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
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0735 GMT (1535 HKT)
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1117 GMT (1917 HKT)
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0756 GMT (1556 HKT)
Tirana's nightlife
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
ADVERTISEMENT