Your Definitive Guide for Overwater Bungalows

by Billy | Updated: November 23, 2019

Over the past few years, we’ve had several questions about overwater bungalows.

The main purpose of this page is to answer every question you’ve ever had about overwater bungalows.

Email us if you have any additional questions.

Contents (Click to skip)

What are overwater bungalows?

Fayaz Moosa / Unsplash

Let’s cover the basics first.

Overwater bungalows are huts positioned over-the-water. They come in different shapes and sizes.

They usually have a wooden pathway that connects to the bungalows, making it easy to get back to the main island.

The overwater bungalow actually originated in French Polynesia, however, the Maldives now has the most in the world.

How much are overwater bungalows?

Typically you’re going to pay more to stay in an overwater bungalow than a beach villa.

Average Prices…

Most overwater bungalows are offered by luxury resorts, however, there are still some that are affordable.

Locations of luxury bungalows…

Locations of affordable bungalows…

How to get the best price

1. Book directly with the resort
If you find a price you like on a booking website, go directly to the website & ask them to match it. In most cases, they will.

2. Travel during the offseason
You’re probably familiar with this already, but when you travel to a destination when it’s their off-season, you’ll get a cheaper price. The off-season usually comes with more frequent weather storms, so it can be a bit risky.

3. Extend your stay
The more nights you stay, the better the discount you’ll get. You’ll have more leverage to negotiate a better price per night.

4. Split your accommodation style
Stay in an overwater bungalow for a few nights and then the remaining in a beach villa.Especially if you’ve never experienced an overwater bungalow before. You could realize halfway through your vacation that you hate it.

Are overwater bungalows worth it?

Our answer is (of course) going to be a big, fat, yes!

However, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you get seasick easily, then maybe a beach villa is a better option.

It’s kind of like having the views of a cruise ship without the rocking back & forth.

Are overwater bungalows safe?

Benjamin Bryant

Yes, overwater bungalows are safe.

You don’t have to worry about the bungalows flooding.

They’re built high enough above the water.

And the pilings that the bungalow sits upon are deep enough so you don’t have to worry about getting swept away.

The pilings are drilled far into the sand, making them extremely sturdy.

It’s always good practice to check the weather forecast before going. If there’s an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane warning then you’ll obviously want to reschedule.

How are overwater bungalows built?

The first stage of building an overwater bungalow is very similar to building a dock.

The foundation is constructed with poles that are drilled into the sand. They’re put deep into the seafloor so that they’re sturdy.

The rest of the bungalow is then constructed once there’s a solid base.

Check out this video, which shows how they’re built

Why are there fewer bungalows in the Caribbean?

There are fewer overwater bungalows in the Caribbean because of its geography.

The Maldives and French Polynesia have the most bungalows because of the calm lagoons.

Most places in the Caribbean are right on the open water, which has rougher seas.

Plus, the Caribbean is in a high-risk hurricane zone.

Do overwater bungalows have toilets?

The answer is… most likely.

If you’re staying in a luxury bungalow, there’s a 99% chance you’ll have all the amenities that a regular hotel room has.

In fact, it’ll probably be the most scenic bathroom you’ll ever witness since a lot are positioned overlooking the turquoise ocean.

However, if you’re staying at an affordable eco-resort, there’s a chance you’ll have a community bathroom.

Check with the resort before booking.

Where are the best overwater bungalows?

The best overwater bungalows are in the Maldives and French Polynesia.

They originated in French Polynesia, however, the Maldives has the most overwater bungalow resorts.

There are now some popping up closer to the USA.

Top 3 Bungalows for Couples…

Top 3 Bungalows for Families…

How private are overwater bungalows?

Maridav / ShutterStock

The one downfall of most overwater bungalows is the privacy.

Because of the way they are made, they are very close to each other.

There are some that have privacy dividers, however, it won’t be as secluded as a beach villa that’s tucked away.

The one good thing is that most resorts that have overwater bungalows are adults-only.

So you’re not going to have a crying toddler as your neighbor.

Do all overwater bungalows have glass-floor panels?

Not all overwater bungalows have glass-floor panels, however, it’s a common feature.

Don’t expect it to look exactly like the photos. There’s a solid chance that the sea won’t be as calm as it portrays in the pictures.

This is a feature that most people want in their bungalow, so make sure this is included before booking yours.

These Jamaican bungalows have a beautiful glass floor panel (3.5min video)

Are food & drinks more expensive?

When vacationing in an overwater bungalow, you’re most likely located on a secluded island.

And when an island is further from the mainland, that means the food and drinks will cost more.

If you want to get better food and drink prices, then vacation on the main island where everything is imported.

Can you buy an overwater bungalow?

Soneva Jani

Buying an overwater bungalow isn’t for everyone.

However, if you’ve stayed in them before and want to take it further, you have options.

Soneva Jani & Fushi are the only resorts we know of that offer their bungalows to be bought.

Now, of course, you can always buy a private island and build a custom overwater bungalow.

But that won’t come without a hefty price tag.

And that covers just above everything we could think of when it comes to overwater bungalows.

If you have any other questions that weren’t answered here, feel free to email us.