The overwater bungalow resort dates back to the 1960s when Tahiti’s Raiatea hotel was rebuilt using the traditional Tahitian fishing hut as a model. Now thousands of hotels around the world have overwater bungalows which are characterized by stilted structures positioned over a calm ocean. Once found exclusively in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean, more options have appeared throughout the Caribbean and Central America from Panama to Jamaica. These luxurious abodes usually come with an extreme price tag, but there are some within a day’s flight of the US that just might squeeze into the average man’s travel budget.
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Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico
This five-star luxury resort is set in the heart of the Riveria Maya. Their overwater suites are surrounded by mangrove lagoons and the Caribbean Sea with private lounge terraces to perch on while soaking it all in.
The luxury doesn’t stop there, a stay includes access to six infinity pools, a championship golf course, eight bars restaurants including a poolside food truck cantina.
Price for one night, two adults: $634
Sandals Royal Caribbean, Montego Bay, Jamaica
This “village” of overwater bungalows is only reached by private water taxis and each features unique see-through glass floor panels, so you can watch the marine life below from bed.
The floating water hammocks, sun deck, outdoor shower, sun loungers probably mean you won’t leave your room. If you do venture out the resort is home to nine restaurants, seven bars and a PADI-certified dive center.
Price for two nights, two adults: $3,574
El Dorado Palafitos, Maroma Beach, Mexico
El Dorado Maroma by Karisma are the first overwater bungalows built in Mexico. These overwater bungalows feature private infinity plunge pools, indoor private spa tubs, and furnished balconies.
The property sits on the beautiful white-sand beaches of Playa del Carmen features three outdoor infinity pools, a tennis court, and numerous dining options.
Price for two nights, two adults: $2,870
St. George’s Caye Resort, Belize
St. George’s Caye is reached by private water taxis and once you are there relaxing is the name of the game. No cars, no roads, and not a lot of people. These overwater bungalows offer a rustic elegance with traditional thatched roofs and Belizean hardwoods.
When staying here you have access to Belize Barrier Reef and world-class diving and snorkeling is just minutes from your room.
Price for four nights, two adults: $2,183
The cuisine from The Old Man and the Sea Restaurant is fresh and local and most guests will reserve the private overwater gazebo for a special occasion.
Price for two nights, two adults: $945
Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, Panama
Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge offers rustic overwater villas in a truly natural setting. The resort’s palm-leaf restaurant serves local Caribbean and international food with a candlelit dinner each night. The overwater bungalows at Punta Caracol are eco-friendly, with renewable energy from solar panels and each room sleeps up to four people with a king bed in an upper loft area and living space with two twin beds. The resort will arrange snorkeling, dolphin-watching, and a daily boat outing to Starfish Beach.
Price for three nights, two adults: $637