Cuba Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Cuba?

Overview:

With an area of more than 44,000 square miles (114,447 sq. km.), Cuba is the largest island in the West Indies, accounting for more than one-half of the total Caribbean land mass. The island is more than 745 miles (1,200 km.) long, and ranges from 20 to 125 miles (35-200 km.) in width. Cuba's coastline is highly uneven and is broken into hundreds of bays, inlets, and narrow, shallow rivers. The Isle of Youth (known as the Isle of Pines in pre-Revolution days), and some 1,600 keys and islets lie offshore. The deep-water harbors of Havana, Guantánamo, and Bahía Honda rank among the world's finest.


Topographically, three-fifths of Cuba displays flat or gently rolling fields and wide, fertile valleys--ideal for sugar cane and tobacco that have been the agricultural staples of the Cuban economy. The northern coast is low and somewhat rocky; the southern coast more marshy. Most of what remains, particularly at the southeastern end of the island, forms steep and at times formidable mountains. Three mountain ranges dominate the Cuban terrain, but by far the best known and most rugged is the eastern Sierra Maestra, where peaks rise to almost 6,000 feet (1,829 m.) above sea level.

Geography - note:

largest country in Caribbean and westernmost island of the Greater Antilles

Climate:

Cuba is bordered on the south by the Caribbean Sea and on the north by the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida. Prevailing trade winds combine with warm waters of the Gulf Stream to produce a mild and semitropical climate. Cuba's mean temperature is about 77°F (25°C) in winter and only slightly more, perhaps 80°F to 85°F (26°C), in summer. Averages range only between 70°F (21°C) and 82°F (27°C) for the coldest and warmest months. Summer readings as high as 100°F (37°C) have been recorded. Occasional near-freezing temperatures occur only in mountain areas.


Relative humidity varies from 60% to 70% in the daytime and from 80% to 90% during the night, regardless of the season, of which there are only two. The dry season lasts from November to April. During the May through October rainy season, Cuba receives up to 75% of its yearly rainfall, which averages 54 inches (137 cm).

Cuba Use of Natural Resources

Cuba Environment

Climate:

Cuba is bordered on the south by the Caribbean Sea and on the north by the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida. Prevailing trade winds combine with warm waters of the Gulf Stream to produce a mild and semitropical climate. Cuba's mean temperature is about 77°F (25°C) in winter and only slightly more, perhaps 80°F to 85°F (26°C), in summer. Averages range only between 70°F (21°C) and 82°F (27°C) for the coldest and warmest months. Summer readings as high as 100°F (37°C) have been recorded. Occasional near-freezing temperatures occur only in mountain areas.


Relative humidity varies from 60% to 70% in the daytime and from 80% to 90% during the night, regardless of the season, of which there are only two. The dry season lasts from November to April. During the May through October rainy season, Cuba receives up to 75% of its yearly rainfall, which averages 54 inches (137 cm).

Terrain:

mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast

Natural Resources:

cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land

Natural Hazards:

the east coast is subject to hurricanes from August to November (in general, the country averages about one hurricane every other year); droughts are common

Irrigated Land:

3,360 Square Miles
8,703 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

air and water pollution; biodiversity loss; deforestation

Environment - International Agreements:


party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Cuba Geography

Geographic Location The Caribbean
Total Area 42,803 Square Miles
110,860 Square Kilometers
Land Area 42,402 Square Miles
109,820 Square Kilometers
Water Area 402 Square Miles
1,040 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 18 Miles
29 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 3,360 Square Miles
8,703 Square Kilometers
Border Countries US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay 29 km

note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and remains part of Cuba
Coastline 2,321 Miles
3,735 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 21 30 N, 80 00 W
Terrain mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
Highest Point 2,005 Meters
Highest Point Location Pico Turquino 2,005 m
Lowest Point Location Caribbean Sea 0 m
Natural Resources cobalt, nickel, iron ore, chromium, copper, salt, timber, silica, petroleum, arable land
Time Zone UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November; note - Cuba has been known to alter the schedule of DST on short notice in an attempt to conserve electricity for lighting
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