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

1AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort – Malaysia

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort

2Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson – Malaysia

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Lexis Hibiscus – Port Dickson

More overwater resorts in Port Dickson near Kuala Lumpur Airport in the same price range:

3Berjaya Langkawi Resort – Malaysia

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Berjaya Langkawi Resort

4Reethi Beach Resort – Maldives

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Reethi Beach Resort

5Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge – Panama

  • 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.

6Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu

7Thulhagiri Island Resort – Maldives

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at Thulhagiri Island Resort

8DoubleTree by Hilton Noumea Ilot Maitre Resort

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the DoubleTree by Hilton Noumea Ilot Maitre Resort

9Medhufushi Island Resort

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Medhufushi Island Resort

10Gangehi Island Resort – 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.

>>>Check rates at the Gangehi Island Resort

11Embudu Village Resort – Maldives

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Embudu Village Resort

12The Standard, Huruvalhi 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.

>>>Check rates at the The Standard, Huruvalhi

13Sun Siyam Olhuveli – Maldives

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Sun Siyam Olhuveli

14Azul Paradise Resort – Panama

  • Low season from US$401
  • High season from US$401

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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.

>>>Check rates at the Azul Paradise Resort

15CoCo View Resort – Roatan, Honduras

  • 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.

16Veligandu Island Resort – Maldives

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Veligandu Island Resort

17Royal Huahine Resort – South Pacific

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Royal Huahine Resort

18Meeru Island Resort & Spa – Maldives

  • 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.

>>>Check rates at the Meeru Island Resort & Spa

19Sun Island Resort And Spa – Maldives

  • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Sun Island Resort And Spa

    20Aga 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Aga Reef Samoa

    21Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

    22Koro 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Koro Sun Resort Fiji

    23Coconuts Beach Club – Samoa

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Coconuts Beach Club

    24Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort – South Pacific

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort

    The following 9 resorts are the remaining “cheapest” in the South Pacific

    25Hotel Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Hotel Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora

    26InterContinental Tahiti

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the InterContinental Tahiti

    27Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort

    28Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa

    29Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa

    30Manava Beach Resort and Spa Moorea

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Manava Beach Resort and Spa Moorea

    31Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa

    32InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort

    33Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort

    • 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.

    >>>Check rates at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort

    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.

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All Comments

  1. Jerry says:

    I really like the info about the overwater bungalows, however I think I may have been mislead or given false or bad information in the past. You seem to have a lot of knowledge on these bungalows, so maybe you can help and assist me to get the issue cleared up.
    Are there any over the ocean bungalows in Bali, Ike the ones you have listed?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      It’s strange because many people seem to be under the impression that there are overwater bungalows or water villas in Bali, but there aren’t and never have been. There are a few overwater diving resorts on other Indonesian islands, all a long way from Bali. And there is an old resort in Moorea called the Bali Hai Resort that has a few overwater bungalows along its shore.

      Not only do I do a lot of research on overwater bungalows, but I’ve also spent a lot of time in Bali, including a month there in February. I can assure you that there are none there at this point, unfortunately. And I don’t think the lagoons there are the kind that would be good for them in the future either. -Roger

  2. Parind says:

    Hello Roger! Really liked your research and every detail about these hotels. I went through each and every hotel/resort in Maldives that you have mentioned here but could not really find budget deals for over water villas. I am planning to go to Maldives in March 1st week 2017 for my honeymoon. Could you suggest any particular resort in the range of 3000£-3500£ for 7-8 nights?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I think one problem might be that you are checking the Maldives room rates too early. In my experience, the resorts will show their higher prices starting 11 months out, because anyone searching that far in advance for specific dates is usually not looking for a bargain. What happens is they book very few rooms at the higher rate, and then about 7 or 8 months out they start discounting once they see how many rooms they have left for any given period. March isn’t one of the busiest months in The Maldives, so almost none of those water villas are booked now.

      My advice is to search for resort prices for this coming October or November and see what the rates are looking like. Chances are that if you wait until August or September, you’ll see those same rates for next March. And I hope you are seraching on Agoda.com, because they have all the best online rates in the Maldives.

      Personally I can recommend Meeru Island and Cinnamon Dhonveli as great choices that are also within a speedboat ride of the airport. Most resorts are only reachable by sea-plane and that adds about US$500 per person to the total, where as a speedboat will be around US$200 per person, return. Congratulations and best of luck with your honeymoon. -Roger

  3. Fiona says:

    Thank you Roger!!

    Sorry last question -do I need to carry much cash with me on the resort? From past experiences, I’ve often found that a lot of resorts allow you to charge food/drinks/activities to your room or take credit card. Plus I prefer not to carry too much cash around and a lot of the resorts in Maldives include food in accomodation depending which option you select.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      The Maldives resorts typically operate in that you charge everything to your room and then pay by credit card as you leave. It’s a generally safe country, but they don’t want to deal with a lot of cash either. Also, all the prices will be in US dollars and everyone accepts USDs, so you won’t need to change money at all. Bon voyage. -Roger

  4. Fiona says:

    Hi Roger,

    Thank you so much for your informative website -you have literally cut my honeymoon planning time in half! I have literally bookmarked all your articles because they are that helpful!

    We are planning to go to the Maldives in september 2016 for our honeymoon and I’ve always dreamed of staying in one of those water bungalows!!

    Only thing is that I can’t swim -would this be a problem?

    Also we are coming from Australia via Singapore so our flight lands in maldives at 10.30pm. We are thinking of staying in a resort nearby (not a fan of seaplanes to be honest) considering Cinnamon Dhonveli. Do the speedboats operate this late? Or do you recommend staying 1 night in male/singapore and go to the resort in the morning?

    Oh and roughly how much are speedboats for a 20 min ride?

    Thanks so much in advance!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Those overwater villas in the Maldives are amazing and you’ll love them. Fortunately, swimming isn’t at all necessary. The decks and piers are all very safe, so it would be easy to do a whole holiday without getting wet. And even if you did somehow fall in (extremely unlikely), you’ll be happy to know that the water is usually between .6 meters to about 1.5 meters deep, depending on tide. In other words, even shorter people can almost always just walk on the sand over to one of the many ladders or just straight up the beach. There’s nothing to worry about.

      Cinnamon Dhonveli would be a great choice for a place reachable by speedboat, and Meeru Island is another excellent choice nearby. The speedboat to Cinnamon Dhonveli is US$168 per person return, and to Meeru it’s US$220, I think. Some of the speedboats do operate late at night, but I think it’s a waste of money to spend around US$500 for a night at a resort where you wouldn’t get to your room until midnight or later. I’m actually going to write a full article soon to explain the best option for this. The short version is this: Fly into Male and book one of the hotels on the island of Hulhumale, which is connected to the airport island by road. I can personally recommend a hotel called the Maakanaa Lodge, which I stayed at a few weeks ago (and it’s the #1 rated hotel on the island on TripAdvisor). The hotel will have someone to meet you at the airport to bring you to the hotel, and they will make you breakfast in the morning before taking you back to the airport for your speedboat ride. It will cost around US$100 for the night, including pickup, dropoff, and breakfast, and you’ll get to your resort by speedboat by around noon the following day, so you can make full use of it. I’ll link my article describing this once it’s published. Feel free to ask other questions if you have them. -Roger

      1. Fiona says:

        Thank you for your response Roger! Are we able to book a speedboat once we land in Male or should we book it beforehand when booking flights and accomodation?

        1. Roger Wade says:


          The speedboat booking is done along with the resort booking. In other words, when you go to book a resort (Agoda.com has the best online rates) then they will also ask you for your flight details. When they see that you are coming in late, they will contact you to give you details on when your speedboat will leave in the morning. It’s part of the process for every guest they have, and they will make it easy on you. The resorts own and operate the speedboats, so it’s just a matter of determining the best time to schedule you and the other guests arriving from the airport that morning.

          By the way, the speedboat piers are directly at the airport, maybe 100 to 200 meters from baggage claim. It sounds a bit confusing the first time, but it’s very easy once you get there. I’m doing a video about this process as well, and I’ll post it soon and put the link here. Bon voyage. -Roger

  5. ashley says:

    Hi Roger,

    Great website and list! Do you happen to know which of the resorts (in the Maldives) on this list you can get to by speed-boat transfer?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Thank you. Yes, here is a list of Maldives water villa resorts with speed-boat transfer. Actually, they will be adding Meeru Island to that list, which is the #5 cheapest and by far the cheapest full-board or all-inclusive resort. It’s 55 minutes from Male Airport by speedboat, and I just came from there a few days ago. It’s amazing. -Roger

  6. Maui says:

    This list is great! I’m not sure what you are, a local, a savvy traveler, a writer, or a sale rep of resorts, but I’ve been looking for someone like you to pick brain 😛
    I have one thing left on my bucket list, which is a Tahiti vacation in a NICE water bungalow! After dreaming about it long enough, I made that a “plan”, no longer a “dream,” and the exclusive savings I opened about 5 yrs. ago with a goal of $10K is about to fully mature! Now it’s really time for me to finalize my travel plans. EXCITED but nervous, because I don’t want to make mistakes of choosing a wrong island, hotel, season, etc. Per my initial research back then, those “fancy” bungalows (not even suites or villas) were no less than $2000 per night. The price you listed seem far below that line. Am I missing something here, or those prices have come down over the years? I don’t need a HUGE space but a private deck and a private pool will be great. Some view out the bungalow (of the resort or the shoreline v.s. absolute darkness at night) is preferred. I’m thinking about possibly moving rooms from a lower-end unit (for 2-3 nights) to THE BUNGALOW for GRAND FINALE for 2 nights. Honestly, as amazing as the bungalow experience shall be, I think I will get ‘used to it’ after a few days. Oh, also I would like to keep this trip no longer than 5 nights. (Unfortunately I have a limited time, and just to experience the bungalow is THE main objective!! (FYI: the origin of flight is LAX.) What are your recommendations for the island(s), resort(s), and particular bungalow(s)? Mahalo!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Thanks for the kind words. I’m a travel writer and obsessive researcher who likes to put together lists like this, and not a travel agent. I only started researching these things about 6 years ago and I don’t think prices have changed too much since then. The room rates quoted on this list are full prices including all taxes and fees, and you can indeed get an amazing overwater bungalow in Bora Bora for around US$500 per night in low season, and only a bit higher most of the rest of the year.

      From LAX you are in a very good spot because most of these trips include a flight from LAX to Tahiti. From Tahiti you can take a very short flight to Moorea or a one-hour ferry ride, or a one-hour flight to Bora Bora. Those are the two best islands with the best choices, and both are stunning. Tahiti itself is a bit of a dud in that regard, but it’s nice enough for a short stay.

      And I think your plan to book an island room for part of your stay is a good way to save some money. Actually, you stand a decent chance of getting upgraded to an overwater bungalow for some of those days as well, because those booked in the overwater rooms for part of their trip are the first to be considered if any of them are empty.

      Here are the overwater resorts in Moorea, and the overwater resorts in Bora Bora. The overall quality is very high and I’m sure you’ll find one that suits you. Since money is a consideration you might want to focus on Moorea because the round-trip flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora is quite expensive in itself. Have a great trip. -Roger

  7. Greg says:

    I’m pretty sure this one is cheaper than any on this list: nalusuanislandresort.com

    1. Roger Wade says:


      You may be right about that, but a few years ago I decided to stop including the basic shacks on stilts and I only list the proper “honeymoon-style” overwater bungalows, because that’s what people reading this article are looking for. I’m aware of several other places in Thailand and nearby that are part of floating villages where “overwater” rooms start at around US$20 per night. Either way, I appreciate the comment. -Roger

      1. Greg Bloom says:

        Thanks for the response, Roger. Yeah you have a point, I actually know some $5 overwater cottages in the Philippines, but they are extremely basic, bamboo-shack-over-mangrove affairs. Nalusuan may not be quite up to the level of the ones you list, but one could argue that it should make the cut – private island, great snorkeling,and reasonably luxurious cottages, all for about US$100. Worth putting on your radar at least. Btw I have no affiliation with the resort, just reviewed it for Lonely Planet and recognize it as a uniquely good deal. .

  8. Martina says:

    Hi Roger,

    thanks for this list, helps a lot! If you keep updating it people like me will be forever grateful 🙂

    What really bugs me with most of these resorts is how conveniently they charge you hugeee amounts of money for transfers and how you are not allowed to come to the island by any other means otherwise they will not let you check in (?!). I mean for the price of a 15-min obligatory seaplane ride I get halfway around the world! ughh

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I appreciate the kind words and that this research is helpful. And I agree that the price of the mandatory sea-plane flight in the Maldives seems high, although on the other hand, most people rave about them as one of the best experiences of their entire trip. So those Maldives sea-plane flights are like a wonderful thrill ride, that will cost you about US$900 per person. About 20 Maldives resorts are close enough for speed-boat transfers, which are only about US$150 per person. And some offer both.

      The Maldives tourism industry is heavily regulated and each of those resorts HAS to be on a private island. There are no general passenger ferry services that just go island to island, except for some used by workers to go from nearby islands to the resorts. So unfortunately, the only way to get to most of the islands is by sea-plane or private yacht. There are some great resorts close enough to the airport for speed boats, so maybe one of those will work for you? -Roger

  9. Sanne - Spend Life Traveling says:

    Nice list.
    And as much as I am a fan of traveling on a budget, I think at times spending a little more can increase your experience by a lot, especially for a luxury vacation like this.
    For example Sun Island and the Chaaya resorts in the Maldives are really not that great. Spending a little bit more, when possible, will give you a so much better experience, at least from my experience with resorts in the Maldives.

  10. Mel says:

    Hi Roger,
    Great list of over-water bungalows. Thanks for putting this all together.
    Hubby’s 50th is coming up in November ’16 and I want to take him somewhere special (the shorter the flight times from Australia the better but open to South Pacific, Maldives or Caribbean.
    We want privacy when in the bungalow/private pool, a town close by where we can go for strolls, shopping, massages and/or dinner but most importantly it should be a place where one is made feel welcome by locals. We’ve been to Bali and the Philippines and would never go there again to offer some comparison. Not sure how to put it but basically in both places we couldn’t wait to be under Western people back home again.
    Do you have any suggestions, keeping weather in November in mind?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Thank you for the nice words. If you are looking for what I like to call “honeymoon-style” overwater bungalows, then you’ll want to go to either the South Pacific or Maldives.

      And if you prefer a town nearby, you are going to want to focus on the South Pacific. The Maldives has about 80 overwater resorts, but by law, each is on its own private island so you have to take a boat ride to get to an island where people live and work, which can be far away from many resorts. On the other hand, this also solves the non-welcoming locals problem because the only people you see are other guests and employees, so you are always treated very well and never hassled.

      And I know what you mean about places like Bali and the Philippines. I’m actually in Negril, Jamaica at the moment, and as lovely as it is, the big negative is that visitors are hounded mercilessly by nearly everyone they encounter.

      On the islands of Bora Bora and Moorea, the locals are small in number and generally very respectful, so those might be your best options if you can afford them. Each island also has several little villages and off-resort restaurants and shops, so you can actually walk around in a pleasant environment.

      The November weather is quite good in both of those areas, and it’s almost the same all year round. Both places have rainy seasons, but the rain comes and goes quickly (often overnight) and it can make for amazing sunsets. And rainy seasons are cheaper as well, so many savvy travelers prefer them.

      Best of luck on the birthday trip next year, and let me know if you have other questions. -Roger