The tropics is the area in the world between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. Roughly, this corresponds to:
- The southern half of Mexico
- The Caribbean and Central America
- The northern half of South America
- Most of Africa
- The southern third of Middle East and southern half of India
- Southeast Asia and a small part of East Asia
- Oceania, except New Zealand and the southern half of Australia
Save for high mountain areas, expect warm or hot weather around the year here. Seasons are defined as dry and wet; during the dry season it might not rain at all while wet seasons sometimes means more rain in a month than in a whole year in temperate destinations. The dry season is usually in the winter of that hemisphere — for instance most of Southeast Asia or the Caribbean which are north of the Equator have the driest months are between November and April. Places like central Brazil or southern Indonesia are south of the Equator and have their dry season in the Austral winter (Northern Hemisphere summer).
Right at the Equator, and a few degrees off it, rainfall tends to be almost exactly the same around the year. Further away, there are often a couple of dryer months, but during the rest of the year it rains so much that the yearly amount of rainfall is often higher than at the equator. Still further away, the dry season is longer, it rains less during the year and higher temperatures get more common. At the tropics there are usually deserts where hardly any rain falls at all, and while +40°C (about +100°F) is almost never exceeded at the equator, in these deserts such temperatures are almost guaranteed in the hottest months of the year.
At the Equator day and night are about exactly 12 hours each around the year, with pretty much no twilight (the sun rises and sets very rapidly). Elsewhere in the tropics the day and night differ slightly depending on the time of the year but very little compared to temperate latitudes. In the tropics the sun will reach zenith on two days every year (it depends on latitude).
See and Do
In the tropics you can experience jungles, steppe and deserts and vegetation and animal life typical to these environments. Overall tropical areas tend to be the most biodiverse in the world. When hearing the word "safari", the first thing you think of is probably a tropical environment.
The Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn forming the borders of the tropics and the Equator bisecting it are often local attractions — not the only reason for traveling to that part of the world but probably worth checking out if you're in the region. Here are some destinations on or near these latitudes:
- Tropic of Cancer: Ad Dakhla, Aswan, Muscat, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Dhaka, Comilla, Jianshui, Guangzhou, Shantou, Chiayi, Todos Santos, Mazatlan, Ciudad Victoria, Exuma and Long Island (Bahamas)
- Tropic of Capricorn: Rehoboth (Namibia), Toliara, Alice Springs, Longreach, Rockhampton, Antofagasta, Concepción (Paraguay), Maringá (Paraná), Londrina, Sorocaba, São Paulo/Guarulhos
On the downside, the biodiversity also includes plenty of poisonous or otherwise dangerous animals and plants, as well as tropical diseases spread in various ways. Another risk is the sun and heat; the world's highest levels of UV-radiation can be found in high-altitude tropical locations, so always protect your skin in when outside in daylight. Finally, tips for travel in developing countries applies to almost everywhere in the tropics.