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Dive Review of Buddy Dive Resort in

Buddy Dive Resort: "Four visits - four almost failed vacation", Oct, 2019,

by Timothy J Hedrick, IL, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 11202 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I sent this letter to Buddy Dive and their response is below. Odd how they stated that based on our other concerns verified by Buddy Dive had also received this a similar letter. I feel that Buddy Dive doesn’t care if we ever go back. No customer service and no concerns from Buddy dive. Read my summary and their letter…

A week ago (10/2019) we visited and dove Bonaire. It was our fourth time diving in Bonaire and staying at Buddy dive. We love the atmosphere and the idea of being totally on your own to plan and dive around the island. Over time, the reefs seem to have lost a little color (Bleaching is my best guess) but the abundance of fish has not changed. If you have been to Bonaire, you understand how much fun the island can be for a diver. Stopping at the Donkey Sanctuary between dives, taking in the history and the Cargill facility is always a must. This is a beautiful island and of course a diver’s paradise. According to their license plates. Or it should be…
In our four trips to Bonaire, only one trip was perfect. For your edification we always stayed at Buddy Dive. Our first trip as stated was perfect! We were on the north side of the resort (aka, the Lion’s Den). The apartment was perfect, our car had no issues and we met lots of great people.
Our second trip, they placed us in the original resort; which only had air conditioning in the bedroom. In addition, the doors would not lock, and the AC did not work. After a day of discussion with the Buddy dive staff, we were moved to a different room. Lost day of diving as we had to pack and unpack again.
Our third trip also had a few issues that took away from our dive time on the island. In our first car, the truck gate would not close, allowing for all our equipment and tanks to slide right out. After a one day of discussions with the staff, they replaced the truck. This truck worked well for one day, then the engine and oil light came on around Karpata. If your familiar with Bonaire, this is quite a distance from Buddy dive as the road is one way at this point. Upon returning to Buddy dive after a very slow drive to make it back, we had another discussion with the Buddy Dive staff. Again, they replaced the truck… One day of diving lost amid the truck issues.
Recently in October 2019, our last and most likely the final trip to Buddy dive was a disaster. The first truck they gave us was a death trap. Upon the inspection of the truck, we mentioned that the stem for the turn signal was hanging off the steering wheel column. Buddy dives response, “Don’t use the turn signal as it will stick, and you will have issues turning it off.” The drivers seat fell to total recline upon sitting in the seat (fixed by putting a screw on the seat somewhere). The gate would not close and the glove box was sitting in the passenger’s foot well. This was not acceptable, but we were told they didn’t have any other trucks, so there was no chance in getting anything different. OK… It’s vacation and we can get by… that is until we went to dinner. After dinner and driving back to Buddy dive, we realized the stem that housed the turn signal, also housed the truck lights. We had to drive back at night to Buddy dive with no lights. Again, there was a discussion with the staff. That night they gave us a different truck but stated we could not do an inspection as it was night and we just had to sign the inspection. At this point, I was willing to sign anything to get a different truck. This truck was acceptable, and we planned our next day of diving (Nu Cove). We did notice that one of the tires seemed a little low but were not too concerned. Nu Cove is at least 45 minutes to an hour from Buddy dive and is off the beaten path of all the popular dive sites. This site is beautiful on land and in the water. It is one of our favorites and we spend the entire day there with 4 tanks each (4 dives). We pack lunches and make a nice relaxing day of diving in a secluded and beautiful site. After the first dive, we came back to the truck to prep our gear for the next dive and enjoy our surface interval. Well, the best laid plans… the truck tire had gotten worse and did not appear to be drivable. Now remember these are trucks, they have a tire under the bed and a quite complicated process of getting the spare tire off. Luckily, one of our dive group was a truck mechanic and knew how this worked; which was great as there was no manual for the truck in the glovebox. Changing the tire took about an hour plus, as the flat tire did not want to come off the truck and getting the spare out was a herculean task. Again, a slow drive back to Buddy dive. It was slow for two reasons. One, we did not know how safe the spare was as it looked worst than the tire we replaced. Two, a cruise ship tour bus in front of us would stop every 3-5 minutes and stay stopped for about 5 minutes. On one of the stops, we walked up and asked if the driver could pull over onto one of the many areas that are paved and off the road. The driver told us he would not, and divers should not be on this road (remember past Karpata, the road becomes one way and there is one way back to Buddy dive through Rincon). At another stop, we again asked the driver to pull over as we had somewhat of an emergency and needed to return to Buddy dive. We were told to relax as the cruise passengers are more important than divers. Finally, we made it back to Buddy dive and again had a discussion with the staff. While I understand that ultimately Buddy dive is not responsible for flat tires, but we were through with the truck swapping. They gave us another truck. This seemed like a newer truck and we swapped our gear.
This truck only had on problem, the drivers window controls did not work on the passenger side and back seat behind the passenger. No big deal, we were just happy to finally have a truck that worked mechanically. Since our plans to dive Nu Cove were off for the day, we thought we could get one more dive in at White Slave. We drove to the site and began putting our gear together for the dive when the police arrived. They asked if we had any issues with a tour bus. Of course, I replied yes. The police officer proceeded to tell me that the tour bus driver called the police to report that I hit the tour bus. The comical part of this and apparently no one thought this through, but supposable, I hit the tour buses right mirror with my left bumper. In thinking about this, perhaps I could have done a Dukes of Hazard and flew over the tour bus and hit the mirror while landing. Think about the height of a tour buses mirror and the height of the bumper. While we tried to be polite, we were told to shut up and listen. We were told that the cruise ships are important to Bonaire, more so than the divers. Hmmm, is Bonaire supposed to be a “Divers Paradise?” Apparently, there was no damage and no evidence to the “accident”, so the police left after giving us the third degree.
All in all, we lost about two and a half days of diving messing around with the Buddy dive staff and the trucks. The manager of trucks was very nice and helpful, but if he was not onsite, the regular staff have no authority to do anything. He apologized multiple times and stated that he reviewed our account and saw that we have had issues in the past. While this was nice, it did not replace the lost time of not diving and we received no credits to at least attempt to make things right.
Along with the truck issues, do not expect to have your room cleaned on a daily basis as they had some staff shortages and were not able to clean the room. We called for new towels, but none arrived. We tracked down a housekeeper and got new towels.
The tanks did not have VIP Inspection stickers and they were hot fills (filled to 3100 psi, but once cooled went down to 2700 psi). Not a huge issue for us as we don’t breathe much. For our friends this was an issue. The stems on all the tanks leaked a lot and we started bringing a spare tank with us as some of the tanks would leak down to about 1000 psi. We did several dives with tanks at or around 1000psi. We were able to enjoy our dives, but they were shortened by the lack of air. They seemed to have more tanks than in our previous trips; which was nice, but air in the tanks would have been nicer. We dove Nitrox and Buddy dive was consistent with about 30% O2.
There are no rules at Buddy dive even if posted as the pool was inundated with beer bottles and people drinking in the pool. The service at the Tiki bar was horrible the dive shop staff were just plain rude (as usual). Rinse tanks were left with the water running or were empty as the plug was a tank cap. If you’re looking for any of the amenities advertised on their web site, good luck. No sand volleyball court and plan to dive either buoyant or over weighted as they did not have 2# or 1# weights.
The idea of Buddy dive makes sense. An apartment, a truck and drive through air/ Nitrox station. Breakfast is included (very yummy). Ingredients (onsite restaurant) has some of the best food on the island and the service was excellent. They did mess up our reservations but found us a place to sit. Even if you don’t stay at Buddy dive, this restaurant is well worth the expense. It seems each trip to Buddy dive has gotten worse and worse. Based on this trip (and listening to others with truck, room and air/ nitrox problems) I am not sure we will return to Buddy dive, Considering that the tour bus driver and the police believe that the cruise ships are more important than divers, we are reconsidering ever returning to the island. This is sad, but we travel all over the world diving and have never experienced the frustrations we have in Bonaire. Vacation is supposed to be a vacation and not a frustration laden week.
If you do decide to go to Bonaire, I am not sure where to recommend staying. There is a nice new Marriott, but I think you would need to rent a truck separately and unsure if they have an air station. I have heard horror stories about using VRBO. Talk to other divers to find out where they stay in Bonaire, maybe they know a good place. If you find one that has all “amenities” of Buddy dive, let me know. This is a beautiful island, but it seems to be getting more popular with Cruise ships and non-divers, of which I have no issues with as long as we can play nice in the sandbox. Bonaire seems to be growing their tourism and moving away from their bread and butter, divers.

Response to this letter from Buddy Dive –
First of all we would like to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We are sorry to hear that your stay with us did not meet your expectations and would like to offer you our sincere apologies.
We indeed discussed your issues with our management team and tried to solve the problems within our possibilities at the time they were addressed by you during your stay. Unfortunately we understand that some issues were not solved according to your satisfaction.

After receiving your letter we looked up our previous correspondence and we noticed that most of the items you address in your current letter are similar to the items you addressed before.
Over the last 15 years our family has been constantly trying to improve the product and services of Buddy Dive, although you might feel different we our proud of what we achieved. We are very aware that a holiday should not be a disappointment. When reading your review below we don’t have the impression that, based on your experiences, you plan on ever staying with us again and of course you have all rights to try and experience other resorts, dive shops and car rentals. Although we don’t like getting negative reviews on the internet, you have all rights to post your experience online.

As we are almost repeating the same correspondence from 3 years ago, we feel uncomfortable promising you anything based on your letter below.


Websites Buddy Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Worldwide
Closest Airport Flamego Getting There For us, Chicago to houston - Houston to Bonaire

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, surge, no currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100-100 Ft/ 30-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions NONE - Posted rules, but no one followed any of them.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments All they want to do is sell stuff at the camera shop. Rinse tanks were nicer, but they need to invest in plugs as they used tank caps to block the drains. Boat crews were just rude and only wanted drive to Klein and make up excuses as to why we could dive any of the listed sites. It was park the boat and go in... no real dive briefing as they had no clue what was under the boat. Boat dives are a waste of money
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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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