Now that you've decided you'd like to take a vacation in an overwater bungalow or water villa, the first step is to try to figure out where to even begin. So, how does one start the planning process? This is the single most common question we get at this site, and it's understandable because these amazing accommodations are only common within a few parts of the world.

Another complication for most of us that makes planning a bit more difficult is that overwater bungalows are among the most expensive hotel rooms in the world. However, with that said, there is an increasing variety among resorts that are less expensive, as well. Honeymoon couples and others who are looking forward to a romantic getaway will often dream of overwater bungalows for both the gorgeous setting and privacy, but there are also some fantastic family resorts and even eco-resorts where scuba diving is the main activity.

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Honeymoon-style water bungalows, or a scuba diving holiday?

Starting off, if you’re like most people, then you’re interested in staying in one of those amazing huts on stilts out over a crystal clear lagoon in the tropics. We like to call those “honeymoon-style” overwater bungalows, and they are mostly found in the South Pacific (Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti) and the Maldives (just southwest of India).


With this said, there are now some solid honeymoon overwater resorts in the Caribbean, on both the islands of Jamaica and St. Lucia.


But, you’ll want to keep in mind that there are also more than a dozen overwater “eco resorts”. At these resorts, the main attraction is daily scuba diving excursions and other local wildlife as well as sea life. Now, when looking into this type of holiday you are either going to want to check out the overwater huts in the Caribbean (mostly off Central America), or the overwater huts in Asia in Malaysia or Indonesia.

Honeymoon-style water bungalows

Okay, so you do want to stay in an overwater suite that juts out over a turquoise lagoon. Now you’ll have to figure out where to go, which will largely depend on where you start from. The South Pacific and the Caribbean are much closer to North America, while the Maldives is considerably closer to those who live in Europe and the Middle East.


There are a few other great resorts in different parts of Asia, and they might be worth a look if you are starting from Australia or somewhere within Asia, but for almost everyone their best bet is one of the main three regions listed above.

Basic information about the main overwater resort areas

The section found just below should hopefully help to answer your first questions and better help you decide which part of the world is best for your holiday.

The Caribbean

A destination that’s been largely made famous by books, movies, and TV shows, the Caribbean is composed of hundreds of islands as well as the Caribbean coast of Central America and Mexico. The islands themselves only offer a few choices and have thus far been dominated by the famed Sandals brand. Though there are only a few overwater resorts to choose from, each of the 3 Sandals resorts- the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort, the Sandals Royal Caribbean All Inclusive Montego Bay, and the Sandals South Coast Resort Whitehouse, Jamaica– impress every traveler with large rooms, luxury amenities, and great dining options that deliver the taste of the sea, along with other plate options.


With that said, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that Mexico also keeps up with 3 overwater choices. These resorts offer overwater rooms between US$500 and US$1,500 a night, allowing for guests with different budgets to enjoy a stay in paradise.




  • Jamaica overwater bungalows start off at US$3,244 per night per room
  • Mexico overwater bungalows start off at US$1,330 per night per room


Getting there


When researching how to reach the Caribbean, you’ll immediately find that there are several international airports that operate flights to the islands, with the most commonly used airport being the John F. Kennedy International Airport located in New York City and the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport that’s seated in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. If you’re flying from Europe, you’ll also find several options, with most travelers passing through (or starting from) the London International Airport in England. Because each destination is so far from each other, some are based on the Caribbean coast of Central America while others directly on a Caribbean island, you’ll find that most of the resorts are reached via a different airport.


More information


Overwater resorts in the Caribbean
Overwater resorts in Mexico

South Pacific

Located very far south of Hawaii, you’ll find the famed and beautiful islands of Tahiti, Fiji, Moorea, and Bora Bora, plus 7 other islands with one resort each. Bora Bora is home to about 10 of these overwater resorts, including a large number of the most luxurious resorts in the South Pacific. You’ll wan to note that Bora Bora also houses some of the most expensive as well. Moorea is a beautiful island just off Tahiti, and it’s home to 5 of these overwater resorts, while Tahiti itself has 2 larger international resorts that offer guests some overwater bungalows in their accommodation list.




  • Tahiti overwater bungalows start at US$300 per night per room
  • Moorea overwater bungalows start at US$146 per night per room
  • Bora Bora overwater bungalows start at US$205 per night per room
  • Fiji overwater bungalows start at US$358 per night per room


Getting there


For nearly all of the resorts in this region, you’ll need to fly from Los Angeles to Tahiti as part of getting there. This is true even if you are starting in Europe. Thankfully, the Tahiti resorts are pretty close to the main airport. You can book an onward 5-minute flight to Moorea for only a bit more, or opt to take a short ferry ride. To reach Bora Bora you’ll fly to Tahiti and then take a 50-minute flight to Bora Bora itself.


More information


Overwater resorts in Tahiti
Overwater resorts in Moorea
Overwater resorts in Bora Bora
Overwater resorts elsewhere in the South Pacific

The Maldives

Located south of India and stretching all the way to below the equator, the Maldives is home to over 80 resorts with “water villas”, as they are tend to be called there. Each resort, by local law, rests on its own private island, and they range from tiny boutique resorts to large family resorts that cater with hundreds of rooms.


All of the islands in the Maldives chain are completely flat, meaning you won’t find mountain views like you would in the South Pacific. However, each island is surrounded by its own clear lagoon and thus offers great snorkeling and scuba diving, making it still feel like paradise.


What you’ll find is that the Maldives resorts range from all-inclusive package hotels that offer one large buffet restaurant serving every meal for a week, all the way up to super-luxury islands where there are an impressive 10 restaurants and bars that serve only 70 rooms.




Maldives water villas start at around US$306 per night
All-inclusive Maldives water villas start at about US$370 per night for two people


Getting there


The Maldives is an island chain that is incredibly and widely spread out, but with that said, all vacations to the country will still start out with travelers flying into the Malé International Airport, which is just northeast of the main island of Malé. To reach this airport from Europe you’ll almost certainly be taking an overnight flight, changing planes in the Middle East (Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai), and arriving in Malé in the morning.


Once you land at the Malé International Airport you’ll be met by staff from your resort who with either guide you to a private speedboat that takes you directly to the island. Or they’ll put you on a sea-plane for a short flight to the island. When you make your hotel reservation they’ll include the cost of the boat ride or flight, so it’s best to save money and book it yourself online.


More information


Overwater resorts in the Maldives

Overwater scuba and eco resorts

While there is certainly some great scuba diving and snorkeling at all the honeymoon-style resorts, there are also over a dozen specialty resorts where diving is the main activity and the sole reason guests fly in. If you are looking for this kind of trip your best bets are just off the coast of Central America, in the Caribbean, or in Malaysia or Indonesia in Asia.


More information


Overwater resorts in the Caribbean
Overwater resorts in Asia


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