TripAdvisor's 10 Best Island Vacations Will Have You Dreaming About Your Next Great Getaway
Who hasn’t fantasized about jetting off to some island paradise? I’ve thought about it ever since I saw Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach. (Though I would avoid that island in particular... or, I’d just try and overthrow Tilda Swinton as the crazy beach dictator so that I could be the crazy beach dictator. You know, depends how I’m feeling that day.) But, where would one start the island hopping? How can we trust that a list of popular places is actually a great lineup of vacation destinations (and not just propaganda led by the resort marketing machines)? Enter TripAdvisor's list of top 10 best islands in the world.
The popular travel site announced its Travelers’ Choice Awards with a fresh look at both common vacation destinations and lesser-known spots to visit, as curated by a community of travelers who use TripAdvisor to provide first-hand accounts on jaunts while providing advice on places to go — and places not to go (if it ends up not being worth their time).
And, let me just tell you, these places are gorgeous — the photos don’t do the islands justice. Only one of the islands is in the U.S., while the rest span the globe. But, if you’re set on getting a top-of-the-line island getaway experience, the distance (and the price in some cases) is worth soaring around the world to witness pure beauty. This summer is the time to do it (if only in your dreams). After all, there’s something about being in a remote paradise practically on the edge of the world that draws so many people to the tiny, tranquil lands that dot the seas.
Here are TripAdvisor’s top 10 most popular islands in the world.
10. Fernando de Noronha (Brazil)
The countdown begins with this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hiking and biking are the best way to take the island in, but potential travelers should know that the amount of visitors allowed onto the island is restricted due to its delicate ecosystem. If you make the list and are allowed in, you will be lucky to view "unrivaled beaches and soothing warm waters filled with dolphins and sea turtles," TripAdvisor reports.
9. Bora Bora (French Polynesia)
Lagoons and watercolor sunsets surround your time in Bora Bora (and your private bungalow), but water fun isn't the only thing that makes Bora Bora stand out from the rest. Fine French restaurants are all around, which makes this an all around trip of a lifetime for foodies.
How could you resist a stay here? While Mauritius is a bustling port with a fast-hustling marketplace, tourists typically take advantage of the slow-paced resort areas with Mont Choisy and Trou-aux-Biches at the top of that list. For a more lively beach vacation, especially if you're a scuba diver, Flic en Flac is the spot for you.
7. Bali (Indonesia)
Here's to Bali, an island that brings you the ultimate peace of mind (body and soul). Enjoy the mysteries of jungles, stone temples, and monkeys — lots of them. But if you make it to this paradise, do also take advantage of the many spa experiences offered as well as top-tier yoga classes.
6. Madeira (Portugal)
One reason off-beat tourists visit this island over others is to see such sights as the thatched-roof Madeira Story Centre. You can also hike to the summit of Pico Ruivo, and cool yourself off with the area's signature Madeira wine known for its musky sweetness.
5. Ko Tao (Thailand)
Named for its abundance of sea turtles, Ko Tao holds many secret spots amid its steep hills. As TripAdvisor explains, some are only accessible with four-wheel drive vehicles. The best part though? 300 days of sun per year!
4. Santorini (Greece)
You'll likely think Mamma Mia and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants upon flipping through traveler photos of one of Greece's most popular islands. White hillside buildings, mule rides up winding roads, blue waters , and world-famous sunsets is exactly what you'll get.
3. Roatan (Honduras)
Here's ecotourism at its best. The island boasts zip-lining and deep-sea fishing you'll never forget. You can even tour the military-protected archipelago of Cayos Cochinos.
2. Maui (United States)
Travelers may have listed Maui close to the top spot, but it's not for reasons you might think. If you're looking for a lazy beach day (which we fully support), this is not exactly that kind of island. Visitors who flock here are looking to explore nature — from the bamboo forest and churning waterfalls in Haleakala National Park, to a scenic route along the coast that is said to be the one of "the most spectacular journeys of your life."
1. Providenciales (Turks and Caicos)
Providenciales wins! According to TripAdvisor, it is the most populated island in Turks and Caicos where diving, snorkeling, and kayaking are best done with breathtaking corals and cliffs as the background.