33 Cheapest Overwater Bungalow Resorts in the World in 2022
Show a person a photo of an overwater bungalow or water villa and suddenly they have a new goal in life. Unfortunately, most of the 200+ resorts that feature overwater rooms are quite expensive, usually well over US$600 per night, even in the off season.
Well, there is a bit of good news then as it turns out that not all of them are priced only for the super-rich. Thanks to the overwater bungalows and water villas guide, which lists every overwater resort in the world, we know that there are some affordable options out there.
Note: This article was last updated in December, 2021.
Updates for 2022 and COVID
We’ve been compiling this list for 10 years now, and this is the first update since late 2019. Nearly all of these resorts closed in March, 2020 as COVID was hitting. Some of the overwater bungalow resorts remain closed as of the end of 2021, and a handful of them closed permanently.
As a result, the remaining open resorts have seen very high demand and prices are up around 20% in most of the world, including Bora Bora and the Maldives. We’ve included the cheapest resorts in both places, even though some of them aren’t actually the cheapest overwater villa resorts at this point.
In case you were wondering, about two-thirds of the 7,000+ aquatic rooms are water villas in the Maldives, spread around more than 110 resorts. The overwater bungalows in Bora Bora are the next biggest group, and as of this update only one is affordable enough to make the list below. There are also smaller groups in Moorea, Tahiti, elsewhere in the South Pacific, plus over water bungalows in the Caribbean, Mauritius, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
If you are mostly just interested in an affordable holiday in the tropics you should check our list of the cheapest Caribbean destinations.
All rates below are per night for 2 people including all taxes
When you are looking at individual resorts you’ll very often see a room rate that doesn’t include local taxes or service charges. Most resorts raise prices when they don’t have many water bungalows left for a given date, so you’ll often see higher room rates if you are checking on shorter notice.
- Maldives cheapest months: June and July
- Bora Bora, Tahiti and Moorea cheapest months: March and April
- Caribbean cheapest months: May through November
Full board and half board resorts are included
At least a couple of the resorts on the list below include 3 meals a day with the room rate, and several of those offer all-inclusive (alcohol included) packages for not much more per night. These resorts are even better deals than they first seem because food and drinks are quite expensive at nearly all of these resorts around the world.
The 33 Cheapest overwater bungalow and water villa resorts
All rates on this page are per night for 2 people including all taxes
- Low season from US$107
- High season from US$111
Open since 2011, the AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort has 392 water villas, which until 2016 was by far the most in the world (see #2 below). The water villas range from large to enormous, with the largest having 3 bedrooms. The cheapest water villas are 4 to a structure, though they are huge and surprisingly luxurious for the price. The one main caveat is you can’t swim beneath the villas, unlike nearly all others on this list, because they are high above the ocean instead of perched just over a calm lagoon.
The resort is located off the coast just south of the Kuala Lumpur Airport, so it could actually be a very cheap getaway when combined with an Air Asia flight from anywhere in the region. Reviews for the AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort were “mixed” for the first couple years, but are now very good, which reflects the most recent management change. Check out the overwaterbungalows.net pro review of AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort if you are seriously considering this one. It’s far nicer than you’d expect in this price range.
- Low season from US$214
- High season from US$230
Opened in 2016, the Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson has 522 overwater villas, each with its own private splash pool. This is obviously now the largest overwater resort in the world, and it’s located a bit south of the AVANI Sepang (above), and still quite near the Kuala Lumpur Airport. Similarly, you can’t swim below the water villas here, but even the cheapest room class here are in freestanding structures.
Considering the huge and luxurious rooms with the private splash pools, the room rates here are amazingly low. Everything here is new, well built, and very well appointed with luxury amenities. The sheer size of the resort might be off-putting to some, but there is still a lot to like even if you don’t factor in the novelty value.
More overwater resorts in Port Dickson near Kuala Lumpur Airport in the same price range:
- Low season from US$222
- High season from US$274
The 47 overwater chalets at the Berjaya Langkawi Resort are more tightly packed than most other resorts, but they are luxurious and quite large on the inside. This resort has 350 total rooms, including Rain-forest Chalets that are similar inside except they are perched among the trees on the side of a mountain.
The complication for most people could be the location, which is on Langkawi Island in northern Malaysia. It might sound hard to reach, but it’s actually similar to the Maldives in that you have to take at least two flights to reach most resorts. Especially if you are in or near Southeast Asia, this is one to consider.
- Low season from US$237
- High season from US$299
With some of the best review scores in the Maldives (at least in the modest price category), the Reethi Beach Resort is an unusual bargain for water villas. You might be disappointed to learn that the 30 water villas are in 15 structures, so each shares one wall with another. But that doesn’t mean that they are not private, and each is larger than you’d expect in this price range.
The resort itself has 114 total rooms in addition to 5 restaurants and 5 bars, which offers much more choice than most other resorts of this size. If this sounds interesting to you then read the reviews and you’ll probably be ready to book.
- Low season from US$291 (half board)
- High season from US$291 (half board)
A very interesting “eco-resort,” the Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge has 9 overwater suites in 3 different categories, and no other rooms. The best news might be that breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate, so this place probably deserves to be higher on the list of cheap overwater bungalow resorts.
Even the smallest class of overwater suites here is 2 levels with a king-size bed in an upper loft area, and a large private terrace out front. The main downside (for some people) is that this resort is quite remote, so it’s not the sort of place you can just pop by and get a room.
- Low season from US$298
- High season from US$310
The Holiday Inn Resort on Vanuatu is another place that would be ideal for many people if not for its fairly remote location. Vanuatu is technically in the South Pacific, but it’s far closer to Australia than it is to Hawaii or even Tahiti. The resort has 10 overwater lagoon villas among its room types, along with dozens of water activities and even a casino.
Recent reviews have been excellent and the value is quite good for the amenities and features the place offers. The main problem will be getting to Vanuatu, unless you are starting in Australia.
- Low season from US$324 (Half board)
- High season from US$570 (Half board)
Located on one of the smaller Maldives resort islands, Thulhagiri Island Resort has 34 water bungalows that are on the small side as well, in addition to 52 island rooms. One major benefit here is that each guest on the island is on the “half board” plan, so dinner is included in the room rate instead of just breakfast like at most others.
Another great benefit is Thulhagiri Island is fairly close to Malé International Airport, so it’s not only fast to reach by speedboat, but it has among the very cheapest airport transfer rates of any resort in the Maldives. The low-season rates here are amazing, but in high season it seems harder to get a good bargain.
- Low season from US$325
- High season from US$429
With 25 overwater bungalows, the DoubleTree by Hilton Noumea is on a small island just off New Caledonia, which itself it fairly close to Australia. Since it’s currently part of the Hilton chain, you can expect things to be done professionally, which isn’t always the case of the cheaper overwater resorts in this part of the world.
The overwater bungalows are fairly large and well appointed, with plenty of great water sports and activities on offer, but the location makes it a challenge for those not starting in Australia or New Zealand.
- Low season from US$343
- High season from US$497
Featuring 46 water villas and 2 huge overwater honeymoon suites, Medhufushi Island Resort is a classic Maldives private-island destination. The affordable room rates are quite unusual at the moment so you can count on these places to book up early.
The island has a popular diving center and the usual snorkeling trips along with many other water sports so if you get bored here it’s your own fault. They’ve also got a highly-rated spa, which could be handy if you are able to save money booking one of the cheaper water villas in the Maldives.
- Low season from US$373
- High season from US$620
The Gangehi Island Resort features 8 Overwater Villas that are just off the island and 8 Overwater Deluxe Villas that are a bit farther out on the pier, in addition to 29 Island rooms. While the overwater villas may not look as pretty as some others on the outside, they are quite luxurious on the inside and well appointed with amenities.
Considering there are only 45 total rooms you might be surprised to find 2 different restaurants and an additional bar. Reviews here are consistently great, which is another small surprise considering the modest overwater room rates.
- Low season from US$376 (half board)
- High season from US$451 (half board)
Billing itself as a 3-star resort, Embudu Village has long been considered a very solid bargain among smaller private-island resorts in the Maldives. The 16 water villas here are in 4 structures, so you’ll be sharing at least one wall with other guests. Especially considering that dinner is included in the room rate, it’s still a popular resort with those who want to experience the overwater rooms without spending a fortune.
The reviews here are generally excellent and it seems that they get quite a few repeat guests, so they are definitely doing something right. Embudu Village is also within a speedboat ride of the Male International Airport, so it’s much cheaper to reach than most other resorts in the Maldives.
- Low season from US$392
- High season from US$505
One of the newest overwater resorts in the Maldives having opened in November 2019, the Standard is part of a popular chain that isn’t known for cheap rooms, so these specials are very tempting. The resort has 88 total water villas in 4 different categories, along with 27 island villas.
The Maldives location is the sixth in the Standard chain, which launched in Los Angeles in 2002. The vibe is very young and hip at their other hotels, so you can expect that this is the audience they are hoping to attract in the Maldives as well.
- Low season from US$400
- High season from US$498
With 60 overwater villas, the Sun Siyam Olhuveli Resort is the most affordable of the luxurious Sun Siyam chain in the Maldives. The room rates here have always been reasonably priced considering the quality, and they stand out even more now that so many of their competitors have raised rates.
The resort has a dive center and most of the standard water sports and beach activities, including a children’s pool. This is an excellent choice for those on a more modest budget because it’s reached by speed boat rather than sea plane, which also saves quite a bit of money.
- Low season from US$401
- High season from US$401
As one of the newer “eco-friendly” resorts in Panama that also features some version of overwater bungalows, the Azul Paradise is also one of the best and most affordable. Some of the others stress the “eco” part so much that they are more like overwater campgrounds, but the Azul Paradise and its 10 overwater bungalows get rave reviews from honeymoon couples as well.
Located on an island in the hot Bocas del Toro area of Caribbean Panama, this resort is also fairly easy to reach compared to some of its competitors. You can swim beneath the bungalows and there are many other water sport options available as well. At this price, the Azul Paradise should get a serious look for those looking for something romantic and interesting in the Panama region.
- Low season from US$430 (full board)
- High season from US$498 (full board)
CoCo View Resort has 16 overwater rooms that are in a total of 5 structures over its lagoon, as well as 13 rooms on the island itself. This is basically an all-inclusive diving resort, with diving packages that are only slightly more expensive than just the room itself.
The service and diving experience are excellent, according to nearly all guest reviews, so this place is a big favorite among the Scuba set. Room rates also include 3 meals per day, 1 welcome cocktail, and airport transfers. Divers who pay for the Diving Package get 2 dives per day plus all equipment, so it really is a fantastic deal if that’s what you are after.
- Low season from US$433
- High season from US$598
The more affordable water villas here are fairly large, but there are only 10 of them so they tend to sell out quickly. The Veligandu Island Resort also has 54 Jacuzzi Water Villas, which are quite a bit larger and not quite as affordable. Still, at places like this it’s not unheard of to book a smaller water villa and then find yourself upgraded to the Jacuzzi villas upon arrival.
This is a classic Maldives resort that has been a popular choice for well over a decade. In addition to the SCUBA center, the resort has a windsurf and sailing center. There are some family facilities here, so it’s a good choice for those bringing a young one with them, and not the best choice if you’d rather avoid children completely.
- Low season from US$429
- High season from US$572
The 17 overwater bungalows at the Royal Huahine Resort (near Bora Bora) have long been very good value for those in search of reasonable overwater room rates in this area. This place bills itself as a 3-star resort, so that helps explain the more modest prices compared to the 4 and 5 stars that nearly all of its nearby competitors claim.
Reviews for the resort tend to be mostly positive but a bit mixed as well, so it’s wise to study the recent reviews for issues that you might also be sensitive about. There is usually a reason why some nearby resorts charge 2 or 3 times as much per night for overwater bungalows. That said, if you can’t afford 2 or 3 times as much per night this could still be a great choice.
- Low season from US$441 (full board, Jacuzzi Water Villa)
- High season from US$596 (full board, Jacuzzi Water Villa)
With 106 water villas, the Meeru Island Resort has more overwater rooms than any resort in the world except for the two mammoth Malaysian resorts at the top of this list. There are also nearly 200 beach and island villas, so this is among the largest Maldives private-island resorts overall. The low-season rates here are great bargains for anyone looking for a tremendous number of activity and dining options. This rate includes 3 meals per day in addition to most activities.
The water villas are quite nice and fairly large so the reasonable rates seem to be due to the size of the place. The cheapest category of water villas are along the waterfront at low tide, and the larger and newer Jacuzzi Water Villas are justifiably more expensive. There are more than a dozen restaurants and bars on the island, and even a small pitch & putt golf course. This place keeps rates reasonable in order to stay fully booked all year, and many guests come back over and over. The upgrade to the All-Inclusive Plus package is sometimes free during slow months and quite reasonable the rest of the year, so this is easily among the best all-inclusive deals in the Maldives. For a closer look at this justifiably popular resort, read this Meeru Island detailed pro review with videos and photos.
- Low season from US$460
- High season from US$743
The Sun Island Resort & Spa has 68 semi-detached water bungalows in addition to its 358 island rooms and bungalows, making it among the very largest private-island resorts in the Maldives. The water bungalows here are a bit on the small side, but they are nicely appointed with luxury bathrooms and appealing private terraces over the lagoon.
A larger resort like this also comes with many benefits, including a long list of water sports and other family-friendly activities. There are also 9 different restaurants and bars, so even on a longer stay guests can avoid getting bored with the food service. The huge swimming pool as well as tennis courts, beach volleyball, and fitness club should appeal to guests looking to stay busy.
20 – Aga Reef Samoa
- Low season from US$481
- High season from US$622
The 3 Island Villas at the Aga Reef Resort in Samoa aren’t completely overwater like you’ll find in the Maldives or Bora Bora, but they are mostly overwater and set on a gorgeous lagoon. This is a smaller resort with only 16 total rooms, so it has a far more intimate feel compared to most others on this list.
The location on Samoa makes it a good choice for those coming from Australia, but it’s quite a bit farther from the United States so most people starting in the US prefer to stay in the Tahiti area and save a couple hours each way on the flights.
- Low season from US$582
- High season from US$705
With 22 overwater bungalows out of 250 total rooms, the Fiji Marriott is one of the larger resorts on this list. One advantage of a larger resort is they have more activities and services for guests, so this is a great choice for families or groups traveling together.
The location in Fiji is a tricky one for many people because it’s a longer flight than Bora Bora and Tahiti, so any savings on an affordable overwater bungalow will partly go to a more expensive flight. On the other hand, Fiji is gorgeous and a new adventure for those who might be tired of Bora Bora.
22 – Koro Sun Resort Fiji
- Low season from US$594
- High season from US$732
Another overwater resort with a variety of non-traditional room types, the Koro Sun Resort is definitely worth a look if you are thinking about Fiji for a romantic getaway. The hotel has a variety of “edgewater” accommodations that aren’t way out in a lagoon like you’d find in Bora Bora, but still look pretty amazing, especially at these room rates.
Unlike many other resorts in the South Pacific region, the Koro Sun offers half-board and full-board meal plans, which helps make trip costs more predictable. They don’t offer “all-inclusive” including alcohol, however, as that seems to be almost impossible to find in the South Pacific.
- Low season from US$595
- High season from US$725
The 6 over-the-water fales (bungalows) at Coconuts Beach Club were recently renovated and are nicer than ever. These bungalows have a unique design that is meant to fit into the scenery so guests really feel that south pacific vibe during their entire stay. The lagoon isn’t turquoise like in Bora Bora, but these bungalows are fun and typically far more affordable.
As the only overwater accommodations in Samoa, Coconuts is deservedly popular. As with the places on Fiji, this island is actually closer to Australia than it is to the United States, so it’s popular with Aussies and Kiwis.
- Low season from US$599
- High season from US$785
At least during the slower months (March and April), the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort has the least expensive overwater bungalows in the South Pacific. The 24 water bungalows here are fairly large for the region, and 15 of them have steps leading down from the deck into the turquoise lagoon below.
There is only one restaurant and bar here, but they offer quite a few included activities as well as a full service spa. Room rates during high season here are more expensive so this one stands out as a real bargain during the slower months. You’ll first need to fly to Tahiti and then take a short flight to Tikehau Island to get here.
The following 9 resorts are the remaining “cheapest” in the South Pacific
- Low season from US$659
- High season from US$659
The 19 overwater bungalows at the Hotel Maitai Polynesia are currently the most affordable in Bora Bora. The bungalows aren’t way out on long piers like some of the others, but they are located over a gorgeous turquoise lagoon so the feeling is the same when you are there.
The overwater bungalows here are fairly small compared to others on Bora Bora as well, although each one does have a kingsize bed and a sofa bed so they are much larger than a typical city hotel room. If you really want to book a romantic holiday in Bora Bora, this is your most affordable option and you still get all of the romance and fun of being on arguably the world’s most beautiful tropical island.
- Low season from US$751
- High season from US$925
The 32 overwater bungalows at the InterContinental Tahiti are perfect for many travelers, even though they aren’t as remote and romantic as those on nearby Bora Bora. The overwater villas here are all located just off the coast or just off a connected moto (island), but they are over lovely clear water and a beautiful lagoon.
The main advantage to this resort is that it’s a short taxi ride from the Tahiti airport, making it ideal for shorter trips and those without a lot of extra time on their hands. If you are only coming for 2 or 3 nights, this resort could be ideal because you could be swimming below your bungalow by the time other people on your incoming flight are still waiting for their connecting flight to Bora Bora.
- Low season from US$795
- High season from US$825
The 39 overwater bungalows at the Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort are the most affordable on Moorea these days, which makes them ideal for many couples. Moorea is a much more beautiful island than Tahiti itself, and it’s much closer than Bora Bora as well. You can fly into Tahiti and then take a 30-minute (cheap) ferry ride to Moorea, rather than a one-hour ($500) flight to Bora Bora.
This is a Sofitel, which is a professionally run French chain of hotels, so you can expect a higher standard of service. Once on Moorea you can take a taxi or bus to reach other resorts or restaurants, allowing you to get more of a feeling for the island than those staying at a remote resort on Bora Bora.
- Low season from US$798
- High season from US$948
The 8 overwater bungalows at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort are only partially over the water, but they do have a large, private deck with steps and a ladder down into a turquoise lagoon, so it’s close to the Bora Bora experience. The overwater bungalows here are huge at almost 1,000 square feet (90 square meters), so you get a lot for your money here.
Another advantage of Aitutaki is its location near Tahiti. Unlike many of the others just a bit higher on this list, this resort is a short flight from Tahiti that isn’t as expensive as going all the way to Fiji or Samoa if you are starting in the US or Canada.
- Low season from US$844
- High season from US$977
Another amazing deal (relatively speaking), the Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa and its 48 overwater bungalows are just off Bora Bora itself, so this is a first-class resort with a top location at a reasonable price. The overwater bungalows here are enormous at over 1,100 square feet (100 square meters), so you sacrifice nothing.
This one really stands out as a bargain because the similar resorts just a short boat ride away in Bora Bora are now charging about double the rates that Le Taha’a are doing. They’ve got butler service and all of the water sports and activities, so this is no compromise at all.
- Low season from US$851
- High season from US$1,029
The 28 overwater bungalows at the Manava Beach Resort and Spa Moorea are not as large as some of the others on this list, but they are very luxurious and offer the glass floor section in the bedroom so you can watch the sea life below from the bed. They offer a diving center and free snorkeling gear, so guests can get the full South Pacific experience when they aren’t relaxing in the bungalow.
The location on Moorea is very appealing for many people since it’s much cheaper and easier to reach than Bora Bora or many of the other smaller islands. Moorea is just off Tahiti itself so guests can take either a 5-minute (affordable) plane ride or a 1-hour (cheap) ferry from Tahiti, and then the resort is just a short taxi ride from the airport or ferry landing.
- Low season from US$877
- High season from US$1,109
With arguably the best overwater bungalows AND views in Moorea, the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort is another excellent choice for those that can not afford the fanciest Bora Bora resorts at the moment. As you can see in the photo, the lagoon is stunning and the views of Moorea are as well (Moorea is much nicer than Tahiti itself, by the way).
This resort was built as a Sheraton and has been a Hilton for quite a few years now, so it’s been a professionally run resort for at least a decade. The 54 overwater bungalows here are quite large at almost 700 square feet (62 square meters), and they are appointed beautifully with bath robes and many other luxury extras. The bungalows here also have glass floor sections, which is a key feature for many people staying in overwater suites.
- Low season from US$980
- High season from US$1,277
The 50 overwater bungalows at the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort are extremely popular with honeymooners and other romantic couples, so the fact that they are still reasonably priced is fortunate. Several of the competing resorts are now charging about double this room rate for something only a bit nicer, so this is definitely one to consider.
Unlike many of the others just a bit higher on this list, this is the full Bora Bora experience at a top-class resort. InterContinental is a worldwide luxury chain and guests will have their high expectations met. There is no spa at this resort, but guests here can pay for treatments at the nearby sister InterContinental resort, and that one IS one of the ones that is now closer to double this price.
- Low season from US$991
- High season from US$1,233
The final resort with room rates under US$1,000 per night in 2022, the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort is yet another of the proper Bora Bora hotels that every honeymooner dreams of booking. The 50 overwater bungalows here are set over a stunning turquoise lagoon with amazing views of the volcanic peaks of Bora Bora.
This is a first-class resort with free snorkeling gear and tennis courts for guests, so it’s a great choice for those who like to stay active while on a romantic trip. The overwater bungalows here are quite large and also have a glass table so guests can view the sea life below in their bungalows.
If you are interested in going to a tropical island closer to the eastern United States or Europe you should check out our list of the cheapest Caribbean islands and destinations, which reveals where luxurious resorts go for a small fraction of the price of similar resorts on other islands.
Note: This article was first published in 2012 and has been fully updated and expanded each year since.