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When people hear the phrase “over-the-water bungalows,” they immediately think of Fuji or Bora Bora, or the Maldives or Tahiti. The next question that comes to mind is, “Isn’t that a really long plane ride?”  

Yes, at least 18 to 20 hours to be exact. No one, not even an avid traveler, really wants to do a 20-hour plane ride, but those over-the-water bungalows are a slice of paradise! It’s what you’ve been saving for that special time together: the 25th anniversary milestone that you’ll never forget, or that honeymoon trip of a lifetime.  

Would you believe it if I told you that this slice of paradise was only a three- to four-hour plane ride away? More and more over-the-water bungalows are popping up, and people are getting to experience that “slice of heaven” for half of what Bora Bora will cost you.  

Riviera Maya, Jamaica, Panama, Belize, and St. Lucia are home to some amazing and lush over-the-water bungalows. Included in the private villas is 24-hour butler service, outdoor showers, soaking tubs and infinity pools. If that is not enough, add gourmet dining, premium liquors, glass floor panels so you can watch the fish swim by, or your personal hammock or floating deck.  

Ready for dinner? Let the water taxi take you over to the resort where you can choose from several dining options, or just have your butler bring dinner to your villa.  

I’ve toured some of these lovely home-away-from-home villas, and I do think I could manage to stay in one for a few days. One more affordable option is to begin your vacation at the resort, stay for three nights, and then move to an over-the-water bungalow for the next three to four nights. Splitting up your stay is cost-effective and a way to experience the best of both worlds.  

El Dorado Maroma by Karisma debuted its over-the-water bungalows in 2016, the first one of its kind to hit Mexico. As an adults-only all-inclusive resort, these bungalows are sure to please the romantic at heart. They’re designed from their home country’s Aztec roots: furniture made from local Zapote wood with white granite and authentic prints and fabrics.  

The newest Caribbean bungalows to make their debut are at Sandals South Coast, Jamaica – 12 bungalows in the shape of a heart. Each comes with butler service, and let’s just say they will unpack your luggage and press your clothes, if you would like.  

If staying in an over-the-water bungalow has been a dream for you, it’s closer and more affordable than you think. 

Alesia House is a local travel concierge who can plan and orchestrate all the details of your vacation. Her goal is to help clients have stress-free vacations that will create lasting memories.  


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