Travel in Latin America

Where Is the Bermuda Triangle Located?

Imagine crossing a large, open section of ocean where strange things happen and ships disappear without a trace. Now imagine that there are no markings and no natural borders to let travelers know when they've entered this mysterious zone. This is the Bermuda Triangle, a region of the Atlantic off the coast of Florida that owes its existence as much to folklore as it does to maps.

Traditionally, the Bermuda Triangle stretches across the waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. The points of the Triangle are most commonly given as Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico. However, some sources have put the ends of the Triangle as far away as the Azores. The islands of the Bahamas are generally within the boundaries of the western point of the Triangle. The southern border of the Triangle between Florida and Puerto Rico runs off the coast of the island nations of Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The majority of the Triangle is located over open ocean.

Enthusiasts of Bermuda Triangle lore often trace the strange events associated with the location back to the days of Columbus. Supposedly, Columbus recorded unusual events in his log while traveling through the region. Since then, a number of disappearances and other strange circumstances have added to the folklore surround the Triangle. Some instances are more famous than other, such as the USS Cyclops in 1918 and the six aircraft of US Navy Flight 19 in 1945, which all vanished without a trace somewhere in the Triangle and helped cement the region's paranormal reputation. (The official position of the US Navy ascribes both disappearances to non-paranormal factors.) These disappearances, combined with other stories, literally put the Bermuda Triangle on the map in the twentieth century.

For those that believe in the Triangle, it represents a particularly mysterious and perhaps even ominous region of the sea. There is some evidence that the Triangle does have some unusual properties, most notably upon compasses that are claimed to point not to magnetic north, but true north. However, according to official documentation these effects are not unique to the Triangle, and are of no relation to its borders. There is also the confluence of ocean and atmospheric currents--particularly the oceanic Gulf Stream--which contribute to the storms in the region. Of course, being a heavily traveled section of both sea and air, thousands of vessels travel through the Triangle each year without incident.

Official explanations for the Triangle blame the usual factors or either weather, currents, human error or some combination of all of the above. The Gulf Stream is a particularly strong current that runs right through the Triangle. It is an area also frequently affected by violent storms, including hurricanes. Paranormal explanations involve everything from UFOs to inter-dimensional wormholes. Still, other folklore enthusiasts offer no explanation yet still insist, based on the number of disappearances, that something strange must be happening inside the Bermuda Triangle. Depending on who's asked, the Triangle is either one of modern maritime's greatest mysteries, or no mystery at all.

In fact, there hasn't always been a Triangle, let alone a mystery surrounding it. The idea of some strange supernatural zone in the ocean didn't occur until the mid-twentieth century, when the area was first categorized as "The Devil's Triangle" in a 1950 publication. Prior to that, of course, ships and planes had both gone down in the region, but no paranormal explanations were attached to these disappearances. Nor is there good evidence of the area being seen as anything other than a vast stretch of open ocean by either the indigenous native tribes or the Europeans and Americans who sailed there later. Thus, as an artificial construction not bound by any natural features, the Triangle only truly exists in the annals of popular modern folklore.

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