Overwater bungalows in the Caribbean

ElDoradoMaromaUp until late 2016, the Caribbean only had overwater “eco-resorts” to offer, but as of now there are two luxurious “honeymoon-style” overwater bungalow resorts, with more on the way. There are still about a dozen of the more basic resorts that cater primarily to divers and adventure travelers, and all of them are listed below.

Those interested in the glamorous bungalows found mainly in Bora Bora and the Maldives will want to focus on the top two properties on the list below. The Sandals Royal Caribbean All Inclusive has 17 of the finest overwater villas in the world, including personal butler service, opening in late 2016 and early 2017. Far more affordable are the 30 overwater bungalows not far south of Cancun at the El Dorado Maroma Resort (pictured above).

If you are primarily interested in going to a beachfront resort in the Caribbean, then you’ll be far better off and get excellent value by starting with this list of cheapest all-inclusive Caribbean destinations, and finding a great package deal.

However, if you are looking for a remote and unusual room that is located directly over the water in the Caribbean, check out your choices below.

Jamaica

Sandals Royal Caribbean All Inclusive – Montego Bay, Jamaica

  • Overwater bungalows: 17
  • Total rooms/suites: 214

ows-footerThe first truly “honeymoon style” overwater bungalows in the Caribbean will be open starting in November, 2016 at this ultra-luxurious Sandals all-inclusive resort. There are 17 of them and they are booked into 2017 already, so don’t even think about trying to book on short notice. Each overwater bungalow comes with a private pool, Jacuzzi, glass floors, and a personal butler. This is one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean, with room rates to match.

Situated only a few minutes away from the airport in Montego Bay, this resort offers close access to activities and attractions outside of its walls along with a free shuttle to and from the airport, making travel even easier. Reviews also support the fact that this resort is a great choice for those seeking a tropical overwater escape without having to fly around the world to reach it.

  • Low season online specials from US$2,935 per night
  • High season online specials from US$2,935 per night

>>>Check availability on the Sandals Royal Caribbean website

Mexico

El Dorado Maroma – Riviera Maya, Mexico

  • Overwater bungalows: 30
  • Total rooms/suites: 158

dorado2_grid_1457467683Sitting pretty on the Atlantic coast of Mexico in the Riviera Maya region, the El Dorado Maroma resort houses both land locked and over the water rooms, creating quite the selection for guests. Here guests will find 30 overwater bungalows to choose from as well as 128 land rooms of varying sizes. Each of the overwater rooms however, offer each visitor a private deck, stairs that lead directly into the ocean below, a large bedroom with a glass floor cutout and a jacuzzi for two.

Overwater rooms are also adult only, granting even more privacy and relaxation to those seeking it. Along with each room, guests will find a long list of restaurants, bars, activities and resort wide amenities to keep you busy and delighted during your stay. There’s also a nicely appointed spa onsite offering a range of treatments and massages that focus on traditional Mayan herbal practices. Reviews are very positive with many guests happily returning for another visit.

  • Low season online specials from US$1,330 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,330 per night

>>>Check availability at the El Dorado Maroma

Rosewood Mayakoba – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

  • Overwater bungalows: 18
  • Total rooms/suites: 128

rosewood-mayakoba-playa-del-carmen-mexico.jpg.rend.tccom.966.544Located in a special compound near Playa del Carmen (40 miles south of Cancun), the Rosewood Mayakoba Resort has 18 Deluxe Overwater Suites perched above its mangrove lagoon. Each of these suites is nearly 1,000 square feet, and comes with a heated plunge pool and a wide array of modern luxury amenities.

Definitely the closest thing to the “honeymoon style” overwater bungalows in the Caribbean until 2016, this resort also has oceanview rooms and other luxury suites, and it’s one of the highest rated in all of Mexico. Better still, the location is less than an hour away from the Cancun Airport, so it’s far more convenient to reach than any of its competitors.

  • Low season online specials from US$938 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,708 per night

>>>Check availability at the Rosewood Mayakoba

Panama

Yandup Island Lodge

  • Overwater bungalows: 6
  • Total rooms/suites: 10

yandup-island-lodgeProviding a close to nature vacation, the Yandup Island Lodge is a small resort featuring a total of 10 rooms, 6 of which are situated over the lagoon. Each room features double or single beds, a private bathroom, 24 hour electricity (powered by solar panels), a mosquito net and a 360 degree view from a private balcony with hammocks to enjoy that view from.

The resort also features an over the water dining room serving local seafood, fish and more. If you’re the adventurous type, which is who this resort crates to, you’ll find plenty to do with fishing, snorkeling, canoeing and rainforest hiking. You’ll also have the chance to meet the locals and learn more about their sustainable practices and their pride for living off the land.

  • Low season online specials from US$277 per night
  • High season online specials from US$277 per night

>>>Check availability at the Yandup Island Lodge

Azul Paradise Resort

  • Overwater bungalows: 10
  • Total rooms/suites: 10

Drone-View940x375-940x375Eco-friendly in nature and located on the Caribbean side of Panama, the Azul Paradise Resort caters to those looking for an earthy experience over the water where one will be able to enjoy the beautiful ocean everyday of their stay without having to pay high nightly rates. Guests also get the luxury of choosing either an all inclusive stay or one that include 3 meals a day, making it so that your can further personalize your vacation.

Rooms here include a private wooden deck, air conditioning, a private bathroom, a glass floor cutout, wooden floors throughout and snorkel gear to enjoy any time you please. Guests will also find a garden to roam, water sports to partake in and dolphin tours. Once you slip into relaxation mode, the on-site spa is yours to enjoy with the option of massages or facials. Reviews are strong, making this resort a great choice for the money.

  • Low season online specials from US$250 per night
  • High season online specials from US$275 per night

>>>Check rates at the Azul Paradise Resort

Coral Lodge – Panama

  • Overwater bungalows: 6
  • Total rooms/suites: 6

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Featuring just 6 overwater bungalows plus two restaurants and a spa, the Coral Lodge is a boutique resort in a secluded part of the San Blas Islands in Panama. The bare-bones and eco-friendly approach means there is no TVs or internet here, so a distraction-free vacation is nearly guaranteed.

The resort also offers “romance packages” and several other extras, so this is still quite luxurious. The Coral Lodge also is great value, with perhaps the cheapest overwater bungalows in the world. There’s great diving and snorkeling, as well as horseback riding nearby, so this could be a perfect choice for the right people.

  • Low season online specials from US$345 per night
  • High season online specials from US$398 per night

>>>More information about the Coral Lodge

Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge

  • Overwater bungalows: 9
  • Total rooms/suites: 9

acqua2Another eco-hotel, the Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge consists only of 9 overwater bungalows stretching out from an island near Panama. The bungalows are fairly large, and are powered by solar panels only, so there is no television or entertainment system. Breakfast and dinner is included in the room rate as well, so this is an affordable all-inclusive-style resort.

Here you’ll find excellent snorkeling plus a wide variety of boat trips, including visits to Indian communities nearby. If you are looking for an interesting and beautiful eco-friendly resort in Central America, the Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge should fit the bill perfectly.

  • Low season online specials from US$350 per night
  • High season online specials from US$427 per night

>>>More information about the Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge

Eclypse de Mar Aqua Lodge – Bocas del Toro, Panama

  • Overwater bungalows: 6
  • Total rooms/suites: 9

41378979Located just a short boat ride away from the main town on Bocas del Toro in Panama, the Eclypse de Mar Resort has 6 overwater bungalows, two of which are Honeymoon Suites. Rooms here are more basic than you’d find at the 4- and 5-star resorts in Bora Bora, but the price is also much lower as well, and the list of water sports and other activities is long.

This is considered an eco-resort so there’s no air conditioning and not much in the way of in-room entertainment, but there are ceiling fans and one of the few glass windows in the floor to observe the sea life below. Those looking for an overwater bungalow and great diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean should find the Eclypse de Mar to be good value.

  • Low season online specials from US$275 per night
  • High season online specials from US$275 per night

>>>More information about the Eclypse de Mar Aqua Lodge – Bocas del Toro, Panama

Honduras

Anthony’s Key Resort

  • Overwater bungalows: 10
  • Total rooms/suites: 56

akr-3882.jpg.1920x810_defaultAn all-inclusive hotel on Roatan Island just off Honduras, Anthony’s Key Resort offers 10 overwater bungalows that are perched barely off the edge of a small private island that comprises a large part of the complex. Anyone looking for a room over a clear water lagoon won’t find it here, but this hotel could be ideal for those looking for an active vacation in an interesting and remote location.

There are no televisions in the rooms, but there is air conditioning and many other modern conveniences, and a long list of included activities and excursions. Considering the reasonable price, this resort could be great value for many.

  • Low season online specials from US$580 per night
  • High season online specials from US$580 per night

>>>More information about the Anthony’s Key Resort

CoCo View Resort – Honduras

  • Overwater bungalows: 16
  • Total rooms/suites: 26

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Another small resort that operates an on all-inclusive basis, the CoCo View Resort off Roatan Island is all about scuba diving, and its most popular packages include a surprisingly affordable upgrade to all-inclusive diving. Guests who sign up for that plan get two boat-diving sessions per day, plus unlimited 24/7 shore diving, all in an area famous for excellent underwater scenery.

Their 16 overwater bungalows are in structures containing either 2 or 4 units, so this may not be an ideal honeymoon hotel, unless the bride and groom are both fanatical about diving, which then it could be perfect. There’s also an active clubhouse with nightly entertainment so the guests do tend to mingle here rather than keep to themselves like they do in many other resorts.

  • Low season online specials from US$219 per night
  • High season online specials from US$253 per night

>>>More information about the CoCo View Resort – Honduras

Mango Creek Lodge – Roatan, Honduras

  • Overwater bungalows: 4
  • Total rooms/suites: 6

mango-creek-lodgePackages at this all-inclusive resort highlight either diving or fishing, and it appears that most guests come specifically for one or both of those activities. The Mango Creek Lodge has 4 overwater bungalows plus two lodge rooms on the mainland. This is yet another basic resort that is nothing like a fancy chain hotel in the South Pacific, but is still very popular for people who want an active vacation and a gorgeous setting.

All room packages include all meals and even alcohol, plus the activities prescribed in the specific package, making this an excellent value resort for the right people. With only 6 total rooms it’s obvious that you’ll get quite a bit of attention, and the service here get high all-around marks.

  • Low season online specials from US$686 per night
  • High season online specials from US$686 per night

>>>More information about the Mango Creek Lodge – Roatan, Honduras

Belize

Thatch Caye Resort – Belize

  • Overwater bungalows: 6
  • Total rooms/suites: 10

Thatch-Caye-Resort-19508Located on a private island 9 miles from Dangriga in Belize, the Thatch Caye Resort is probably the closest thing to a Maldives-style complex anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. The all-inclusive resort has 5 overwater cabanas which are perched just over the water’s edge, plus one huge Family Suite comprised of 2 bedroom cabanas and 1 living room/kitchenette cabana.

The resort has only 10 rooms in total so the entire island never has more than 24 guests at any given time. The service is excellent and the food gets high marks as well. Those with larger groups can rent out the entire island for a bit over US$3,000 per day all-inclusive, which could be excellent value for 10 to 12 active couples.

  • Low season online specials from US$297 per night
  • High season online specials from US$446 per night

>>>More information about the Thatch Caye Resort – Belize

St. George’s Caye Resort – Belize

  • Overwater bungalows: 6
  • Total rooms/suites: 12

StGeorgesOBs680Just a short boat ride from Belize City itself, St. George’s Caye Resort is located on a mostly private island. Six of their 12 bungalows are located on a semi-circular pier, so they are over the water but also bunched together as well. This resort works on a mostly all-inclusive basis, with all food and even rum punch (one per day, per guest) included in the room rate, making it quite a good value when those are factored in.

The location is just off the enormous Belize Reef, so the diving and snorkeling are excellent, but St. George’s Caye is also a couples resort, restricting guests to 15 and up, so it’s popular with honeymoon couples as well. This place gets fabulous reviews so it’s clear that most guests are extremely happy with what they get.

  • Low season online specials from US$437 per night (including all meals for two guests)
  • High season online specials from US$437 per night (including all meals for two guests)

>>>More information about the St. George’s Caye Resort – Belize

Glover’s Atoll Resort & Island Lodge – Belize

  • Overwater cabins: 8
  • Total rooms/suites: Unsure

GloversAtoll680While it calls itself a resort, most guests describe Glover’s Atoll as a private-island campground that has 8 overwater cabins as well. It’s located in a great diving and fishing area and it’s very cheap compared to any other “resort” on this list, but it’s cheap for a reason.

Having no electricity at all in the cabins, plus a shared bathroom on the island, means that staying here really is a camping experience, so it’s not a good fit for many people. Reading online reviews from past guests shows that some love the place but many feel the service (or complete lack of it) has ruined their trip even when they had camping in mind.

  • Low season online specials from US$45 per night
  • High season online specials from US$45 per night

>>>More information about the Glover’s Atoll Resort – Belize

Cayo Espanto – A Private Island

  • Overwater bungalows: 1
  • Total rooms/suites: 7

Exterior-47518-1-fullCayo Espanto, which is located just off Ambergris Caye in Belize, bills itself as a “private island resort.” There are only 7 total villas and suites, including exactly one overwater bungalow, and unusually, the overwater room is the smallest and cheapest accommodation here, even at over US$1,000 per night.

This is pure luxury, including a private butler for each suite among the many other amenities. And you can actually do the private island thing here, as they offer packages to rent the whole place out for one flat fee. Anyone looking for a large and luxurious overwater bungalow in the Caribbean should be happy here if they can afford it.

  • Low season online specials from US$1,595 per night
  • High season online specials from US$1,695 per night

>>>More information about the Cayo Espanto Resort

Orlando, Florida

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Orlando

  • Overwater bungalows: 20
  • Total rooms/suites: 380

borbor746810LARGEOrlando, in case you aren’t familiar with it, is in the center of Florida, so this resort obviously isn’t really in the Caribbean. Still, it’s definitely worth including here because these are the first proper “honeymoon style” overwater bungalows in the region. Open only since April, 2015, the Disney Polynesian Resort has 20 huge overwater bungalows built into a lagoon that is directly opposite the Magic Kingdom Park. There are 360 studio rooms as well, so this is yet another large resort complex that is within the enormous Disney grounds that are actually about 10 miles southwest of Orlando itself.

The bad news for most of us is that these overwater bungalows are among the most expensive in the world, at least based on the quoted rates at opening. We might see some discounts as time goes on, but these 1,600 square foot bungalows will always be expensive and some people will certainly pay. Even the other rooms at this resort start at close to US$500 per night, so this is a luxury hotel with a perfect location for anyone visiting the Disney parks in Florida.

  • Low season online specials from US$2,137 per night
  • High season online specials from US$2,343 per night

Cuba

Hotel Meliá Cayo Coco – Cuba

  • Overwater bungalows: 68
  • Total rooms/suites: 250

melia_cayo_coco_1_1If you open the definition of “overwater bungalows” to include a resort that has up to 6 rooms per bungalow, then the Hotel Melia Cayo Coco is the cheapest overwater bungalow resort in the world. Its 68 rooms are in 18 structures over its inland lagoon, just steps from the beach.

At least it offers great value, with very affordable rates in spite of an all-inclusive pricing scheme. It’s a bit dated, to say the least, but if you are legally able to go to Cuba then this might suit your needs well.

  • Low season online specials from US$252 per night
  • High season online specials from US$374 per night

>>>More information about the Hotel Meliá Cayo Coco – Cuba

Turks and Caicos

Amanyara Resort Turks and Caicos

  • Overwater suites: 28
  • Total rooms/suites: 40

AmanyaraVillas680The Amanyara Resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands doesn’t technically have overwater bungalows, but it’s included here as they are the closest thing that exists in the main part of the Caribbean east of Florida. The Amanyara is a super-luxury resort with 28 villas that are perched over gentle ponds, just steps from the ocean.

This is a very expensive resort that offers privacy in addition to the best of the best, so it’s not for most of us, but it is stunning and a fine place to dream about staying.

  • Low season online specials from US$1,647 per night
  • High season online specials from US$2,074 per night

>>>More information about the Amanyara Resort Turks and Caicos

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It’s also worth noting that the price range from one Caribbean destination to another can be huge so if you want to find the most affordable islands or the most exclusive islands you might want to see a list of Caribbean islands by price.

Caribbean overwater bungalow resorts that aren’t open

El Dorado Maroma, Mexico

This land resort located in the Riviera Maya is hard at work and making good progress with their proposed 58 overwater bungalows. It is uncertain when the bungalows will be up and running but the goal is sometime in late 2015.

Sandals Grande St. Lucia

This famous all-inclusive resort is building 26 overwater bungalows around its private island just off St. Lucia, scheduled to break ground in early 2013 and open later in 2014. Curiously, they are billing them as “the Caribbean’s first overwater bungalows,” so perhaps their definition of ‘Caribbean’ is more limited than ours or the general public’s. Sandals is also reportedly planning on opening overwater bungalows at its Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica resort as well, though information on those is limited as construction permits have yet to be granted as of February, 2012.

Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica

There have been rumors about overwater bungalows coming to one of the Sandals resorts in Montego Bay, Jamaica for years as well, and those appear to be coming true. As of May, 2014, we finally have word that 5 overwater bungalows will begin construction at the Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort in Montego Bay this summer, which would mean they might be ready for guests early in 2015 if not a bit sooner.

UPDATE: The overwater bungalows at the Montego Bay Sandals will be available as of November 15, 2016, according to Sandals.

Dellis Cay, Turks and Caicos

This is a luxury development that is partly built as of 2011, and it will/should have 7 proper overwater bungalows, but it appears to have run out of funding and its future is in doubt. If and when it opens we’ll add it here.

9 Beaches Resort, Bermuda

This resort in Bermuda features 13 overwater bungalows, but the entire place closed in late 2010 for a “one-year renovation,” which then was scheduled for reopening in 2012, but the latest news says “We expect to reopen in 2017.” We’ll be covering it when it reopens.

Treasure Cove, Belize

Evidently this was a luxury resort that began its planning stage in 2006, with a fancy website the following year, but quick research indicates that as of mid 2011 they have yet to even break ground, in spite of the fact that the website leads visitors to believe the resort is already open. As of early 2012 the website itself appears to be completely offline, which is yet another major warning sign. This is somewhere between a overly ambitious crushed dream and an investment scam, so don’t look to be booking a room anytime soon.

Top photo courtesy of Timothy Wildey on Flickr