The largest island off the north shore of Belize, Ambergris Caye, which boasts bragging rights to being home to the second largest barrier reef after Australia, has been named the most beautiful island in the world by readers of the largest crowd-sourced travel site TripAdvisor.
With a coastline protected by 190 miles of coral reef – the largest in the Western hemisphere – Ambergris Caye has become a favorite destination for divers. The island’s star attraction? The Great Blue Hole, a perfectly circular, underwater sinkhole of limestone that measures 300 feet across and 400 feet deep.
The seemingly bottomless pit is home to underwater species like blacktip tiger and hammerhead sharks. Other sightings include angelfish, neon gobies, butterfly fish, and small groupers.
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, meanwhile, is a UN-designated World Heritage Site.
If you’re not a diver, visitors can also visit the ancient Mayan ruins in a day trip, and jungle trek through the island’s lush tropical forests.
Another claim to fame? The island got a starring role in the first season of US reality show “Temptation Island” in 2001.
Here are the top 10 islands in TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award 2013:
1. Ambergris Caye, Belize
2. St. John, US Virgin Islands
3. Bora Bora, Society Islands (French Polynesia)
4. San Juan Island, Washington, USA
5. Santorini, Cyclades, Greece
6. Isla Mujeres (off the coast of Mexico)
7. Moorea, Society Islands (French Polynesia)
8. Koh Tao, Surat Thani Provence, Thailand
9. Easter Island, Chile
10. Nosy Be, Antsiranana Province (off coast of Madagascar)
Christopher Parr, is the Editor and Chief Content Creator for Pursuitist, and a contributing writer to USA Today, Business Insider — and the on-air host of Travel Tuesday on Live at 4 CBS. He is an award-winning luxury marketing veteran, writer, a frequent speaker at luxury and interactive marketing conferences and a pioneer in web publishing. USA Today has named him one of the “Top 10 Luxury Travel Bloggers” — and Madison Magazine honored him as one of the “Top 20 Most Influential People in Madison.”