The geography of Puerto Rico describes an archipelago located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest and most eastern of the Greater Antilles. With an area of 3,515 square miles (9,104 sq km), it is the third largest island in the United States and the 82nd largest island in the world. Various smaller islands and cays, including Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Desecheo, and Caja de Muertos comprise the remainder of the archipelago with only Culebra and Vieques being inhabited year-round. Mona is uninhabited through large parts of the year except for employees of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources.
The mainland measures some 100 miles by 35 nautical miles (170 km by 60 km), an area slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island, U.S.A.. It is mostly mountainous with large coastal areas in the north and south regions of the island. Some beautiful beaches on the north-west side of the island are Jobos Beach, Maria’s Beach, Domes Beach and Sandy Beach. The main mountainous range is called La Cordillera Central (The Central Range). The highest elevation point of Puerto Rico, Cerro de Punta (4,390 ft; 1,338 m), is located in this range. Another important peak is El Yunque, located in the Sierra de Luquillo Mountains at the Caribbean National Forest, with a maximum elevation of 3,494 feet (1,065 m). The capital, San Juan, is located on the main island’s north coast.
The archipelago of Puerto Rico is located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. Located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, Puerto Rico was key to the Spanish Empire since the early years of exploration, conquest and colonization of the New World.
The topography of the main island is divided into three major regions: the mountainous region, which includes the Cordillera Central, Sierra de Luquillo Mountains, Sierra de Cayey and Sierra Bermeja, the coastal plains and the northern karst region. The Cordillera Central extends through the entire island, dividing it into the northern and southern region. The mountain region accounts for approximately 60% of the land area.
The archipelago of Culebra, located east of Puerto Rico, north of Vieques, and west of the Virgin Islands, is composed of the main island of Culebra and 28 uninhabited islets. Mainly mountainous, the island of Culebra possesses renowned beaches.