The Caribbean is a region of The Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean) and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.
The Caribbean islands have one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, is classified as one of Conservation International’s biodiversity hotspots because of their exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests to tropical rainforest, to cactus scrublands. The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world’s coral reefs along with extensive seagrass meadows, both of which are frequently found in the shallow marine waters bordering the island and continental coasts of the region.
The climate of the area is tropical, varying from tropical rainforest in some areas to tropical savanna in others. There are also some locations that are arid climates with considerable drought in some years.
Rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents. Warm, moist trade winds blow consistently from the east, creating both rain forest and semi-arid climates across the region. The region generally is sunny and the air temperature is hot much of the year, varying from 25 to 33 C (77 F to 90 F) between the wet and dry seasons.