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Puerto Rico (commonwealth associated with the US) Geography

    Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic

    Geographic coordinates: 18 15 N, 66 30 W

    Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

    Area:
    total: 9,104 sq km
    land: 8,959 sq km
    water: 145 sq km

    Area—comparative: slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island

    Land boundaries: 0 km

    Coastline: 501 km

    Maritime claims:
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation

    Terrain: mostly mountains, with coastal plain belt in north; mountains precipitous to sea on west coast; sandy beaches along most coastal areas

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Cerro de Punta 1,338 m

    Natural resources: some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and offshore oil

    Land use:
    arable land: 4%
    permanent crops: 5%
    permanent pastures: 26%
    forests and woodland: 16%
    other: 49% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 390 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: periodic droughts; hurricanes

    Environment—current issues: erosion; occasional drought causing water shortages

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: NA
    signed, but not ratified: NA

    Geography—note: important location along the Mona Passage—a key shipping lane to the Panama Canal; San Juan is one of the biggest and best natural harbors in the Caribbean; many small rivers and high central mountains ensure land is well watered; south coast relatively dry; fertile coastal plain belt in north

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)