At the Equator lie the Tropics, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropics are located in the middle of the earth and are where tropical countries are found.
The area is referred to as tropical for its warm to hot temperatures (above 64°F/18°C) as well as for its dry and wet seasons. Due to their location, tropical countries near the Equator have more sun exposure compared to others.
All tropical countries combined comprise approximately 36% of the earth’s surface. The continents included in the Tropics are Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America.
However, not all countries on these continents are part of the Tropics. Some of the most known tropical countries are Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.
Let’s take a look at these 30 examples of tropical countries to learn what makes each one interesting and unique.
Table of Contents
- 1. Ethiopia
- 2. Kenya
- 3. Madagascar
- 4. Mali
- 5. Nigeria
- 6. Zambia
- 7. Tanzania
- 8. Brunei
- 9. Cambodia
- 10. Indonesia
- 11. India
- 12. Malaysia
- 13. Myanmar
- 14. The Philippines
- 15. Singapore
- 16. Thailand
- 18. Vietnam
- 19. Australia
- 20. The Bahamas
- 21. Costa Rica
- 22. Cuba
- 22. The Dominican Republic
- 23. El Salvador
- 24. Jamaica
- 25. Mexico
- 26. Puerto Rico
- 27. Brazil
- 28. Colombia
- 29. Peru
- 30. Venezuela
- Frequently Asked Questions
- List of tropical countries on each continent
Ethiopia is located in north-eastern Africa and is bordered by several countries including Djibouti, Eritrea, Somaliland, Somalia, Sudan, and Kenya. With a population of 117,876,227, it has the second-largest population in Africa and is the 12th most populated country in the world.
Founded in 980 BC, Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world and is considered the oldest independent country in Africa. Interestingly, Ethiopia is where coffee was first found and also where the Ark of the Covenant is rumored to be kept.
Visitors can find several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia, including the Konso Cultural Landscape and the Simien National Park. This country observes 13 calendar months in a year and uses a 12-hour time system.
Situated in Eastern Africa, Kenya is home to over 47 million people, giving it the 48th largest population in the world. It is officially known as the Republic of Kenya and Nairobi is the capital city.
Some of the country’s main exports are coffee, tea, and petroleum. In the West of Nairobi lies the Great Rift Valley, a valley that has been existing for over 20 million years.
The country speaks 68 languages, of which Swahili is the official language. It is a top tourist destination for safari tours and a place to see wildlife including cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, lions, and rhinos.
Officially recognized as the Republic of Madagascar, it is an island country in the Indian Ocean east of Africa. It was once connected to India’s landmass and was separated 88 million years ago.
It is considered the fourth-largest island and the second-largest island country in the world. About 70 endemic lemur species are found in Madagascar, including the ring-tailed lemur and gray mouse lemur.
A few World Heritage Sites are located in this paradise, such as the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga and the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve. However, despite its natural wonders and unique species, Madagascar is ranked the 14th least happy country in the world in connection with it being one of the poorest countries.
With a population of more than 20 million, Mali is the eighth-largest African country in West Africa and one of the poorest nations in the world.
Mali is home to the Great Mosque of Djenne, the largest sun-dried mud-brick religious building in the world. Moreover, the country has several salt mines including the Taoudenni, the oldest salt mine on earth.
The country’s official language is Bambara, and the primary language of instruction is French, with 80% of the population speaking Bambara. Interestingly, the population consists of more than 67% Malians who are under 25 years old, making Mali’s population one of the youngest in the world.
Nigeria has a population of more than 200 million people, making the country the most populated country in Africa and the seventh most populated country in the world.
It is known as the Giant of Africa and is considered a diverse country with different ethnicities, religions, and languages. Most of the population are Muslims and Christians.
The country speaks about 520 different languages, with English as the official language. Africa’s largest economy lies in Nigeria due to its agricultural products for export.
Zambia has a land area of 752,618 sq km and a population of 17,426,623. It is a landlocked country, which means it has no contact with the sea and is only bordered by land.
It is bordered by seven countries: Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. One of its main export products is copper, producing more than a million tonnes every year.
The Broken Hill skull was found in Zambia, the first human fossil found in Africa dating back 299,000 years ago. One of the most famous attractions in the country is Victoria Falls, known for its massive height of about 108 meters.
Located in East Africa, Tanzania is one of the most excellent safari destinations in Africa because of its National Parks, including the Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara National Park.
It is also home to the tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, which stands at 5,895 meters. The second-largest lake and one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, Lake Tanganyika, is also found here.
Moreover, Olduvai Gorge is found in Zambia, one of the most important archeological sites in the world. Skulls and bones were uncovered there that are estimated to be more than two million years old.
Ranked as 175th most populous country in the world, Brunei has a population of about 460,345 and is governed by an absolute monarchy. It is a small, independent country that is abundant in oil and natural gas.
Citizens of Brunei receive free education, thus, 98% of the population can read and write. Moreover, Brunei is one of the countries with the most obese people, with more than 50% of children being obese.
The official religion is Islam, which constitutes 79% of the population as Muslims. In relation to religion, one of the most popular tourist attractions is the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque located in Bandar Seri Begawan near the Brunei River.
The Kingdom of Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia with a population of more than 15 million. A third of the population is mostly the young generation – children under 15 years old.
It is home to Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interestingly, the famous fast-food chain McDonald’s is nowhere to be found in the country. It is believed to be a competitor of Burger King, a franchise owned by a Cambodian.
Cambodia’s economy thrives from tourism, which is the second-largest source of income for the country. Getting around Cambodia is best with a tuk-tuk, a three-wheeled vehicle that is also called an auto-rickshaw.
Indonesia is the world’s largest island country, comprising 18,307 islands. Moreover, it is the fourth most populated country in the world with a population of more than 270 million.
On top of that, it is ranked the third country with the most volcanoes, having 139 volcanoes – some of which can be visited. The world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon, lives on some of the islands in Indonesia, Gili Motang, Komodo, and Padar.
Eight World Heritage Sites can be seen here, including Komodo National Park, Lorentz National Park, and the temple of Borobudur. Moreover, the largest flower in the world, Rafflesia Arnoldi (also known as the corpse flower), is produced in Indonesia.
India is the second most populated country in the world with a population of 1.38 billion. It is also the seventh-largest country with a total land area of 3,287,263 sq km.
The country is, however, the largest in many other aspects, including being the largest milk producer in the world, having the largest population of vegetarians, and having the second-largest English-speaking population. Moreover, India is also known for many firsts, including being the first to discover the number pi, algebra, and diamond mining.
India is a vibrant country rich in traditional and modern destinations. It is famous for the Taj Mahal, the Holy City of Varanasi, and the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
Malaysia has a total land area of 127,355 sq miles, which consists of two regions East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia, separated by about 400 miles of the South China Sea.
The country is covered with vast tropical rainforests and rivers. It houses numerous endangered species including Bornean orangutans, Malay tigers, and pygmy elephants.
Plus, it is also home to one of the world’s tallest buildings, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The Sarawak Cave Chamber, the largest cave chamber in the world, is also found here.
Myanmar has a population of more than 55 million, which is composed of different ethnic groups including 68% Burman, 3% Chinese, 2% Indian, 7% Karen, and other ethnicities. Most of the people follow Buddhism, about 87.9% of the population.
It is bordered by five countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, and Thailand. Myanmar is known for its large festivals such as the Water Festival where people have a water fight in the streets.
Some of the top tourist destinations in Myanmar are the temples in Bagana and the secretly built city in 2005. One of the most valuable and iconic attractions is the Shwedagon Pagoda, which is covered in tons of gold.
The Philippines has a population of more than a hundred million. The country is divided into three regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, of which Luzon is the largest.
It is an archipelago with more than 7,100 islands, which comprises 1,000 inhabited islands. The highest mountain is Mount Apo in Mindanao, standing about 2,954 meters in height.
The country is the second-largest producer and exporter of coconuts. It is loved for its pristine beaches in areas including Boracay, Palawan, and Siargao.
Singapore has a total population of 5.4 million and a total land area of 728 sq km. Some may think of Singapore as a single island, but it is actually comprised of one main island and 64 offshore islands.
It is known to have the world’s first zoo that is opened at night called Night Safari. The Night Safari houses more than a thousand animals which can be featured taking one of the zoo’s tram tours.
Plus, Singapore has the world’s first man-made waterfall at Jurong Bird Park and the tallest indoor waterfall at Changi Airport. The country is considered one of the world’s greenest cities since half of the country’s landmass is filled with plants.
The Kingdom of Thailand is located in Southeast Asia, with a population of nearly 70 million. Its real name is actually one of the longest in the world and is “Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit.”
The country is blanketed with more than 40,000 temples to visit, which explains why the population is more than 90% Buddhist. One of the temples is home to the world’s largest golden Buddha, which sits at 15 ft high and weighs 5.5 tons.
The first-ever Siamese twins are believed to have been born in Thailand. Unsurprisingly, it is also where Siamese cats originated and were bred.
Vietnam is the 15th most populated country in the world, having more than 96 million people living in a total landmass of 311,699 sq km. It is a tropical country that also has snowy days, especially in Sa Pa in the north of Vietnam.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has the largest cave in the world, which is 500 ft tall and 650 ft wide. Moreover, it also has the world’s second-largest cave in Son Doong.
One of the most famous attractions in the country is the Binh Chau Hot Springs, where temperatures can reach up to 179°F or 82°C. Other popular places to visit are Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, and Sapa Countryside.
Australia is both a continent and a country. It is the sixth-largest country in the world but the smallest continent.
It is the oldest continent without any active volcanoes.
The total population is more than 25 million, of which 90% of the population live close to the shores. Australia has the island of Tasmania, which is known to have the cleanest air on the planet.
The country also boasts its Great Barrier Reef, the largest ecosystem in the world with more than 2,500 species. In Queensland, there is also the world’s largest island of sand, Fraser Island.
Located in the Lucayan Archipelago, the Bahamas is a popular tourist destination attracting thousands of people across the globe. The Bahamas has more than 700 islands where most are uninhabited.
It is an independent country located in North America and used to be a British Territory. Wine lovers can enjoy a tour of Graycliff’s wine cellar, the third-largest wine cellar in the world.
The Andros Barrier Reef is a 190-mile stretch, making it the third-largest barrier in the world. Other famous places found in the Bahamas are the Great Blue Hole in Belize’s Great Barrier Reef, Atlantis Paradise Island, Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, and Harbor Island.
Located in Central America, Costa Rica has a population of more than five million and a total land area of 51,100 sq km. It is known to be the happiest country in the world according to the Happy Planet Index.
Twenty-five percent of the land area of the country is comprised of wildlife reserves and national parks, including Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and Tortuguero National Park. It is home to more than 500,000 wildlife species that are either rare or endangered.
Of all the 500,000 species found in Costa Rica, about 900 are classified as birds. Aside from animals, Costa Rica is rich in natural landscapes including 200 volcanic formations, 61 dormant volcanoes, beautiful beaches, rainforests, and mangroves.
The Republic of Cuba is a socialist republic with a population of 11.3 million. It is the largest island in the Caribbean Sea, with a total landmass of 110,860 sq km.
The coast of Cuba is long and narrow and stretches more than 3,500 miles. It comprises more than 250 beaches, and two-thirds of the country is flat plains.
The economy of Cuba thrives from the exportation of sugar, Cuban cigars, and nickel. It is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Desembarco del Granma National Park, and Old Havana.
Situated in the Greater Antilles, the Dominican Republic is the third most populated country with a population of more than 10 million. Moreover, it is the second-largest country by area in the Antilles, having a total landmass of 48,671 sq km.
Twenty-five percent of the land area is covered by wildlife reserves and 18 national parks, such as National Park of the East, José del Carmen Ramírez National Park, and Jaragua National Park. Pico Duarte is the highest mountain and also marks the highest elevation in the country with more than 3,000 meters altitude.
The lowest elevation is in Lake Enriquillo, which is inhabited by over 400 species. Taking a closer look at its flag, you will see that it is the only country flag with an image of a Bible on it.
A country in Central America, El Salvador has a population of more than 6.8 million in a land area of 21,041 sq km. The country is known as the Land of Volcanoes for having more than a hundred volcanoes of which 20 are potentially active.
El Salvador is famous for its coffee and for being the fourth-largest coffee exporter across the globe. Aside from volcanoes, pyramids indicating the life of the Mayan people are found in the five archeological sites: Casa Blanca, Cihuatan, Joya de Ceren, San Andres, and Tazumal.
San Salvador is the capital city of the country, which is the largest city in the country and the oldest in Central America. Part of the wildlife found in the country is the national bird called Torogoz.
Jamaica is the third-largest island located in the Caribbean Sea with a population of 2.9 million. The country is known to have some of the fastest runners in the world and is the home country of Usain Bolt.
It was once a Spanish-speaking country but now has an English-speaking population.
Tourism is an important aspect of its economy.
Tourists can visit more than 50 public beaches and other popular attractions including Milk River Spa and over 1,600 churches. For coffee lovers, Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the most costly and rarest coffee beans in Jamaica and is loved for its flavors and strength.
Located in southern North America, Mexico is adjoined by Belize, Guatemala, and the United States. It is ranked as the 10th most populated country in the world, with a population of 128.9 million.
Mexico is famous for the world’s largest pyramid, the pyramid of Cholula. The pyramid is 66 meters high, taller than the pyramid of Giza.
Mexico has the largest number of museums, having more than 170 museums in Mexico City. Moreover, the country has the most taxis registered than any other country – about 60,000 taxi cabs.
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean Island known for its beautiful landscapes, beaches, mountains, and tropical rainforests. It has a population of 3.56 million and is also called the Island of Enchantment.
Some of the main industries of the country are tourism, manufacturing, and finance. For history enthusiasts, Old San Juan has two churches that are considered the oldest in the Americas.
Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth-largest country in the world with a total land area of 8,515,767 sq km. Moreover, it is the sixth most populated country in the world, having a total population of 212.6 million.
The country has four time zones and 60% of the Amazon rainforest. It is also home to the second-longest river on the planet, the Amazon River.
One of the most sought tourist activities in Brazil is the Rio Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, where people dance and enjoy food and drinks in the streets. Some of the most famous attractions in Brazil are the Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Iguaçu Falls.
Colombia is considered the second most ecologically diverse country in the world for having the greatest number of species by area. It is the only country in South America that is met by two saline bodies of water: the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
The highest mountain found in Colombia is the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, standing about 13,000 meters tall. The economy is reliant on exported products such as coffee and is the third-largest exporter of coffee in the world.
The country is famous for Cano Cristales, or the River of Five Colors, which is known for changing its color into red, blue, black, yellow, or green.
Located in western South America, Peru is home to 34,294,231 people, of which about 268,352 people live in the capital city, Lima. With a total land area of 1,285,216 sq km, it is the third-largest country in South America.
Amaya, Spanish, and Quechua are the three official languages of the country. The famous Machu Picchu is found in Peru, which was built in the 1400s.
Machu Picchu is known as the Lost City of the Incas and a place with frequent earthquakes. Other beautiful must-visit landscapes in Peru are the Cerro Blanco sand dune and Lake Titicaca.
Venezuela is located on the northern coast of South America with a population of 28.44 million. Of the total population, 3 million live in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela.
The majority of the population are Christians and speak Spanish as the official language. The country has a triangular shape and is bordered by Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, and the Atlantic Ocean.
The country is one of the most megadiverse countries in the world. It has Pico Bolívar, the Orinoco River, and the Angel Falls.
Most of the tropical countries are underdeveloped, except Singapore and Hong Kong. It is believed that the wealth of a country in the Tropics is strongly linked to climate, ecological zones, and per capita income, especially for landlocked countries.
The ecological zones of a country influence productivity and accessibility of several resources. Moreover, diseases and agricultural problems are higher in tropical zones.
Generally, the climate in tropical countries is warm year-round since they get more sunlight. Tropical countries have three types of climates: tropical wet, tropical monsoon, and tropical wet and dry.
A tropical wet climate is commonly found in rainforests, which have warm temperatures and frequent rains. These areas are usually wet since rainfall is more prominent and there are no dry seasons.
A Tropical monsoon climate is more common in Asia and Africa. It is a type of climate between tropical wet and tropical wet and dry climates with an average temperature of 64°F.
Lastly, the tropical wet and dry climate is also known as the Savanna climate. Countries with tropical wet and dry climates experience three seasons: cool and dry, hot and dry, and hot and wet.
Tropical countries produce a variety of tropical products exported around the world. These products are usually tropical fruits such as mangoes, bananas, and coconuts.
Aside from fruits, plants from tropical rainforests are also produced for their medicinal properties. Other popular products transported across the globe are coffee, vanilla, oil, nuts, and spices.
- Burkina Faso
- The Central African Republic
- Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- The Gambia
- Equatorial Guinea
- Saint Helena
- São tomé and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- Burma (Myanmar)
- East Timor
- The Philippines
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The British Virgin Islands
- The Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Netherlands Antilles
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Barthélemy
- Saint Kits and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Martin (France)
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Cacaos Islands
- United States Virgin Islands
- French Guiana
- Galápagos Islands