You’ve always dreamt of waking up in an overwater bungalow, but the closest you’ve ever come to making that a reality was setting a picture of one as your computer background. Sound familiar? The exotic, remote overwater accommodations of your wanderlust dreams are exactly that -- exotic and remote. To reach one of the floating retreats, you likely have to travel far to places like the Maldives, Thailand, Tahiti, and Bora Bora. The flight itself would set you back a whole day (or more).
But now, thanks to a few hotels that are branching out and testing the waters (literally), overwater bungalows are making their way to destinations like the Caribbean and Mexico. In just a few hours -- from either U.S. coast -- you can find yourself falling asleep to the sight and sound of nothing but water. Even better, you no longer have to waste a lot of time traveling and adjusting to completely new time zones. Check out our picks below.
1. Rosewood Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Set on a mile-long stretch of beach, Rosewood Mayakoba is a peaceful retreat within the resort community of Playa del Carmen. With 18 overwater bungalow suites situated in a mangrove lagoon, guests can enjoy a good dose of rustic privacy. But don’t expect shabby amenities -- these 1,000-square foot bungalows come with a heated pool, swim-up access, and modern, high-tech touches.
2. Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica
Want to be one of the first people to stay in a Caribbean overwater bungalow? Well, you can be -- but you've got to be patient. The first-ever overwater suites at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort open this November, but are booked well into 2017 already. In other words, waste no time making a reservation. Each bungalow features glass floors so you can peep the fishes from your bed, a personal pool and jacuzzi, and a butler. What’s more, this hotel is only a few minutes away from the Montego Bay airport, so you won’t have to trek far once you land. And, because it’s an all-inclusive resort, you need not go anywhere once you unpack.
3. El Dorado Maroma in Riviera Maya, Mexico
Resting on a prime strip of the Atlantic coast of Mexico, the adults-only El Dorado Maroma resort offers a variety of water view accommodations. With 128 rooms on the beach and 30 bungalows over the water, you won't have any trouble getting in ocean time on this trip. If you’d like to spend some time on land, however, consider heading over to the property's spa, which offers herbal therapy, facials, body treatments, massages, and more.
4. Cayo Espanto in Belize
Opened in 1998 and located on a private island, the luxury Cayo Espanto features seven air-conditioned villas with wraparound porches, private docks, and ocean-view plunge pools. The overwater bungalow option, Casa Ventanas, is surrounded by crystal-clear waters on all sides. All villas, including this one, have two assigned butlers and the resort's chef visits daily to discuss and customize the menu for guests.
Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge in Panama
The Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, which features nine cabanas built on stilts above the Caribbean Sea, bills itself as eco-luxury. Electricity is limited (the property garners its power through solar panels), so don't expect to stay inside watching TV all day. Luckily, each suite comes with a deck that has lounge chairs and ladder for easy access into the water. While the price point might be considered high, all stays include aquatic gear (kayaks, standup paddle boards, and more), breakfast, and a three-course dinner.