Skip to main content

And the world's best island is ...

By CNN Staff
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0240 GMT (1040 HKT)
Ambergris Caye, in Belize -- known for its beautiful beaches, limestone caves and tropical rainforest -- won the TripAdvisor top spot for the second year running. Ambergris Caye, in Belize -- known for its beautiful beaches, limestone caves and tropical rainforest -- won the TripAdvisor top spot for the second year running.
HIDE CAPTION
Island No. 1
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Lewis and Harris, Scotland
Naxos, Greece
Easter Island, Chile
Chincoteague, Virginia
Maui, Hawaii
Milos, Greece
Capri, Italy
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ambergris Caye wins TripAdvisor best island award for second year running
  • Scotland's Harris and Lewis is new entrant at no. 5
  • Chincoteague, with its wild ponies, and San Juan island among U.S. top 10

(CNN) -- Ambergris Caye, in Belize, has held on to the title of world's No. 1 island for the second year running in awards by the travel review site TripAdvisor.

The island is acclaimed not only for its beaches but for its coral reef -- the second largest in the world -- limestone caves, and tracts of tropical rainforest dotted with waterfalls.

Islands in Polynesia (Bora Bora), Greece (Naxos) and Thailand (Ko Tao), as well as Marco Island, off Florida, were other winners in the top 10 global list.

Perhaps less obvious postcard-rack material, the Scottish island of Harris and Lewis ranked no. 5 worldwide and top among European islands.

Alastair Lockett, from the Hebridean island's tourist board, was not at all surprised by the accolade.

With its "pure white sand" and "turquoise water," Harris and Lewis -- which ranked nowhere in last year's top 10 -- actually "looks Caribbean," he told CNN.

Its "accessible remoteness" and "sense of space" were what drew people to the island, he said.

Chincoteague: wild horses could drag you there.
Chincoteague: wild horses could drag you there.

Best U.S. islands

Among the 10 best islands in the United States -- aside from Marco Island, at No. 1 -- were Chincoteague, in Virginia, known for its wild ponies, and San Juan island, in Washington, acclaimed for its orca-sighting.

Mauii, a beautiful possible shoe-in from Hawaii, was another U.S. winner, as was the "golfer's paradise" of Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Trailing in the wake of Lewis and Harris among 10 best European islands was Gozo, Malta; Santorini and Cephalonia, among a clutch of Greek islands; and Mull and Mainland, the largest of the Orkney Islands -- making up a Scottish trio.

TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Island awards are based on the most highly rated hotels, restaurants and attractions listed for each island on the website during a 12-month period.

MORE: 7 secret Caribbean islands

The top 10 islands in the world were:

1. Ambergris Caye, Belize

2. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

3. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

4. Marco Island, Florida

5. Lewis and Harris, Scotland, United Kingdom

6. Naxos, Greece

7. Aitutaki, Cook Islands

8. Nosy Be, Madagascar

9. Easter Island, Chile

10. Ko Tao, Thailand

Top 10 islands in the U.S.

1. Marco Island, Florida

2. Chincoteague Island, Virginia

3. Anna Maria Island, Florida

4. San Juan Island, Washington

5. Maui, Hawaii

6. Kauai, Hawaii

7. Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

8. Nantucket, Massachusetts

9. Hilton Head, South Carolina

10. Key West, Florida

Top 10 Islands in Europe

1. Lewis and Harris, Scotland, United Kingdom

2. Naxos, Greece

3. Gozo, Malta

4. Mainland, Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom

5. Milos, Greece

6. Cephalonia, Greece

7. Santorini, Greece

8. Capri, Italy

9. Isle of Mull, Scotland, United Kingdom

10. Paros, Greece

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 0626 GMT (1426 HKT)
the Teufelsberg or
Spooks have left their mark on a once-divided city still thought to be an espionage hotbed.
August 24, 2014 -- Updated 2206 GMT (0606 HKT)
nanjing, handicrafts
With more than 6,000 years of history, Nanjing is one of the few cities in China still practicing the country's endangered traditional crafts.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Rock and weather collide over millennia to create natural bridges. Here are 15 of our favorites from around the world.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 0539 GMT (1339 HKT)
A one-nun brewing operation, Sister Doris is putting Germany's women beer makers on the map. Sort of.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 0607 GMT (1407 HKT)
From Myanmar to Mickey Mouse, Stefan Zwanzger, aka The Theme Park Guy, gives his rundown of the best.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
Four hundred years after the death of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, her murderous exploits prove a grisly attraction.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1250 GMT (2050 HKT)
Formed by volcanoes and steeped in a rich history of Polynesian culture, Hawaii sounds more like a place in a fantasy novel rather than an American travel oasis.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 2356 GMT (0756 HKT)
Despite Kyoto's allure, until this year there's been a glaring absence from the city's travel scene -- a top tier, super-luxury hotel brand.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Why global adventurer Alastair Humphreys now looks for 'microadventures' close to home.
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 1133 GMT (1933 HKT)
Don't order Corona and don't freak out when you see Jessica Alba without makeup and you might pass for local.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 2301 GMT (0701 HKT)
History buff? Hardcore surfer? These South Pacific islands have every traveler covered.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1514 GMT (2314 HKT)
Airlines and airports are going high-tech to reduce your time in line.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1832 GMT (0232 HKT)
Eight of the top 10 scoring cities in the Economic Intelligence Unit's annual Liveability Survey are in Australia and Canada.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 2221 GMT (0621 HKT)
When a man tells me to "trust him," my typical reaction is to run.
ADVERTISEMENT