Which Continent Is Puerto Rico In?

A map showing the location of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.
A map showing the location of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.

Puerto Rico is found in the Caribbean region of North America. It is a popular travel destination for many across the globe. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Puerto Ricans are American citizens by birth, and they can travel between the island, the US mainland, and other US territories without having to use a passport.

Geographic Location And Relief Features

Puerto Rico comprises of a group of islands between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. This archipelago comprises of Puerto Rico the main island and several smaller islands which include Desecheo, Culebra, Vieques, Caja de Muertos, and Mona. Out of the five smaller islands, only two are inhabited throughout the year. There are smaller islets such as Monito which is located near Mona and La Isleta de San Juan and Isla de Cabras located in the San Juan Bay region. Puerto Rico’s nearest neighbors are the Dominican Republic to the west and the Virgin Islands to the east. This territory has a vastly contrasting topography. Close to 60% of Puerto Rico is made up of mountains, but there is a wide array of other relief features including deserts, rain forests, and rivers. The largest mountain standing at 4,393 feet is the Cerro La Punta. The coastal lowlands make up the second main physiographic feature.

Size Of Puerto Rico

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as it is officially known covers an area of at least 5,320 square miles with 3,420 square miles being land. The main island runs for about 110 miles at its maximum stretch measured from east to west and a maximum north to south width of 40 miles. Compared to other islands of the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico is the smallest. It is roughly 8% of the size of Cuba which is the largest in the region and about 80% of Jamaica. Puerto Rico is, however, bigger than the US states of Rhode Island and Delaware.


The population of Puerto Rico was estimated to be 3,474,182 people as of July 2015. This statistic denoted a 6.75% decrease from the 2010 US census. The most populous cities in the territory include San Juan, which holds a population of about 395,000 people, and Bayamon which has roughly 208,000 people.

Unincorporated Territory

Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony between 1493 and 1898. It came under US control in 1898 following the Spanish-American war and the signing of the Treaty of Paris. In 1900 the island became an unincorporated territory of the US. Although Puerto Ricans are US citizens, they do not vote for the president and the vice president. They also do not pay taxes on income earned in the territory. It was not until 1952 that US citizens living in the Puerto Rican territory were allowed to elect a governor following the approval of a local constitution by Congress.


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