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Geography of Jamaica

Jamaica, the third-largest Caribbean Island, covers an area of 10,911 km2. The island nation is almost at the center of the Caribbean Sea between latitudes 17° and 19°N, and longitudes 76° and 79°W. Its closest neighbors are Cuba and Haiti located 140 km north and 190 km east, respectively. Jamaica is 235 km long with its width varying between 34 and 84 km.

The geography of Jamaica reflects a varied topography including long coastlines, rugged mountains, and plateaus. The country has three distinct regions based on landforms: the coastal plains, the central valleys, and plateaus. Limestone plateau covers two-thirds of the country. From caves and caverns to hills and valleys, the country is a fine specimen of Karst formations. In fact, the Cockpit Country in the west is one of the most unique examples of karst topography.

Elevated landscape also lends diversity to geography of Jamaica. Blue Mountain Peak, located 2,256 meters (7,402 ft) above the sea level, is the highest point in Jamaica. Volcanic hills dot the eastern part of Jamaica with John Crow Mountains being among them.

The 1,022 km-long coastline is another defining feature of Jamaica's geography. It is known for its contrasts. While the coastline in the northeast is eroded by the ocean, the southern coast has black sand beaches. The island's best beaches are a part of the western coastline.

When it comes to rivers, Jamaica has plenty of them. However, some rivers are small and some have dried up, making navigation impossible. The Rio Minho is the longest river in Jamaica at 92.8 km (57.7 mi) followed by the Black River 53.4 km (33.2 mi), which flows through the Maggotty town before finaly meeting the Caribbean Sea on the west. The Kingston Harbour of Jamaica is considered the seventh-largest natural harbor in the world.

Last Updated : March 18, 2015


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