The Best Overwater Bungalows in the World

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Looking for the most wonderful tropical resort stays on the planet? Then get ready to dive head-first into our handcrafted guide to the very best overwater bungalows from across the globe!

If you’re dreaming of the ultimate honeymoon or an unforgettable family vacation, these over-the-water bungalows are the real deal. These aren’t just places to stay; they’re like living on a cloud above the turquoise sea surrounded by total luxury.

Lori and I have done some serious digging, from the Maldives to Bora Bora—even uncovering incredible all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico—to bring you the crème de la crème of aquatic accommodations, based on over 100,000 guest reviews from across the web, as well as our own travel planning expertise.

So grab your beach bag and passport and let’s dive in!

thatch bungalow over water in Aruba
Aruba Ocean Villas

Thought the Maldives and Bora Bora had the market cornered on overwater bungalows? Think again! Because we’re setting sail for the top overwater bungalows in the Caribbean, where luxury overwater villas meet laid-back vibes—just a short hop from U.S. shores.

Explore Jamaica and St. Lucia’s award-gobbling romantic escapes, Mexico’s bucket list Riviera Maya gems, family-friendly overwater experiences in Antigua and Belize, supremely serene Panama picks, and more!

Best Overwater Bungalows in Jamaica

luxurious butler water villa with infinity pool
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort

When travelers think of the best adults-only all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, luxury overwater villas might not immediately spring to mind. Yet, Jamaica is home to some of the very best over-the-water stays in the Caribbean—custom made just for couples!

Our Top Pick in Jamaica

Sandals Royal Caribbean

Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort sets the standard for overwater bungalows in Jamaica with their incredible Over-the-Water Private Island Butler Villas & Bungalows. These spectacular stays seem to float above a clear blue lagoon, creating a romantic all-inclusive haven in Montego Bay.

Exclusively for adults and couples, it’s the only resort in Jamaica with its own private island, Sandals Cay. Picture your own “floating” living room, a personal infinity pool (villas only), and a dip in the Caribbean waters whenever you want.

Want a change of scene? Hop a private water taxi for all-inclusive delights at the main resort, where you can indulge in a mind-blowing assortment of dining options and all sorts of top-notch amenities and fun activities.

This bucket-list stay from the Caribbean’s top hotel brand in 2023 is ideal for a worry-free honeymoon or romantic getaway—nowhere else in the Caribbean comes close to this 5-star over-the-water experience!

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Best Overwater Bungalows in St. Lucia

best overwater bungalows with soaking tub and views
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort

Our Top Pick in St. Lucia

Sandals Grande St. Lucian

If you’re hunting for the ultimate Caribbean honeymoon, look no further than Sandals Grande St. Lucian—it’s the real deal!

St. Lucia is already hailed as the top honeymoon spot in the Caribbean, and in August 2023, Sandals Grande St. Lucian snagged the title of Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort at the World Travel Awards. That’s not just good; that’s the best-of-the-best kind of good.

Lose yourself with the one you love in your very own Over the Water Honeymoon Butler Bungalow, decked out with “Butler Elite” service, Tranquility Soaking Tubs, glass floors, and views that will make your heart skip a beat.

With all the usual Sandals perks and more, including butler service with every overwater bungalow, the ultra-mod water villa vibe, and jaw-dropping views, this place is a honeymooner’s dream.

This stay might come with a hefty price tag, but the consensus among recent guest reviews is that the outstanding value you get is well worth the cost of admission.

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Best Overwater Bungalows in Mexico

overwater bungalows with plunge pool
Palafitos Overwater Bungalows

Heading over to the far northwest reaches of the Caribbean, Mexico holds its own with some truly exceptional over-the-water stays for a memorable beach vacation.

What makes Mexico overwater bungalows stand out? You won’t find more convenient tropical luxury stays like these closer to the U.S. Sure, the Caribbean has some stunning options, but Mexico’s overwater bungalows offer easier and cheaper flight connections.

Plus, the exceptional service and top-notch amenities in breathtaking tropical settings make these resorts truly unforgettable.

Our Top Pick in Mexico

Palafitos Overwater Bungalows

Nestled between Puerto Morelos and Playa Del Carmen on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma are in a class of their own.

This adults-only 5-star all-inclusive haven by Karisma resorts is a paradise of gourmet dining, top-notch service, and stunning Caribbean vistas right from your bungalow. These wonderful dream stays even spoil you with a personal infinity pool on your private deck.

What else sets this place apart? Unlike other overwater spots in Mexico, the dazzling Maroma Beach is just a skip away. Your steps from the sandy haven, and perks like five award-winning restaurants and a world-class spa are always within easy reach.

And for the ultimate blend of luxury and privacy, be sure to check out the resort’s Elite Palafitos.

Perfect for honeymoons or that much-needed reset, Palafitos at El Dorado Maroma offers an unforgettable stay in one of the best adults-only all-inclusive resorts in Playa del Carmen.

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large water villa in Belize
Cayo Espanto Belize

Does Belize have overwater bungalows? You better Belize it! What makes the offerings here extra special is that there is a range of incredible accommodation to choose from! Both the super chic and the budget-friendly beckon travelers to this stunning and authentic Caribbean paradise.

Our Top Pick in Belize

Cayo Espanto

Ever dreamt of your own private island retreat in the Caribbean surrounded by jungly vibes without giving up any vacation perks? Well, Cayo Espanto is here to make your dreams reality!

This paradise, just off Ambergris Caye, offers up six plush villas with sun decks over the water. Imagine lazy days with lush greenery, white sands, and crystal-clear waters as your only views. And when you’re ready for a bit of pampering, room service or a visit from a masseuse is just a call away.

While all the villas at Cayo Espanto have their own private pier, there’s only one completely over-the-water cabana—Casa Ventana. Tucked at the end of a 150-foot pier, it’s the epitome of privacy and luxury. If Casa Ventana is calling your name, make sure to book well in advance; it’s a hot commodity that tends to get snapped up quickly.

Discover SIX MORE amazing over-the-water resorts in our guide to the best Belize overwater bungalows.

Best Overwater Bungalows in Antigua

large luxury resort with overwater bungalows
Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa

Our Top Pick in Antigua

Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa

Discover the epitome of Caribbean luxury at Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa, fulfilling all your overwater bungalow dreams. It’s not just a resort—it’s a haven for families seeking an all-inclusive stay with top-notch amenities, 24-hour room service, and a Kids Club.

The new Chairman Overwater Bungalows redefine opulence, boasting a private infinity pool, glass floor panels, sun deck, and captivating Caribbean vistas. Once you step into these oh-so-comfy and well-appointed bungalows, leaving might not be on your agenda.

What sets this stay apart? These water villas are incredibly spacious, standing out even compared to others on this list. The stunning location, a stone’s throw from a breathtaking beach and mesmerizing sea views, adds to the allure. And here’s a bonus—you can even cash in your Marriott Bonvoy points for an all-inclusive retreat at this tropical paradise.

Maldives Overwater Bungalows

luxury overwater villa in the Maldives
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

The Maldives is a jaw-dropping paradise, where the lagoons are so clear they’ll steal your breath, and the atolls with dazzling white sands seem endless. It’s not just a place; it’s where you find the world’s best overwater bungalows, and more of them than anywhere else on Earth!

In simple terms, the Maldives is a dream destination like no other—a place where reality feels like a dream, and every moment is a postcard-worthy snapshot. If you’re in search of true paradise, the Maldives is where you’ll find it, making every other beach getaway seem like a distant second.

Our Top Pick in the Maldives

Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

Gili Lankanfushi Maldives is simply one of the best overwater resorts in the world, making it a true traveler’s paradise. Nestled in a picture-perfect island setting, it’s a quick 20-minute speed boat hop from Male International Airport—convenient and breathtaking.

Crystalline waters, sugar powder beaches, and lush greenery beckon travelers to enjoy nature’s bounty—but that’s just the start. Gili Lankanfushi spoils you with true luxury, offering everything from sumptuous spa treatments to a private pool with a sun deck and more. For the ultimate privacy, spring for the incredible Crusoe Residences, reachable only by private boat.

When it comes to food, we hope you brought your appetite! From Maldivian delights at Kashiveli to stunning Japanese fusion at By-the-Sea, the dining experience is nothing short of spectacular.

And for adventure seekers, Gili Lankanfushi offers everything under the sun, from snorkeling, diving and fishing, to kayaking, sailing, and more. What’s more, Gili Lankanfushi takes nature seriously, being an Earth Check certified resort and showing a strong commitment to sustainability in everything they do.

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Bora Bora Overwater Bungalows

overwater bungalows in Bora Bora
The St. Regis Bora Bora

Bora Bora is a veritable wonderland of overwater bungalows, playing host to an estimated 50 resorts offering stilted stays over azure lagoon waters.

Each resort has its own unique take on the over-the-water experience. But if you’re looking for a truly exceptional stay, only a handful capture that dreamy, once-in-a-lifetime vibe where luxury meets the hypnotic lull of the lagoon.

Our Top Pick in Bora Bora

The St. Regis Bora Bora

The St. Regis Bora Bora snags our top spot for the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora. With exceptional reviews, loads of amenities, and some truly enormous water villas—the smallest measuring 1,550 square feet!—the St. Regis sits in a class of its own.

Have you heard of a Lagoonarium, per chance? Well, St. Regis has one. If splashing around in their Lagoonarium doesn’t quench your thirst for underwater fun, just step out into the lagoon around your water villa; you might spot rays and blacktip reef sharks.

This 5-star paradise isn’t just about big bungalows and underwater wonders; it’s the whole package deal. You get treated to top-notch hospitality, spa pampering, a fitness center, a cool swim-up bar, and a choice of four restaurants. And if you’re planning to the the knot or embark on a honeymoon for the ages, the St. Regis is the go-to spot.

Overwater Bungalows FAQs

hammock and beach near azure water
The St. Regis Bora Bora

Where are there overwater bungalows?

Overwater bungalows can be found across the globe, but tend to be concentrated in the shallow and protected lagoons of tropical islands. Some of the most popular places to stay in an overwater bungalow are the Maldives, French Polynesia, and various parts of the Caribbean.

Which Sandals has overwater bungalows?

Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals South Coast in Jamaica, and Sandals Grande St. Lucian in St. Lucia all feature luxurious overwater bungalows. These water villas are known for their striking and sophisticated design, private infinity pools and tubs, and easy access to each resort’s amenities.

Are there overwater bungalows in Hawaii?

Hawaii does not have traditional overwater bungalows like those found in the Maldives or Bora Bora, owing to its exposed and unprotected placement in the Pacific Ocean and lack of shallow lagoons or sea shelves. However, there are luxury oceanfront accommodations and villas in Hawaii that provide direct access to the ocean and stunning views.

Are overwater bungalows worth it?

According to thousands of guest reviews, overwater bungalows consistently receive high praise and are often deemed worthy of the investment. Guests gush about the bucket list experience of waking up to panoramic ocean views, the luxury of direct access to crystal-clear waters, and the unique privacy this style of accommodation can offer. The exclusivity, personalized services, and romantic ambiance contribute to a once-in-a-lifetime experience that many find well worth the cost.

Thanks for reading our complete guide to the top overwater bungalows in the world!

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Cover photo: Gili Lankanfushi Maldives

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