The 10 Best Islands In The World: A Photo Tour

on February 20 2014 6:21 AM

Some go for tropical cocktails and late night hedonism. Others for the simplicity of a hammock lodged between swaying coconut palms or the perfect isolation of a rugged, windswept cliff. Whatever the reason, one could argue that islands spark our imaginations more than any other feature of planet Earth.

“There is something transporting about an island vacation,” Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor, supposed. That’s why the world’s largest travel site just released its second annual Travelers’ Choice Islands awards to help wanderlust would-be island-goers locate Earth’s most alluring dollops of land.

“From the coral reefs of Ambergris Caye, Belize, to the beaches of Ko Tao, Thailand, these winning islands have been highly rated from travelers around the globe,” Messing explained.

TripAdvisor selected its Travelers’ Choice Island winners based on the quality and quantity of the most highly rated hotels, restaurants and attractions listed for each destination. All told, its millions of users helped award more than 100 islands, including top 10 lists for the U.S., the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the South Pacific. Below, have a look at the 10 paradisiacal isles that emerged as the best of the bunch.

No. 10 Ko Tao, Thailand

Ko Tao, Thailand Ko Tao, Thailand  creative commons/m.gifford

The least party-centric of the Gulf of Thailand isles, palm-fringed Ko Tao boasts more sea turtles on its shores than passed-out full moon revelers.

No. 9 Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island, Chile Easter Island, Chile  Reuters

This mythical isle is one of the most remote spots on the planet and boasts more mysteries per square mile than just about anywhere else too.

No. 8 Nosy Be, Madagascar

Nosy Be, Madagascar Nosy Be, Madagascar  creative commons/rita willaert

File this one in the never-heard-of-it-but-how-can-I-get-there folder. Nosy Be, just off the northwest coast of Madagascar, promises volcanic lakes, dazzling coral reefs and afternoon siestas with the resident lemurs.

No. 7 Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki, Cook Islands Aitutaki, Cook Islands  creative commons/rowin atkinson photography

It’s encased by bone-white beaches, has got a triangular barrier reef and boasts incredible lagoons. Hard to reach as it may be, TripAdvisor said Aitutaki is definitely worth the hassle.

No. 6 Naxos, Greece

Naxos, Greece Naxos, Greece  creative commons/hchalkley

“A spot of white in the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, the island of Naxos is a unique blend of ancient ruins and beach culture,” TripAdvisor explained.

No. 5 Lewis and Harris, Scotland

Lewis and Harris, Scotland Lewis and Harris, Scotland  creative commons/*pete

This Outer Hebrides escape “is like stepping into the pages of a Scottish fairy tale,” with vast secluded beaches and a massive city of rocks known as the Callanish Standing Stones.

No. 4 Marco Island, Florida

Marco Island, Florida Marco Island, Florida  creative commons/andrew huff

The top U.S. destination on the list, TripAdvisor said Marco Island offers peace and tranquility for those who don’t have time to travel too far off the grid.

No. 3 Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora, French Polynesia Bora Bora, French Polynesia  creative commons/pierre lesange

TripAdvisor said “turquoise lagoons, soft white sands and deep tangerine sunsets set the scene for romance on the island so nice they named it twice.”

No. 2 Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Providenciales, Turks and Caicos  wikicommons

The most populated of the Turks and Caicos islands, Providenciales boasts miles of untouched coral reef that’s easily accessible from the shore.

No. 1 Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye, Belize Ambergris Caye, Belize  creative commons/cloud2013

Ambergris Caye topped the list for the second year in a row. TripAdvisor said the beautiful Belize island offered “the perfect blend of modern development and laid-back tranquility.”

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