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“Excellent diving but only OK for the rest”
Review of Buddy Dive

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Buddy Dive
Ranked #5 of 21 Hotels in Kralendijk
Certificate of Excellence
Caracas, Venezuela
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent diving but only OK for the rest”
Reviewed 8 April 2012

Diving facilities are excellent as well as all the people that work on the Dive Shop, diving couldn´t be easier! As for the property it needs a lot of updating and care. The pool chairs are soooo old, the road, curb and gardens are all average and nothing is really clean, just average clean. We stayed in one of the newly renovated rooms and everything was just OK but not necessarily nice, for example the patio furniture is broken and also dirty, the kitchen has the minimum supplies you´ll need. The personnel at the resort is all very nice and helpful and always smiling which is quite nice. If you´re looking for an excellent diving experience this place is great but the rest is just OK, not good and not bad! Enjoy!

Room Tip: Second floor is much better and ask for ocean view. Ask also for a room that doesn´t get the noise o...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Bittolobon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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miami
Level Contributor
50 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2012

OK, enough people have written about Buddy Dive report. It certainly delivers what is promised: professional diving, easy to access house reef, and decent rooms and food (not luxury, but nice).
The problem is that there is not very much fish left in Bonaire. The reefs are overall lifeless. Why? Ask the biologists, but seeing locals fishing on the house reef may be a symptom.

This also applies to our dive trip to St Lucia (Anise Chastanet), by the way. The same problem there: local spear fishers divine 3 feet outside of the (pathetically small) "nature reserve.

Room Tip: Ask for top floor: otherwise, you may hear someone else dragging their gear all evening
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
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1 Thank travlindudeMiami
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lawrenceville, GA
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 March 2012

I run a dive shop in Atlanta GA and every year we take a group to Buddy's and every year they just get better and better. The rooms are big, clean and confortable. The house reef can't be beat and the people are the friendliest on the island. My only complant was that they changed cooks at the bar and they need to change back. There is no better place to stay on the island.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank Elrickson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canyon Lake, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 March 2012

Note: This review mostly applies to the Buddy Dive resort dive activity operation; not the hotel per se.

The once beautiful full-of-life reefs of Bonaire are now about 50% destroyed apparently for a variety of reasons. From “WBD” (White Band Disease) and abnormal hurricane activity since 2005 which have done significant damage.

I was last diving on Bonaire in 1984 and the reefs and animal life were stunning. Now there is evidence of severe problems at all of the 13 dive sites I visited (including some on Kline Bonaire). I’m a long time, globally experienced diver-photographer and was hard put to find decent subjects. (Oh yes, some macro critters if that’s of interest.) Not just the cancerous-looking coral heads and bone-white Elkhorn coral skeletal remains strewn over the ocean floor, but the lack of sea life also. No large animals were encountered at all. No sharks, no dolphins, no large turtles, no mantas, none of the big groupers I remembered. Really sad and unfortunately it may never recover. There are groups such as the Coral Restoration Foundation (the hotel adds a dollar donation to your bill) and other organizations trying to save the reefs but success so far is minimal.

On accommodations: I stayed the week at the Buddy Dive overflow associate resort, Caribbean Club Bonaire which is about five kilometers away in a remote area of the coast. Nice if you desire quiet and isolation but a pain because of the 10 minute drive to the Buddy Dive dock. You are provided a pickup truck with the package which is essential since there are no taxis (unless called ahead of time) and no busses or other transportation. So you drive yourself to dive and eat and shop and party. My Caribbean Club room was excellent, however. Large, spotless, and the A/C and other accoutrements worked fine. The pool which I never used is three feet deep and no other guests used it either.

At the Buddy Dive resort my friend had her regulator stolen from the condo balcony (and a ho-hum from resort staff). And signs on the rental car dashboards strongly admonish keeping the windows rolled down, doors unlocked and nothing at all left in the vehicle. (Applicable mainly for shore dive excursions.)

About the Buddy Dive diving operation: It is a major assembly-line-like facility, well equipped with several dive boats, hundreds of tanks, and a large, experienced staff. It is like a well-oiled machine. Clockwork. Divers swarming the docks awaiting their turn on a boat, plenty of gear-washing facilities, a large equipment locker room, and a reasonable dive-photography shop. But there are problems:

1. Our boat took us West along the coast to a site near “Thousand Steps”. Our group (about 10 divers) stuck together pretty much and the divemaster swam us up-current for 25 minutes, then completed the round trip nearer the shore in shallower water and led us back to the mooring-buoy anchor for a safety stop. HOWEVER, upon surfacing; no boat in sight! After a few minutes a boat appeared on the horizon and the captain circled to pick us up. She had left to pick up a snorkeler from another boat miles away who had strayed from the herd. Unfathomable lack of professionalism and responsibility.

2. Attitude issues. Not from the staff. For the most part they all were very considerate and helpful, with the exception of the photo shop “guru” who seemed disinterested unless you were toting a mega-bucks professional camera-strobe setup engaging in techno-speak. That a real turnoff for casual recreational underwater photo-buffs who simply want some interesting snaps to brag about back home.

3. My dive buddy on our boat got all geared up for our second tank and discovered that her tank was half full! The valve dust cover was on which is supposed to indicate that the tank is full. Fortunately she noticed this before entering.

----
But also annoying was the high-and-mighty attitude from “seasoned” Bonaire-recurring guest “arrogant-professional-recreationist” types, of which there were more than a few. (Flashing lots of expensive equipment, self-asserted expertise, and no smiles.) Amusing for me to feel that. I’ve logged over 850 dives all over the world in many dive situations and have never sensed such attempts at intimidation. Why such a concentration of these folks at Buddy Dive? By far the diving community is generally a great bunch of people.

Summary: I’ll not be back to Bonaire but instead will seek those wonderful, colorful, teaming underwater scenarios which hopefully remain elsewhere. It seems the reef damage situation is world-wide, to varying degrees. Other venues I’ve dove in the last few years have exhibited some reef degradation, but nothing as severe as Bonaire, unfortunately. But if your main goal is a highly structured operation, Buddy Dive Bonaire will suit you. By the way, I normally write reviews which are sincerely positive, but in this instance that’s not the case.

Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
Helpful?
15 Thank KeetoeBurrito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beverly Hills, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 March 2012

Nice accomodations, nice staff. Great diving. At my age I really enjoyed the ease of diving. My wife and I loved the beach/waterfront bar and buffet! Lovely island!

Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Roland T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Monterey, California
Level Contributor
101 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2012

First, this review is for the dive shop, not the Hotel. We stayed next door at Coral Paradise.

These guys have diving down to a science. They have been doing it for a while and really make it easy. All they require is a quick hour orientation and checkout dive and then you are off. And the checkout dive is on your own, on Buddy Reef right off their pier, and is a good dive. Not a throw away by an means. (They have weights for loan for free).

If your new to shore diving, a couple tips: BRING BOOTIES!!! Most dive sites are coral beaches. Not foot friendly. And bring your own dive lights if you can. They rent them for 8 bucks a day. A little pricey for me.

The drive through bottle exchange is brilliant. You drive up, drop off, test and sign out new bottles, then you're off again. Very easy. We got our rental car elsewhere but it looked like they had a good fleet. 4 door stick shift trucks.

There is a whole separate bottle station down by the dock and dive shop for local diving only.

Very good experience but 2 points that could have been better:

1) Boat dives. We purchased 6 boat dives with our package and used 2 of them. Unless you know you want boat dives I would probably just buy them as you need them once you get there. They have a chalk board that they use for the manifests. You sign your name and it's first come first serve. Once it's full, thats it. And the morning ones go pretty fast. We gave up and kept enjoying the shore diving, which was perfect for us. Less time, our schedule. This is a personal preference thing in my mind.

2) Nitrox bottles. While there were TONS of them in the mornings, sometimes right around closing time (5pm) they would run low. One time they were out completely. Didn't really affect us to much but there were some people that didn't like it. The bottle station down by the dock ALWAYS had bottles for use there off the dock.

Those points withstanding, couldn't have asked for an easier and more facilitating dive shop.

Restaurant attached is pretty good as well.

BONAIRE HAS AMAZING DIVING. They go to great lengths to protect it. And if you want, you can take a quick class and hunt Lion Fish while your out there. I kind of regret not doing this. They have a Lion Fish problem and you can spear hunt them while you're diving if you like. Half day class and we saw them EVERYWHERE. At least 3 or 4 each dive. Fun and helping the ecosystem.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank plmtr88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mount Vernon, Ohio
Level Contributor
65 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 March 2012

Great job Buddy Dive. You are very professional, boats were never over-filled, dive masters were friendly, rental dive equipment was in great condition. Friendly and helpfull staff.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Tony-deWit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Buddy Dive

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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