Last Updated on March 19, 2021
Anyone in need of a tropical escape (and honestly, after this past year, who isn’t?) has surely dreamed of an overwater bungalow. These thatched-roof villas are the ultimate in luxury accommodations. But did you know that some are just a quick flight from the U.S.? Find out the best luxury overwater bungalows in the Caribbean and Mexico, including two budget options.
While the idea of overwater villas might conjure up far-flung locales like the Maldives or Fiji, the Caribbean has its share of these beguiling resorts. With an overwater bungalow, you’ll be surrounded by nature in luxury and privacy. Fall asleep each night to the sound of waves below your villa, and swim right from your room each day.
So whether you’re looking for the perfect setting for a Caribbean honeymoon, an adults-only romantic vacation, or even a destination wedding, these Caribbean overwater bungalows should fit the bill. Honeymooners and beach-starved travelers, take note: some are just a 2-hour flight from the United States!
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In this guide to the best Mexico & Caribbean Overwater bungalows
What to Expect from a Caribbean Overwater Bungalow
Overwater bungalows in places like Bora Bora and the Maidives are at the top of a lot of people’s bucket lists. (OK, yes, I’m talking about me.) But if you don’t fancy spending 18+ hours on planes to get there, Caribbean Islands resorts are a much closer option. Some, like those in Jamaica, even have direct flights from many cities in the U.S.
The price tag of Caribbean bungalows is still a luxury indulgence: more than $1000/night in most cases. But you can make it more affordable for a longer trip by splitting your stay between two different rooms. Book a regular room for part of the week, then splash out (hahaha get it?) for the last few nights with an overwater villa.
I’ve also included a few affordable Caribbean Islands options at the end of the list. What they lack in luxury amenities, they make up for with rustic charm and more laid-back experience.
I’m sure one of these overwater bungalows will be perfect for your trip, whether you’re looking for a romantic escape with someone special or a long-overdue getaway with your bestie.
Rosewood Mayakoba | Riviera Maya, Mexico Overwater Bungalows
Surrounded by mangrove lagoons and the turquoise Caribbean Sea, the Rosewood Mayakoba is a 5-star Riviera Maya luxury resort with overwater rooms. The spa here, located on its own tranquil island, has been named #1 in the world by Forbes Mexico. For more relaxation, the resort offers six infinity pools and a championship golf course.
Mayakoba’s eight bars and restaurants fuse traditional Mexican ingredients with international style, offering everything from tropical buffet breakfasts and seaside dining to a sophisticated Yucatan-inspired cocktail bar. There’s even a poolside food truck cantina, so really good tacos are never far away.
The one-bedroom deluxe overwater lagoon suites at Rosewood Maya feature bespoke Mexican artisan furnishings throughout, as well as heated plunge infinity pools, Bose audio, lounge terrace, and outdoor garden shower. All overwater suites are set in the calm waters of a lagoon and include personal butler service and daily housekeeping. The resort also offers 2-bedroom suites and sumptuous luxury villas that sleep up to 10.
Check flights to Cancun (CUN) with Skyscanner
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort, Montego Bay | Jamaica Private Island Overwater Bungalows
Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort is a 5-star, all-inclusive, adults-only escape located in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Guests at their village of over water bungalows arrive by private water taxis that whisk you off to an exclusive island that promises a tranquil, luxury stay. The overwater bungalow suites even have see-through glass floor panels, so you can watch the turquoise waters and marine life below.
While you might never want to leave your room, resort amenities also include watersports, a fitness center, 9 world-class restaurants, 7 bars including swim-up options, unlimited premium liquors, and PADI-certified scuba diving. You can also get scuba certified – and it’s included! Do I even need to mention a free wedding for stays longer than 3 nights?
Sandals Royal Caribbean’s over-the-water private island bungalows feature floating water hammocks, extended sun deck, outdoor shower, sun loungers, indoor walk-in rain shower, and a bistro set for two. Some also offer private infinity pools. Other luxuries include personal butler service, exclusive in-room dining and 24-hour room service. (Are you packing a bag yet? There are direct flights to Montego Bay from more than 20 cities in the US and Canada!)
Check flights to Montego Bay (MBJ) with Skyscanner
El Dorado Palafitos, Maroma Beach | Mexico Overwater Resort
El Dorado Maroma by Karisma rocked the travel world in 2016 as the first overwater bungalows in Mexico. Located on the stunning white sand beaches of Playa del Carmen, these all-inclusive adults-only villas feature glass floor panels for glimpses of the turquoise sea below.
Get pampered with traditional Mayan treatments at the resort spa, and indulge at the bar and restaurant which have glass floors. The resort also offers 3 outdoor infinity pools, a tennis court, and fitness center.
El Dorado Maroma’s overwater bungalows and elite overwater bungalows feature private infinity plunge pools, indoor private spa tubs, and furnished balconies. Roundtrip arirport transfers, onsite activities including kayaking and yoga, and all meals including 24-hour room service are included.
Check flights to Cancun (CUN) with Skyscanner
Sandals South Coast Resort | Jamaica Overwater Resort Villas
The 12 luxury overwater bungalows at Sandals South Shore are so romantic, they even form a heart floating in clear turquoise waters! This new all-inclusive, adults-only luxury resort is set on an unspoiled 2-mile stretch of Jamaica south coast’s white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters within a 500-acre nature preserve.
For relaxing and indulging, the resort has three pools, 9 fine dining restaurants, and 7 bars including swim-up options. Many activities are included, including scuba diving and even PADI certification. Stays of 3 nights or longer include a free wedding in their over-the-water chapel. (Need a bridesmaid? I can be packed and on my way to the airport in an Uber within 7 minutes – LMK!)
Sandals South Shore’s over-the-water honeymoon bungalows offer a private patio with glass floor panels, extended sun deck, outdoor shower, sun loungers, and a bistro set for two. Couples can also relax in an outdoor soaking tub or over-water hammocks. Elite private butler service, exclusive in-room dining (hello, brekkie in bed!), and 24-hour room service round out the list of amenities. Private transfers and expedited immigration are included.
Check flights to Montego Bay (MBJ) with Skyscanner
Need a destination wedding dress? BHLDN (from Anthropologie) has gowns ready to ship at a moment’s notice! Check out BHDLN’s ideas for perfect beach wedding dresses and their last minute wedding dress collection.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian | St. Lucia Caribbean Overwater Bungalows
Sandals Grande St. Lucian is an adult-only, all-inclusive luxury resort located on its own peninsula in St. Lucia. With panoramic views of green mountains and turquoise Caribbean Sea, this resort is often described as the “closest vacation to a picture-perfect postcard.” You should probably go see and judge for yourself, though. 😉
Water sports, land activities, golf, nighttime entertainment, and scuba diving including certification is included. And for stays of 3 nights or more, a free wedding is included at their gorgeous over-the-water wedding chapel. (Seriously, please go get hitched and tag me in your Instagram photos!)
Sandals Grande St. Lucian’s over-the-water honeymoon bungalows offer the same luxe furnishings and amenities as their other Caribbean overwater bungalows including glass floors to see the turquoise waters below, extended sun deck, stocked bar, private butler service, and 24-hour room service. With their stay at one, play at three program, roundtrip shuttles and exchange privileges at two nearby Sandals resorts are also included.
Check flights to St. Lucia (Hewanorra –UVF or Vigie – SLU) with Skyscanner
Looking for more Caribbean adventures? Get my tips on sailing the Virgin Islands aboard a catamaran from VRBO or Airbnb!
Plan your best vacation ever with family or friends: sailing the Virgin Islands in a catamaran for beaches, snorkeling, and laid-back beach bars in the US Virgin Islands & British Virgin Islands!
St. George’s Caye | Belize Overwater Bungalows
St. George’s Caye is just 7 miles from the airport in Belize City, where you’ll be personally greeted and shuttled to the island via private van and private water taxis. Once there, you’ll be on island time, on a completely private caye: no cars, no roads, and no crowds!
The Belize Barrier Reef borders the entire country, and world-class diving and snorkeling is just minutes from your stay on St. George’s. You’re also close to the mainland for adventurous excursions including Mayan ruins and jungle preserves. All packages include daily breakfast, lunch, and 4-course dinner, as well as kayaks, SUP, and snorkeling gear. Dive packages are available also.
These Belize overwater bungalows are a more rustic elegance than others on this list, with traditional thatched roofs and Belizean hardwoods. And there’s only WiFi in the reception – but when you’re on island time, things like this are by design. 😉
Check flights to Belize City (BZE) with Skyscanner
Aruba Ocean Villas | Aruba Overwater Bungalows
With only 5 overwater bungalows, Aruba Ocean Villas offers a boutique resort experience. If you need proof, look no further than their gorgeously designed rooms! This is a place to disconnect and relax, with amazing views of sunset from your private deck. One villa also offers a private seaside infinity pool.
Dine on fresh local fare with your feet in the sand at The Old Man and the Sea Restaurant. Or reserve the private overwater gazebo for a special occasion. Aruba Ocean Villas consistently gets spectacular reviews for its individualized service and friendly, attentive staff.
The overwater bungalows at Aruba Ocean Villas let you swim right from your room, to snorkel with turtles and tropical fish at coral reefs just offshore. Aruba Ocean Villas is so good, you will want to keep it a secret – so let’s keep this one just between us.
Check flights to Orangestad (AUA) with Skyscanner
Affordable Caribbean Overwater Resorts
These resorts offer overwater stays under $250/night, so you can get your overwater bungalow bliss on a budget. Want more budget getaway options? Check out package deals from Hotwire.com.
Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge| Panama Overwater Bungalows
Perfect for honeymoons, romantic vacations, and even family getaways, the eco-resort Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge offers rustic overwater villas in a stunning natural setting. The resort’s palm-leaf restaurant serves local Caribbean and international food, from a full breakfast to a candlelit dinner each night.
Punta Caracol arranges trips for snorkeling, dolphin-watching, and a daily boat outing to Starfish Beach. Gear for water activities such as snorkeling and kayaking is included.
The overwater bungalows at Punta Caracol are eco-friendly, with renewable energy from solar panels. Each room has a king bed in an upper loft area, and a living space with two twin beds below to sleep up to 4. There is also a master family suite that can sleep up to 6.
Lina Point Belize | Overwater Resort
Lina Point Belize takes the overwater bungalow concept one step further, with an entire over-the-water resort! Located in San Pedro on the Belize island of Ambergris Caye, Lina Belize brings world-class fishing, diving and snorkeling to your private deck. The resort also offers an oceanfront infinity pool.
The laid-back onsite restaurant Hooked on Lina Point serves local, Caribbean, and American fare, including room service. And the hotel’s tour desk can arrange outings in the local area, from snorkeling the nearby Hol Chan Marine Reserve to deep sea fishing, cave tubing, and visiting Mayan ruins at Altun Ha.
Lina Belize has first floor hotel suites in addition to bungalows with a sea view and family bungalow rooms with an “aquarium window” in the floor of the living space and each bedroom. All rooms have private balconies for watching sunrises and sunsets, while the bungalows also offer private infinity plunge pools.
Check flights to Belize City (BZE) with Skyscanner
Want more options for affordable getaways?
Check out package deal options from Hotwire.com, with air and hotel bundled together in one discount rate.
Plan a tropical escape with these Airbnb Belize stays: luxury homes, Belize Airbnb islands + chic condos for beaches, snorkeling & adventures. Includes options with pools and kitchens, at prices anyone can afford.
Packing for Your Overwater Bungalow Getaway
Because I’m pretty sure all the photos above made you drag out your suitcase and start tossing things in, I’ve assembled some outfits and packing info for what to wear in the Caribbean.
Keep in mind that at resorts, there might be formal requirements for dinner attire and other events; check before booking.
Booking Resources & Tips for Your Trip
✈ Flights | Check routes with Skyscanner or Google Flights. I usually book direct with the airline for ease of seat selection as well as changes or cancellations.
🏨 Hotels | My favorite site for the best rates and flexible bookings is Booking.com. After just 2 stays in 2 years, you can get special perks with their Genius program.
🧳 Travel Gear | Check out my favorite gear and packing lists for resources for your trip.
🏡 Local Stays & Experiences |Airbnbs let you live a local and have extra amenities for your trip. Their Experiences are one of my favorite ways to delve into local culture.
🧾 Travel Insurance | Travel insurance can protect you in case of illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I use World Nomads for my trips, with coverage designed for adventurous travelers including overseas medical, evacuation, baggage, and a range of adventure sports and activities.
🌄 Group Adventure Tours | Small group adventure tours from G Adventures or Intrepid Travel are the perfect solution for traveling on a budget or with minimal planning. Read my reviews here.
Pin these overwater bungalows to your travel inspo board!
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