Puerto Rico/Geography

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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

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