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Dive Review of Buddy Dive Resort/Caribberan Club Bonaire in
Bonaire

Buddy Dive Resort/Caribberan Club Bonaire: "Great Bonaire Diving but a Disappointing Resort Experience", Oct, 2015,

by Kendall Valentine, DC, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 8576.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The good: Diving in Bonaire, one of my all time favorite locations. The bad: Having our 7:00 a.m. flight canceled at 4:30 a.m., as we were ready to leave for the airport. A disappointment: Caribbean Club Bonaire's operation needs improvement to reach its full, first class potential.

The Good/Great: For me, the spectacular Bonaire diving rivals anything I've experienced so far. This is my fourth trip there; on previous ones, I've stayed at Buddy Dive and Captain Don's. This time, I found a generally healthy reef and an abundance of aquatic life. We did shore diving on our own and three days of 2 tank afternoon boat dives at Buddy Dive. On previous visits, I've been impressed by Buddy's organization and efficiency. This time, it was a swirling circus of boats and divers coming and going. The dive crew was professional and hit all of their briefing and safety targets but they seemed rushed, tired a tad overwhelmed. In the water, DM's were attentive and eager to show their finds. Wednesday, day two of boat dives, one of the engines on our boat malfunctioned and spewed petroleum into the Sea. The crew was able make a temporary fix by reaching into the engine compartment with a long pole to adjust a pump. While this was a known issue for some days, no substitute boat was made available so the crew made do. My shore diving was curtailed somewhat by our late arrival but I continue to work my way down the list of 65 dive sites. Some of the best are a few -- at times tricky -- steps from shore. In truth, our dive group had our best dive from the house pier at Buddy Dive. It was just plain lots of fun with lots to see and to enjoy.

The bad: Airlines have reduced flights to Bonaire and even a small glitch can cause ripples that last for days. Our 7:00 a.m. flight was canceled at 4:30 a.m. Thankfully, Delta did re-book us-- part way -- to Aruba, and, after emphatically explaining that Aruba was, seemingly close bit was "no cigar". Fortunately, a supervisor intervened and was able to help me purchase tickets on Insel, an inter-island, even though it wasn't a Delta partner. We arrived 31 hours after our original ETA. Delta said heavy rain in the Carolinas caused flight delays the night before that, in turn, resulted in inadequate time for crew rest. While they were able to get us there, finally, other were not so lucky. Some never made it. We had a 6 hour layover in Aruba so I reserved a "day room" in a nearby hotel. Worth the expense.

A disappointment. Our group was booked at Caribbean Club Bonaire, because Buddy Dive was overflowing (yep, see above). The Club has a beautiful, albeit remote, location, a few miles up the road from Buddy Dive. Only a few residences (and quite a few wild donkeys) are are nearby. With two good friends, we shared a four person "quad" cottage (two bedrooms, each with private bath) and a connected kitchen/common room in between. Each bedroom had an individually controlled a/c unit that worked well and cooled quickly. The views, especially the sunsets were as advertised --spectacular. There was no shampoo and just one small bar of soap for each bath. We made a few trips to the grocery store. Housekeeping was supposed to come every other day but only came twice. A lamp bulb blew out so I asked reception for a replacement. Maintenance brought one in a half an hour.

Meals were served in an open area. Breakfast and dinner included in our package. Lunch offerings from the menu came with lots of French fires. All breakfasts and a few dinners were served buffet, most dinners were were from a menu and staff served. The kitchen ran out of fresh fruit the second day. The egg substitute was limited quantity. Pancakes were dry. The syrup had a viscosity of molasses and no hint of having been within cannon range of a maple tree. Vegetarian options were limited. The coffee carafes ran out quickly. Fortunately, the staff kept a large urn filled with ice, orange and water on the bar counter. The staff tried to be helpful and friendly but the overall resort operation seemed to lack cohesion, systems and organization. For example, the wait staff would bring food but delay bringing a check. There seemed to be no system so some people got up and left without telling the wait staff their room number or signing the ticket. This caused consternation among staff and guests. A few simple changes could vastly improve operations and guest experience.

Other dive operation notes: Nitrox cylinders were always available. they tested around 32 at the Club and 28 to 29 on the boat. the boat analyzers seemed quirky and poor quality to me. The dive shops at the Club and Buddy Dive were poorly stocked, except for t-shirts and sunglasses. They both ran out of weights mid-week. No BDC/suit cleaner.

Websites Buddy Dive Resort   Caribberan Club Bonaire

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Galapagos, Australia, Indonesia, quarries.
Closest Airport Getting There Delta, United, American & Insel from other Caribbean locations. US carriers have reduced number of flights so any canceled flight causes huge problems.

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas
Water Temp 83-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-90 Ft/ 15-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive staff said there was a 100 foot limit but it did not seem to be enforced on our boat dives. I did observe a DM picking up plastic bags.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 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 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Boats had separate wash buckets for cameras but little else. Some photogs. complained of ambient particulent count and back-scatter. To me their photos look great.
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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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