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close this bookA World Safe from Natural Disasters - The Journey of Latin America and the Caribbean (PAHO)
close this folderChapter 2: An overview of the region
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentThe people and their history
View the documentGeography
View the documentClimate
View the documentDemographic trends
View the documentUrbanization
View the documentProduction
View the documentSocioeconomic aspects
View the documentHealth, sanitation, and education
View the documentThe political process
View the documentConclusions


The climates and precipitation in Latin America and the Caribbean vary considerably. The Orinoco basin of Colombia and Venezuela, the Brazilian plateaus, and parts of western Ecuador, contain savannas with well-differentiated wet and dry seasons. On the other hand, broad sectors of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and southern Brazil have more temperate climates, with larger fluctuations in temperature. Annual rainfall in the Region varies between an average of 1,000 and 2,000 mm. One of the driest deserts of the world, the Atacama, is on the coast of Chile; Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru also have expanses of arid land and desert.

The Caribbean islands share a tropical climate with the Atlantic coast of the Central American isthmus. At sea level, the climate is relatively constant but then varies by elevation. Precipitation varies widely, depending on the topography of each island. The mountainous islands receive a great deal of rain, while Eat islands of coral origin such as Antigua and Barbuda, CuraƧao, and Turks and Caicos Islands are arid.