And the world's best island is ...

Story highlights

  • Ambergris Caye wins TripAdvisor best island award for second year running
  • Scotland's Harris and Lewis is new entrant at no. 5
  • Chincoteague, with its wild ponies, and San Juan island among U.S. top 10

Ambergris Caye, in Belize, has held on to the title of world's No. 1 island for the second year running in awards by the travel review site TripAdvisor.

The island is acclaimed not only for its beaches but for its coral reef -- the second largest in the world -- limestone caves, and tracts of tropical rainforest dotted with waterfalls.

Islands in Polynesia (Bora Bora), Greece (Naxos) and Thailand (Ko Tao), as well as Marco Island, off Florida, were other winners in the top 10 global list.

Perhaps less obvious postcard-rack material, the Scottish island of Harris and Lewis ranked no. 5 worldwide and top among European islands.

Alastair Lockett, from the Hebridean island's tourist board, was not at all surprised by the accolade.

With its "pure white sand" and "turquoise water," Harris and Lewis -- which ranked nowhere in last year's top 10 -- actually "looks Caribbean," he told CNN.

Its "accessible remoteness" and "sense of space" were what drew people to the island, he said.

    Best U.S. islands

    Chincoteague: wild horses could drag you there.

    Among the 10 best islands in the United States -- aside from Marco Island, at No. 1 -- were Chincoteague, in Virginia, known for its wild ponies, and San Juan island, in Washington, acclaimed for its orca-sighting.

    Mauii, a beautiful possible shoe-in from Hawaii, was another U.S. winner, as was the "golfer's paradise" of Hilton Head, South Carolina.

    Trailing in the wake of Lewis and Harris among 10 best European islands was Gozo, Malta; Santorini and Cephalonia, among a clutch of Greek islands; and Mull and Mainland, the largest of the Orkney Islands -- making up a Scottish trio.

    TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Island awards are based on the most highly rated hotels, restaurants and attractions listed for each island on the website during a 12-month period.

    MORE: 7 secret Caribbean islands

    The top 10 islands in the world were:

    1. Ambergris Caye, Belize

    2. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

    3. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

    4. Marco Island, Florida

    5. Lewis and Harris, Scotland, United Kingdom

    6. Naxos, Greece

    7. Aitutaki, Cook Islands

    8. Nosy Be, Madagascar

    9. Easter Island, Chile

    10. Ko Tao, Thailand

    Top 10 islands in the U.S.

    1. Marco Island, Florida

    2. Chincoteague Island, Virginia

    3. Anna Maria Island, Florida

    4. San Juan Island, Washington

    5. Maui, Hawaii

    6. Kauai, Hawaii

    7. Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

    8. Nantucket, Massachusetts

    9. Hilton Head, South Carolina

    10. Key West, Florida

    Top 10 Islands in Europe

    1. Lewis and Harris, Scotland, United Kingdom

    2. Naxos, Greece

    3. Gozo, Malta

    4. Mainland, Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom

    5. Milos, Greece

    6. Cephalonia, Greece

    7. Santorini, Greece

    8. Capri, Italy

    9. Isle of Mull, Scotland, United Kingdom

    10. Paros, Greece