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Sierra de los Cuchumatanes

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Title: Sierra de los Cuchumatanes  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mayan languages, List of mountain ranges, Pan-American Highway (North America), Huehuetenango Department, Spanish conquest of Guatemala, Páramo, Cuilco, San Pedro Soloma, San Juan Ixcoy, Todos Santos Cuchumatán
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sierra de los Cuchumatanes

The Sierra de los Cuchumatanes is the highest non-volcanic mountain range in Central America. Its elevations range from 500 m (1,600 ft) to over 3,800 m (12,500 ft), and it covers a total area of ±16,350 km².[1] With an area of 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi) situated above 3,000 m (9,800 ft), it is also the most extensive highland region in Central America.[2][3] The Sierra de los Cuchumatanes is located in western Guatemala in the departments of Huehuetenango and El Quiché. Its western and south-western borders are marked by the Seleguá River which separates it from the Sierra Madre volcanic chain. Its southern border is defined by the Río Negro which flows into the Chixoy River that turns northwards and separates the Cuchumatanes from the mountains in the Alta Verapaz region. The highest peaks, which reach up to 3,837 m (12,589 ft)[4] are in the department of Huehuetenango.

The name "Cuchumatán" is derived from the Mam words "Cuchuj" (to join or unite) and "matán" (with superior force) and means "that which was brought together by superior force". Cuchumatán may also be a derivation of the Nahuatl word "kochmatlán" which means "place of the parrot hunters".[1]

The Cuchumatanes has a variety of different biomes, including pine-oak lower montane and montane humid forest, while lower montane wet forest and neotropic grass & shrub lands are present on higher slopes and plateaus,[5] and subtropical pluvial forest in the northern piemonte.[2]



External links

  • Cuchumatanes - BirdLife IBA Factsheet
  • Todos Santos
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