Driving Directions Mexico
MEXICO is a vast, densely populated country whose people are Spanish-speaking. It is bounded in the north by its long border with the USA. In the south, it shares a long border with Guatemala and a shorter one with Belize.
Mexico is a land of stark geographical contrasts and includes most vegetational zones. It is dominated by a broad, central plateau between two high mountain ranges running from northwest to southeast, the Sierra Madre Oriental in the east, and the Sierra Madre Occidental in the west.
In the south, they unite to form an impressive range of volcanic mountains, the Sierra Madre del Sur. In this area are situated Mexico’s highest peaks, some of which are still active volcanoes. The highest of these, Citlaltepetl, reaches a height of 5,699 meters or 18,697 feet. Mexico City, the capital, is also situated in this area.
The northern part of the country is arid semidesert, where cacti and yucca, wolves, and coyotes can be found. The coastal plains, lower mountain slopes, and the narrow neck or isthmus of Tehuantepec support lush, tropical vegetation and inhabited by such animals as jaguars and peccaries. Higher up the mountain slopes, temperate forests of oaks and conifers may be found bears and pumas, giving way to sparse Arctic vegetation at the highest altitudes. Along the Gulf of California, the northwest coast is a swampy, humid country and lies opposite the narrow, mountainous peninsula of Baja California. Similar conditions occur in the southeast along the coast of Campeche and Yucatan, where there are many lagoons.
Mexico has few rivers or lakes of any size except the Rio Bravo del Norte (Rio Grande), which runs from northwest to southeast along the USA‘s border. Much of Mexico receives relatively little rainfall, with about 75 percent falling in the regions east of the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Gulf Coast, and the Yucatan Peninsula. The isthmus of Tehuantepec also receives a reasonable amount of rain.
The arid and mountainous conditions mean that only about 15 percent of the land is suitable for farming, relying heavily on irrigation schemes. Crops include maize, sorghum, sugar cane, wheat, coffee, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, cotton, and potatoes. The most important domestic animals are goats, sheep, horses, donkeys and mules, and poultry.
Forestry is an essential natural resource, the exploitation of which is now strictly regulated. Mexico has valuable mineral reserves of industrial and precious commodities, including petroleum, natural gas, silver, and gold.
With over 8 million tourists a year visiting Mexico, tourism also makes an essential contribution to the country’s economy.
Google maps™ Mexico
Mexico can be divided into five major regions: 1) the Pacific Northwest, which includes the northwestern mainland plus the Baja California peninsula; 2) the large Central Plateau, which extends down the center of the country and includes the Sierra Madre; 3) the lowlands of the Gulf Coast and the Yucatán Peninsula; 4) Central Mexico, which occupies the transverse volcanic range at the southern end of the Central Plateau; and 5) the highlands south of Central Mexico.
Most of Mexico’s eastern coast borders the Gulf of Mexico, but the eastern shore of the Yucatán Peninsula borders the Caribbean Sea. The western coast of the mainland and the eastern coast of the Baja California peninsula border the Gulf of California, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. The western coast of Baja California borders the Pacific. The waters of the Pacific off the western coast of the Baja peninsula are known for the array of marine life they harbor and are especially famous as the only place in the world where the gray whale calves. The southeastern shore of the Baja peninsula is the location of the world’s northernmost coral reef.
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