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

The correct answer to the “How many countries in North America” question is: There are 23 countries on the continent of North America.

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, then Central America and the Caribbean islands/countries.

Some of them are actually not countries of North America but overseas territories. This 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 it 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). 

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 in northern america
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 continents of North America and South America merge in the region commonly referred to as Central America.

The seven 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 (10 Popular Foods from 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 time here – I recommend you try these delicious foods from Jamaica)
  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
How many countries in North America - Map of the Caribbean countries in northern america
How many Countries in North America? 13 Countries in the Caribbean belong to North America. Credit: Vector Maps

This adds up to 23 countries in North America. Did I miss any?

You might be thinking, wait where is Aruba, Puerto Rico or the Cayman Islands? Well, these are not countries of the Caribbean and they don’t make the list of countries in North America either.

Why? Well, the Caribbean is a region with many islands that are overseas territories of other countries. In fact, there are many of them!

As the Europeans colonised the Caribbean, many islands are still overseas territories of other European countries. I guess for some islands it can provide an income for tourism and also they can tap into the national budget of the country they belong to.

Or they just never really had a chance to be independent! But I am sure there might be islands considering independence as many of the neighbouring countries have done.

List of the territories in the Caribbean

  • British overseas territory: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands
  • France’s overseas territories: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin
  • USA overseas territories: Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands, Navassa Island
  • Overseas territories of the Netherlands: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba, Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten
How many countries in North America - Mexico mi amor
There are countless languages spoken in the countries of North America – How many countries in the Americas?

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What are the languages spoken in North America?

Now that we establish that there are 23 countries in North America, it might not be a surprise that a few languages are spoken in North America: English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and dialects of Creole, which blends elements of European and African languages. 

Plus, many indigenous languages from Inuktitut (Canada), Navajo & Cherokee (USA), Nahuatl, Maya, Otomí, Mixteco (Mexico), Mayan (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador), Miskito (Nicaragua and Honduras), Ngabere (Panama and Costa Rica) Garifuna (Honduras), Kuna (Panama).

And there you have it. There are 23 countries in North America in total, so let’s look at them in alphabetical order with flags, capital cities and currency.

Here is a list of all 23 countries in North America in alphabetical order

FlagCountry NameCapitalCurrency
Antigua and BarbudaSt. John’sEast Caribbean dollar
BahamasNassauBahamian dollar
BarbadosBridgetownBarbadian dollar
BelizeBelmopanBelize dollar
CanadaOttawaCanadian dollar
Costa RicaSan JoséCosta Rican colón
CubaHavanaCuban peso /Cuban convertible peso
DominicaRoseauEast Caribbean dollar
Dominican RepublicSanto DomingoDominican peso
El SalvadorSan SalvadorUnited States dollar
GrenadaSt. George’sEast Caribbean dollar
GuatemalaGuatemala CityGuatemalan quetzal
HaitiPort-au-PrinceHaitian gourde
HondurasTegucigalpaHonduran lempira
JamaicaKingstonJamaican dollar
MexicoMexico CityMexican peso
NicaraguaManaguaNicaraguan córdoba
PanamaPanama CityPanamanian balboa / United States dollar
Saint Kitts and NevisBasseterreEast Caribbean dollar
Saint LuciaCastriesEast Caribbean dollar
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesKingstownEast Caribbean dollar
Trinidad and TobagoPort of SpainTrinidad and Tobago dollar
United StatesWashingtonUnited States dollar

And that’s all for the ultimate explanation of the “How many countries are there in North America are there?” question.

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