Honduras is mountainous, with the exception of the northern Ulúa and Aguán river valleys on the Caribbean Sea and the southern coastal area. There are four main topographic regions: the eastern lowlands and lower mountain slopes, with 20% of the land area and no more than 5% of the population; the northern coastal plains and mountain slopes, with 13% of the land and about 20% of the population; the central highlands, with 65% of the area and 70% of the population; and the Pacific lowlands and their adjacent lower mountain slopes, with 2% of the area and 5% of the population.
The width of the Caribbean coastal plain varies from practically no shore to about 120 km (75 mi), and the coastal plain of the Gulf of Fonseca is generally narrow. The highest elevations are in the northwest (almost 3,000 m/10,000 ft) and in the south (over 2,400 m/8,000 ft). Many intermontane valleys, at elevations of 910 to 1,370 m (3,000 to 4,500 ft), are settled. The old capital city, Comayagua, lies in a deep rift that cuts the country from north to south. Tegucigalpa, the modern capital, is situated in the southern highlands at about 910 m (3,000 ft). There are two large rivers in the north, the Patuca and the Ulúa. Other important features include the Choluteca, Nacaome, and Goascorán rivers in the south, Lake Yojoa in the west, and Caratasca Lagoon in the northeast.