I read dozens of reviews here on TA before deciding on Buddy Dive Resort. My husband and I chose Buddy Dive/Bonaire because of a timeshare exchange (and that we'd been wanting to go to Bonaire for years, so this was our first trip there). We decided to rent an additional week, and chose Buddy Dive for the convenience of not having to move. In all the numerous emails I had with very responsive and customer-oriented Reservations many months before our trip, we were assured that we would be able to stay in the same unit for the 2 weeks. Based on TA reviews, I sent a list of criteria, and found that timeshare is only in part of the property - the part that was previously a different resort.
When we decided on their dive and drive package, I learned that a "free" breakfast was part of the package. I asked why a breakfast, when a full kitchen is part of the unit. They said they could do the package without the breakfast. So we did, as we did not want that. So for all the people who mention the free breakfast, it's not!! By my calculations, you're paying more than $15 per person per day for that breakfast.
They knew that we'd be coming in on the early flight from Houston, and said it "usually" works out that people are able to get into their units early. Well, ours was occupied until noon, so we were able to get in only a bit early. We did get our truck (as part of their package) and got groceries early.
We LOVED our unit. Talking to others on the dive boats, I believe that the 2 sides are really different. We were in unit 511, and had a marvelous ocean view. A/C in both the living room and BR made it very comfortable, even too cold at times. The bathroom was very European modern, with 2 large sinks and a large shower. The only negative for the Bath is that there is frosted glass on the window, no curtains, so the sun comes in during the late afternoon and makes it a bit toasty.
Being on the second floor, the high soaring vaulted ceiling made it appear even more spacious. The kitchen was complete enough, though one day Housekeeping took the cutting board we had brought, thinking that it was theirs. (not even close to what they provide, which is why we travel with our own.) Fortunately they had it and returned it.
For the most part, it was very peaceful. The unit was right next to the "fancy" restaurant, and even that was OK for noise -- except for the Saturday evening before Christmas. They had a private party there, and it was extremely loud. If I would have been at home, I would have called the police. The party fortunately stopped promptly at 11:30 p.m.
The worst thing about Buddy Dive's property is the gigantic potholes throughout. (You'd think they could fix them! We were assured that that was on their list.) The wind makes outdoors dusty also, when dust is picked up from the graveled roads onsite.
The best thing would be the resort's location and friendliness of staff. On Christmas Housekeeping brought gifts for us! -- Buddy Dive tree ornaments. (we managed to get them home safely.)
I wrote a review of the dive operation as an attraction review, so I won't even mention the diving, except that some TA reviewers said to take dive gear back to your unit, with concerns about security. We were there the week before Christmas and Christmas week, a very busy time. We left our gear in their storage room, and didn't have (nor even hear of) any problems. Our truck was quite nice; it operated well, was comfortable, looked good (minimal dings and rust), and the AC kept us cool.
We settled up our bill the day before we left. I would advise anyone to do this. We had only 2 charges for the 2 weeks, so it was easy to see that someone had charged food from the restaurant to our room, over 3 days, in the middle of our stay. I said we never went to the restaurant; they showed me the receipts. I said that's not our signature. I had to go discuss it with the restaurant (Pool Bar) manager. I got the charges taken off, but it bothered my husband and me that apparently their procedures are not foolproof for charging to rooms.
My husband really enjoyed Happy Hour at the Pool Bar (he thought $3.75 for a Heineken was not a bad price). Every Friday they have a party, with popcorn (oh boy!) and punch - rum or nonalcoholic, and live music. As a timeshare resort "party," it was OK, but as just a resort, it was nice.
I always travel with cords to tie back curtains, and this is a good thing at Buddy Dive. Otherwise, you're missing out on some of the view and light.
- 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