Ever since they raised their heads above water over 50 years ago, overwater bungalows have been on the bucket list of luxury travelers.
The trouble with these exquisite accommodations is that the price attached to them is usually out of the reach of more ordinary folk.
Yet, there are a few available at a slightly less jarring rate. Here's how to find the best overwater bungalow for your budget.
Saving on the Trip Over
If you want to get the best overwater bungalows without breaking the bank, you should consider saving in other areas.
Booking the cheapest flights to your island destination is one way to save some cash to splash on your accommodation.
Another option is to take advantage of travel rewards cards that give you cash or points back on travel purchases.
Traveling during non-peak times allows you to scoop up some great deals on over-water villas too.
Once you've cut costs wherever you can, you'll have a little more to splurge on your accommodation.
Finding the Best Overwater Bungalow for Less
These are the places you'll find the cheapest overwater bungalows available. Despite the smaller cost, you can still look forward to all the luxury you want from a romantic island escape.
Holiday Inn Vanuatu
You can always count on this brand for an affordable stay in a 3-star resort among 5-star surroundings.
The Vanuatu resort occupies its own private island, promising unlimited privacy and exclusivity for two. You'll have direct access to the lagoon and plenty to keep you busy.
The beach offers abundant opportunities for sailing, volleyball, and non-motorized water sports. Back at the main resort, there's live entertainment on offer too.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui - Tahiti
Bora Bora is Tahiti's best-known destination for some of the best overwater bungalows in the world.
Apart from intimate exclusivity, these overwater bungalows offer the kind of views, that fulfill all your honeymoon ambitions.
At Conrad Bora Bora, you can lap up the luxury on the island's longest white sand beach and enjoy a wealth of activities both on and under the water, for less.
Reethi Beach Resort - Maldives
The Maldives is another place that's become synonymous with overwater accommodation.
Reethi Beach Resort gives you the option to indulge your luxury resort fantasies at a fraction of the price of regular overwater bungalows.
Plus, you get direct lagoon access and an abundance of scuba diving opportunities nearby.
St George's Caye Resort - Belize
The Caribbean may be notorious for its high prices, but St George's offers a reasonably priced stay with most of the frills.
Perfect for honeymooners and couples, this resort offers a wide range of scuba packages and courses, as well as land-based activities.
A huge bonus is that non-motorized watersports are free and meals are part of the deal too.
Berjaya Langkawai Resort - Malaysia
Malaysia may not be the first place that springs to mind when you're looking for an overwater villa but Berjaya Landkawai won't disappoint.
Backed a tropical rainforest and surrounded by a stunning beach, this resort oozes every charm you'd expect from a luxury island holiday.
There are 8 restaurants and bars on the property, recreational activities galore, and wonderful nature pursuits too.
The best part of all is that these basic overwater bungalows come in at a much lower rate than most better-known island destinations.
Royal Huahine Resort - French Polynesia
Don't let its regal name and stunning location fool you, Royal Huahine is the second cheapest resort on this list.
Here you'll get to experience some of the clearest turquoise waters and stunning beaches you'll ever see. It's relatively secluded from the crowds and offers a host of diversions to keep you occupied.
Cultural tours, local dining, horse-back riding, watersports, and beach activities are all up for grabs at this beautiful resort.
Azul Paradise Resort - Panama
Try something different at this budget resort that's just a hop and a skip from some of the Caribbean's best coral reefs.
Despite the affordable price, guests at this resort's overwater bungalows enjoy private decks, king-size beds, and the chance to spot dolphins up close and personal. Wh
at's more, this resort places a very high emphasis on personalized service and appreciating this beautiful environment.
Pangkor Laut - Malaysia
Another Malaysian hotspot of tropical abundance, Pangkor Laut offers a range of overwater villas that could just fit in with your budget.
With more emphasis on its jungle surroundings and less on watery pursuits, this resort is a paradise for active nature lovers looking for an island-themed vacation with a difference.
Jungle trekking, island hopping, and glorious sunset cruises are the order of the day at Pangkor Laut.
Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort – South Pacific
With just 24 overwater bungalows secluded around a crystal clear lagoon, Tikehau offers an intimate stay for couples.
The resort runs regular specials and early bird deals which makes it a budget-friendly option for those who like to plan ahead.
Add to that a stunning pink-hued beach, wild coconut groves, tropical gardens, and blissfully blue waters and you've got all the ingredients for an unforgettable romantic break.
Aimeo Lodge – Moorea
Formerly known as Club Bali Hai, this resort lays claim to inventing the overwater bungalow. It's also famous for its exceptionally cheap rates.
Although extensively upgraded over the years, the bungalows still offer all the charm of their predecessors and the same wonderful views.
This is also one of the few family-friendly options out there, offering basic amenities and everything you need for a good time. You'll find a pool, kayaks and a restaurant on-site too.
Plan Your Next Escape
There's no doubt that finding the best overwater bungalow you can afford is the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime vacation splurge.
If you still aren't quite up to that level though, the world's filled with other fascinating attractions with a cheaper price tag. Besides, there's always next year...
Keep reading my travel blogs for more inside information on the best places to see and things to do all over the world.