Puerto Rico is the smallest Island of the Greater Antilles. This group of Islands comprises Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic), Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. The word Antilles comes from a time before European conquest and domination, which means Phantom Islands. Puerto Rico includes the smaller Islands of Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Desecheo and Caja de Muertos. These Islands complete the archipelago. Other than the main island only Vieques and Culebra are inhabited year round.
Puerto Rico contains 3.6 million people with a land area of 3,515 square miles. The main Island is approximately 100 miles long and 35 miles wide. San Juan its capital and largest city at 358K dominates the northern side of the Island. Ponce to the south and Mayaguez to the west are additional major population centers.
It’s mostly mountainous interior gives way to coastal plans both in the north and the south. The Northern and Southern parts of the Island have completely different climates. The Northern side of the Island is wet and humid with a topical Jungle landscape. The southern part of the Island is arid with a dry sub-tropical scrub forest. There are actual cacti in the southern part of the Island. The central mountain range keeps the moister from getting to the Southern part of the Island.
Located in the tropics the temperature throughout Puerto Rico averages 83 degrees, with it being warmer in the coastal areas and cooler in the mountainous region. The temperature varies very little from season to season, although it will average 5 to 8 degrees cooler during the winter months from December through February. This is also the rainy season for the northern part of the Island. Passing intermittent showers can be expected daily during this time of year.
Hurricane season is 1 June thru 30 November, traveling to the Island during this time is somewhat a gamble. Don’t let it deter you. The odds are in your favor. Chances are there will be nothing but sunny skies and light winds during your visit. With only 1 to 5 Atlantic storms a season it is a remote possibility that Puerto Rico will be in a storm’s path during your visit. This is also considered the low season so flights and hotels will be cheaper.