Puerto Rico Travel Information

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San Juan

Facts About Puerto Rico

Background: Discovered by Columbus in 1493, the island was ceded by Spain to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. A popularly elected governor has served since 1948. In plebiscites held in 1967 and 1993, voters chose to retain commonwealth status.
Dependency status: commonwealth associated with the US
Government type: commonwealth
Capital: San Juan
Currency: 1 US dollar (US$) = 100 cents

Geography of Puerto Rico

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
total: 9,104 sq km
land: 8,959 sq km
water: 145 sq km
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.

People of Puerto Rico

Population: 3,916,632 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  23.73% 
15-64 years:  65.72%
65 years and over:  10.55%
Population growth rate: 0.54% 
Birth rate: 15.26 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.77 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -2.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 9.51 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  75.76 years
male:  71.28 years
female:  80.48 years
Total fertility rate: 1.9 children born/woman 
noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican
Ethnic groups: white (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian 0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed and other 10.9%
Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
Languages: Spanish, English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89%
male: 90%
female: 88% (1980 est.)

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Puerto Rico > Map Economy