The Caribbean region, located in the tropics, extends in a broad arc of over 4000 km from the Bahamas in the north to Guyana and Suriname in the south. The region also includes, based on historical factors, Belize which is in Central America bordering Mexico and Guatemala. The countries are widely different in physical and population size as well as landforms and geology.
Three marine geographical features, often intermixed, are evident in the sweep of the Caribbean archipelago and in the mainland territories. There is first an outer ring of mainly coral islands with white sand beaches from The Bahamas, to the Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands and embracing parts of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the eastern parts of Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, the Grenadines, parts of Grenada, Tobago and Barbados. The second inner ring of more volcanic islands, with black sands, includes the islands of the Greater Antilles - Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The inner ring also includes St. Kitts, the western parts of Guadeloupe, Dominica, parts of St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and parts of Grenada. The third distinct feature is the alluvial coast of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana (Cayenne) on the South American mainland between the vast estuaries of the Orinoco and the Amazon.