You don’t have to travel across multiple time zones to the Maldives or Bora Bora to experience overwater bungalows these days, instead head to the Caribbean for worthy alternatives. Staying in a villa perched on stilts above the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea is the ultimate romantic getaway. And unlike their Indian and South Pacific Ocean counterparts, Caribbean overwater bungalows tend to be a more affordable bucket list item to check out.

El Dorado Maroma pioneered the concept of overwater bungalows in the Mexican Caribbean by opening the first of its kind in this part of the world on Maroma Beach in 2016. Sandals Resorts followed in his footsteps and opened three properties with options of overwater bungalows in Jamaica. and Saint Lucia.

What could be more luxurious than enjoying a floating breakfast in your private overwater bungalow? © Mystockimages/Getty

Although the concept has long been popular in places like the Maldives and French Polynesia, where resorts are usually located in lagoons with calmer seas, rougher water and storms in the Caribbean have made them less appealing. to build.

Here’s a handy guide to five of our favorite Caribbean overwater bungalows perfect for a 2022 retreat.

Clear, calm waters surround one of Sandals Royal Caribbean's overwater bungalows
Clear, calm waters surround one of Sandals Royal Caribbean’s overwater bungalows © Sandals Royal Caribbean

Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Sandals’ first overwater bungalow was its Sandals Royal Caribbean property on a private island in Jamaica’s Montego Bay area. Sandals resorts are specially designed for couples and are adult-only, all-inclusive affairs. The Royal Caribbean has 15 overwater bungalows. These have glass floor panels and underwater lighting so you can view sea life day and night They also have floor to ceiling sliding glass doors opening onto floating decks with a swimming pool overflow, a deep soaking tub designed for two, and hammocks.

When you’re ready to head to the main resort, simply call your private water taxi to take you there. Sandals resorts not only include food and drink in their plans, but also activities. And those include some pretty sweet choices like free scuba diving if you’re certified (if not go snorkeling or sailing). There are eight on-site restaurants that cook everything from Jamaican to Thai and French.

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The 12 bungalows of Sandals South Coast, Jamaica
The 12 bungalows of Sandals South Coast, arranged in the shape of a heart © Sandals South Coast

Sandals South Coast, Whitehouse, Jamaica

Sandals has a number of Jamaican properties, but the only other with overwater bungalow selections is Sandals South Coast, which also happens to be one of the brand’s newest resorts. The overwater villas here have been built in the formation of a heart, which adds to their romance factor. They have the same general layout as the property mentioned above, but different locales.

Like other Sandals properties, this resort is also adults-only and all-inclusive, including as many activities as you want. Butler service is included. Just let them know if you want your luggage unpacked or your clothes ironed when you arrive. Everything about this five-star resort is luxurious. Even the minibar is stocked with premium liquor. One of the only things not included are the signature Red Lane spa treatments, but those are well worth paying extra for.

El Dorado Maroma, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

In Playa del Carmen, Mexico’s Riviera Maya, El Dorado Maroma is home to Mexico’s only overwater bungalows. One of the resort’s few adult-only room classes, these villas feature traditional glass floor panels. They also feature beautifully designed private terraces with infinity pools and outdoor showers. Decor is glamorous inside with Aztec-style carvings, Zapote wood furniture, and lots of white granite.

The romantic property is all-inclusive, so you don’t have to worry about spoiling yourself when it comes to food and drink. There are seven restaurants on-site serving everything from Mexican (of course) to Peruvian, Italian, and Asian fare. Several bars and lounges, including pool options, serve upscale spirits. There’s nightly entertainment, including DJs and dancing. You will also have access to 24-hour butler service.

Sandals Grande St Lucian, Saint Lucia
Your butler is ready with an afternoon snack; the view from an overwater bungalow at Sandals Grande St Lucian © Sandals Grande St Lucian

Sandals Grande St Lucian, Saint Lucia

One of the most spectacular islands in the Caribbean, St Lucia is a stunning destination and Sandals Grande St Lucian faces its most impressive bay. The overwater bungalows here offer breathtaking panoramic views of verdant volcanic mountains rising from the brilliant blue sea.

Like other Sandals properties, this one is geared toward couples and five-star all-inclusive luxury. Let the butler serve you breakfast in bed before heading to your overwater hammock or taking a dip in the jet infinity pool on the porch.

Amenities are also plentiful, and everything from green fees at two nearby golf courses to scuba diving in St. Lucia’s many reefs is included in your daily rate. There are 12 on-site restaurants, but if you get bored, you can also access the brand’s sister resorts, Sandals Regency La Toc and Sandals Halcyon. With so many choices, you may never go home.

Emerging sustainable destination: Antigua and Barbuda

Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa, Deep Bay, Antigua

The only overwater bungalow option in Antigua is the Royalton Antigua Resort. The bungalows at this five-star all-inclusive property are on stilts and overlook the turquoise sea of ​​Deep Bay, just a 30-minute drive from the international airport.

The overwater bungalows here are two-story affairs with decks off each. The top floor has a jet infinity pool on its terrace, while the lower level terrace has a hammock over the water and direct access to the sea. Although the Royalton property welcomes families , the overwater bungalows are for adults only. Inside the villas you will find the usual glass floors and luxurious decor. Butler service is also available.

The Royalton is located on a pretty stretch of white sand beach. There are six restaurants to choose from, including a steakhouse, a Caribbean, and an Italian. For something extra, book the C/X Dining Experience, which is a chef’s table dining experience for adults only. There is however an additional charge for this.

The best of the Caribbean Islands

Safety recommendations and restrictions during a pandemic can change quickly. Lonely Planet recommends travelers always check with local authorities for up-to-date advice before traveling during Covid-19.

This article was first published on January 5, 2017 and updated on February 2, 2022