Travel the 90th Meridian West – 90°W

Travel the 90th Meridian West – 90°W 2018-01-12T10:51:38+00:00

I’m exploring 90 degrees west longitude, better known as the 90th meridian west. This line falls right between the prime meridian and the 180th meridian on the western part of our longitudinal coordinates. This page is part of my Voyageography geographic series to better understand all 360 degrees of the world. On each page of this project I take it 1 degree at a time to uncover lands, oceans, cities, etc. This time I look at the 90th meridian west between 89.5 degrees west to 90.5 degrees west from 90 degrees north to south.

Overview

90°W runs across the Arctic north, down through the remote Canadian territories, crosses provinces of Canada and into the middle section of the United States, crosses into the Gulf of Mexico, and through central American countries before crossing the vast Pacific Ocean and into Antarctica. You will discover the highlights of all the countries and territories located within .5 degrees of the 90th meridian west, including what’s there, some travel tips as well as travel information to plan a trip in case you want to explore any parts in the real world. Take time read and to interact with all the maps and links.

Arctic Ocean – 90°N to 82°N

Like all longitudinal lines the 90th meridian west starts in the Arctic Ocean at the north pole. On the Arctic Sea Ice News, we can see the ice sheet that sits over the North Pole can come down to land which is at 82°N. In fact Baffin Island, Canada can be completely surrounded by ice for much of the year.

Starts: 90°00’00.0″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 81°54’28.4″N 90°00’00.0″W

560 miles long

What’s there?

This part of the Arctic Ocean is obviously very remote and hard to get to. From Ellesmere Island, the north pole actually isn’t too far but you would definitely need a specialized tour. It is possible to take tours, like Adventure Canada, Quark ExpeditionsPolar Cruises, Arctic Odysseys, Deutsche PolarflugIcetrekPolarExplorers, and North Pole Adventures to the North Pole.

Canada – 82°N to 48°N

At almost 34 degrees from north to south, Canada on the 90th meridian west covers vast lands, actually 19% of the meridian itself. The line starts in the frozen, rocky north of Ellesmere Island and exits at the USA/Canadian border in the province of Ontario on a lake.

Enters: 81°54’28.4″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 48°03’35.7″N 90°00’00.0″W

2,339 miles long

90th meridian west entering Canada

90th meridian west exiting Canada

Time Zones:

GMT -7

GMT -6

GMT -5

Languages:

English

Eskaleut (Eskimo–Aleut)

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (Inuktitut)

What’s there?

The 90th meridian west starts in the remote north of Canada on Ellesmere Island. In Inuit it’s known as the “land of muskoxen,” and is in the territory of Nunavut. Although this island is remote, its had many residents in the past come and go and still has a small population to this day. However the 90th meridian west hits a only a small part of the island and does not cross any village.

90th meridian west then hits Axel Heiberg Island, once inhabited by Inuits it now has no permanent residents. The island has beautiful mountains and a beautiful glacier. Research continues on this island but other than that this island remains mostly isolated for the year.

The line meridian continues on to other remote islands including Graham Island, North Kent Island, Ellesmere Island, Prince Leopard Island, Somerset Island and Devon Island. All of these are uninhabited including Devon Island, which technically has researchers who visit part of the year. Devon Island also happens to be the largest uninhabited island in the world. All of these islands offering sanctuaries for animals like musk oxen, gulls, guillemots, walruses, seals, and narwhals.

Canada’s most famous northern island is no doubt Baffin Island. The 90th meridian west crosses the western part of Baffin Island which is pretty remote. However lots of animals frequent here including barren-ground caribou, polar bear, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, lemming and Arctic wolf.

The line then enters the northwestern passages, and continues to other remote Canadian islands until finally making land on the mainland of Canada in the province of Nunavut. The 90th meridian west finally hits it’s first village, Kugaaruk, a permanent Inuit village. The village is very cold year round with an average yearly high of only 14.5 F. Lows in the winter are regularly near -40 F. Wind chills can make it even worse dropping to near -90 F.

At around 65 degrees north the 90th meridian west hits the Ukkusiksalik National Park. The area is relatively flat leading to high winds year round and also very low temperatures. Despite it being relatively low in latitude compared to other Canadian islands, it’s squarely in the arctic climate. Ice stays around in the Hudson Bay even until June or July. It is actually possible to travel here but only for a few weeks at the end of July and August.

At around 57 degrees north the 90th meridian west finally hits a new province, Manitoba. The line doesn’t cross any significant land or towns but comes near the town of Port Nelson.

Near 56 degrees the line enters it’s final Canadian province, Ontario. The line covers mostly remote land but does cross some villages and towns including, Angling Lake, Big Beaver House, Pickle Crow, Pickle Lake, New Osnaburgh, Osnaburgh Lake, Raith, Shabaqua Corners, Suomi and the western burbs of the largest city in the area Thunder Bay. Actually I have visited around the western part of Thunder Bay at Kakabeka Falls, a beautiful waterfall that was completely frozen in the middle of winter.

This area is really the only part of Canada that has any type of significant population on the 90th meridian west. It would be easy to travel here but even some areas of completely remote. The area is relatively flat with tons of lakes as you can see on Google Maps.

Hudson Bay – 64°N to 57°N

The 90th meridian west hits the huge Hudson Bay at around 64 degrees north. Hudson Bay is considered part of the Arctic Ocean.

Enters: 63°46’17.5″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 57°01’41.0″N 90°00’00.0″W

466 miles long

What’s there?

The 90th meridian west follows along the western part of the Hudson Bay. Here is open ocean and it’s possible to travel in the area. The Hudson Bay has very low temperatures however and regularly freezes for most of the year.

USA – 48°N to 29°N

The 90th meridian west enters into the USA at 48 degrees north and covers 19 degrees of the 90th meridian west exiting at 29 degrees north. The line follows through the heart of the country hitting 11 states.

Enters: 48°03’35.7″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 29°13’43.2″N 90°00’00.0″W

1,301 miles long

90th meridian west entering the USA

90th meridian west exiting the USA

Time Zones:

GMT-6

Languages:

English

Español (Spanish)

ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᒧᐎᓐ (Ojibwe)

What’s there?

Minnesota

The 90th meridian west enters the USA in the state of Minnesota at South Fowl Lake. This area of Minnesota has a low population as the line goes through the Superior National Forest but only 4 hours away from Minneapolis. I’ve traveled to this part of Minnesota and it is very beautiful with sweeping hills, pine, spruce, aspen, maple, oak and paper birch. Grand Marais is worth a visit with a cute downtown area, log cabins, quiet surroundings and access to the very few skiing Minnesota has to offer. The city sits on the northern shores of Lake Superior.

Michigan

The 90th meridian west comes down the western part of Lake Superior and enters the extreme western part of upper Michigan near 47 degrees north. There are couple of cities here as well as the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Due to the proximity of Lake Superior, in winter this area has heavy lake effect snow. The area is heavily forested and perfect for camping trips.

Wisconsin

The 90th meridian west then enters Wisconsin near Manitowish at around 46 degrees north. Like Michigan much of this area is not very populated and has tons of camping sites as well as lakes. The line winds itself down central Wisconsin touching cities like Tripoli, Auburndale, Wisconsin Rapids and Wisconsin Dells. Wisconsin Dells is famous for it’s water parks and there is a beautiful lake called Devils Lake just south of the city. From what I can tell from satellites this is mostly rural farm land through the entire state.

Illinois / Iowa

The 90th meridian west enters Illinois at about 42 degrees north near the town of Warren, Illinois. To the west there is also the resort town of Galena, Illinois, known for it’s picturesque views. The line follow mostly the western part of Illinois which is pretty rural and known for farms. The lines edge does touch parts of Mississippi River and areas of Iowa but the line itself never crosses into Iowa. Springfield is really the first major city on the 90th meridian east’s area and is also the capital of Illinois. From here the line stays in rural Illinois before crossing into Missouri.

Missouri / Kentucky

The 90th meridian west comes within miles of downtown St. Louis and covers all of St. Louis in it’s territory. For the most part the line goes into rural parts of Missouri and officially enters Missouri not in St. Louis but near Ste. Genevieve at around 38 degrees north on the Mississippi river. This section of Missouri is relatively more hilly than that of across the border in Illinois and has some decent scenery. One tidbit is the lines area barely touches Kentucky, a small part that is actually separated from mainland Kentucky! Just south the line enters the southern notch of Missouri, a weird land that extends into Arkansas.

Arkansas

The line the enters a short part into Arkansas where it’s mostly farming at exactly 36 degrees north.

Tennessee

The 90th meridian west quickly enters into Tennessee at around 36 degrees north near the town of Wilson, Arkansas. The line follow through western Tennessee that is mostly rural until one of the Tennessee’s largest city, Memphis. Memphis overlooks the Mississippi River and is known for it’s live music particularly on Beale Street. I’ve been to Memphis and the city is somewhat picturesque with rolling hills to the east.

Mississippi

At 35 degrees north the line enters Mississippi and travel the central western part of the state. Notable cities include Oxford and Jackson. For readers outside of the USA, Mississippi is one of the nations poorest but it can be scenic and welcoming. The line follows mostly rural farms but does have bigger cities like Jackson the capital of Mississippi.

Louisiana

The final state the 90th meridian west comes through is Louisiana. It enters at 31 degrees north at a rural part in eastern Louisiana and comes across Louisiana’s most famous city New Orleans. This city is particular known for partying, Mardi Gras, jazz and one of the few states that have more of a French influence. Just below New Orleans the line continues through swamp land before finally exiting the USA at 29 degrees north.

Gulf of Mexico – 29°N to 21°N

The 90th meridian west crosses the Gulf of Mexico for around 8 degrees before making landfall in the Yucatan.

Enters: 29°13’43.2″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 21°10’30.6″N 90°00’00.0″W

556 miles long

What’s there?

The 90th meridian west is a heavily trafficked area with many transport and cruise ships operating. This is a mostly tropical area with warm weather for most of the year. Hurricanes pop up almost yearly during the autumn months.

Mexico – 21°N to 18°N

The 90th meridian west enters Mexico in the state of Yucatan and crosses into another state called Campeche. The line covers mostly rural, dense jungle.

Enters: 21°10’30.6″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 17°48’56.5″N 90°00’00.0″W

232 miles long

90th meridian west entering Mexico

90th meridian west exiting Mexico

Time Zones:

GMT-6

Languages:

Español (Spanish)

What’s there?

The 90th meridian west passes through mostly remote parts of this area of Mexico however the lines area covers the large Yucatan city of Mérida. Here many cruise ships dock at the city of Progreso and it’s possible to go east to explore Mayan ruins. There are many cruise ships that offer fantastic cruises from USA cities. Further south of Mérida there is also the ruins of Uxmal an ancient Mayan city, one of the most important Mayan cities to ever be discovered.

From here the line mostly enters jungle and also the eastern part of the state of Campeche. The lines area comes close to the main city of Campeche which is Campeche, a city that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. The city was built on old Mayan ruins and still has a old colonial Spanish feel. The city has a UNESCO world heritage site thanks to the preservation of the walls and architecture. To the east and towards the border of Guatemala lie more Mayan ruins and the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, a large protected jungle.

Guatemala – 18°N to 14°N

The 90th meridian west enters the jungles of Guatemala and crosses through the central part of the country into the mountains.

Enters: 17°48’56.5″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 13°57’22.2″N 90°00’00.0″W

267 miles long

90th meridian west entering Guatemala

90th meridian west exiting Guatemala

Time Zones:

GMT-6

Languages:

Español (Spanish)

What’s there?

The 90th meridian west enters Guatemala on it’s northern most border at around 18 degrees north. Here the landscape is purely jungle with no civilization or major city nearby. Starting at the border there is the El Mirador National Park, and it has many pre-columbian Mayan ruins scattered throughout the jungle. There are no roads to the site and so to travel through here it’s essential to hire hiking guides. There is another park right below El Mirador National Park called the Maya Biosphere Reserve that has many more ruins where you’ll also need a guide to get through. Many types of central american wildlife live in these jungles including jaguars, pumas, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, margays, hawks, and crocodiles. The city of Cruce Dos Aguadas is purposely set up as base for tours into the jungle.

Further south there is Lake Petén Itzá which is more accessible and has several Mayan ruins circling around the lake. These are not as well known as the Tikal site but certainly should be considered.

The 90th meridian west then leaves the jungles and heads into the mountains of Guatemala. The southern part of Guatemala is covered with beautiful villages overlooking mountains, several caves structures and lots of coffee production. To the east of the 90th meridian west there is the Sierras de las Minas, a mountain biosphere that has plenty of marble and jade. This is also a protection zone for many bigs cats like jaguars, cougars, onzas, ocelots, and margays.

Further south the 90th meridian west travels through the eastern part of the Guatemala City. If you’re traveling to Guatemala chances are you’re flying into the capital city, the cultural and economic center of the country. From here you can jump off to any part of the country. The city itself has many sites and is gorgeous as it lies in the mountains. One thing unique about Guatemala City is the ability to buy beautiful Guatemalan textiles.

Down south, near the Pacific Ocean, there are many beautiful volcanoes, including Acatenango, Agua and Tecuamburro. The first two are located close to Guatemala and readily accessible and provide sweeping views of the area if you choose to hike them. However be careful with the guides you choose because the hikes are not easy. Also these are active volcanoes so be cognizant of the risks.

Guatemala has a whole can be a dangerous country to travel. There has been various carjackings, and robberies and assaults of tourist vans. Even if there is a high level of crime, it is possible to travel the country if you follow guides and use common sense.

El Salvador – 14°N to 14°N

The 90th meridian west briefly enters this tiny central american nation.

Enters: 13°57’22.2″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 13°41’13.9″N 90°00’00.0″W

19 miles long

90th meridian west entering El Salvador

90th meridian west exiting El Salvador

Time Zones:

GMT-6

Languages:

Español (Spanish)

What’s there?

Like Guatemala the 90th meridian west enters a part of El Salvador filled with volcanoes. There are two national parks within the 90th meridian west called the El Imposible National Park, named after the perilous journey coffee farmers took to trek to the Pacific Ocean markets and Parque Nacional los Volcanoes, which has many active volcanoes.

The line doesn’t spend too much time in El Salvador exiting at the the Pacific Ocean near the city of Barra de Santiago. Take precaution when traveling in El Savlador, it has some of the highest murder rates in the world.

Pacific Ocean – 14°N to 0°N

The Pacific Ocean on the 90th meridian west is huge and mostly follow and empty path down to Antarctica.

Enters: 13°41’13.9″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 0°23’15.3″N 90°00’00.0″W

919 miles long

What’s there?

Many cruise ships, cargo and fishing ships visit these waters as they are rich with life given this region is close to the equator. Many ships follow through these waters to the nearby Panama Canal.

Ecuador – 0°N to 1°S

The line falls right into the Galapagos Islands, a beautiful chain of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Enters: 0°23’15.3″N 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 1°24’41.8″S 90°00’00.0″W

124 miles long

90th meridian west entering Ecuador

90th meridian west exiting Ecuador

Time Zones:

GMT+6

Languages:

বাংলা (Bengali)

What’s there?

The 90th meridian west hits the Galapagos which belong to Ecuador. Now if you’re not familiar with the Galapagos, they are beautiful islands that were once used a scientific base for Charles Darwin who drew the flora and fauna and worked on the theory of evolution. The islands are unique because they are so isolated and have animals and plants found nowhere else on earth. Today they are easily accessible however it’s also expensive to get there. This article explains the costs of getting there and the choices you need to make. The 90th meridian west technically doesn’t touch any of the islands but it’s territory does.

Pacific Ocean – 1°S to 69°S

The 90th meridian west crosses the Gulf of Mexico for around 8 degrees before making landfall in the Yucatan.

Enters: 1°24’41.8″S 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 68°49’20.0″S 90°00’00.0″W

4,658 miles long

What’s there?

Cargo ships and fishing boats do frequent these areas but given the large expanse it remains largely removed from human life. Of course marine life and bird life do cross these areas.

Norway – 69°S to 69°S

The line comes close the Peter I Island in the extreme southern Pacific Ocean.

Enters: 68°49’20.0″S 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 68°52’38.4″S 90°00’00.0″W

4 miles long

90th meridian west entering Ecuador

90th meridian west exiting Ecuador

Time Zones:

GMT+6

Languages:

বাংলা (Bengali)

What’s there?

Pacific Ocean – 69°S to 73°S

The 90th meridian west crosses the Gulf of Mexico for around 8 degrees before making landfall in the Yucatan.

Enters: 1°24’41.8″S 90°00’00.0″W

Exits: 72°52’16.6″S 90°00’00.0″W

276 miles long

What’s there?

This part of the Pacific Ocean is fairly rough with high winds and cold temperatures. In fact if you look at marine traffic you’ll very rarely see and ships traveling in the area.

Antarctica – 73°S to 90°S

The 90th meridian west hits Antarctica far south at around 73 degrees south.

Enters: 72°52’16.6″S 90°00’00.0″W

Ends: 90°00’00.0″S 90°00’00.0″E

1,175 miles long

What’s there?

The 90th meridian west hits the base of the famous peninsula in Antarctica known as the Palmer Land. The line doesn’t really come across any major research bases except when it finally hits the South Pole. However this area, especially near the coast, is possible to travel to and many ships leave from the tip of South American to make their way to the peninsula of Antarctica.

Polar Cruises, Pura Aventura, National Geographic Expeditions, and Quark Expeditions are the few tours that offer cruises from South America and go around the area of the 90th meridian west. However I still have yet to find a cruise going to the exact 90th meridian west near Farwell Island.

Countries and Territories on 180 degrees

Canada

United States

Minnesota

Michigan

Wisconsin

Iowa

Illinois

Missouri

Kentucky

Arkansas

Tennessee

Mississippi

Louisiana

Mexico

Guatemala

El Salvador

Ecuador

Norway

Antarctica

7 countries and 1 territory. 11 states in the USA.

Ecuador and Norway are not on the 90 degrees west line but within the -89.5 to -90.5 degree range. Same with Iowa and Kentucky.

Notable Bodies of Water

Arctic Ocean

Hudson Bay

Gulf of Mexico

Pacific Ocean

Southern Ocean

Notable Cities

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Peoria, Illinois

Springfield, Illinois

Memphis, Tennessee

Jackson, Mississippi

New Orleans, USA

Merida, Mexico

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Total Languages Spoken

4

Time Zones Covered

3

GMT-7, -6, -5

Longitudes of the World Archive

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