• Questioning TripAdvisor’s Recent 2013 Best Islands List
    Posted by at March 28th
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    Carol walking DT Fleming Beach, Maui

    I must confess, this most recent “Top 10 Islands U.S.”, and “Top 10 Islands World” from TripAdvisor has me scratching my head.

    TripAdvisor yesterday announced the winners of its inaugural Travelers’ Choice Islands awards. Based on millions of valuable traveler reviews and opinions on the site, the awards recognize more than 100 islands across the globe, including dedicated lists for Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, the South Pacific, and the U.S.

    “Whether you’re looking for idyllic palm-lined islands, or islands that offer a more cultural experience, you’ll find inspiration in these lists,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “From the world famous to the hidden gems, what unifies every award winner is the fantastic feedback from travelers across the globe.”

    Here’s the TripAdvisor 2013 Travelers’ Choice Islands List:

    Top 10 Islands in the U.S.:

    1. San Juan Island, Washington
    2. Kauai, Hawaii
    3. Marco Island, Florida
    4. Anna Maria Island, Florida
    5. Maui, Hawaii
    6. Sanibel Island, Florida
    7. Chincoteague Island, Virginia
    8. Island of Hawaii, Hawaii
    9. Amelia Island, Florida
    10. Key West, Florida

    Top 10 Islands in the World:

    1. Ambergris Caye, Belize
    2. St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
    3. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
    4. San Juan Island, Washington
    5. Santorini, Greece
    6. Isla Mujeres, Mexico
    7. Moorea, French Polynesia
    8. Koh Tao, Thailand
    9. Easter Island, Chile
    10. Nosy Be, Madagascar

    What first caught my attention was the pronouncement of San Juan Island, Washington as the number one pick of all islands in the United States.  Slightly embarrassed, I must confess, we’ve never heard of it.

    Quickly, I went to the San Juan Island Visitors’ Bureau website and starting poking around.  It seems that San Juan Island belongs to an archipelago of four islands in the extreme northwest corner of the United States and just east of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island.

    Photo courtesy of the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau.

    The website features stunning views of the Pacific northwest (which we love), and a great deal of hoopla about the region’s multiple pods of orcas that can be found playing in the waters surrounding the islands.

    OK.  We’re sold.  We want to go.

    But really, San Juan Island gets the #1 nod while our much beloved Big Island of Hawaii is down at #8?  Really?  How did they formulate this list?

    According to TripAdvisor’s press release, “The Travelers’ Choice Islands are based on the quality and quantity of the most highly-rated hotels, restaurants, and attractions listed for each island on TripAdvisor gathered during a 12-month period”.

    Huh?  What does that mean?

    Surely San Juan Island, which is now on our bucket list, doesn’t compare to the Big Island when is comes to AAA 4-5 Diamond Resorts, or world famous cuisine, or an active volcano for crying out loud.

    Well, at the end of the day, it’s their list and they can publish any list they want.  Right?

    For today, I’ll be thankful that they’ve introduced me to the San Juan Islands and we look forward to a visit in the near future.

    Link: TripAdvisors Travelers’ Choice Awards

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    Bio: The Roaming Boomers is a luxury travel blog spotlighting experience, adventure, learning and exploration. David and Carol Porter, Michigan natives who retired to Scottsdale, started the project in 2008 after the market collapse took away almost half of the savings they’d carefully put together to be able to retire at age 50. The couple combined their years of entrepreneurship with a love of travel and set off to see if they could build success. The Roaming Boomers do occasionally accept free lodging, food and other gifts, but disclose that in their posts. They hope to build an audience of Baby Boomers who join them vicariously on their adventures. But they also hope to instill their love of travel so that the coming bubble of 79 million Boomers will join them.

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