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Puerto Rico 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
water: 145 sq km
land: 8,959 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
501 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 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: 3.95%
permanent crops: 5.52%
other: 90.53% (2001)
Irrigated land:
400 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
periodic droughts; hurricanes
Environment - current issues:
erosion; occasional drought causing water shortages
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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