The Greater Antilles include Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Cuba, and Jamaica. The landmass of these islands totals approximately 207,409 square kilometers. This area experienced an increase in woody vegetation from 2001-2010.
1. Puerto Rico
The U.S. Virgin Islands lie about 40 miles east and south of the British Virgin Islands. Old San Juan has two well-known historical buildings called La Fortaleza and El Morrow.
The Isla Verde found on Puerto Rico contains beach bars and casinos and a hotel strip. This island became independent of Spain in 1897. Since Puerto Rico is still a U.S. territory, it also celebrates the U.S. Independence Day normally celebrated by the 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska.
The island of Hispaniola consists of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which is east of Puerto Rico. Cuba sits to the northwest, and you’ll find Jamaica located west of Les Cayes, Haiti, and Southwest of Port-au-Prince. Minors used to extract gold from the island, but the supply was depleted by about the 16th century.
During this time, only a few thousand people lived here, and they began to raise pigs and cattle emigrated from Columbus. The Dominican Republic became a sovereign state in 1844 after its War of Independence.
Apparently, Haiti became independent much sooner, however—in 1803. Christopher Columbus first named Hispaniola “a Isla Española,” which means “The Spanish Island” when he arrived in 1492.
About 91.24 nautical miles separate Key West of the Florida Keys, and Havana, Cuba. It takes about 3 hours and 15 minutes to fly between these two locations. You will find the Gulf of Mexico to the West and Northwest and The Bahamas to the Northeast.
Cuba also includes Isla de la Juventud and several groups of tinier islands, such as Cayos Anclitas, Cayos Pingues and Cayo Cinco Balas. They lie to the West and Southwest of Cuba’s mainland. This island gained its independence from Spain in 1868.
Jamaica lies south of Cuba and Southwest of the Cayman Islands, which takes up much less land than Jamaica does. Comparing the two, Jamaica covers 10,992 square kilometers and Cayman only makes up about 264 square kilometers.
Jamaica consists of coastal reefs, mountains and rainforests. Most tourists hang out in the Montego Bay area and snorkeling typically occurs in Negril. This island country gained its independence in 1962 from the United Kingdom, much later than some other Caribbean colonies.