St. Mary is located at latitude 18°09'N, longitude 77°03'W. It is bordered by Portland in the east, St. Ann in the west, and parts of St. Catherine and St. Andrew in the south.
The parish covers an area of 610 km², making it Jamaica's fifth smallest parish. The terrain is mountainous, rising up to almost 1,200 metres (4,000 ft) at the highest point, but there are no distinctive mountain ranges. The climate is varied, like most parishes on the island. The eastern section of the parish has shale rock and an intricate surface draining pattern, while the western section is limestone with predominantly underground rivers.
There are three main rivers in Saint Mary, the Rio Nuevo, Wag Water River and White River.
The parish has a good variety of agricultural resources. The principal products are bananas, sugar, citrus, pimento, cocoa, coconuts, coffee, vegetables, breadfruit and anatto. Pastoralism is also practised. In recent years, however, agriculture has been on the decline, which may be due to the problems that Jamaican banana export has been facing.
St. Mary's parish, had once been listed as one of the poorest in Jamaica, but over the past 10 years there have been substantial improvements in the economy due to the influx of investments in infrastructure, including a new international airport (Ian Fleming International Airport), a new highway, and development of luxury resorts such as Goldeneye and Golden Clouds. The new intercoastal highway constructed in 2005 has benefitted the parish and has brought a significant increase to tourism-related activities.
The parish boasts what is thought by some to be one of the best secondary level schools in the nation, St Mary High School, from which several outstanding people have come. They occupy several reputable positions in varying sectors both at home and overseas.
Essential services includes banking and postal services. There are hospitals located in Port Maria and Annotto Bay, as well as public health clinics in Highgate, Oracabessa and Boscobel.
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