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“It's a DIVE resort!”
Review of Buddy Dive

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Buddy Dive
Ranked #5 of 22 Hotels in Kralendijk
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 July 2014

The motto is eat, sleep, dive. There is no sandy beach and no real pool and bar culture. If you are looking for THAT kind of resort, go somewhere else.

If you want to dive ... a lot ... then this is a great place. Love the drive through and the convenience if all the shore diving. Overall the staff were great and everything was straightforward and convenient.

There was a lot of construction, but the improvements are nice. Our 1 BR apt had an odd layout in that the front door opened to the bedroom, but the room was clean and certainly diver-proof.

The only thing I would seek to improve is the attentiveness of staff at the pool bar. I am American, but have no affection for over-bearing service and I don't mind flagging down wait staff. That only works, however, when they at least glance your way sometimes. This they should do.

We had no problems with the petty crime everyone seems to talk so much about. It may have been because our truck was such a frightening beater, but nonetheless.

One final comment that I put out with great affection for all of my Dutch friends. This place is very Dutch. Case in point: Happy Hour is an hour (not a minute more), during which you get free popcorn (not discounted drinks). Yes, I know, why would it be otherwise? Silly American!

Book it and have a blast.

  • Stayed: May 2014
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank tmac23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 July 2014

We met friends and a dive group at Buddy Dive mid-July. We read a lot of reviews and info about Bonaire and Buddy Dive and set our expectations, as all good TripAdvisors do. We had a great trip.
Diving was wonderful. I read several reviews about not leaving the resort and diving the Buddy Reef all week. As nice as that reef is, go out and see other locations. We had a great time shore diving and actually enjoyed that as much or more than the boat dives. We packed the back of the truck with our gear, packed a small soft side cooler that we brought with us, with water and beer and went out and explored the island. We read enough to know that we had shore dive t-shirts, glasses and flip-flops that we did not worry about. Of course, we had no problems with anything missing. We had a great truck from Buddy Dive because we chose the extra insurance option.
We went to the Donkey Sanctuary one day and had a great time. It was not the tourist site I expected, but a real effort being made to control the donkey population and how they do that.
We went to Lac Cia and ate at the Beach Hut. Great sand floors, cold beer, good food, wonderful service and a beautiful view of the wind surfers. That was fun!
The food at Buddy Dive was all good. We ate there most of the time... because when we completed out dive and it is easy to hit the pool bar, now called Blennies. Service was great and food was always good. We ate lion fish at Ingredients one night which was very nice. We ran a bar tab and charged everything to our room and had no problems and everything reconciled. Breakfast was one of my favorite times of the day to enjoy the view and watch early boat divers preparing for the boat trip while I enjoyed by coffee and omelette. Friday's BBQ was a great way to conclude the week and watch another beautiful sunset.
We used the power outlets in the room without surge protectors. I have seen hit & miss reviews on it. My power chargers state they handled 120/240 50/60hz. I charged mobile phone, tablet and laptop with no problem. But hey, maybe that is just me.
We never did see the mythical sea horse. I guess we were not in the right place at the right time. That was a little disappointing. We did see turtles, eagle rays, frog fish, barracuda, tarpon and most of the other Bonaire habitat. As everyone states, visibility is amazing and coral is beautiful. People spend millions of dollars trying to make their aquariums look like that.
Beds were all 2-twins put together. We had no problem with them separating and if you do what you are there to do... you will not have a problem sleeping! Steps in the 3 bedroom / 2 level units are a little awkward. Showers were very good and kitchenettes well equipped.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Beach_Bum54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2014

We've just finished our 7th annual visit to Bonaire. During all those stays, we've stayed at the Caribbean Club, which is an associate property to Buddy Dive, located approximately 4 kl north of Kralendijk. We like this property because it is a bit more isolated, more personalized, and we love the personnel and locale. But during all those stays, we have taken advantage of the expertise of John and Suzy at the Digital Photo Shop at Buddy Dive Resort. John's experience with camera equipment is fantastic. His skill in photography is unsurpassed. He's been able to take a novice underwater photographer, give her confidence, fix her mistakes without making her feel awkward, suggested options and offered superb instruction. Suzy's bubbly personality and prolific artwork contribute in making Buddy Dive a top notch operation. Kudos and thanks from two Alaskans, who love Bonaire, and special thanks to John and Suzy, a fantastic couple, who help us share Bonaire's bounty when we return home!

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
1  Thank RozStrang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2014

Just returned from my third stay at Buddy Dive in Bonaire NA. Since our visit in 2010 Buddy Dive has taken over the resort next door and is about twice the size. We ended up in the new section and our two room with kitchenette reservation was upgraded to two one room kitchenette units with a connecting door.

We had only eaten breakfast and the big Friday BBQ previously at Buddy Dive and gone out for dinner in town. This time we had dinner twice at Buddy Dive. Very good and also a dinner at Ingridients, their upscale over the water restaurant, excellent.

We did not do any shore diving by truck this trip, just boat diving and shore diving in front of the resort. Visibility was generally very good and the staff at Buddy Dive were very helpful and professional. German and Nathalia got the whole boat load of divers a dolphin swim on Klein Bonaire. Battista delivered squids and a frogfish on his first dive ever, Murphy found the seahorse and the reef crusher.

John and Susie are still running the Photo franchise at Buddy and we were happy to get tips on photo subjects and island life every time we came up the ladder from out dives. Best dive ever!
You can rent a camera right there and try it out on the resort reef out front.

The resort was finishing up some roadway work and it never interfered with any activities or caused any noise issues.

Washington Park was a great trip and we saw caracaras for the first time on the way out. The island was in high spirits with the ending of the World Cup and Holland coming in 3rd.

We flew Insel Air from Miami to Curacao and then Bonaire both ways. The flights were generally good. One missing piece of luggage arrived the next morning in time for the first dive of the trip. Be aware that when you get off in Curacao to fly to Bonaire or return to the US you must go through security again. This does add about 30 extra minutes to the transfer.

Buddy Dive continues to be a diver’s paradise. People were diving out front all day and night. Some guests were never seen on the dock or boats as they dive on their own from shore with the trucks that the resort includes in dive packages.

Room Tip: A kitchenette is handy. Water view is nice
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank wethiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2014 via mobile

The rooms are better than average for a Bonaire dive resort however you are there to get out and dive or see the Island. The shop is close and well organized. The boats take you to the best places or where the group wants to go. The dive masters are some of the better I have encountered. Hints for great dive trip. Go to curcaco a day early and then get an early flight to bonaire in the morning the next day. You will be relaxed and get a extra day of diving because most will come in that night and miss the mandatory orientation on their first day. Request a room in the 400 building. Close to restaurant and dive shop with killer views. Get the most beat up truck they have. The roads to the shore dives are challenging and more than likely you will put a scratch on a newer model. Dive slowly and watch the dives masters as they will point out things you might miss on your own. Remember you are on vacation so relax.

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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2  Thank Dives-to-much
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2014

We stayed at Buddy Dive in April 2014 for one week. We stayed in one of the hotel rooms. It was clean and had a nice balcony but the room itself was cramped. The breakfast was good with a nice selection. There is a nice bar/ restaurant for lunch and dinner with a pretty view. We ate there a few times and enjoyed it. There are two pools which seemed nice but did not get into them. I enjoyed all of the onsite iguanas and pretty birds. I also liked the resident cats. Check in and check out were both easy and quick.

Food in Bonaire is a little expensive so when we return we will book one of the apartments and buy supplies for lunches and snacks.

They do an exceptional job of catering to divers. We were given the rental truck upon arrival. The truck was very beat up which we actually didn't mind because we never had to worry about banging tanks around the back. Parking can be tricky at times. The dive shop staff are all very nice. It could not be easier to access tanks and they had great storage for gear. The drive through tank/ rinse station was perfect and we utilized it repeatedly. There is also a gear storage there. I would definitely recommend a good test of the Nitrox tanks because we found them to be pretty inconsistent ranging from 29 - 38%.

The house reef is very nice with a wreck close by. We dove it both during the day and at night. There is a rope going out from the dock which makes it easy to find the way back in. They have multiple options to enter and exit the water and have fresh water showers to rinse off.

We are definitely planning on coming back to Buddy Dive.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Naturetravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2014

There are many reasons I want to give this resort 4 stars or better but there was one unavoidable issue that cannot be ignored in my case that affected my trip negatively. I will address this issue later in this review. First of all, let me say what I liked. While the diving was not spectacular it was still good. After all, the Caribbean simply cannot be compared to the more exotic destinations of the world. Excellent visibility makes up for a lot though and they certainly have that in Bonaire. Some of the reefs are in pretty good shape. Others not so much. Nothing is fancy here and that is okay by me. This is a high volume dive resort so don’t expect any help from porters getting your bags to your room or other things of the like. Again, that is okay with me but visitors should know what to expect. You have got to work hard for it here. The drive through tank depot was pretty convenient for all the shore diving but some of these tanks are getting serious abuse. The daily breakfast was very nice and the view from the breakfast area is fantastic… right over the water. The dive guides were all very friendly and full of smiles. None of our dives ever felt rushed which, being a photographer, I REALLY appreciated. My only critique about the dive staff is that very little was pointed out to us during our dives. I always appreciate any guide who strives to locate and point out photographic subjects (or other items of interest)... Particularly, macro subjects like frogfish. These dive guides' sole function seems to be making sure nobody kills themselves. Of course, that should be number one priority but it shouldn’t be the only priority. Also, the dive boats are comfortable and well maintained but it would be great if they had a freshwater rinse available for at least your face between dives. Having at least one other choice of snack between dives would have also been great. Same thing on every boat every day. Watermelon. Yeah, I know... Who doesn't like watermelon? This guy. Not a big deal. I'm just saying a little variety might be nice.

Now for the major problem. I read plenty about Bonaire before we went and saw reports that one should be careful about plugging valuable equipment into local outlets because the electrical current is unreliable. I asked John, the “Photo Doctor" at the on-site photo shop, about this when I first arrived. I was told that he had "been trying to get that removed from the internet" and that I would be fine plugging in my chargers, computer, etc. WRONG! My MacBook Pro is now dead thanks to that advice. My motherboard is fried as a result of a power surge. If you are a serious underwater photographer you need to be aware of this problem in Bonaire (Buddy Dive is NOT an exception to this despite what their "expert" tells you). Apparently, they have surge protected outlets at the front desk I would have been able to use had I not been given this expensive advice. This cost me nearly $2,000 and I must say I have a hard time excusing that. Hence, two stars (really should be one star). I would have had some great photos to share but, alas, I am still awaiting delivery of my new MacBook (and my other one was less than a year old). It sickens me. In his introductory spiel when we received our orientation, John boasted of having been to Bonaire on countless occasions before moving there (I think more than 10 years earlier). His job seems to be primarily focused on renting crappy underwater cameras to divers rather than concerning himself with dispensing sound advice for those who bring their own equipment.

One other suggestion is that a concierge to help with dinner reservations outside the resort would be nice. We had trouble even finding a complete list of restaurants on the island. Doormats in the rooms would be nice as well.

Room Tip: We were in room 104 and this room had a great location convenient to everything. i would avoid anyth...
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Shortbull
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
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Kralendijk
#3 Romantic Hotel in Kralendijk
Price Range: £122 - £221 (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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