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“As Expected”
Review of Buddy Dive

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Buddy Dive
Ranked #5 of 21 Hotels in Kralendijk
Certificate of Excellence
Kamloops, Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“As Expected”
Reviewed 1 May 2014

We rented a 1-bedroom unit at Buddy Dive Apr 12-19. we wanted to stay at a resort for 1 week, and then a condo for the other. I had read the reviews, so I knew what to expect. We were in unit 512 which had a beautiful view! The kitchen was good for us. No oven, counter-top stove. Good large fridge. The WiFI in the room was very spotty and worked best in the late evenings after the divers had gone to bed :) The patio door needs repair, and is very difficult to open & close! The restaurant (Ingredients) was very good, and reasonably priced There are screens with the patio doors, but they are ripped, so, are useless. A/C was in the bedroom AND the kitchen which surprised me.The resort is definitely a little in need of some TLC. There is no effort, it appears, put into the grounds at all, which was disappointing. The Lions Den side seemed quieter than the other side. Both pools are very small, but warm after being in the Sea for a few hours. Pool chairs are in very poor shape, with many ripped. We did not find the bed comfortable at all The Friday night BBQ was very good, and is a great deal at $21 pp for all-you-can-eat. We went both Fridays we were at Bonaire. My husband who is a solo diver was disappointed that there wasn't a solo sign-up board for off-shore diving. (only the boat dives.) So, his "unlimited shore diving" took a hit. We had no problems with the safe key/lock, but did find it inconvenient compared to having a regular combination safe. The daily maid service was nice for fresh linens, but they did not really "clean." If we were to go back to Bonaire, we probably wouldn't stay at Buddy Dive. I'd try to get an upper unit with a view at Eden Beach. It has a much more of a "resort" feel. Don's Habitat is another place I would look at, but it was too expensive for us. I'm glad I didn't book at the Plaza simply because the junior suites have a bad location, and the other units were out of our budget.

Room Tip: Upper level, but know there are a fair amount of steps. Lions Den side much cozier
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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1 Thank Gottagosumware
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (198)
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English first
Princeton, NJ
Level Contributor
49 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2014

Buddy’s slogan is “eat, sleep, and dive” and they meet these requirements. I will divide this review of Buddy dive resort into these parts.
The resort, including food and bar, is nice. The pool bar is very nice with a friendly staff. It is an open air area overlooking the pool, Caribbean and Klein Bonaire. The food menu was limited but tasty. They had a BBQ buffet on Friday. Drink specials every night at happy hour (5-6). This was the general gathering location for divers before heading to dinner. The Ingredients restaurant is more upscale with a full menu.
We were in a 4 person condo (712). The condo has two bedrooms, each with an adjacent large bathroom. The beds were small single beds but comfortable. The condo had a central room with kitchenette, dining room table, couch and TV. There was plenty of room for 4 people. This is not luxurious, but more than met our basic needs for sleep and showering. We eat out every night, so I cannot comment on the kitchen.
You can rent a small pick-up truck at Buddy’s front desk and use this for shore diving. These trucks are older, rode hard, and have manual transmission. No GPS, backup camera, or electric anything. It does have a radio. Our truck always started and got us to the dive sites without problems. The trucks were left alone while diving and recommended to leave the windows down and doors unlocked. We only took some money and keys in the truck. I carried these in a small water-tight box clipped to by BCD. In hindsight, we never had a problem with anything missing, so this may be overkill.
The Diving section for Buddy resort is well run. They have lots of tanks available for pick-up and are constantly filling the empties. There are two diving section. The Drive thru is located near the resort entrance and is for picking up tanks for shore diving. There are wash tanks and gear storage area to clean your gear after your last dive. The dock/ harbor is the main area. The gear rental, dive shop, and classes are in this area. They also have tanks, gear storage, and wash tanks for diving the house reef and boat dives.
For those interested, and appropriately certified, you can rent double 80s and O2 pony bottles. FYI – these setups have DIN valves. You can also rent back plates and wings if you do not bring your own. We did several longer, deeper dives with this gear and had a great time. The reef on the other side of the Helma Hooker is fantastic.
If shore diving, you will need to take drinking water. We brought soft side water bottles with us and filled while getting new tanks. Buddy’s has fresh, cold water in coolers at several locations on the resort.
This was a diving get away with friends. If you are not a diver, there is not much to do. No white sand beaches with chairs and umbrellas or beautiful rain forest to explore. The island is basically a desert with all the interesting stuff under the sea.
Diving on Bonaire is great and lots of fun!!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank j2bfisher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2014

Very good Dive resort. Check in is slow but not a big deal. Rooms are more than adequate with ample room, bedroom AC, and nice living area with efficiency for cooking. Balconies are useful for additional hanging of equipment. The dive set up is very good although a little dungeonous where you store equipment. The boat dives were really good led by their staff. The Buddy Reef is great and can be visited any time and worth several visits. Convenient for early AM or night dives. Salt Pier night dive was great. The breakfast was definitely worth getting up for each day. Enough variety to keep it fresh. The Bar restaurant is pretty good. Ingridients is a great looking restaurant but the food is average. If you want a good meal I would head into town. Or the pizza next door at Dons Habitat is great! Most restaurants on the island are really slow to serve so if your rushing to get dives in, don't dine out. Overall Buddy Dive is great for why we go there. I recommend it as a great Dive headquarters.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Keith W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East Portland, Oregon, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2014

Recently returned from a dive trip to Bonaire. My fiance and I spent 9 day staying and diving at Buddy Dive resort. We found the grounds, dive operation and rooms very pleasant. Not luxurious by any stretch, but comfortable enough and very functional. We had a second floor room (714) that faced the ocean and were thankful we asked for it in advance. Definitely a must. The north pool was close and we were steps away from the dive shop, tank room and steps to the amazing house reef where we did more than a few dives on our own.

Boat diving through the shop was a little crowded with 23 in our group. we were a little dismayed that we were not only all on the same boat, but had only one dive master for the entire group. We still managed to see lots of life on dives, but would have preferred smaller groups.

We utilized the drive through tank refill station every day as a means to explore the many shore dives on the island. Rental trucks were most definitely rough and tumble, but got the job done. As many others mention, keep it lean when shore diving and don't leave any valuables in your car. With full tanks and a map of the island, we had no trouble finding our way to favorite dive locations such as Wind Sock, Oil Slick Leap, Something Special, and 18th Palm.

Tons of healthy corals and marine life. Mainly smaller life with a few larger sightings like tarpon and turtles. No sharks or rays. So, if big things are your preference, Belize or Roatan may be better options. At least, in April while we were there.

If you're not a diver, there's not much to do on such a small island. When not diving, we spent an afternoon exploring town as well as driving the north loop and south as far as the salt pier. Easily done in one day, but not much to see aside from a few wild parakeets, some flamingos, wild goats and donkeys. There are some nice beaches, but diving is the true attraction and it's easy to see why.

While on the island, we did enjoy quite a few great meals. We weren't super impressed with either of the restaurants located at Buddy Dive and chose to sample meals elsewhere after an underwhelming experience at Ingredients. Plazita LImena, Patagonia Steakhouse and Mona Lisa were stand out favorites. Plazita has two locations, one in town and one located inside a condo near Buddy Dive. The second location affords a nice, waterfront view and great food. We also dined at It Rains Fishes (overrated in our opinion), At Sea (truly wonderful), El Mundo (casual), Karel's Beach Bar (great for drinks over the water) and Bistro de Paris.

Overall, we greatly enjoyed our stay. Having traveled to other destinations in the Caribbean (Cozumel, Belize etc) and Western Pacific, Bonaire lacks the truly local feel and character of other places we have visited. The diving was good enough to convince us, but 10 days is long enough to get a great feel for the island.

Room Tip: Ocean Facing and on the Second Floor. 700 and 500 buildings seemed to have good ocean views.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jonathan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2014

We just returned from our second stay at Buddy's. Bonaire is a great dive location, and Buddy's is a great place to stay. The dive shop, and staff do a great job. The pool bar has really good food, and is always open when you need to eat or get refreshed after diving.

Room Tip: Ground floor rooms are convenient for carrying SCUBA gear to and from, and have very nice covered pa...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank UnderwaterBrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, Nebraska
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 March 2014

We traveled as a family of six starting off as inexperienced divers. This was our first scuba diving trip. When we arrived, check-in was a little slow, but remember everything runs on 'Island Time'! We stayed in a 3 bedroom 3 bath condo. The conditions were very nice and each room had a bathroom connected to it. The bathrooms were in great condition and were recently renovated. The kitchen doesn't have an oven, but we managed just fine with the stove top. If you're truly there to dive, you shouldn't be concerned about the amenities offered. Buddy Dive is truly an eat, sleep, dive resort. We usually did 2-3 dives per day which consisted of a boat dive in the morning and 2 shore dives in the afternoon. Breakfast is nice and there isn't a more perfect view. We were right over the water. The dive staff is very friendly and helpful. Try to get to know them as it will make your trip more enjoyable. Our kids loved the dive staff. The diving was great! Buddy reef was a nice site to transition into diving. The boat dives were great and you can pick which dive site you want to go to. The dive masters showed us things throughout the whole dive. You also have a lot of freedom as you are given a truck to explore the island. You can go through the drive-thru and pick up tanks to go shore diving at the many sites on the island. Ask the dive staff where the good spots are for shore diving. We had some amazing dives at 1000 Steps and Something Special. Those were our two favorites. We had sighting of an octopus, a manta ray, and a few turtles throughout our stay. The reefs are amazing. We improved a lot in our diving skills throughout the week. We ABSOLUTELY recommend this resort for diving families. We would love to go back in a few years!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank MLawrence3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
151 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 March 2014

This resort caters to divers, and the set up is great. The drive trough tank pick up and drop off was nice. The instructors and dive masters were all knowledgeable and enthusiastic. For this the resort deserves an excellent rating.

But there were several detracting factors.
If you have to rent any equipment, the rental prices are steep.
Bonaire is a paradise for shore diving, but the majority of the trucks that one can rent to get around the island looks like they are in need immediate replacement.

Breakfast was included in our stay, but the breakfast area was small and crowded.

We had a really nice two bed room apartment with a lovely sea view. However, the housekeeping throughout the week we were there was sloppy, and they did not once change the bedsheets. Furthermore they must have had a problem with the septic system because the smell became increasingly bad throughout the week.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank GaviotaGull
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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