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Dive Review of Buddy Dive Resort in
Bonaire

Buddy Dive Resort: "Should've Been Better!", Mar, 2017,

by Bruce J Levine, FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 9 Helpful votes). Report 9525 has 6 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments My wife and I booked our trip to Buddy Dive through a group seminar. This group of 20 or so has travelled together to many dive resorts for many years. Our package included 3 meals/day and a pickup truck. We stay at nice quality resorts within the price range of Buddy Dive. Previous reports stated the resort dive area was "too crowded." That is an understatement. We arrived at the resort on a Saturday afternoon via a short ride on a school bus from the airport. When we arrived at the resort everyone checked in. We were checked in by Anabelle, the Front Desk Manger. She was very helpful and friendly. We were informed several days before arriving that we had a water view room, however, the room they had for us was facing the parking lot. She was able to change this to a room by the water and pool. The room was very average, old outdoor type plastic wicker furniture with stained cushions in the living area. Bent curtain rods and a cable wall outlet with no plate cover. The small kitchenette was fine. Sink, Refrigerator and countertop seemed newer. The Bathroom was fine, also newer, however the bedroom was pretty sparse and dated. The sliding glass door to the patio was terrible. The track and wheels barely worked. My wife could not safely open the door without fear of slicing her hand on the bare metal from the missing handle.

After walking around the resort a while, the bare electrical cables and connectors laying close to active walkways and stairways was extremely disconcerting. The pool area had large weeds growing through the deck around it and many cushions on the chaise lounges were torn badly with stuffing coming out. The larger pool itself was cloudy through the entire stay.

Landscaping was not tended to and the walkways to our room and the pool area needed bleaching and power washing desperately.

The food at the resort was generally good. The service at the bar and restaurants was good as well. The breakfast buffet is good and open for several hours. Its at the "Ingredients" restaurant. Nice view and atmosphere. Omelette and waffle stations were a plus.

The Dive operation at this resort is crowded and at times appears chaotic. At least 2 people were injured and attended to by paramedics the 1st day. The resort accommodates groups from outside of its in house guests including those from cruise ships that anchor nearby. There is a briefing when you arrive and a checkout dive that no-one checks you out on, but is mandated by the National Marine Park.(?) The deck area was often crowded and people were hauling tanks and gear all over the place for shore house reef diving and boat diving. The locker rooms were way too small and often times racks were over filled to hang your wetsuit. Most days they never really dried out from being scrunched together with all the other wetsuits.

The dive shop has a good amount of gear if you need anything. Staff was friendly. There is a camera shop that has classes answers questions and has gear for sale or rental.

We dived primarily off of the Coral Buddy dive boat. We only dived the house reef once. The boat was fine. 38 Newton for diving. No operational head and a camera bucket that was too small and had hot water on afternoon dives because it wasn't changed from the morning dives.
I had condensation issues in my housing on an afternoon 2 tank trip. No audible safety alarm system in case of an emergency. There is Oxygen on board and we were briefed several times on safety measures and underwater hand signals in case of an emergency.

The crew for the week constantly changed. Rarely did we have the same dive masters for more than a day or 2. Some were great......Cosette....Denny......Guillermo.....Helpful, others informed us that they never find anything so don't count on them to help. Never heard that before from a dive leader. Most dives were guided. We donít need babysitting, however, some dives we felt like the dive masters were just there to observe, not lead. Don't expect much help with gear or tanks. You do it all. No help sitting or standing or shifting tanks ....unless you ask for it. There were 3, crew members onboard each trip. 2 on the dive and 1 with the boat. The night dive we did was great. Guillermo and William were very engaged and professional. 2 strobes on the boat and a thorough briefing.

Letís be honest, I did not expect a valet or concierge diving experience here at Buddy Dive. I just expected safe, consistent and professional service. Sometimes I got it and sometimes I didn't. Thatís a big problem at this resort.

The diving on Bonaire has changed over the 9 years since I was there last. However, the reefs were in pretty good shape. We saw several different types of eels, 3 seahorses, turtles the typical Caribbean reef fish which are prevalent throughout the region and lots of healthy sponges, corals and anemones. Not a lot of Lion fish noted. The density of the sea life seems somewhat decreased, but nonetheless there was always something good to see on our dives.

The Diving itself was easy. Minimal currents on some dives, Mostly good viz. Reefs looked healthy, but, some bleaching and damage was noted. Not what it was 9 years ago, but still beautiful and much better than many areas of the Caribbean. The weather was great, a little windy some days, but we could always find a calm site. We split our dives between Klein Bonaire and the north shore. Relatively short trips. Many dives werenít below 60ft.

The resort has drive thru tank stations for Air and Nitrox (free). Seemed pretty easy. We had a nice pickup truck to use. the CDW option was $139.00/week. They check the truck out with a fine tooth comb when you pick up and return. Be aware of insurance costs.
Many of the guests prefer shore diving over boat diving. The drive thru seems to work well.

I have to say, I thought a lot about writing this review. Some parts of the facility were good, while other parts need a lot of work and training. I feel the crowdedness, external wiring issues and downright lack of keeping the physical buildings and property properly maintained were a huge downer for many of us who attended. However, the staff we encountered, from check-in to housekeeping and servers to bartenders, were all friendly and helpful during our stay. The resort needs better management, expanded diving facilities and a huge scrubbing and cleanup. There were so many details that needed to be addressed, that I started to wonder what else was going on behind the scenes that I wasnít seeing.

I didnít set out to write a negative report about Buddy Dive, I do believe, however, it is a fair representation of our experience at the resort.
Websites Buddy Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Galapagos, Cozumel, Hawaii, BVI, Roatan, Bonaire, Cayman Little and Brac, Keys, Utilla, Tahiti,
Closest Airport Getting There Atlanta to Bonaire arrives around 2:30

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100- Ft/ 30- M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 100ft/60 mins
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 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 4 stars
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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