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Dive Review of Buddy Dive Resort in
Bonaire

Buddy Dive Resort: "Still good diving in the Caribbean", Nov, 2014,

by Gary & Robin Schiendelman, PA, US (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 7996.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Direct flight from Newark made getting there easy although United charges for every bag so we paid $180 extra (r/t) in fees. Overhead bin space was packed and many had to check their carryon roller bags.
There were about 60 people on the same flight all going to Buddy Dive and they did a pretty good job of moving all of us with our luggage and checking us in and out. They have all of their check in forms (for both the diving and the resort) on line that you can fill out, print and take with you which makes all of this a lot easier.

We had a one bedroom apartment with a recently renovated kitchen and bathroom. It was spartan but very comfortable. We were on the second floor which had a nice balcony with plenty of room to hang wet stuff.
There was good water pressure and an adequate supply of hot water.

Everyone was forced to go through an overly long orientation at 9 am on the morning after arrival. At least 15 minutes was a sales pitch by the photo pro on site. After that, you must do a shore dive at the resort and then you are free to sign up for boat dives or do shore dives away from the resort. This process could have been a lot more streamlined and been done way quicker. It took over an hour and a half.

There are 2 rinse tanks areas by the boat dock as well as tanks at the drive through. We only did boat dives and shore dives at the resort so we can only speak to that. They could use another set of rinse tanks at the gear room. The resort was pretty full the week we were there and there was often some jostling at the tanks. I even saw one diver remove someone else's gear from a tank and put it on the ground. The gear room is actually a series of connected rooms that have hooks all along the walls and a center aisle in one of the rooms for hanging wetsuits. There are no cubbys for small stuff and no assigned location so it's basically, find an empty spot wherever you can. BE FOREWARNED: the week we were there 2 sets of regulators with computers and a BC were stolen from the gear room! One of the dive guides said this is not unusual and nothing of value should be left there. They do have a sign posted that says they are not responsible and we know Bonaire has a history of petty theft from trucks but this was a shock.

The boat sign up boards are chaotic and completely ridiculous. They have a chalk board and after every boat leaves, they erase it and enter in another boat. So anyone on shore has the opportunity to sign up first. Likewise, groups often seemed to have one person sign everyone up, thereby making it impossible for someone traveling on there own to get a spot. There are 4 larger boats and one smaller. Sometimes they do a one tank and sometimes a two tank. So the board became a jumble of days and times and created a lot of unnecessary stress for those who really just wanted to do boat dives. To make things worse, we found out on Tuesday afternoon (only because we asked when they were not on the board) that all three of the larger boats were chartered off site for Wednesday so the only boat going out was the small one holding 10 divers. Another guest told us the charter is by a cruise ship and this happens every other Wednesday. Frustrating but apparently this is all common in Bonaire.

The boats were nice and in good shape. Even packed, it was not too uncomfortable for all the divers and gear. Most dives were within a 15-20 minute boat ride so that helps too.

Dive guides basically did nothing for you. They gave a basic briefing, told you to stay in sight of the guide and then got in the water and swam out and back. We can say they did not motor along but kept a nice slow pace so it was not hard to keep up. We still fell off the back but it was never a problem. Most dives were no deeper than 70' and there was little current. Stated dive times were an hour with safety stop but if you were first in the water, it was more like 70 minutes. You handed up your fins and then they watched as you got back on the boat. If asked, I suppose they would provide assistance but there was never an offer of help.

The breakfast buffet (included with the room) was not bad and included a chef who made eggs, omelettes and waffles to order. There were other hot dishes as well as the usual cold breakfast items. Coffee was pretty good too. There are 2 restaurants on site. Most nights we ate at the beach bar, Blennies after our night dive. The food was ok. Some dishes better than others and the service typical slow island service. We did hear at least one guest complaining about both the food and the slow service. The other option is the newer Ingredients restaurant. All of the waitstaff are European and the service reflects that. The food was very good as was the presentation. Reservations are recommended, especially if you want a table by the window.

All in all, the best thing about this trip was the diving, and that is really what it's all about. For the most part, the reefs continue to be healthy and there is an abundance of fish. We did see lionfish but not in the numbers we have seen elsewhere in the Caribbean. There were also some sites with a lot of algae but they were in the minority. By Caribbean standards, Bonaire continues to be above average and we were pleasantly surprised.

We will go back to Bonaire. Maybe to Buddy Dive or maybe to one of the other resorts but we will definitely return for the diving.
Websites Buddy Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Cocos Island, Galapagos, Socorro, Red Sea, South Africa, Maldives, PNG, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Florida, New Jersey, Bahamas, TCI, Caymans, Curacao, St Lucia, Mexico
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility - Ft/ - M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions 100 feet depth, 60 mins max
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Small rinse buckets on boats. Way too small if you had 3 or more people on board with large SLR's...or even if there were a lot of divers with small cameras. Dedicated camera rinse tanks on shore.
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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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