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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Take a virtual visit of the prettiest islands in the world

AFP   March 30, 2013
First Published: 14:29 IST(30/3/2013) | Last Updated: 12:24 IST(1/4/2013)

Readers of the largest user-generated travel website have named their favorite island in the world, home to the second largest coral reef in the world and an impressive, perfectly circular sinkhole in the sea.

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TripAdvisor has released the results of their Traveler's Choice 2013 awards, which listed the top islands in the world.

Topping the list is Ambergris Caye, the largest island off the northeast coast of Belize. Here are the top 10 islands around the world, based on the quality and quantity of the most highly-rated hotels, restaurants and attractions for each island during the past 12 months.


Ambergris Caye Island, Belize
What makes this the world's top island according to TripAdvisor users? “Not so overdeveloped that you’re tripping over flip-flopped tourists,” a mangrove swamp, the Belize Barrier Reef - the second largest in the world after Australia - and the Great Blue Hole, a sinkhole in the middle of the sea teeming with angelfish, coral and stalactites for divers.

Ambergris Caye Island, Belize. Photo: AFP/Nickolay Stanev/Shutterstock.com

St. John, US Virgin Islands
The island is praised for its wildlife watching, miles of hiking trails and sandy white beaches.

St. John, US Virgin Islands. Photo: AFP/Songquan Deng/shutterstock.com

Bora Bora Island, French Polynesia
Safaris, white sandy beaches, lagoons, and its “superlative” romance factor were cited by fans of this island.

Bora Bora Island, French Polynesia. Photo: AFP/Christian Wilkinson/shutterstock.com

San Juan Island, Washington
Though not a tropical island, readers named the US destination for boasting one of the largest lavender farms in the country, its beaches, orca pods and prime whale watching real estate.

San Juan Island, Washington. Photo: AFP/Edmund Lowe Photography / shutterstock.com

Santorini island, Greece
No surprise here, Santorini makes the top 10 list for its happy, multi-colored roofs and neighborhoods, Red Beach, giant lagoons and thriving nightlife.

Santorini island, Greece. Photo: AFP/Anilah/shutterstock.com

Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Impressive seafood feasts, snorkeling, coral reefs, windsurfing, cocktails and sandy beaches make Isla Mujeres a top island destination.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Photo: AFP/Subbotina Anna/Shutterstock.com

Moorea island, French Polynesia
Why? Moorea is a heart-shaped island and “perfect base camp for snorkelers,” says TripAdvisor. Non-swimmers can also enjoy the underwater show in a glass-bottomed boat.

Moorea island, French Polynesia. Photo: AFP/Sebastien Burel/Shutterstock.com

Koh Tao, Surat Thani Provence, Thailand
With 300 days of sun a year, Koh Tao is a perennial favorite among travelers to the Southeast. Throw in some palm-fringed beaches and abundant sea turtles, and you’ve got a tropical haven, says TripAdvisor.

Koh Tao, Surat Thani Provence, Thailand. Photo: AFP/Morten Normann Almeland/shutterstock.com

Easter Island, Chile
It’s hardly tropical, but TripAdvisor readers named this remote island off the Chilean coast for its mystery and intrigue. Monolithic, Moai statues carved into volcanic rock stand guard over the island, preserving its 1,500-year-old secrets.

Easter Island, Chile. Photo: AFP/Lisa Strachan/shutterstock.com

Nosy Be, Antsiranana Province, Madagascar
Located off the northwest coast of Madagascar, Nosy Be (which means “big island”) is full of volcanic lakes, lemurs, rum distilleries and intricate coral reefs. Another major attraction is the Lokobe Nature Special Reserve, a favorite among lovers of flowers and fauna.

Nosy Be, Antsiranana Province, Madagascar. Photo: AFP/Pozzo Di Borgo Thomas/shutterstock.com


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