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“Buddy's and Bonaire CANNOT be beat!”
Review of Buddy Dive

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Buddy Dive
Ranked #6 of 22 Hotels in Kralendijk
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 March 2010

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.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with family
    • Location
4  Thank NoVAdiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 March 2010

Buddy Dive has a cool "drive thru" for tanks for shore dives - GET this unlimited shore dives package. Boat dives just average - depends on your dive master - the Venezuelans are the most fun as well as one great Italian dive master - best dives are from the shore in Bonaire though you need to dive the "Klein" (island)

Be sure to sign up early for boat dives if you do them and BE EARLY or they will LEAVE you

Get the mandatory intro dive required for all divers every time on Bonaire out of the way asap

Be sure to get a sign made at the gift shop - very cool - super nice people at this independent gift shop

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank iRhino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2010

Diving, Diving, Diving….it can’t be beat. And Buddy Dive is the best place to be affiliated with if you go to Bonaire. With that said, here is my review. My travel dates were during August of 2009. The room (104) was a 1 bedroom. I think the better rooms are in the 500s or the 700s. The 100s are very well located to everything. The week we were there they were some charter scuba groups there, so it was a little difficult to get a spot on a boat everyday to ensure we used our 6 pre-paid dives each. If I had to do it again, I would not get the package deal. The breakfast was too much food and I could have done shore diving the whole time with no boat dives. Also, if you want boat dives, just sign up for them a la cart. There was another couple there that had pre-signed up for 11 dives and had to work to make sure they got them all.

I didn’t find the mosquitoes to be that bad, but we had bug spray, used the air conditioner, so did not have the doors opened (no screens) and brought a big OFF citronella candle that we lit when we sat on the porch.

The king size bed was 2 single bed mattresses pushed together, which I didn’t love. They tried to smooth it out, but I still noticed it. Air-conditioning was only in the bedroom, but they gave us a stationary fan that we used to blow the cool bedroom air out into the living area, so it was very comfortable in the room overall. There was no clock/radio in the room which I was disappointed by.

We bought beer and coffee for our room and they let you bring your own beer and hang out in the bar, so that was very cost effective and the little mini mart (not so cheap) is about 2 blocks up the road from the resort.

The pool bar is good for lunch but does not offer a menu in the evening. Always a buffet t. We ate at the Lion’s Den Twice. It was very good. We ate at Bistro De Paris. Very good. Somewhat expensive. Catus Blue was also good. Nothing was particularly inexpensive, but we were eating fresh fish entrees. We also ate at It Rains Fishes. It seems that the restaurants on Bonaire are all pretty good, though it’s hard to save money. We did heat up leftovers in the room for lunch.

I found the people who worked at Buddy Dive to be very friendly, relaxed and happy. There were a lot of people who were staying around the island who affiliated with Buddy Dive dive operation because of their friendly reputation and the drive through tank station. It seemed to me that the dives on the south side of the island were easier.
We didn’t have any problem with stealing, but we did hear of one traveler whose bag was stolen. At the dive sites I hid my t-shirt, shorts and sunglasses under some coral rocks at the site. I did bring my gear bag, but I worried it would be taken. We dutifully left our windows down and car unlocked. We also didn’t bring any ID or wallet etc. The unfortunate thing about this is that we have no pictures from those sites.

All in all, Bonaire was the absolute best for diving. Buddy dive is the best place to stay!

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank JWBDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2010

Stayed here one night only, because of a cancelled return flight.
Wife and I shared a 3-bedroom 2-story condo with 3 other friends.
Rooms were smelly upon arrival, but AC took care of that. Kitchen seemed well equipped, but the kitchen, dining and living areas were about half the size of Sonrisa, where we spent 4 nights. Bedrooms and bathrooms were very nice, clean and comfy though. Our friend found a cockroach (see photo) in their bathroom, but otherwise, everything seemed clean.

Sunbeds and pools were nice, one by the bar with a volleyball net!

The pool bar/restaurant is a mess. Service and quality is terrible (arrogantly being told we can't use tables unless ordering food (but all tables was vacant and we WERE going to order food a little later), pieces of glass in wife's drink, poor food, waiter charged me a guilders amount in USD (he sorted it out once I discovered it) and generally grumpy waitresses).

The food and beverage manager was actually present when we received no service at all and I complained about the pieces of glass, but did not seem to take such a serious matter seriously. Even made a joke about it...

Breakfast service in the other restaurant was excellent though, with fresh omelettes and waffles among many other things.

Big minus also for charging for internet (both wireless and for using a desk top in reception).

We did no diving, but snorkelled outside the hotel pier. It was OK. Probably better places on the island.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank kaldal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2010

We very much enjoyed our stay at this hotel. We got our money's worth. Keep in mind this is not a 5 star but a very casual hotel for active ( not spending time in the room) divers. We stayed in room 101 which is on ground level with a nice patio overlooking the garden. The only thing that bothered us was the air conditioning which didn't do much apart from a lot of noise. Thank God they have working ceiling fans that pretty much made up for the AC. The housekeeper took good care of us. We really have no complaints about our accommodation. There were numerous mosquitos in our room every night inspite of our neverending effort to hunt them down so bring some protection or you can buy stuff here but pay twice as much.
Restaurants at Buddy are not worth recomending. However the restaurant next door at Captain Don's is probably one of the best on the island, and very affordable. And it's only 2 minutes away! There is a small gate behind The Lions Den for easy transit.
The dive center is really well organized and you have access to all the facilities 24h a day. Night diving at the home reef is really interesting. They have a very convenient drive through where you can easily change/replace empty tanks for full ones. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that when you go out on a boat there are usually two dives. If you booked a boat dive in a package with your room it only covers one tank. For the second one you will have to pay $26 extra. No one had explained that to us so we had an unpleasant surprise when taking care of our bill.
Diving in Bonaire was well worth travelling all the way from Europe. I would say skip the boat dives and try to explore the island's sites on your own. We had no trouble with car burglary, although we did see glass from broken windows at few sites.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank mailx23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2010

We stayed here for a dive trip. We were to have 6 daily dives and they changed it to 2 dives over 3 days in a row. Put 21-23 of us on one boat.The shore diving has become a stealing mecca. People had sunglasses, shorts and dive log books taken.And yes they left the windows open as instructed.The bar restaurant took our order for a group of 12 and then returned and told us that they had no food left, We ordered nachos on Super Bowl nite, which they were advertising-it was a 3 try effort, and still they were a glob of hardened cheese. But they took suggestions and were willing to try fixing the problems. The electricity was a question. They rec. a power surge protector, or charge things at the office.

  • Stayed: February 2010
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Thank South dakota-914
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2010

My wife and a friend of ours just got back from a week at Buddy Dive resort and absolutely loved our trip down there! The diving in Bonaire was incredible!

As for the resort itself, we were very happy with just about everything. Almost the entire staff was very friendly including those that worked in the dive shop, the restaurants, the maids and the front desk. There were a couple ladies at check-in that were indifferent but everybody else was great!

We ate at the pool bar restaurant a few times and at the breakfast-included restaurant every day and we were very satisfied with the food at both. Plan to spend about $10 for lunch and $15 to $30 for dinner for an adequate meal and minimal drinks.

Getting tanks for the boat dives was very easy and convenient if you used nitrox and completely taken care of if you used air. The same goes for tanks on-the-go at the drive-through.

If you go and have the opportunity to go on any boat dives, make sure and request the island of Klein Bonaire which is very close, but too far to swim to. It's the only way to see the reef out there, whereas most of the reefs off the mainland can be accessed by shore dives.

The accomodations were more than adequate, but do not go expecting a luxury resort. They were basic, but included a kitchen, air conditioning and hot showers. You are there to dive/snorkel aren't you? You really shouldn't need any more that that.

One last thing, the wireless internet is average, but is not included and costs $40 per week.

Overall, it was a great trip and we would stay at Buddy Dive again.

p.s. Don't forget there is a $35 per person departure tax at the airport which can be paid in dollars, guilders (sp?) or with most credit cards including Discover.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
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2  Thank IaTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Buddy Dive

Address: Kaya Gob. N. Debrot 85, Kralendijk, Bonaire
Region: Caribbean > Bonaire > Kralendijk
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Kralendijk
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Kralendijk
Price Range: $207 - $516 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Buddy Dive 3.5*
Number of rooms: 77
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

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