Photo by Corbis/ Joe Carini
Conde Nast Traveler asked its readers to pick the very best islands in the world. Here are the top 10.
10. BIG ISLAND, HAWAII
Readers' Choice Rating: 87.6
Whether it's the "smell of Plumeria flowers," the "glow of the lava at night," or the general "Aloha spirit," our readers can't get enough of this appropriately named island. This "wonderful family destination" has "something for everyone." In the mood to shop? Swing by the "great open farmers market in Kona," before travelling across the island to the rural Hilo area, where you can find "beaches of any color sand you wish."
Photo by Getty/ Gardel Bertrand/Hemis.fr
Readers' Choice Rating: 87.8
The Great Barrier Reef consists of more than 3,000 individual reef systems and hundreds of islands, and our readers found plenty of "wonderful excursions." One said "everyone should come and snorkel because it's an awesome opportunity to see a whole different side to the ocean…truly breathtaking." The reefs are "full of life" and "one of nature's greatest treasures." "A must-go destination," the Great Barrier Reef Islands offer "adventures for all levels of people."
Photo by Getty/ Mark A. Johnson
Readers' Choice Rating: 88.0
Our readers praise this island's "great diversity of landscape" which seamlessly mixes "city and island culture." "Oahu offers you the excitement of Honolulu, the surfer lifestyle of the North Shore and everything in between," says one reader. Checking out the "lively street scene" near the famous Waikiki Beach is a must, and if you're feeling patriotic, stop by Pearl Harbor for some authentic American history.
Photo by Getty/ Chad Ehlers
Readers' Choice Rating: 88.5
Moorea's "beautiful, lush scenery, beaches and really great restaurants" won over our readers. The "tropical beauty with a French flair" has a lot to offer with its "beautiful lagoons, land tours and scootering." One reader said "even taking the local bus around the island is interesting."
Photo courtesy Lodge at Sea Island
Readers' Choice Rating: 88.6
Sea Island is the epitome of "world elegance in the deep south." "Brimming with unparalleled gracious and southern hospitality, Sea Island is a magical place dripping in Spanish moss, luxury, charm and sunshine," one reader said. Described as "a world of its own," Sea Island is "heaven on earth."
Photo by Corbis/ Stuart Pearce
Readers' Choice Rating: 89.3
Bora Bora is "the place to go when you want to decompress," notes one reader, who appreciated the "stunning tropical beauty and friendly natives." Described as "millennia away from the real world," this island offers many above-water bungalows, from which you can take in the "unreal" ocean scenery. But don't just stare, get your feet wet: Bora Bora "is as beautiful below the water as it is above," complete with the "thrill" of swimming with the "amazing sea life."
Photo by Alamy/ Buddy Mays
Readers' Choice Rating: 89.4
This "gorgeous island paradise" is a prime spot for a "vacation away from all the hustle and bustle of mainstream America," as one reader notes. Kiawah also boasts an impressive nature preserve, so between trips to the expansive beaches and matches on the tennis court, make sure to check out the exotic wildlife. And don't forget your golf clubs because "no other courses compare" to those of Kiawah, which hosted the 2012 PGA Championship.
Photo by Alamy/ Buddy Mays
Readers' Choice Rating: 89.6
Our readers found this island nation to be the epitome of "rest, relaxation, and indulgence," citing the "polished, polite" service, the "gorgeous resorts" and the "superb villas." Diving into the "turquoise water," lounging on the "white sands," and dining under the "incredible sunsets" make the Maldives experience "more picturesque than postcards can portray."
Photo by Corbis/ Giuglio Gil
Readers' Choice Rating: 92.1
"A little slice of heaven," as one reader put it, Kauai is praised as more laid-back than its Hawaiian counterparts. Indeed, the "warm and inclusive" attitude of the locals combined with the "lush vegetation and sleepy little historic towns" make for a distinctly relaxed feel. Yet there's certainly still some "heart pounding adventure" to be found: an open-door helicopter ride over the island is readily available for those who dare.
Photo by Alamy/ Piumatti Sergio
Readers' Choice Rating: 93
Readers rave about this "veritable paradise," calling it a "combination of tropical ambience and American comforts." With an abundance of activities offered, from whale-watching to nature hikes to watersports, "you will never have a dull moment." To experience Maui's unending natural beauty, drive along the Road to Hana, a 68-mile scenic route featuring awe-inspiring waterfalls and ending at the breathtaking Seven Sacred Pools.
See the full list of top islands here.
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