10 May 2013 by Luke McCormick
Ambergris Caye in Belize has been named ‘Top Island in the World' by TripAdvisor at its annual Travellers' Choice Awards 2013.
The TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards are based on millions of reviews and feedback from travellers around the world, who recognised Ambergris Caye as the ‘Top Island in the World', beating off competition from paradise islands in the South Pacific, Caribbean, Far East and Mediterranean.
"Ambergris Caye hovers in a holiday sweet spot: just enough amenities to make it exciting, but not so overdeveloped that you're tripping over flip-flopped tourists," TripAdvisor said in a statement.
"A mangrove swamp is the eye of this white beach island, the largest in Belize, and golf carts are the main form of transportation along the sandy roads.
"Reef divers drool over the Belize Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole, a 400-feet deep circle of limestone that teems with angelfish, elkhorn coral, cleaner shrimp and stalactites."
The largest of the 200 plus islands of Belize, Ambergris Caye is a twenty-five mile long island made up of three main areas - mangrove swamps, lagoons, and sand. The lagoons are to the western (leeward) side of the island.
The Barrier Reef, the largest in the Western Hemisphere and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies about a half mile to the east of the island, running the entire length; the reef and the land touching at the northeast of the island at Rocky Point. The sand reaches a height of three to five feet above sea level, to a maximum of 10 feet at San Pedro Town.
Ambergris Caye topped a list that included the US Virgin Island's St John and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, which came in second and third respectively, followed by, in order, San Juan Island (United States), Santorini (Greece), Isla Mujeres (Mexico), Moorea (French Polynesia), Koh Tao (Thailand), Easter Island (Chile) and Nosy Be (Madagascar).