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“Great Place to Dive”
Review of Buddy Dive

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Buddy Dive
Ranked #6 of 22 Hotels in Kralendijk
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 23, 2008

This trip was scheduled with a Local Dive Shop and sixty Divers traveled from Greenville, South Carolina to Buddy Dive. The hotel was accomidating, pleasent and there were little to no problems with the rooms. I would recommend staying here, but to really appreciate the trip, you have to consider the entire diving package that is provided by Buddy Dive.

  • Stayed: June 2008
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2  Thank DougTheDiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 22, 2008

Spent a week at Buddy Dive November 2-9 with a group of divers. First the overnight flight is a pain but well worth it. We arrived EARLY in the am, gathered luggage and off to Buddy Dive. Room was not ready but we were able to change into suits and hit the water after a brief orientation to the resort and how to get tank fills etc. In the water within 4 hours, and room was ready later in the day. We were happy that we got a 3 bedroom condo in the new building and all was good. Very nice room with everything we needed for the week. Truck was great and having the freedom to go when and where we wanted. Remember grocery closes at 1pm on Sunday so stock up early.
Dive sites included invisibles, margate bay, angel city, Ol Blue, Karpata, Pink Beach, Toris Reef and the awesome Buddy's Reef. We also spent a day at the National Park where we visited Playa Funchi and Boka Slagbaii. Plan for a full day in the national park. Also booked a kayak trip to the mangrove and were mosquito bait, but it was a good time.
Took a day trip to Jibe City to end our week and it was great, good food, warm water and cold drinks.
Dive sites were absolutely great with an abundance of fish and beautiful reefs. Some the entry was a bit challenging but well worth it!
Local eats: we loved the pizza! and local food. And in a pinch went to the local subway. Did not care for the service charge at the Lions Den and did not go back after the first meal. Too pricy for the food. Just cook your own or go for Pizza.
Buddy Dive: Resort is nice, dive shop and staff are really good, never a worry about tanks etc. Equipment is safe when stored in the storeroom, we just removed our computers and never had a problem. Staff were great, not a problem one.
I love shore diving and Buddy also offers boat packages.
This is among my favorite dive sites and was truly beautiful and an enjoyable way to spend a birthday!

  • Stayed: October 2008
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9  Thank nhaone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2008

Just come back from Bonaire (and Curacao). Firstly we had wonderful diving time!
Bonaire: let me say that the dive is great there and would go back tomorrow if I could. The dive centre of Buddy is extremely good and professional. The kit rented is good, the staff is very friendly and helpful, the drive and dive package works really well and the tanks are reasonably well kept. We had a couple of slightly leaky tanks, but that is OK. Overall the diving experience at Buddy was very good.
Different is our opinion of the Buddy Dive resort! On one word: They do NOT care! We had paid for the accommodation from the 31/10/08 as we arrived in Bonaire at 4 am of 01/11 and we hoped the room would be all ready on our arrival (otherwise check in is at 3pm). So, from the airport (where we had to wait for the transfer as our flight was a bit early..they say) we were brought to Buddy. We were driven in front of the room, and left there. The keys of the studio were missing, nobody knew where they were as reception is shut at 4am. We had to wait more than 1/2 hour to get into the room and during this time we had to walk all the way back to reception to ask for news. Apparently the fault for the missing keys was almost ours as our flight arrived a bit early!
The accommodation itself is pretty basic but it has all you need. The only thing is the lack of light as the studio and bathroom have only small windows. This should be specified somewhere but it can be pretty oppressive in there. We asked for a room upgrade to 1 bedroom apartment but nothing was available.
We managed to be moved to a better studio room as the one originally given to us had very noise Air con system.
But they didn’t seem to be too bothered.
When on Sunday we went to get the car (our drive and dive package started on Sunday), they said that the car was not available and we had to wait. We asked for the car at 8:30 and only got it at 10 am or so..which is not very good at all! Reception seemed annoyed that we wanted the car!
Reburbishment work: some work was going on at the resort: Furniture being changed. We had a note delivered asking to empty all cupboards as they would be changed. We waited and waited for anything to be replaced, and reception didn’t seem to know at all. Eventually only one table (the outside one) was changed, to a very small and poor one.
Finally on departure. We asked to book our transfer to the airport. Our flight to Curacao was at 3pm, so we asked for a transfer at 1:30. We were at reception at 12 noon to check out and booked our transfer then. Nothing happened. Eventually at 1:15 another group arrived to check out and they needed a transfer as well. Then only at 1:25 the lady at reception called for a transfer which arrived after 1:35. We were all packed up in the little mini bus..I am sure they did this to save transfer money!
Nobody told us “Bye” or “thanks” at reception.
Only one girl at reception was trying her best: a trainee that probably joined very recently and hasn’t had the chance to develop an attitude!
Bed and breakfast basis is fine and breakfast was fine. Wide selection of things, no problem. Staff not too friendly though.
Restaurant Lions Dive: very good food. Service not as good. One light they computes system was done and had to wait 2 hours for our dinner (only two of us eating!). Only after we asked, then the manager arrived and delivered our dinner (at least he didn’t make us pay for the drinks that night). The young waitress seemed very clueless.
Overall: it is a shame that the resort is so poor because otherwise the dive centre is great.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank annina1975
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2008

Like many others have said. The diving was great. The resort was adequate. The staff needs to learn customer service from the front desk to the cleaning staff. I did have a hand full of staff members that did seem to care a little but I needed to start the conversation .
The dive sites were wonderful despite the wrath of Omar. The waters were cloudy but far better than Wis. waters. The dive masters were there but only for moral support. You needed to ask them for any help, they did not offer it to you.
The restarant staff Well I can not say any more than what has been said before about them and the food.
The manager of the resort did not make any attempt to introduce himself or ask us about our stay.
We were there with a group of 16 and we all came away with the same feeling that we were a bother to them.

  • Stayed: October 2008
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4  Thank Wis_Boatman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2008

A group of 21 of us travelled to Bonaire in October 2008 and stayed at Buddy Dive. We arrived at something like 4.00am and, because we had booked our rooms from the night before, we should have been able to go to our rooms straight away. Unfortunately this was not the case for all of our group because the hotel messed some of it up.

Upon arriving at our room it was not what we had expected. We had been told at the time of booking that all the standard rooms and studio's had gone and that we would have to pay extra for a one bed apartment - we were happy to do this. The room we were given was terrible and was smaller than our friends had who hadn't paid extra. We immediately complained and they found us another room although we had to wait a few hours for it to be cleaned. Whilst the rooms were fairly basic, they were clean and well kept.

Because we were on a drive and dive package, we were able to start diving almost immediately, once we had done the paperwork and dive orientation down at the shop. The staff were friendly enough, but it seemed throughout the week that they only really chatted to the groups that went out on the boats. The jetty, gear room etc all worked well and it was easy to get in and out of the water for the house reef. The filling station worked well and as most of us were qualified, we took advantage of the free nitrox fills.

The diving around Bonaire was wonderful - having the freedom to roam around in your truck and get in wherever you wanted was fantastic - it is something that I would gladly do again.

What let Bonaire down for me was the hotel and staff there. The restaurants really weren't very good - the pool bar/restaurant was particularly bad - the food was limited and not very nice and I ended up with dodgy guts whenever I ate there. On one occasion, a group (approx 10) of us ordered lunch from the limited menu (predominantly burgers) and everyone's food arrived except mine. Eventually, a waitress asked what I had ordered (a burger) and 5/10 minutes later, as everyone was finishing their lunch, she returned to tell me they were out of burgers. Needless to say, I was not very happy about this and when a complaint was made by our group leader to the management about this and other things, they couldn't give a damn.

That's the most shocking thing about this place, really. Yes, it's a little run down and has seen better days, but the management do not seem to care what their guests think, whether they are having a good time etc. They simply are not interested in anything except fleecing every penny out of you.

We had heard that the Lions Dive restaurant on site was better (independently run from the hotel apparently) but on the night we ate there we did not have a good experience. I had a steak which was awful and it was very expensive there.

After a couple of days, we gave up eating at Buddy Dive altogether and went next door in the evenings to Captain Don's Habitat - there is a little gate that enables you to walk through easily. The food in Captain Don's restaurant was really, really good, as was the service. (We stayed our 2nd week at Captain Don's Habitat in Curacao but the food was rubbish there). For lunch, we started going into town as we had our trucks.

Having stayed for our second week in Curacao, I have to say that Buddy Dive was certainly a lot better than Habitat Curacao in terms of facilities. I certainly wouldn't stay at Buddy Dive again though.

If you are booked to go here, make sure they give you a decent room and eat elsewhere - at least that way you'll have a good holiday here. The diving is worth it, or at least it was until Hurricane Omar hit - if the damage to the reefs in Bonaire is anything like the devastation caused to the reefs in Curacao, it may take a good few years to recover.

  • Stayed: October 2008
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4  Thank Teresa86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2008

This was our third visit to Bonaire and once again we had a fab time.

The style of diving and quality of the dive sites seems to be unbeatable. Divers looking for large pelagics may be a bit disappointed but if you're looking for quality coral and good fish life with a huge selection of dive sites then you should be very satisfied.

The whole island has a very relaxed nature and to me, Bonaire is not a typical Caribbean island ie there are no hawkers trying to sell t-shirts/necklaces/trips etc etc and although Bonaire is not completely crime-free, apparently they only suffer from petty crime, which means that you feel quite safe there.

Travellers seeking stunning beaches would be deeply disappointed in Bonaire - as there are none! The "beaches" are mainly corally/rocky - which are ideal for divers.

There is a very good selection of restaurants serving quality food on the island. Some of our favourites are Cactus Blue, Mona Lisa, Patagonia, Lion's Den & Rum Runners. Don't expect fast food, especially at Cactus Blue, Mona Lisa & Patagonia. All food is cooked to order, so there may be a wait of up to an hour, but the quality is excellent and definitely worth the wait (and what's the rush? you're on vacation).

Service at the City Cafe in Kralendijk is quite slack and the food pretty average so I wouldn't rush back there.

A dive package holiday (with Barefoot Traveller) is excellent value for money. At Buddy Dive you can dive as many times a day or night as you wish & whenever you want to.

If you do stay at Buddy Dive, don't expect luxury accommodation. It's fairly basic, but clean and comfortable and the self-catering apartments are pretty well equipped. All the staff are friendly and up-beat so the whole atmosphere is great.

Can't wait to get back there.

3  Thank BabsNorfolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2008

Booked through Bay Adventures Travel. We really liked our room, aside from no screens on the doors or windows. The mosquitos were horrible and always swarmed in when the doors were opened. The power went out twice when we were there, the worst being the night before we left while we were packing (we were on the red-eye back to Houston Saturday morning). The resort is very convenient for divers, and I highly recommend. The included breakfast was the same every morning, but you did have choices. The bar left much to be desired, but we weren't drinking that much anyway. Don't waste your time eating there for any of the dinner activities (or Lion's Dive). Lunch was OK. Dive operation was good. We also had a truck included in our package, so we also shore dove a lot. Buddy's Drive Through tank fills was fun. Recommended places to eat: Pasabon Pizza, Cappricio, Mona Lisa, Wil's Tropical Grill. Papaya Moon's desserts were great. The diving is convenient and pretty good. We saw a lot of seahorses and frogfish, but after a while, everything was looking the same. All of the shore dives more or less have the same topography, and on the boat dives, the scenery is a little different, but the ocean life is pretty much the same as the shore diving. Honestly, if you aren't a diver, I wouldn't bother coming to this island. We drove and saw the flamencos on the way to Rincon, and got lost, and had an uneventful tour of the island. We saw the salt fields. The shopping is average. Nothing else really to do except dive, so if you don't do that, I would not recommend, but if you are diver and want to come to Bonaire, I would stay here.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Moonbird
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
Location: 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: $164 - $311 (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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