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Dive Review of Buddy Dive Resort in
Bonaire

Buddy Dive Resort: "Great shore diving in Bonaire", Aug, 2015,

by Alice Ribbens, MN, US (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 8339 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We stayed at Buddy Dive as part of a REEF group of 20+ divers. We had a package that included our condo, a rental car (pickup truck with tank racks), 6 boat dives, breakfast every day (unlimited buffet, including omelette station), free Nitrox, and unlimited tank fills for shore diving. Buddy Dive has two restaurants: Blennies is more casual bar food and Ingridients is more upscale. Both restaurants have good food, but the service is a little hit or miss.

The rooms are modest, studios or 1-3 bedroom units with limited air conditioning. Each unit included a small kitchen with basic pots, dishes and utensils. The rooms were cleaned daily with new towels as needed. We did find a grocery store and cooked a few meals, but it was a little comical given the limited utensils and pots and pans provided (no can opener, only 1 knife, etc.).

Bonaire is known for shore diving and Buddy's has a drive through station where you can pick up tanks. Although you are limited to two tanks per person, it is no problem to pick up tanks the night before so you can go dive first thing in the morning. You just pick the dive sites you want to go to, hop in the truck, and go. If you get to a site where a bunch of people already are, you can just head down the road to another site. Most of the shore dives have fairly easy entries, although some do involve climbing down stairs or in over rocks. (Wear dive boots with good soles--this is not a place for full foot fins!)

The vast majority of the dive sites are on the west, or lee, side of the island and are thus protected from most of the open ocean waves and surges. The dive sites generally start with a sandy patch before you get to the sloping reef which starts at about 20 feet so you can dive as shallow or as deep as you want. The reefs were pretty and generally had a good number of fish. Bonaire is also known for its large number of species present on its reefs although people who had been there years before said the diversity of species had gone down. You don't need a flag and float to shore dive. (Also gloves are not allowed. Neither are pointer sticks.)

Before you can dive, however, you have to do an orientation session and "check out" dive on the house reef. They say the check out dive is to check your weights and gear, but no one actually monitors you doing it. The house reef is very nice. I wasn't thrilled about getting in the water with a zillion other people on the house reef, but it wasn't much of an issue.

Although Buddy's normally maxes out their boats with 16 divers, they decided that our entire group would be on the same boat at the same time for our boat dives. They also only initially had one divemaster in the water with all of us--and that divemaster wanted all 20-24 of us to stay in one group and follow her. Some of our divers were newer divers and/or had some physical limitations and needed some extra help. But we also had a number of very experienced divers who were used to diving on their own and diving their own profiles. I have never been on a day boat or a liveaboard where divers were not divided into smaller groups and/or given the option to dive their own profile. Many people went off to dive their own profile anyway, even after being told not to. (It seemed really weird that they were willing to hand us tanks and tell us to do whatever in terms of shore diving, but wanted to treat us differently when we were on the boat.) After the first boat dives, they added another divemaster who was supposed to help "herd" us. People started skipping boat dives even though they were prepaid. Also, the boat crew seemed only minimally interested in helping us in and out of the water--other divers were assisting with cameras, fins, etc. Yes, there were a few sites they took us to on the boat that we could not get to by car, but if I were to go back to Bonaire and stay at Buddy's, I would skip the boat dives altogether and just shore dive.

I ranked the dive operation 3 stars--Loved the drive through and ability to pick up tanks whenever. Also the rinse tanks available at the drive through and on the docks. However, was less than impressed with how the boat operation was run. 3 stars is kind of averaging out both parts.
Websites Buddy Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Cozumel, Akumal, Sea of Cortez, Belize, Honduras, GBR, Palau, Maldives, Indonesia, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Caymans, British Columbia, Hawaii, Monterey, Key Largo
Closest Airport BON Getting There Delta through ATL
United through Houston or Newark

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 76-78°F / 24-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75-100 Ft/ 23-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions For shore diving, you could dive your own profile. Boat diving: max depth 100 ft and they wanted you to end your dive after 60 minutes.
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 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
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 4 stars
UW Photo Comments I am not a UWP, but my husband is. The drive through station and rinse tanks on the dock have dedicated camera only buckets. On the boats however there was only a small bucket that was usually only about 1/3 full.
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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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