Belize’s Ambergris Caye has retained the title of world’s best island for the second year running in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travellers’ Choice Awards.
Placing second, and clinching the two top spots for the Caribbean, is scenic Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Ambergris Caye is acclaimed for its flawless beaches, extensive limestone caves, and tracts of lush tropical rainforest dotted with waterfalls.
The western Caribbean island is also a scuba divers dream, with the Belize Barrier Reef – the world’s second largest coral reef – and the 400-foot-deep Blue Hole packed with sea life and stalactites.
According to TripAdvisor, it’s not overcrowded either, with “just enough amenities to make it exciting, but not so overdeveloped that you’re tripping over flip-flopped tourists.”
TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice island awards are based on the most highly rated attractions, hotels and restaurants listed for each island on their website over a 12-month period.
Exotic islands in Polynesia (Bora Bora), Greece (Naxos) and Thailand (Ko Tao), as well as Marco Island, off Florida, USA, were other winners in the top 10 global list.
In cooler climes, the Scottish island of Harris and Lewis ranked no. 5 worldwide and top among European islands – quite a jump for a destination that ranked nowhere in last year’s top 10. Its “accessible remoteness” and “sense of space” are said to be among its biggest draws.
TripAdvisor’s 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 United States:
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