How many countries in North America are there? Well, surprisingly the answer is not 2 (Canada and the USA) or 3 if you think Mexico as well. The correct answer to the “How many countries in North America” question is: There are 23 countries on the continent of North America.

How many countries in North America - USA and Canada on map

How many countries in North America are there?

I was lucky to visit all the countries of North America, but just like you, I was surprised what is and isn’t a country in the Caribbean region that belongs to the continent of North America.

Let me explain how countries in North America are defined. We start with the three big ones, followed by Central America and then the Caribbean islands/countries.

Some of them are actually not countries of North America, but overseas territories. This is what makes it even harder to answer the question “How many countries in North America are there?” correctly. 

Countries in North America – The three big ones

The North American Continent is dominated by three large countries: Canada, the United States of America and Mexico.

I have spent a lot of time here, I even lived in the USA. But the best fun was probably relocating a motorhome in the USA for just $1 a day along Route 66! What a trip!

Mexico is one of the best countries in the world, so there is no surprise I got stuck there for a while. I was on an adventure to find out which 5 cities have the best food in Mexico.

I even learned how to speak Spanish and ate a lot of amazing food in Oaxaca, (also the number one best food city on my list). 

I mean if you need a reason to travel to Mexico, here are 10 of them

How many countries in North America - Map of the the there largest countries

How many countries are in North America? USA, Canada and Mexico on the map Credit: Vector Maps

The countries in Central America are countries in North America!

The continent of North America and South America merge together in the region commonly referred to as Central America.

The 7 countries in Central America do however belong to the continent of North America. Confused? Well yes, I can understand why. Central America is definitely seen as its own region and could be called a subcontinent, but when it comes to continents, all countries of Central America are well and truly part of North America.

List of 7 countries in Central America

  1. Belize
  2. Guatemala
  3. El Salvador
  4. Honduras
  5. Nicaragua
  6. Costa Rica
  7. Panama
How many countries in North America are there? 7 Countries of Central America on the map

How many countries in North America are there? 7 Countries of Central America on the map. Credit: Vector Map

I have travelled the length of Central America overland, this journey involved everything from buses, chicken buses and even tricycles to cross borders! It was fun! And I travelled on a 25 USD per day budget!

I loved the region for all the food you can eat, from amazing dishes in Costa Rica to eating some new meals in Nicaragua.

How many countries in North America are there? So far we have 10 countries, but wait there is more! The Caribbean!

Yes, Caribbean countries do belong to the North American continent!

Ok, I admit. This was the strangest thing to get my head around it. Of course, I know that there are 7 continents in the world so the island countries need to belong somewhere! But as I was island hopping the Caribbean it felt different to my other experiences in North America.

So what are countries in the Caribbean that are considered countries of North America?

List of the 13 countries in the Caribbean

  1. Antigua and Barbuda
  2. Bahamas (I had some interesting dishes here. Check out the 10 Foods in the Bahamas)
  3. Barbados (Travel to Barbados on a Budget guide)
  4. Cuba
  5. Dominica
  6. Dominican Republic (more amazing food to try here).
  7. Grenada (Such a beautiful island. Here are all the great things to do in Grenada)
  8. Haiti (We loved our time in Cap Haitien with many things to do here)
  9. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  10. Jamaica (Loved my times here – Jamaican Jerk Chicken is the best)
  11. Saint Lucia (Treat yourself and stay at one of these 5 Amazing Hotels in St Lucia )
  12. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  13. Trinidad and Tobago