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Dive Review of Buddy Dive Resort in
Bonaire

Buddy Dive Resort: "Still in love with Bonaire and Buddy Dive Resort", Oct, 2015,

by Paul S Jacobsen, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 9310.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments My dive buddy a life long friend and I booked with Buddy Dive resort on short notice. We were flexible and Buddy had an opening, with the proviso that we had to change rooms the last day. We found out once we arrived that it was the second week of “Bonaire Tek 2015” so the resort was sold out with Tek divers. However even sold out the resort didn’t feel crowded and we had no issues with service. We booked the Unlimited Shore dive package that comes with a truck rental, breakfast, and Transfers. The pricing on that package is a great value. We did get sort of the bottom of the barrel truck for our rental, since the tailgate didn’t open, which Buddy did change trucks after we noted that it wouldn’t work for shore diving. I assume that all of the better trucks were already booked.

We flew on United and had to overnight in Newark, but the flight from Newark arrived Bonaire early afternoon. No need to be the first through immigration as the Buddy Dive transfer is a bus and waits for all guests from that flight. Your luggage is put on a separate truck and is delivered to you at the resort. With the flight schedule we were able to get checked-in, get our truck rental, unpack, grab lunch, buy our dive tags, make the mandatory orientation briefing, get our weights, set up our gear, and do an equipment check dive on the arrival day. It couldn’t have been more easy. You still had time for diner and a night dive if you were up to it. We opted for Diner and a grocery run. (Note: You need to provide your own bag for groceries on the island.)

Buddy’s rooms are very functional and very diver friendly. The bedroom had comfortable twin beds with separate a/c from the living room/ kitchenette area. The kitchenette was handy as we would come back and make lunch and have evening snacks. A breakfast buffet was part of our dive package, and I highly recommend booking it as it makes morning an easy start. Formerly being part of the Netherlands their breakfast buffet has assorted cold meats and cheese, good selection of fruit, cereals, yogurt, juices, coffee and pastries. There is a great “cook to order” eggs and pancakes station with a friendly chef. Plus chafing dishes with scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages.

For diner there are numerous good restaurants a short drive from Buddy Dive in town. The resort has redone their onsite restaurant “Ingridients” (that’s how they spelled it). We dined there for Lionfish Mondays, we wanted to help the cause of consuming Lion Fish to control this invasive species. It is a good white fish, perhaps less tender than other white fish, but well prepared. When diving my buddy and I prefer carbohydrates so we go for Italian foods. A new restaurant for us just a 5 min walk from Buddy Dives is Sonia Home, we ended up eating there twice. It was very good food and convenient to Buddy Dive. We’d walk there after cleaning up from the afternoon dive, have diner and make it back for a night dive.

There is a end of the week Friday Night BBQ Buffet that is must do. It attracts divers from other resorts so get there early for a seat. Rum punch is included.

Buddy Dive resort makes access to the marvelous diving hassle free. We ran at our own leisurely pace with no schedule we had to meet. Load up the truck with 2 tanks each, head out in the morning for 2 dives, lunch at the room, grab another tank for an afternoon dive, back for diner and night dive off of Buddy reef. 4 dives per day was easy.

In October it was dry, but we did have some winds build in the afternoon. So we would hit the South sites in the morning and then go North in the afternoon. The dive sites are all great and mostly easy to get in and out, but always use good judgement about your abilities and look out for the waves. If you get knocked over the coral is very sharp and hard. Favorite sites in the South are Alice in Wonderland, Tori’s Reef and the Hilma Hooker wreck. For North sites I love Oil Slick leap. It’s so easy with the ladder to exit and enter. Also 1000 steps was a great dive, more work with the steps at the end of the dive but worth it.

We believe someone rummaged through the truck while we were diving at 1000 steps, so never leave anything valuable in your truck as there is petty crime and never lock your truck as they may break the window to see what is locked inside. We only had towels and T shirts in ours so nothing was taken.

The diving is superb and given how many divers were there you would expect to see them underwater. However except for the Hilma Hooker we had the sites to ourselves. Diving on the house reef at Buddy’s is the only place where we regularly encountered other divers, but again for how sold out it was it did not feel crowded there either. The house reef is a great place for night dives. So many creatures come out, and it's a leisurely pace. There was a resident Octopus I would have thought would be blind after all of the high powered dive lights checking him out every night, but no he just stayed in his cinder block home.

It seemed like there were less Lionfish on the reef from when I was last there which is a hopeful sign from the control efforts. But still we would see at least one during a dive.

All of the typical Caribbean creatures are there only in far more abundance than in other Caribbean locations. The coral is healthy in most areas, even though I was seeing more red algae in spots. I spent hours pouring over the Paul Humann 3 Caribbean ID books cataloging what we saw on this trip.

The other 2 times I visited Bonaire I only did shore diving, so this time I wanted to do at least one boat trip to Klein Bonaire. This was the only problem I have with Buddy’s operation, is getting on a boat. Not traveling in a group is an issue as groups tend to dominate the boats. The groups would fill up the sign up boards by the time we got there, leaving no open spots. Finally the last dive day I was able to get on a boat, but there was only one spot left, so my buddy stayed behind. Then on the boat they polled the group where they wanted to go, again you’re screwed if there is a group there and you want to go some place else. I had to fight to get the boat to go to Klein Bonaire for the 2nd tank. The 1st tank they did on nearby shore dive.

The 2nd dive however was worth the fight. It ended up being a drift dive, which meant I got to see several dive sites in passing. The current was not too strong so you could pause to focus on creatures along the way. I was rewarded with my only Sea Horse sighting for the week, the coral was even better - colorful and healthy.

I can’t wait to go back. Buddy Dive is a great service oriented place to stay and Bonaire deserves it reputation as a great place to shore dive and yes even boat dive.
Websites Buddy Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Florida, California, Caribbean, Micronesia
Closest Airport BON Getting There United. Check In on departure is very long and slow.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 83-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-80 Ft/ 12-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Ask you to do a self check out dive on house reef as the first dive. Boat dives are guide about 60 minutes, but you can do what ever profile you want.
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 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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