Where to find your Overwater Bungalow paradise

The brilliant idea of over-water hotel suites was first initiated in the 1960s and they have since become synonymous with romantic luxury. Whether you’re looking for a honeymoon, anniversary or just a romantic getaway, they’ve likely crossed your mind. Tropical islands, turquoise blue waters, incredible sea life, and jaw-dropping sunsets – these bungalows live up to their hype! But which overwater bungalow destination is right for you?

Where you choose to have your overwater bungalow experience depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for and what kind of traveler you are! We’ve created a quick-comparison table to help accentuate the big-picture differences.

quick comparision guide for overwater bungalow destinations

This is just the first glance. If you really want to dive into the details of what makes each location magical keep reading below. Or just reach out to us!

What can I expect from an OWB?

Overwater bungalows (OWBs) or overwater villas are essentially hotel suites built on stilts over the calm water of a lagoon in an atoll or a small island. Typically, the rooms are connected by a wooden walkway that leads out from the main beach. Depending on which destination and which resort you choose, you’ll find some differences between them but there are a few things that you can expect no matter where you go:

over water bungalows at the Hilton Moorea
The Hilton, Moorea ( Photo Credit: Shared Adventures Travel)
a couple sitting on the back terrace of their overwater bungalow with private jacuzzi and direct access to the sea in the Maldives

Seclusion & Privacy: With only a handful of neighbors, it’s easy to enjoy a feeling of privacy and exclusivity at an overwater bungalow resort. With access to the lagoon from your terrace, plus a personal jacuzzi or plunge pool, and an uninterrupted view of the sea, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your own private oasis.

( Photo Credit: GlobalCareerBook.com via Unsplash)

Snorkeling & Diving: Since the overwater bungalows are often built near coral reefs you can expect some availability of snorkeling (and/or diving) just feet from your front door. But the amount and quality of sea life under your OWB does vary by destination and resort, so be sure to ask about this if it’s important to you.

Resort-like Amenities: In addition to your own private space in the bungalow, you’ll have access to all the typical resort amenities — including restaurants, pools, spa treatments, room service, and sometimes even a private butler! 

A window under the sea: Most overwater bungalows have a glass panel in the floor with a light so you can watch the marine life underneath your bungalow from inside the room. You don’t have to get wet to see the fish! 

the balcony view of an over water bungalow in Moorea

A View: You are guaranteed a room with a view and personal ocean-front loungers! It’s easy to stay connected to the beach and the water when the sea is under your feet!

(Photo Credit: Meagan & Cameron via Shared Adventures Travel)

An overwater bungalow will always give you a connection to the water like none other, a sense of romantic seclusion and luxury amenities. Now, where should you go to get this incredible experience?

The Maldives

If relaxing on a soft white sand beach or chilling on the terrace with a good book and your feet trailing in the water is your idea of a perfect vacation, then the Maldives are for you. The focus of these islands is one word: Relaxation. 

aerial shot of a private island with overwater bungalows in a deep blue sea in the Maldives

Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this collection of islands is perfect for overwater bungalows. Flat, with plenty of white-sand beaches that give off desert island vibes, you can count on a wide uninterrupted view of the sea. Since many of these resorts are on their own private islands, you won’t do too much external adventuring.

(Photo Credit:Ahmed Raavi via Unsplash)

aerial shot of overwater villas with waterslides in the Maldives

The Maldives are home to two-thirds of the world’s overwater bungalows. This gives you a huge range of styles to choose from. From simple, rustic, budget-friendly options to huge luxury villas with a waterslide! The sky is the limit in the Maldives. More options also means more types of travelers — you can expect to find a mix of honeymooners, families, and groups at these resorts.

(Photo Credit: Ishan via Unsplash)

The Caribbean & Mexico

Brand new to the game, the Caribbean and Mexico have recently started to offer a few overwater bungalows. Now you can have everything you already love about the Caribbean or Mexico plus those perfect Instagram pics. You’ll be able to hop on a flight in the morning and have a piña colada in your hand by dinner!

aerial shot of overwater bungalows with a heart shaped walkway in Jamaica

The overwater bungalows are attached to already existing resorts so along with a few more neighbors comes all the amenities, beaches, and facilities the resort usually provides. Overwater bungalows in this area are also more likely to come with private butler service!

(Photo Credit: Juan Jose via Unsplash)

Long stretches of beach mean long romantic walks are always available and you’ll have a good balance of peaceful relaxation and outside excursions or adventures. While you’ll save money on the flight, the bungalows themselves are every bit as expensive as their far-flung counterparts. So if you’re looking for the experience (and the photo opportunities) but are more budget-conscious, we recommend a split-stay. Stay a few nights in the resort’s beach-front suites and end the trip with a few nights in the overwater bungalow. 

French Polynesia

The original, the quintessential, and (some would say) the best. Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora were the first islands to have overwater bungalows and they continue to improve and expand today. With exteriors in the style of traditional Tahitian huts, but with all the modern luxuries of a sleek hotel inside, these overwater bungalows will give you a classic overwater experience. But don’t just take it from us — clients Meagan and Cameron recently celebrated their honeymoon in Moorea and called it “the definition of paradise!”

a view of the Moorea mountains from the sea

The French Polynesian Islands formed from volcanic activity, which resulted in a stunning and varied landscape. Some islands (like Moorea) feature lush green mountains rising out of the sea. Others (like Bora Bora) are atolls with a ring of tiny islands surrounding a placid lagoon. Most visitors island-hop to at least two different locations to get the best and broadest experience.

(Photo Credit: Meagan and Cameron via Shared Adventures Travel)

If you’re ready to fine-tune which OWB resort is a perfect match for you and your partner let us know! There are only about 200 OWB resorts in the world, so if you’re excited to try this incredible, romantic, one-of-a-kind experience we recommend planning well in advance! 

A surprising honeymoon destination

Top 6 reasons to honeymoon in Israel Pin
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Israel is not the first place most people think of when considering honeymoon destinations, but this compact country just might surprise you. With a rich and varied landscape (from mountains to desert), all packed into an area the size of New Jersey, Israel offers honeymooners a seemingly endless list of possibilities. Picture a private pool in the middle of the Negev desert, a cabin nestled in the lush greenery of Galilee, a relaxing seaside resort, or a luxury suite in the middle of a bustling city. Yes, Israel is home to some of the world’s most famous religious sites — including the Western Wall, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque — but it also boasts an amazing array of cultures, foods, languages and music. Here are just a few of the reasons Israel is a very cool and unique honeymoon destination – beyond the obvious attraction of religious history.

Sparkling Beaches

White sand and sparkling blue waters can be found all along the coast of Tel Aviv. Head to a quiet beach next to a 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct or soak up the sun with all the modern amenities and services you could need at one of the popular resorts.

(Photo Credit: The Israeli Ministry of Tourism)

If you crave a full-on ocean experience, head to the southernmost tip of Israel. In Eilat, you can snorkel and dive among the incredible coral reefs, swim with dolphins, or check out an underwater marine observatory.

(Photo Credits: The Israeli Ministry of Tourism)

Exciting Nightlife

Are you a city person? Do you love heading out into a bustling cultural and culinary scene? Then you need to visit the city The New York Times dubbed the “Capital of Mediterranean Cool”. Tel Aviv is world-famous for its explosive nightlife, and with a host of theaters, concert halls, restaurants, events, and dance centers there’s something for everyone.

If the bustling city isn’t for you and you want to infuse a bit more nature into your nighttime adventures, you can consider a Night Safari. Contrary to popular belief, deserts aren’t lifeless, it’s just that most of the population prefer the coolness of night. The Negev is home to a variety of creatures from owls and bats, to foxes, leopards, and hyenas. Enjoy the unique experience of hopping on a safari jeep and meeting these amazing animals under the moonlight. 

If you’re looking for an even quieter nighttime experience, Israel has that too. Snuggle up next to your partner while stargazing in the desert at the Mitzpe Ramon Crater.

(Photo Credit & Cover Image Credit: The Israeli Ministry of Tourism)

Located in the Negev desert in Southern Israel, this unique landscape has few cars, people or businesses, which mean darkness, space, and an astonishing amount of stars. Though there’s plenty to see with the naked eye, the Ramon Crater Nature Reserve offers high-tech telescopes and guides to help you see the rings of Saturn and beyond.

Incredible Food & Markets

Like everything else in Israel, the local food is a perfect balance of old and new. Israeli cuisine is incredibly varied — from freshly caught seafood to crisp veggie salads to creamy hummus and sizzling falafels. Some of the world’s best restaurants with unique modern dishes and sleek atmospheres are waiting for you in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

But if old-world authenticity is more to your taste, head to one of the markets. In addition to local foods, and freshly squeezed juices, markets offer all manner of art, music, and wares. Head to Old Jaffa or Machne Yehuda to experience a typical bustling Middle Eastern bazaar with winding alleyways, art galleries, and unique collectibles.

(Photo Credit: The Israeli Ministry of Tourism)

Wineries, Spas, and Wellness

Known for its wellness properties since biblical times, the Dead Sea is one of the most unique natural wonders of the world. A crevice in the earth’s crust creates a valley that lets the River Jordan into this long lake, but doesn’t let it out. The blazing sun evaporates so much of the water that the remaining mineral content is highly concentrated. Because this is the lowest spot on earth, and the sun’s rays have to travel an extra 1200 feet to reach it, the ultra-violet rays are filtered out, the oxygen is enriched and not even the fairest skins will burn.

Find tranquility as you float on the waters, take a mud bath, or enjoy the stunning views. With your choice of luxury resorts, you’ll be able to enjoy the rejuvenating mud and salty waters in style. Natural healing spas, gourmet food, and peaceful boardwalks all add to the overall sense of health and well-being in this part of the country.

(Photo Credit: The Israeli Ministry of Tourism)

Wine is an up-and-coming industry in Israel and while the vineyards are not as ancient as those in Italy or France, you will still get that classic vineyard experience with some excellent wines. Wineries are located all over the country in a variety of climates, so there’s a wide array of experiences available. With cheese and chocolate tastings, vineyard tours, and even “blend your own wine” workshops, there’s something for every wine lover.

(Photo Credit: The Israeli Ministry of Tourism)


Kayak down the Jordan River or canoe in the Black Canyon. Rappel down a natural salt mountain overlooking the Dead Sea, or try your hand at kite surfing, SUP, or para-gliding up and down the Mediterranean Coast. For those who want to add a little adrenaline to their honeymoon, Israel doesn’t disappoint.

(Photo Credit: The Israeli Ministry of Tourism)

Wherever you choose to honeymoon, it should be a one-of-a-kind getaway, designed around the two of you. Israel offers a cool combination of romantic relaxation, action-packed adventure, cultural and gastronomic feasts, and everything in between. With a busy and relaxing energy, a familiar and unique feel, and a modern lifestyle that’s still tied to its ancient roots, Israel is the perfect place to begin your new life together and meld the old into the new. Plus, we can pretty much guarantee that you won’t hear that “everyone” honeymoons there. It’s a unique choice!

If this has sparked your interest in Israel, let us know! We can start building the perfect honeymoon for you.

Celebrate on a Yacht in the Greek Islands

How to Charter a Yacht in the Greek Islands Pin
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Whether you’re celebrating retirement, a promotion, a reunion, surviving 2020, or perhaps the best reason of all: “I have always wanted to go there and now the nest is empty and I can”, travel is a great way to celebrate a milestone in your life. And a private yacht charter in the Greek Islands is about as celebratory as you can get! You can visit a stunning chain of islands without having to worry about accommodations, activities, and transportation. Charters let you discover hidden spots and idyllic beaches that are often only accessible by boat. And each day brings a new port with something different for everyone to enjoy.

Here’s everything you need to know to get started:

What is a Yacht Charter?

Chartering a yacht can take a couple of different forms. Basically, you are renting a passage on a small ship to visit islands, beaches, and charming seaside towns. But there’s so much more to it.

view on a sailboat at sunset with islands in the background

Chartering a yacht gives you freedom and flexibility, a luxurious vacation, and a chance to maximize your time while still enjoying a slow island pace.

[Photo Credit: Chiara Bonetto via Unsplash]

Most yacht charter itineraries let you choose which spots you’re most excited to visit within a specific group of islands. Best of all, if you find a spot that is so idyllic that you want to spend an extra hour soaking it all in, or realize that this particular island just isn’t for you, a yacht gives you the flexibility to make those changes “on the fly”. 

There are three main types of yachts to choose from for your voyage:

Motor: a motor yacht is more like a 5-star hotel on water. These yachts tend to be stylish, sporty, and speedy. They’re perfect for zipping between islands and covering more ground (water). They are usually a bit more spacious which makes them perfect for bigger groups. 

two catamarans in the bay

Catamaran: These two-hulled vessels tend to be more stable on the water and more luxurious than other sailing yachts. With a little more space, you can expect larger cabins, decks, and lounges. Catamarans often have a full crew with a captain, chef, and gourmet meals included.

[Photo Credit: Patrick Lalonde via Unsplash]

Sailing Yacht: monohull sailing yachts are a bit smaller than the others. They also tend to be more susceptible to changing weather conditions. So sometimes your itinerary may literally depend on where the wind takes you. Sailing yachts give you a sense of adventure, a connection to the water, and a chance to immerse yourself in the myth and mystique of the seas. Sailing yachts typically come with a skipper. They will steer you safely from port to port and offer a lot of local knowledge and lore about each spot. 

Why are the Greek Islands the Perfect Charter Destination?

a greek flag waving off the end of a boat as it leaves a village of white-washed houses in Greece
Sailing away from Naousa (The Cyclades) [Photo Credit: Peter Boccia via Unsplash]

With more shorelines than anywhere else in Europe, the Greek Islands are the perfect place to explore by the sea! There are roughly 6,000 islands to choose from (only 200 of which are inhabited). Giving you a wide range of options. With superb food, stunning scenery, clear waters, and a balance between exciting nightlife and taking it easy, there’s plenty to love!

aerial view of people swimming next a yacht in turquoise blue waters and white rocks in the Greek Islands

The postcards don’t lie — and seeing these gorgeous places in person you realize that a photo doesn’t even come close to what the islands offer. Plus, seeing the Greek Islands by yacht allows you to find the most peaceful and secluded spots. It’s easy to escape the crowds and celebrate with only your closest friends.

[Antiparos, The Cyclades Photo Credit: Dimitris Kiriakakis via Unsplash]

Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, stopping at a local olive grove, hiking to stunning vistas, relaxing on golden sand, or diving under the waves for a bit of snorkeling, Greece offers activities for every kind of traveler.

Which Greek Islands Should You Explore?

Everywhere you cruise you’ll be awed by the spectacular scenery of Greece. Whether you’re looking for nightlife in Mykonos or some peace and quiet on the Ionian Islands, each island has its own flavor and uniqueness. 

The Grecian islands are separated into 6 different groups. The Dodecanese, The North Aegean, The Sporades, The Saronic Gulf, the Ionian Islands, and the Cyclades. For your first yachting experience, we recommend focusing on one of the latter three groups. 

a catamaran in the bay of a village of Hydra built into the mountain in Greece

The Saronic Gulf: These islands are the most accessible from Athens and have been the preferred destination for wealthy Athenians for centuries. With charming alleys, meandering staircases, 19th-century mansions, and secluded beaches, these islands perfectly combine elegant social life with a slow-paced island atmosphere. Their closeness to Athens may seem like they’re ideal for day-trippers, but the stunning beaches are often only accessible by water. This makes them a perfect spot to experience via yacht charter. 

[Hydra, Saronic Gulf Photo Credit:Despina Galani via Unsplash]

an old venitian fortress overlooking the sea next to mountainous cliffs in Corfu Greece

The Ionian Islands: Also known as the Eptanisa islands, there are seven main islands in this group. Being so close to Italy, you can see the influence of 400 years of Venetian occupation. There are traces of the Italian language, music, and colorful houses. The seas aren’t too windy. They boast incredible swimming spots, best explored from a yacht. These islands are ideal for those looking for relaxing ports, traditional villages, and an all-around peaceful getaway. The most famous spots include Corfu, Paxos, and Zakynthos.

[ A church inside an Old Venitian Fortress on Corfu, The Ionian Islands Photo Credit:Alexander Mils via Unsplash]

white and pink buildings overlooking a yacht sailing in cobolt blue water in Greece

The Cyclades- The largest group of the Greek islands, these 2,000 islands (33 of which are inhabited) are located in the center of the Aegean Sea. They have been important trading posts since the Neolithic Age. They are steeped in history– with plenty of ancient ruins to explore. The Cyclades offer you the most classic Greek Island experience. With whitewashed buildings, blue domes, pink bougainvilleas, and clustered villages atop mountainous terrain. From the cobalt blue sea to the bleached-rock landscape you’ll feel you’ve sailed into a postcard

[Oia, the Cyclades Photo Credit: Clement Souchet via Unsplash]

a small stone street with whitewashed buildings and bougainvilleas for boutique shopping in Greece

Characterized by charming towns and breath-taking views you’ll also find the Cyclades offer luxury boutique shopping and incredible restaurants. Even with the popularity of Santorini and Mykonos, the island group still has some hidden gems. Which can be found with the local guidance of your in-the-know skipper. The Aegean also can usually be counted on for gentle winds and low rolling waves — perfect sailing conditions.

[Paros, the Cyclades Photo Credit: Despina Galani via Unsplash]

What can you expect on a private yacht charter?

You’ll have flexibility without having to worry about making every tiny decision.

Why not enjoy breakfast before sailing to a new port where you can swim and enjoy the sea? Relax on the boat or snorkel followed by a traditional Greek lunch. You could sail a few more hours before arriving at a new port to explore, shop, and dine. While you’re sailing, perhaps try your hand at the helm! Or else let the skipper worry about it and take the time to relax, nap, read, or just enjoy the incredible views. When you arrive at an island port, your skipper can give you the lay of the land. They’ll direct you to the best local spots to eat, drink and enjoy.

Ready to let go of responsibilities and enjoy the magic of sailing around the Greek islands? If you’re ready to start planning your celebratory yacht charter, let us know!

Celebration Vacation

Allie and Shain were scheduled to take the Bar Exam in August, and we had planned an amazing European trip for them for right after the exam. Then COVID happened, cancelling their trip and the exam. When the Bar was rescheduled for October, they contacted me to see if we could plan some kind of last-minute getaway to celebrate finally being done. We found a wonderful “escape” to Mexico with an oceanfront swim-up suite at the adults-only El Dorado Seaside Suites in the Mayan Riviera and, from the trip report below, I’d say the celebration vacation was a hit!

Best of all, they both recently found out they passed the Bar 🙂

Hi Ann! I’m so sorry for the delay in this reply, I just wanted to make sure I had enough time to appropriately review the whole experience. Overall, it was wonderful! There are hardly any, if there are any, cons to the experience. 

The resort was very very interesting, the way they have it set up for the “Infinity” side and the “Palms” side. We ended up sticking solely to the beach on the Palms side because it is so so beautiful,

“the water was beyond perfect in that it felt like an actual bath and had really cool snorkeling spots and the beds were the perfect place to lounge.”

view down the beach with a low wall sperating the sea in Mexico

It’s kind of funny we realized we didn’t end up going in any of the pools at all other than the one attached to our room.

Other than the beach, Shain and I were both in agreement that the food and the service were beyond exceptional and definitely the highlights of the resort. We have both been to all-inclusives before and were expecting the standard type of foods, drink service, etc. that is not usually outstanding but “good enough.” However, we ended up trying all of the restaurants at the resort and struggled to think of which one we wanted to visit twice because they were all so unique and had incredibly delicious food. 

The service of the staff was also superb. Everyone was extremely welcoming, friendly, and accommodating. We had a few small issues with our room, the safe broke a couple of times, etc. and they attended to us almost immediately. There was hardly, if ever, a time we were struggling to find somebody to help us and that was also including the shuttles around the resort which came regularly.

a stone path lined with palm trees resort in Mexico

“Not only that, but the entire resort was extremely clean (which is something I tend to be acutely aware of) especially considering there was a hurricane the week before, there was hardly any indication of debris or trash, etc. anywhere. The rooms were also very very tidy and cleaned at least once a day.”

We ended up purchasing a spa day and an excursion to Cozumel, which were both easily the highlights of our trip aside from the day-to-day lounging.

“The spa was a promotional deal they were offering where we had a one-hour “water journey” in the spa which was surprisingly cool, then a 50-minute massage and a 30 minute facial on the beach which was this bungalow type of a structure built right along the water so we could hear the waves crashing while we were receiving our treatment.”

two massage beds in a thatch-roofed hut on the beach in Mexico

The price was very fair in relation to the level of the treatment and the experience overall. I would 100% recommend this experience to anybody visiting the resort, I honestly think it’s silly for anybody not to do it and tell them to make sure they choose the beach location because you can’t get a massage on the beach nearly anywhere else. 

two scuba divers with an underwater sculpture in Mexcio

“As for Cozumel, I know this isn’t a resort-specific experience because we booked it through Amstar but this was also incredible and would 10/10 suggest it to anybody looking to do an excursion.”

Our day started at 7 am and we didn’t get back until 8 pm, but everything throughout the day was included and it was truthfully so cheap considering what was included. We had our own jeep to cruise around the entire island in and we ended up scuba diving which was amazing as neither of us had done that before, there was also a tequila tasting, a trip to a historic lighthouse and visit to a private beach club on one of the most beautiful beaches and a free lunch. All of the transportation was included on top of those activities so overall it was a no-brainer for us to book it. 

The few things I would suggest to people who ask about the resort would be to definitely get to the Palms-side beach as the Infinity side beach is not as nice. We would also tell them that the first floor rooms are definitely more of the “party” rooms because they are attached to the main pool, so if you are looking for a more relaxing stay then book a room on a higher floor.

the view from a hotel room of the ocean, tops of palmtrees and private balcony pool in Mexico

“Our room was amazing with an awesome view and much less rowdy than the activity on the first floor.”

Also, we decided it was definitely more of a couples resort, rather than a group-of-friends place to stay only because there wasn’t too much happening at night for activity despite how crazy it could get during the day. There was some entertainment like singers and musicians that were all actually extremely entertaining and talented, however, it wasn’t much of a “party” scene so much as a couples resort. This was perfectly fine for us and exactly what we were looking for, I just wouldn’t want people going to stay at the resort expecting to be a crazy/wild experience. Other than that there really is very little “negatives” to say.

“We cannot thank you enough for booking this for us, we know it was last minute and during a hectic time so we are very appreciative!! We look forward to booking more trips with you — hopefully all of this craziness is near ending and we can eventually book the Europe trip! 😄”

a cis couple in the ocean with an island of palm trees in the background at a resort in Mexico

Allie and Shain

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)