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Dive Review of Buddy Dive Resort in

Buddy Dive Resort: "Friendly people, easy tropical dives", Oct, 2019,

by Jim Garren, FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 11200.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We did this as part of a group organized by a Florida Keys dive shop; I believe there were between 25 and 30 participants. Our first trip here, in part because my wife and I have both had joint replacements so we were concerned that the famous shore diving would be a challenge. Dive buddies in Florida convinced us to try it; Bonaire is one of their favorites. Shore entries and exits at some sites were difficult at least for this old geezer, but I survived the experience uninjured and did enjoy the diving at every site once in the water.

Our "package" included a rental truck (Chinese make with manual transmission) unlimited shore diving, breakfast buffet and nitrox, there were three in our party, we shared a 3 bedroom apartment with three others from the same dive shop group. The apartment was fully furnished, had full kitchen facilities (stove, refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, dishes and silverware. Each room had a bathroom, but ours was not connected to the bedroom, rather it was off the main living space. This can pose problems being just feet from the kitchen, TV and common area particularly since our bathroom did NOT have a lock! Aside from that and a couple of other odd design features accommodations were basic but comfortable, AC controls in each room let you customize to suit.

The breakfast buffet included in our package was excellent, lots of breads, pastries, fruit (most days)Euro style cold cuts, cheese, cereals, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, fried potatoes. There was also someone on duty to make eggs or omelet to order, and a variety of beverages,juice, coffee, tea etc,etc.

We also tried "Blennies" casual restaurant for dinner ONE time, a 70 minute wait for "meh" food, and wait staff that just did not care cured us of any return trip to Blennies FOREVER! We did order takeout pizza one night from "Ingridients" Buddy's "upscale” restaurant and it was very good, that said except for the breakfast buffet there are way better options on Bonaire. Close by is "Between 2 Buns", open for breakfast and lunch with awesome sandwiches and desserts, we also like "Eddys" another restaurant within walking distance of Buddy's, if you go downtown try "Julians" or El Mundo, we found all food reasonably priced. There are also several supermarkets for those who chose to utilize the available kitchen facilities in your apartment.

Buddy's house reef is very nice and access couldn't be easier, AL80 and AL63 tanks at the dock with air and 32% nitrox, weights and a dive shop should you need something and two sets of stairs with handrails for water entry. Guidelines, mooring buoys for the 5 dive boats and other objects in the water make navigation almost dummy proof.

We were less impressed with the dive gear lockers, if you get a bottom one, water from gear in the locker on top will prevent your gear from EVER drying, if you get a top locker hope you are not vertically challenged like I am. My wife and I could not reach the BC hangers and they could not be removed from the locker then put back in, we ended up storing our gear on the outside veranda of our 2nd floor apartment. That of course requires several trips up and down stairs each time you dive so don’t worry about missing the exercise regimen you follow at home.

The drive through tank pickup and drop off area does not open until 8AM and you are not permitted to load tanks in your truck from those at the house reef dock, aside from that the process works smoothly. Crew at the pickup area frequently helped us load and unload tanks. Entry and exit at some shore dives is easy, others with uneven coral rubble, or slippery rocks can be treacherous, aggravated if there are even small waves. On one memorable exit our three person posse of experienced divers looked like the three stooges after a bout of binge drinking, we all began to laugh uncontrollably but eventually reached land with only minor scrapes.

Once past the entry many dive sites are similar with sandy shallows reaching out to the top of a wall starting at approximately 30’ the wall drops to about 100 to 130’ then more sand. You can find garden eels at the bottom should you so choose. Lots of tropical fish on the wall but very few large ones and we saw NO sharks in the 6 days we dived, fishing pressure would be my best guess. Several species of eels including green, goldentail, and chain morays and more sharptails than I’ve seen elsewhere.

You will find exceptions at several sites from The Lake south past the Hilma Hooker, here there is a double reef separated by sand, the second reef wall here then drops like those already described . Our favorite area to dive was the sandy shallow patch reef at the top of the walls, lots of octopus, beautiful anemones, some nudibranchs, you will also see large tarpon in the shallows. You can find small turtles feeding close to shore just north of the Salt Pier and they are not camera shy. Other than the turtles this well-known dive site to me at least resembled an underwater junk yard.

Buddy’s suggests leaving your vehicle unlocked with windows down and to leave nothing of value in the truck. If you must bring your cell phone or money make sure you have a waterproof container you can take on your dive. No one in our group had any problem with theft, shore dives on the more isolated north sites are considered more risky.

We tried two one tank boat dives at Buddy’s, both went to Klein Bonaire just a short distance west. Both trips were crowded and many divers on our boat were inexperienced, the DM’s in the water went very slowly. We sighted turtles and seahorses on sites named “Knife” and Mi Dushi”, price of the boat trips were not included in our package but seemed reasonable should you choose to try them.

Not all Buddy’s employees were friendly, but nearly all were helpful and I will say all issues that came up during our visit were resolved in favor of guests. We chose not to partake of the Friday evening BBQ, in part because the leader of our group was not the best at communication. His invitation made us believe it was included in the package, turns out cost was $27 per person and since it was held at “Blennies” we decided to pass after our first encounter.

Bonaire seems to value the reef ecosystem as evidenced by their no glove rule for divers and total lack of diver friendly improvements at any of the shore dive sites. They don’t seem to understand fishing pressure also has a big impact. I’ve always questioned the no glove thing because it has been my experience that most novice divers contact the reef with their fins not their hands. From what I can tell researching the history of Bonaire what we see today is nothing close to the pristine wilderness found when discovered by Europeans, that said some small improvements to parking and entry points would make me far more likely to return.

Websites Buddy Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, Bahamas, Caymans, Roatan, Belize, Turks and Caicos, Australia, Red Sea, Maldives, Galapagos, Thailand, Bonaire
Closest Airport Flamingo Getting There AA from Miami

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 70-100 Ft/ 21-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No gloves on any dive, 100' maximum depth recommended on boat dives
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments Very little to accommodate photographers
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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