The Top 25 Islands in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas
This year's World's Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year's honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.
Travel + Leisure readers love the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda — and really, who can blame them? From the aquamarine seas to the verdant nature preserves, these islands awe even the most seasoned travelers. The tried-and-true island destinations made a strong showing this year — with Bahamian islands claiming four spots on the list, the U.S. Virgin Islands ranking three times, and the British Virgin Islands placing twice.
Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.
The No. 2 island this year, Harbour Island in the Bahamas, is known for its pink-sand beaches and Georgian architecture. It's closely followed by Aruba at No. 3. Many of those who return to Aruba year after year praise the island's walkability, immaculate beaches, and friendly locals. As one person noted, "They call Aruba 'One Happy Island,' and that couldn't be more correct."
Cheerful service and beautiful settings distinguish the other destinations, too. Rising from No. 13 last year to the No. 7 spot is another reader favorite: Turks and Caicos. Many readers say it has "the best beaches in the world," with one fan remarking that they'd "never seen such turquoise waters before with pristine soft sand." The U.S. Virgin Islands lures travelers with the promise of deep-sea fishing and parasailing. One reader calls St. Thomas (No. 24) the "gem of the Caribbean," while another says that, in St. Croix (No. 23), "you may arrive as a visitor, but you leave as a friend."
After four years at No. 1, Anguilla took fifth place this year. The island boasts 33 soft-sand beaches, magnificent coral reefs, and such luxury hotels as Cap Juluca and the Four Seasons Resort Anguilla. Bermuda (No. 11), which earned reader praise for similar attributes, got one more stunning hotel with the opening of a St. Regis property in June.. Another thing readers touted: the "quick and easy" two-hour flight to Bermuda from the East Coast makes it "great for a long weekend."
So which Caribbean island took first place? The exclusive enclaves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Read on to find out why, and to learn more about this year's top 25 islands in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.
1. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
This archipelago of 32 islands took the No. 1 spot this year. "St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a unique old-school Caribbean vibe, very low-key," said one of our readers. "Lots to do as far as hiking, sailing, snorkeling/diving, and day trips to other islands." Of the nine inhabited islands, one of our readers insisted that "Petit St. Vincent is heaven on Earth." St. Vincent, the largest island, is home to sanctuaries like Little Palm Resort. A rejuvenating mix of outdoor pursuits and laid-back luxury can also be found on the smaller islands, including Canouan — where the Mandarin Oriental adds some Italian flavor to the Antilles — and Mustique, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge vacationed in 2019 at a villa that usually rents for $34,000 a week.
2. Harbour Island, Bahamas
4. St. Lucia
6. Eleuthera, Bahamas
7. Turks and Caicos
8. Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 86.24
9. St. Bart's
10. Abacos Islands, Bahamas
12. Exumas, Bahamas
13. St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 84.79
15. Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
17. Cayman Islands
18. Nevis, St. Kitts and Nevis
21. St. Maarten/St. Martin
23. St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
24. St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
25. Culebra, Puerto Rico
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2021.