Tropical countries are those that lie within the region called the tropics. The tropics is the zone between the Tropic of Cancer, the parallel of latitude at 23° 26' 16" North, and the Tropic of Capricorn, the parallel of latitude at 23° 26' 16" South. Everywhere in the tropics is struck by the sun’s perpendicular rays at noon on a minimum of one day in each year. At the very center of the tropics lies the equator, a large, imaginary circle around the Earth at a spot equidistant from the North and South poles.
Many people associate tropical countries with a few islands and palm trees, but in fact, a large section of the world lies within the tropics. In the Western Hemisphere, parts of Mexico, all of Central America, all of the Caribbean islands from just south of Nassau in the Bahamas, and the top half of South America, including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, as well as the northern portions of Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil are within this area.
In Africa, the only nations that are not in the tropics are Morocco and Tunisia in the north and Lesotho and Swaziland in the south. All the rest lie either entirely, or at least partly, within this region.
While no European countries are tropical countries, the Middle East has four: Yemen, which is entirely in the tropics, and parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman, and United Arab Emirates. India, in southern Asia, lies mostly in the tropics, as do all countries of Southeast Asia. Australia, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, and most of the other island nations of Oceania in the South Pacific are tropical countries, as well.
Not all countries in this region have the same climate, but they all have a limited range in their temperatures and less climate change over a year than is found in other zones. Their climate is distinguished chiefly by wet and dry seasons. The flora and fauna differ as well, and while palm trees do grow in many places, they also grow outside the tropics.