For the third year running, the Philippine archipelago of Palawan has been crowned the best island in the world.
The idyllic island, comprising also of 1,800 surrounding small islets, claimed the top spot once again in Travel & Leisure magazine’s awards.
It’s a rustic, romantic paradise, complete with towering mountains, limestone caves and crystal-clear turquoise water – but it’s the island’s five-mile-long underground river, also a Unesco World Heritage Site, that really sets this exotic isle apart.
Picture perfect: Palawan Island in the Philippines has once again been voted the best in the world by Travel + Leisure readers
Travel + Leisure‘s annual awards ask their readers to weigh in on the top travel experiences from around the globe – and for the third year, Palawan Island has come out on top.
It was also voted Best Island in 2013 and 2016.
Islands are rated on activities, sights, natural attractions, food, friendliness, beaches, and overall value.
Palawan first rose to prominence after featuring in Hollywood blockbusters The Bourne Legacy, The Beach and James Bond’s The World Is Not Enough.
And due to its remote position, located on the southern tip of the country, just north of Malaysia, some locals have taken to referring to the island as the ‘last frontier.’
TRAVEL + LEISURE’S ‘BEST ISLAND IN THE WORLD’ WINNERS…
1. Palawan Island, Philippines
2. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA
3. Boracay Island, Philippines
4. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
5. Santorini, Greece
6. Maui, Hawaii, USA
7. Kauai, Hawaii, USA
8. Ischia, Italy
9. Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands, Croatia
10. Bali, Indonesia
Action and adventure: As well as stunning waters, the archipelago is home to two Unesco World Heritage Sites, including the underground Puerto Princesa Subterranean River (entrance pictured)
Aerial view: Palawan is made up of one large island, as well as 1,800 smaller islets. The entire area is known for its exceptional scuba diving
Hollywood favourite: The island first rose to prominence after appearing in several blockbuster films, including The Beach and James Bond’s The World Is Not Enough
Tourists, however, prefer to describe it as ‘the single most beautiful place on earth.’
Lush ocean life and hidden lagoons at the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, as well as the famed Puerto Princesa Subterranean River – an underground cave system through which tourists can take guided boat tours – are just a few of Palawan’s top offerings.
Unsurprisingly, in this year’s ranking, three of the world’s top 10 islands are found in Asia, with two in the Philippines.
To-die-for views can also be found on nearby Boracay Island, which was voted into the third spot.
South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island, known for its golf courses and white-sand dunes, took second place.
Runner up: In this year’s awards, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina took second place. The area is known for its white-sand dunes and golf courses
Beautiful beaches: Another Philippine destination – Boracay Island – rounds out the publication’s top three for 2017