Lago Atitlan of Guatemala is a very deep lake in an immense volcanic caldera, surrounded by other volcanoes.  Some claim it is the world's most beautiful lake in view of its setting.  We will save that discussion for cocktail hour. Click to see big picture (339x480 pixels; 47 KB)
On the north coast of Honduras, the waves of the Caribbean have built a berm, trapping a large body of water known as Laguna Ibans. Click to see big picture (501x480 pixels; 66 KB)
An ancient volcanic caldera (crater) near Granada in Nicaragua has filled with water to become known as Laguna de Apoyo.  It is now part of a nature reserve, in conflict with agricultural interests. Click to see big picture (640x372 pixels; 72 KB)
Lago Nicaragua fills such a huge basin that it must be viewed from space, possible thanks to Google Earth.  Some of the features mentioned in this website have been named for reference. Click to see big picture (557x480 pixels; 101 KB)
The size of Lago Nicaragua allows enough 'fetch" to produce impressive waves, that can be dangerous to smaller boats. Click to see big picture (640x416 pixels; 77 KB)
The Islas Solentiname form an archipelago in the southern part of Lago Nicaragua.  Their inhabitants are known for artistry. Click to see big picture (640x213 pixels; 39 KB)
Isla Venada of the Solentiname Islands. Click to see big picture (640x385 pixels; 61 KB)
Lago Nicaragua drains (to the Caribbean) by the San Juan River, adjacent to the Nicaragua--Costa Rica border.  At the intake is the town of San Carlos. Click to see big picture (640x444 pixels; 88 KB)
One of the river buses, that deliver people and goods to points along the Rio San Juan. Click to see big picture (640x355 pixels; 83 KB)
And there is an incredible variety of other traffic, as local settlers have solved the problem of river transport. Click to see big picture (640x381 pixels; 90 KB)
There is one piece of white water on the San Juan, it is known as the Devil's Rapids, in Spanish Raudal el Diablo. Click to see big picture (640x461 pixels; 113 KB)
The Spanish built a fort to guard the rapids, after some enterprising pirates proved they could get all the way up to Granada on Lago Nicaragua. The official name is Castillo de la Concepci. Click to see big picture (640x357 pixels; 70 KB)
Both the lake and the river are an important source of fish for the region.  There is also a dangerous fresh water shark in Lago Nicaragua. Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 152 KB)
The Cataracta de Toro in a river of the same name, to north of San Jose in Costa Rica. Click to see big picture (360x480 pixels; 79 KB)
Away from the steeper topography, there are quiet rivers that lead one onward under jungle canopy.  The is the Rio Puerto Viejo, a tributary of the Sarapiqui. Click to see big picture (640x450 pixels; 134 KB)
Part of the border between Costa Rica and Panama is along the Sixaola River.  In the 1980's, dugouts were doing a brisk business in contraband. Click to see big picture (640x451 pixels; 89 KB)
Cascada de la Vega, an example from near the border of the Kuna Yala indigenous semiautonomous region of Caribbean Panama. Click to see big picture (334x480 pixels; 80 KB)
Two examples of nameless falls in northwestern Colombia, on the left from near Pereira, and on the right from the alpine zone on Volcan Ruiz. Click to see big picture (606x480 pixels; 128 KB)
In Cayambi-coca Park of northern Ecuador, a cascade appears to erupt from a fissure in the rock.
A complex of falls marks Ecuador's Hollin River, descending into the Amazon Basin.
In the rainforests, finding bushless cliffs to practice rappels tends to lead to waterfalls.  Here above the town of Ulba, near Baños, Ecuador.
Manta de la Novia Falls is one of several that plunge into the Pastaza River gorge below the town of Baños, Ecuador.
An inverted zipline run over the gorge at the head of Pastaza River below Baños.