Mexico, Central America, and South America represent incredibly diverse and distinct climates and cultures — a fact illustrated beautifully by the region's best islands.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands on their natural attractions and beaches, activities and sights, food, friendliness, and overall value.
Vacationers from across the globe flock to the islands south of the U.S. for the extreme adventure sports (think snorkeling with sharks), extraordinary wildlife (penguins! blue-footed boobies! giant tortoises!), pristine stretches of white sand, or simply to relax with a frozen daiquiri in hand.
Two of the islands on this year's list are prized for their remoteness: No. 3 Easter Island is 2,190 miles from the closest point in mainland Chile, and Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands are set 600 miles away from the continent.
Belize’s Caye Caulker, meanwhile, is considered one of the best secret islands on the planet. Though it’s only a 15-minute flight from the country's main airport, it’s easy to feel as though this is your very own private five-mile stretch of land.
Voters noted that they considered several of these islands “trip of a lifetime” destinations: places that every island-lover must visit before they die. "Easter Island should be on everyone’s bucket list,” said one T+L reader. “We found it to be more beautiful than expected, with its wildflowers and dramatic craters.”
Read on for the full list.