This week we are featuring a unique “couples resort” located on its own private island just off the coast of Belize. St. George’s Caye Resort has 6 over-the-water-cabanas, as they call them, which share a semi-circle pier out over the Caribbean sea. There are six other rooms located on the island itself and that's it, and if you have a group of the right size you can rent the entire island out yourself. [read more]
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There are around 165 overwater resorts around the world as of early 2017, with more than 8,000 total overwater villas. About two-thirds of them are in the Maldives, but Bora Bora, Moorea, and Tahiti have some of the world's best and most famous of these resorts, with the Caribbean also adding these luxury rooms.
As Belize gets more and more popular with tourists from around the world, more people are asking whether there are any overwater bungalows perched off its many tourist islands. The good news is that the answer is yes, but this is not a typical overwater resort, and it's not for those without a big bankroll.
So yes, there are overwater bungalows in Belize, at four different resorts, but only one has a “honeymoon style” overwater villa, and that resort only has one of them. The other three are basically “eco-resorts” with few or no thrills, and one of those is more of a private-island campground that happens to have some overwater cabins available.
Overwater bungalow resorts in Belize
- Overwater bungalows: 1
- Total rooms/suites: 7
Cayo 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.
- Overwater bungalows: 6
- Total rooms/suites: 10
Located 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.
- Overwater bungalows: 6
- Total rooms/suites: 12
Just 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 unlimited rum punch 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.
- Overwater cabins: 8
- Total rooms/suites: Unsure
While 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.
Overwater bungalows near Belize
Check our main Caribbean overwater bungalows page for other resorts off Panama, Honduras, and in Cuba.
Where to find the classic and gorgeous overwater hotels?
If you are looking for an ideal and luxurious resort for a honeymoon, anniversary trip, or just an active vacation of diving and snorkeling, you'll want to head either to the South Pacific (Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora) or the Maldives, which is just southwest of India, and especially popular with Europeans.
Between these two regions you'll find over 90% of the overwater bungalows in the world, including more than two-thirds of this total in the Maldives alone.
About overwater bungalows and water villas
First introduced in the South Pacific only a few decades ago, the overwater bungalow is now one of the hottest trends in the resort world. Honeymoon couples have been staying in these iconic rooms since the beginning, but now they are popular with families and adventure travelers as well.
For many people, the South Pacific island of Bora Bora is the most famous destination for the best overwater bungalows, but it's actually the Maldives, which is just southwest of India, where most of these huts-on-stilts exist. The Maldives has more than 90 resorts that feature water villas (as they are typically known there), with several new private-island resorts opening every year.
In the South Pacific you will find almost a dozen resorts on Bora Bora, another five on Moorea, and two on Tahiti that have over water villas. There are about 10 additional overwater resorts on other South Pacific islands stretching all the way to Fiji and New Caladonia.
There are also about a dozen overwater bungalow resorts in the Caribbean, mostly off the coast of Central America, with nearly all of them being diving-oriented “eco resorts.” But a few luxury overwater bungalows exist and more are being built on St. Lucia and other islands in the popular areas of the Caribbean, and this website will be the best place to look for information on all of them.