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Geography of Puerto Rico

Location: Caribbean, archipelago 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

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: 3.72%
Permanent crops: 5.07%
Other: 91.21% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 400 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: Periodic droughts; hurricanes; earthquakes

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

See also : Puerto Rico

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