World's Best Islands 2011
Chad Ehlers / Alamy
Travel + Leisure readers pick the world’s best islands for your next warm-weather getaway.
long flight and a steep hike, you finally reach your own slice of paradise:
Kauai’s private white-sand Pali Ke Kua Beach, where the only other living
creature is a sea turtle laying her eggs.
naturally ignite wanderlust, and the Hawaiian island of Kauai (ranked No. 8) is
a longtime favorite among Travel + Leisure readers. Maybe it’s the
frisson that comes from leaving the mainland—and your everyday cares—behind as
you cross that watery barrier, a physical reminder that you are, indeed, cut
off from the rest of the world. Whether your journey is a short ferry ride or
oceans away, the extra effort it takes to get to that island seems to heighten
the experience exponentially.
which islands are most worthy of the trip? We asked readers to cast their votes
in T+L’s 16th annual World’s Best survey, and the results reveal one universal
truth: a predilection for islands with astonishing natural beauty. Bali
continues to hold on to its ranking in the top five, but there are also
surprises. Two of last year’s European islands fell off the list, while a
desire for the far-flung raised the profile of destinations in the South
Pacific and Asia.
newcomer, Boracay in the Philippines, may be one of the last undiscovered Asian
beach getaways. The sandy-shored speck is accessible via a frequent hour-long
flight from Manila to Caticlan, followed by a 10-minute ferry ride. Now is the
moment to go, as the openings of five-star properties like the Shangri-La
Boracay Resort & Spa and Discovery Shores will only spur on tourism.
islands get you dreaming of remote places, you don’t need to abandon North
America to find an unspoiled shoreline. On Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island,
rugged beaches and forested headlands set the scene for a rich local culture
that blends Scottish, Acadian, Irish, African, and native Mi’kmaq influences.
Take them all in at a ceilidh (kay-lee) dance gathering.
America, Europe, Asia—every continent except for Antarctica is accounted for
among the World’s Best Islands. Read on to find out which island nabbed the No.
1 spot and whether your favorite island escape made the cut.