I decided to write about our experiences after coming across a few surprisingly negative reviews. We've been to Bonaire three times--twice at Buddy's and once at Sand Dollar next door. We've also been to all the "must-dive" places in the Caribbean--Roatan (CocoView and Anthony's Key), Utila, Cozumel, Cayman Brac, etc. But Bonaire (and Buddy's) is far and away our favorite. It has the best reefs and the most prolific sea life. Also, it's out of the hurricane belt AND it's one of the few reliable places in the Caribbean for weather if you are planning a trip in winter!
First, the diving: You cannot beat this for convenience. Get your truck, get your tanks, and go. Anytime you want. We watched the fireworks at midnight on New Year's Eve underwater--sublime experience. When you do boat dives, you have to conform to THEIR schedule--not so with shore dives. My particular favorite is the dusk "rush-hour" dive--and you'll NEVER see one offered on a dive boat. Yes, some of the entries are tougher than others, but there are plenty of easy ones, too! You could stick to Buddy's, Bari, Front Porch and Something Special (all next to each other and all extremely easy to enter and exit) and see all the great sea creatures you want--including eels, octopus, seahorses, frogfish, turtles, etc. We even saw a manta ray once under the dock! (He must have been lost) Personally, I would sign on for as few boat dives as possible--or even skip them altogether, if you don't mind missing Klein Bonaire and the Hilma Hooker.
Making sure your car is unlocked with nothing of value in it is a hassle, but it isn't the end of the world. Shore dive sites in Hawaii have the same problem. The reefs in Bonaire are worth it.
As for Buddy's--this is not an AI dive resort like CocoView in Roatan. Breakfast is included (it's good) but you are on your own for lunch and dinner. I would recommend avoiding Buddy's restaurant at dinnertime. There are lots of better restaurants in town, or even next door at Lion's Den. Most visitors go to the Cultimara or other grocery store and stock up. It's great to come back to your apartment and make a sandwich or have a bowl of cereal (they have REAL milk in Bonaire!) when you are just too tired after diving to move another step. .
We get a two-bedroom/two bath apartment when we are at Buddy's; they are roomy and comfortable and built for divers--places to hang your wet stuff, a full kitchen, nice hot showers, etc. No, not fancy but ideal for divers.
BTW, we got our AOW, nitrox, and fish i.d. certification at Buddy's--thought their instructors were first rate.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience Bonaire and Buddy Dive Resort. An unhurried, unspoiled natural paradise offering spectacular sunsets, gentle breezes and crystal clear, turquoise waters. Buddy's is a resort where you can DIVE DIVE DIVE, take part in a multitude of activities or just sit back, relax and enjoy the atmosphere. At Buddy Dive, we're known for our casual atmosphere, personable staff, spacious accommodations and a dive operation that has something for every diver: comfortable boats, complete rental and retail center, exceptional staff, and a unique "Drive Thru" with a two-lane air/nitrox fill station. No matter which apartment you are staying in, you're never further than a giant stride away from our popular and lively house reef which is perfect for diving and snorkeling, day and night. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Buddy Dive Kralendijk
- Buddy Dive Hotel Kralendijk
- Buddy Dive Bonaire/Kralendijk