Puerto Rico also Porto Rico (especially in older literature), is a commonwealth of the United States located east of the Dominican Republic in the northeastern Caribbean. Puerto Rico, the smallest of the Greater Antilles, includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and keys, including Mona, Vieques, and Culebra.
The nature of Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States is the subject of ongoing debate in the island. Those who support maintaining the status quo (i.e., Commonwealth status) insist that upon attaining this status, Puerto Rico entered into a voluntary association with the U.S. "in the nature of a compact", but opponents of Commonwealth disagree: according to them, Puerto Rico is no more than an unincorporated organized territory of the U.S., subject to the plenary powers of the United States Congress.
Puerto Rico consists of the main island of Puerto Rico and various smaller islands, including Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Desecheo, and Caja de Muertos. Of the latter five, only Culebra and Vieques are inhabited year-round. Mona is uninhabited through large parts of the year except for employees of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources.
The mainland measures some 170 km by 60 km (105 miles by 35 miles). It is mostly mountainous with large coastal areas in the north and south regions of the island. Some beautiful beaches on the north-west side of the island are Jobos Beach, Maria's Beach, Domes Beach and Sandy Beach. The main mountainous range is called "La Cordillera Central" (The Central Range). The highest elevation point of Puerto Rico, Cerro de Punta (1338 meters), is located in this range. Another important peak is El Yunque, located in the Caribbean National Forest, with a maximum elevation of 1,065m. The capital city, San Juan, is located on the main island's north coast.
Puerto Rico has nine lakes (none of them natural) and more than 50 rivers. Most of these rivers are born in the "Cordillera Central." The rivers in the northern region of the island are bigger and with higher flow capacity than those of the south region. The south is thus drier and hotter than the north region.