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Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean and the third largest in the region. With a total land area of 4442 square miles (10991 sq. km.), the island is 146 miles long with widths varying between 22 and 51 miles (35 and 82 km).

Situated ninety miles south of Cuba and six hundred miles south of Miami, Jamaica is18 degrees north of the equator. More precisely, Jamaica lies between latitudes 17 degrees 43 minutes and 18 degrees 32 minutes north and longitudes 76 degrees, 11 minutes and 78 degrees, 23 minutes west.

Jamaica is divided into three counties, Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey. These counties are further subdivided into parishes with Kingston, the smallest of the fourteen parishes, as home to the capital city.

The terrain is very mountainous with much of the land rising above 1,000 feet (305 km). The highest point, Blue Mountain Peak, is 7402 feet (2256m) above sea level. Complementing our mountains, Jamaica also brims with valleys and plains. The five major plains - Vere, St. Jago, George’s, Liguanea and Pedro - provide the backbone for our largely agricultural economy.

The annual average rainfall is 78 inches (198cm). Mountainous areas receive almost 300 inches (762cm) of rainfall each year while sections of the island’s western region get as little as 30 inches (76.2cm)

The annual average temperature is 27 degrees Celsius. The hottest months are in the summer, from May to September. The “winter” season (December to March) is appreciably cooler. Areas of high altitude have chilly times. For example, the Blue Mountain Peak has an average temperature of 13 degrees Celsius, and sometimes cooler, depending on the time of year or weather.

Natural rivers and springs abound in Jamaica. Over 120 rivers flow through the land from the central mountain region to the coasts. The rivers on the north side tend to be shorter and swifter than those on the south side. The fast flowing rivers -- Black River, Rio Cobre, Milk River, Rio Grande and Martha Brae -- are used for transport and the production of electricity as well as to provide irrigation for agricultural purposes. There are several mineral springs, recognized for their therapeutic value. Some have been developed with facilities for bathing and/or accommodation, namely Milk River Bath, Bath Fountain, the Spa at Grand Lido San Souci and the Rockfort Mineral Bath. Others remain little-known gems in communities across the island.

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