Nearly 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to visit French Polynesia and stay in an overwater bungalow on the breathtaking island of Moorea. Waking up every morning and diving off the deck into some of the most crystalline waters I’ve ever seen was truly magical, and when it was time to go home I was already dreaming about going back.
What I wasn’t dreaming about repeating was the journey from Nashville to French Polynesia, which turned into a longer-than-long affair with a long layover in Los Angeles and a long-haul flight in the middle of the night.
But did you know you don’t have to spend a day of your life (and money) flying around the world for an overwater bungalow experience? There are actually a handful of incredible resorts that offer the experience in locations dotting the Caribbean, meaning you can dive off your own private deck after traveling just a few easy hours.
From Jamaica to Aruba and islands in between, here are our favorite picks for resorts with overwater bungalows in the Caribbean.
Five Islands Village, Antigua
Overwater bungalows are rare in Antigua. Luckily, the one resort that has them happens to be a Marriott all-inclusive resort, so guests can enjoy a tropical paradise while earning or burning Marriott Bonvoy points.
Known as the Chairman’s Overwater Bungalows, these chic one-bedroom accommodations come with a king-size bed, a large seating area and dining room, an overwater hammock, a private infinity plunge pool and glass floors that allow guests to admire the vibrant marine life in the waters below.
On top of all this, the adults-only Chairman’s Overwater Bungalows Diamond Club bungalows include one master bedroom with a sumptuous king-size bed and a relaxing living area with a dining room.
Beyond the privacy of the bungalows, guests at this Royalton property can also enjoy a handful of bars and restaurants — ranging from a traditional buffet to a steakhouse — along with live entertainment each night. For active types, amenities include various pools, grass tennis courts, nonmotorized water sports and so much more.
Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter
Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts
Rates for standard rooms at Royalton Antigua start at $341 per night or 116,500 points, based on double occupancy. To book a Chairman’s Overwater Bungalow, visit this link to fill out an inquiry for more information.
Sandals Royal Caribbean
Montego Bay, Jamaica
An aerial view of Sandals Royal Caribbean proves that love is alive and well in Montego Bay, Jamaica: The overwater bungalows are arranged to form a heart right off their own private island. Even if you can’t see the heart from the ground, you’ll certainly feel the love at this adults-only, all-inclusive property designed for googly eyed couples.
The overwater bungalows come in a variety of layouts; some have private infinity pools, and others have outdoor soaking tubs. Each one, though, has those signature glass floor panels that look down into the water. They all also have overwater hammocks, an outdoor shower, a personal butler, BMW transportation to and from the airport, and a dedicated boat to shuttle guests between the private island and the mainland.
The resort has nine restaurants, including one serving Thai cuisine and a waterfront Caribbean restaurant; there’s also premium liquor at many of the on-site bars. There’s entertainment throughout the day, pools to lounge by or swim in, water sports and various land activities (think: volleyball and lawn chess). You’ll even have the opportunity to get PADI certified to scuba diva, included in the rate.
Even better, guests at this resort also have access to everything at its sister resort, Sandals Montego Bay.
Rates for overwater bungalows at Sandals Royal Caribbean start at $1,663 per person per night.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian
Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
Another property from the all-inclusive brand Sandals that offers overwater bungalows, Sandals Grande St. Lucian sits on a peninsula offering breathtaking views in every direction. St. Lucia has long been a dreamy destination for honeymoons and romantic trips, and staying in one of the resort’s Over-the-Water Honeymoon Butler Bungalows is the perfect way to enjoy it.
These overwater Caribbean bungalows feature glass floor panels so you can see the beautiful sea below. They also offer a private outdoor area with either overwater hammocks or a soaking tub designed for two, a king-size bed, an outdoor shower, outdoor furniture, and butler service to make sure your every wish and desire is met.
The resort has a whopping 12 restaurants, ranging from an upscale steak and seafood restaurant on a romantic pier to Italian, Caribbean and Asian restaurants, among others. Guests can also expect top-shelf liquor at many bars.
For activities, options are nearly endless. There are pools to enjoy, a spa (at an additional cost) to relax in, and activities like windsurfing or snorkeling (which are included in your rate) to try. You can get PADI scuba certified at no additional cost. There’s live entertainment throughout the day and night, plus access to golf with transportation.
If that’s not enough, guests at this property can also enjoy access to two other Sandals properties. This way, you can enjoy new restaurants, experience different beaches and basically get three vacations in one.
Rates for overwater bungalows at Sandals Grande St. Lucian start at $1,836
Nayara Bocas Del Toro
Bocas Del Toro, Panama
In Panama, the natural wonders of land and sea wait for you at Nayara Bocas del Toro, an adults-only resort on a private island that feels totally luxe and totally off-grid.
Accessible by a 15-minute boat ride, the resort has 16 overwater bungalows — including some that measure more than 1,000 square feet and have a private saltwater pool. Others feature glass panels looking into the water below and firepits to lounge by. Or, if you change your mind about the overwater options, there’s also an incredible new treehouse available to book.
At the resort, guests can eat at the Elephant House restaurant, set in a 100-year-old building brought over from Bali. Or, dine at Coral Cafe, the poolside restaurant.
Activities at the resort include paddleboarding, kayaking through mangroves or snorkeling through waters where dolphins, starfish and other sea creatures live. Guests can hire a private boat to explore the surrounding archipelago, and they can even sign up to visit Monkey Island and volunteer to help with the cute critters.
For those who travel with sustainability in mind, this resort uses plenty of recaptured and purified rainwater; the electricity is generated by solar panels.
Rates at Nayara Bocas del Toro start at $1,026 per night, based on double occupancy.
Thatch Caye, a Muy’Ono Resort
There’s a really nice theme running between many Caribbean overwater bungalows: They’re on private islands. This is exactly the case with Thatch Caye, an all-inclusive resort in Belize that hosts a maximum of 30 guests at a time. The theme of this off-grid resort is rustic luxury with an island twist.
In the overwater bungalows, guests will find hammocks on a deck looking out to the water, air conditioning to help beat the heat (but there’s nothing better than an island breeze, right?), king-size or twin beds and bathrooms with walk-in showers. Just note that Wi-Fi is only available in certain areas of the resort, excluding the overwater bungalows.
Meals at Thatch Caye use fresh, local ingredients and are served three times daily; you can eat in the dedicated breakfast room, the covered dining room or even outside under the stars. There’s also a bar to wet your whistle.
As far as activities go, there’s something for everyone, including complimentary paddleboarding, snorkeling, kayaking, biking and sailing on a Hobie Cat. Other activities (mostly paid) include a bar crawl on a boat that visits different islands, scuba diving, fishing or heading out on an adventure to the jungle to zip line, visit caves or tube down a river.
Rates for overwater bungalows at Thach Caye vary throughout the year, but typically start at around $650 per night based on double occupancy.
Aruba Ocean Villas
At the adults-only boutique resort Aruba Ocean Villas, there are just seven overwater bungalows (or villas), five beach bungalows and an off-property estate with plenty of room to spread out.
What’s special about this place is that no two overwater bungalows are the same. Depending on your taste or budget, you can choose a smaller cabana with a pool, open-air bathroom and closed-off bedroom, or splurge for a two-story bungalow with a plunge pool, outdoor bathtub, plenty of seating and picture-perfect views.
Outside the bungalows, guests can have a barefoot drink at Toteki Beach Bar before grabbing a local meal at the Hemingway-inspired restaurant The Old Man and the Sea. Or, for something really romantic, inquire about having a private meal on the beach or the overwater dining cabana.
Indulge with a spa treatment or get your adrenaline going with water sports such as snorkeling or kayaking. There are also tons of off-property activities like exploring beautiful nearby beaches, horseback riding, venturing to nearby caves or getting on the water in a sailboat.
Rates at Aruba Ocean Villas start at $1,499 per night, based on double occupancy, including daily breakfast.
Sandals South Coast
Rounding out the list of Sandals properties with overwater bungalows is another property in Jamaica, Sandals South Coast. This all-inclusive resort has a 2-mile stretch of beach and really goes all-out with “over-the-water” offerings. It features overwater bungalows, an overwater bar and even an overwater wedding chapel.
The bungalows are, once again, spread out over the water in the shape of a heart. They come with butler service, king-size beds, outdoor showers, sun loungers, an outdoor soaking tub and overwater hammocks. As an added bonus, you’ll receive round-trip airport transfers in a luxury car, plus expedited immigration at the airport.
Throughout the resort, indulge in a variety of cuisines across nine restaurants, ranging from traditional Jamaican fare to Mediterranean classics. To infuse a little more romance, consider a private candlelight dinner. As is the Sandals standard, top-shelf alcohol is available at most restaurants and bars.
For fun, take advantage of free scuba diving lessons and get PADI certified, go snorkeling or try your hand at windsurfing. There’s also live entertainment offered consistently through any stay, and the spa has an array of pampering treatments to choose from.
Rates for overwater bungalows at Sandals South Coast start at $1,632 per night, based on double occupancy.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
We usually think of overwater bungalows unfurling across the turquoise waters of the ocean, but at Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, the luxury overwater bungalows are actually set above a lagoon near the beach. And wow are they contemporary wonders. Measuring in at a gigantic 2,385 square feet, each features a rooftop heated plunge pool, minimalistic design and an outdoor soaking tub. (Note: When looking for these accommodation types online, they’re called Lagoon & Sunset Rooftop Pool Villas.)
Come for the villas, stay for everything else. Banyan Tree offers world-class activities like a spa with Mexican- and Asian-inspired treatments, an excursion to the area’s famed ancient ruins and cenotes and a Ranger’s Club for the kid. Or, just spend your days meandering between the beach, pool and cabana.
Food comes in every form and flavor at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, including romantic meals on a private boat, casual Mexican, classic Italian and Thai food above the lagoon.
Rates for Lagoon & Sunset Rooftop Pool Villas start at around $800 per night.