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Dive Review of Buddy Dive Resort/Coral Paradise Resort in
Bonaire

Buddy Dive Resort/Coral Paradise Resort: "Bonaire's changed after 25 years", May, 2017,

by Bruce C Meissner, MD, US ( 1 report). Report 9981.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 25 years ago I went to Bonaire as part of an Earthwatch group studying the reef off Bachelor's Beach area. I remember very laid back, no worry on crime and low development. Diving was great, but didn't have that many dives in warm water, so everything was great. Jump ahead 25 years, unbelievable amount of building and cruise ships arriving just about every day.

Stayed with Coral Paradise which is located easy walking distance to Captain Don's and Buddy's dive resorts. 8 rooms in the resort and run by the nicest people. Rooms clean, free wifi, airport transfer, and packages come with a pickup truck. Dive package could be from either Buddy's or Captain Don's, we chose Buddy's for no particular reason. Package was for a week.

25 years ago we got tanks from Bruce Bowker's Carib Inn, Buddy's has a nice drive thru to pick up tanks and package came with nitrox. 25 years ago didn't have the required orientation to protect the reefs and get your dive tag. Would have been nice to get a dive in the afternoon we arrived, but missed the last briefing by a couple of hours. Wait until the next morning to get the brief and cleared to dive. Have to do a mandatory checkout dive, which was just fine as right off Buddy's is a nice sand patch and a reef drop off that goes from ~30 to 90 feet. Buddy's also has coral farms growing Elkhorn coral off the shop.

Buddy's has lockers and require buddy's to share a locker. Not really a problem as the lockers were large to handle to sets of gear. One recommendation, take an upper locker as they are wooden lockers made up of wooden slats and those on the top drip into the lower lockers. Buddy's provides locks, where we learned later, Captain Don's looks like they would require you to bring your own locks. The locker room looks like it could be locked, but we didn't see it locked during our stay. It has open walls and gate to allow air flow for drying. Most people stuffed their booties into the holes in the way to allow them to dry out overnight.

Buddy's allows you to pick up tanks any time for unlimited shore diving. We also got a package that included 6 boat dives. The way Buddy's runs the boats is a self sign up for boat dives on a chalkboard outside the dive lockers. Boats of various sizes, but they do fill up. Divers are constantly added and removing themselves from the list. Though we didn't have too much of an issue getting on a boat, those that were there with 12 dives in a week had to plan carefully to get them all in or forgo some shore diving. Once on the boat, the boat picked the sight. Most of the time the boat chose to go to various sites at Klein Bonaire. Kind of expected since can't see those sights any other way, but while Klein sites were nice, probably one of the better dives we had from the boat was Thousand Steps site. Since there were usually large groups diving together, they usually got their votes.

Generally dives were good, but fish life seemed to be lower than 25 years ago. Water temp was 80 and most were in 2mm suits. I was in 25 year old dive skin and a few others were in just t-shirts. A little brisk jumping in, but not too bad. Vis was 50-60 feet. When diving from the boat, there was a guide and was follow the leader. Nothing too restrictive and the group usually spread well out. Guides did good job pointing out critters and what not. Rule was not to go below 100 feet, but usually not an issue as we normally dove reef walls from 35-80 feet. Before going in at a site, the guides did a good job telling about the site and reminded everyone, every time, to watch buoyancy and don't touch the reef. They also said if they thought you were getting too close to the reef of had issues with buoyancy they'd signal to come up a bit or possibly pull you up. Usually not an issue with the people we dove with, however one incident a large diver was diving in a near vertical position and fins were clipping the reef and tearing up tube sponges. Guide signaled twice and actually pulled them up. The diver was indignant they were touched. No issues on the boat afterwards, but the diver was definitely in the wrong.

Got in a few shore dives as well towards the end of the week using the truck. As instructed, left nothing in the truck that we wouldn't mind losing as well as leaving the truck unlocked and windows down. We never had an issue at any of the sites. One thing on the shore diving, need booties with soles. Not really any sand and lots of dead coral is the "beach". Also the walk out to diveable water was tricky. I had rubber soled booties, but buddy had just thin fin socks. Shore sites were good, just took a little bit of beating on entry and exit.

Besides a little issue with finding an open gas station the night before we left to leave the truck with same amount of fuel we received it, leaving was easy as well. Loaded up the rental truck, drove to the rental place where someone from the rental agency drove us in the truck with our luggage to the airport. Couldn't be easier.
Websites Buddy Dive Resort   Coral Paradise Resort

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Ocean City, MD, North Carolina, Florida Keys, Caribbean
Closest Airport Getting There No direct flights from Maryland. Just one stop each way, not terrible.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 80-80°F / 27-27°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-60 Ft/ 15-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions On the boat, limited to 100 feet. General Buddy rule was don't go below 100, however when diving from shore, who's going to know? Realistically, not too much reason to go below 100 when diving Bonaire.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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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