The time difference between countries usually generates confusion and some discomfort when we go on a trip. Therefore, in this article we explain what time zones are and how to know what time it is in each country.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Time zones

In 1884 the International Convention of the Meridian was organized in Washington DC, United States. In this it was decided to divide the planet into 24 meridians. The space between two meridians is the time zone, and there is an hour difference between each of them.

The meridians are imaginary lines or semicircles that go from the North Pole to the South Pole and divide the Earth into 24 different zones.

In addition, the zero meridian was chosen, which would serve as an international reference. Of several candidacies, finally the one selected was the Greenwich meridian, located in the United Kingdom. Therefore, the measurement of time, known as GMT, was in relation to this point.

Later, in 1972, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) was defined, which is measured with atomic clocks and not by the position of the sun, so it is something more exact. Also, UTC starts counting from midnight, unlike GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), who had been doing it since noon. However, it also takes the Greenwich meridian as a reference.

In the following map you can see the different time zones and how many hours to add or subtract in each of them with respect to the Greenwich meridian:


When it comes to talking about the time in each part of the world, it is common to use some abbreviations such as those already indicated above (GMT, UTC). These are other examples:

Eastern time. United States East Coast Time.
Japan Standard Time. Time in Japan.
Korea Standard Time. Time in South Korea.
Pacific Time. It is the UTC-8 time zone and is present in some areas of Canada, the United States and Mexico. In summer it is PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) and the rest of the year is PST (Pacific Standard Time).
San Luis Potosi. Exact time in this city of Mexico.
Venezuela Standard Time. Time in Venezuela.

In addition, most of the countries in Europe and North Africa are one hour older than UTC. At this time it is known as Central European Time (CET). However, some countries like Spain, advance the clock one hour in March, at which time they adopt the CEST (Central European Summer Time), which is two hours more (UTC + 2).

Time zone differences

This is the time difference between Spain and some cities and countries. Keep in mind that European summer time begins on the last Sunday in March and winter time on the last Sunday in October:

CountrySummer scheduleWinter time
Brasila (Brazil)-5-4
Chiapas (Mexico)-7-6
Dubai (UAE)+2+3
Finland+1 0
New York (USA)-6-5
Sydney (Australia)+8+7

Taking this into account, for example, when it is summer in Spain, in Argentina there are five hours less. So if it were 12 noon in Spain, in Argentina it would be 7 in the morning.

Do not forget that it is possible that in other countries that do not belong to Europe also change the time at some time of the year, so it is advisable to consult each case in a particular way.

En Latin America, this is the time difference between a part of these countries and UTC, that is, the time that is taken as a reference and that we find, for example, in the United Kingdom:

  • Bolivia, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic (UTC-4)
  • Venezuela (UTC-4: 30)
  • Argentina, Antarctic and Uruguay (UTC-3)
  • Cuba, Easter Island, Panama and Peru (UTC-5)
  • Costa Rica, Mexico and Honduras (UTC-6)
  • Equatorial Guinea (UTC + 1)

Therefore, in the case of Bolivia and Paraguay, there are four hours less with respect to the territories through which the Greenwich meridian passes, such as the United Kingdom.

Questions from users

How is the time difference between one country and another calculated?

The time zones between one territory and another must be counted. If, for example, you count two spindles to the right, it is two more hours, while if you count it to the left, it is less.

Why are there several time zones in some countries?

Because its territory is so wide that it passes through several meridians. For example, this occurs in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Is the meridian criterion strictly followed?

No, other economic and political aspects are also taken into account. In the case of Spain, it should have one hour less and Argentina four less.

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