One name is virtually synonymous with scuba diving on Bonaire, and for good reason. Buddy Dive Resort has everything a diver needs for the ultimate scuba vacation in diver’s paradise. From boat diving and evening entertainment to great dining and comfortable guest rooms, Buddy Dive has been delivering unforgettable dive vacations for more than two decades.
Recently, we returned to this Bonaire mainstay to see what’s new since the last time we visited.
Whether you’re visiting Bonaire as a couple or part of a small group, Buddy Dive offers a variety of rooms to accommodate every need. From cozy studios to large 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments, each unit includes a fully-equipped kitchen and a spacious central living area with cable TV and telephone. Each bedroom has its own air conditioner and bathroom with shower, making the 2- and 3-bedroom units ideal for small groups.
Each accommodation type includes an airy patio or balcony, perfect for enjoying a morning cup of coffee or sipping a sundowner beverage while enjoying sublime ocean or lush garden views. The nicest surprise for us was discovering that our room (and all rooms throughout the resort) had been recently updated with fresh paint, new draperies, plush cushions and colorful tropical accessories and décor. We found our room the perfect spot to relax after a full day of diving. Speaking of diving…
Let’s get to the real reason people choose Buddy Dive – the convenient diving! Just steps from your room is one of Bonaire’s best house reefs, meaning you can dive day and night without ever leaving the resort. The convenient dive shop, a PADI Career Development Center & Universal Referral Center, overlooks the house reef and is staffed by friendly and knowledgeable instructors and dive masters. You can rent gear and equipment, learn to dive with them, complete your open water certification started back home and take advanced or specialty courses, too.
“The staff were friendly and very helpful – directing us to all of the sites we wanted to see. They helped us with any need we had with a smile. The Buddy Reef provides for great snorkeling right in front the hotel. We could not have picked a better place for our vacation. Will stay here again when we return to Bonaire.” ~ keriannolivetti, Trip Advisor
If boat diving is more your thing, they’ve got you covered with one or two-tank morning boat dives and one-tank afternoon boat dives. Night dives to Klein Bonaire head out regularly, too. And when you feel like exploring one of Bonaire’s many other shore diving sites, there are truck rentals available at the resort, too. Your best value is to book the convenient Dive & Drive Package, to ensure your truck is ready and waiting upon your arrival and to get the best package pricing on your room and diving.
At a resort where it’s all about diving, you could start to think that’s all there is. But you’d be wrong. There’s as much to do topside at Buddy Dive as there is under water. We loved the daily happy hour at Blennies Restaurant, under the massive thatched roof tiki hut in the center of the resort. We found it to be the perfect place to meet up with friends and enjoy great deals on select beers, house wines, the cocktail of the day and soft drinks.
And although we didn’t have any children with us for our visit, other families did. They all agreed that their children really enjoyed Buddy’s Kids Club, available for 1, 3 or 5 morning packages during the week, Monday through Friday. The younger set can enjoy snorkeling experiences, arts & crafts and fun activities supervised by a dive staff team member, while mom and dad get some serious diving in.
For all guests, a variety of island excursions can also be arranged via the resort’s activity center. Hop a boat for an afternoon snorkel excursion to Klein Bonaire. Kayak in the mangroves. Try your hand at sport fishing, mountain biking, windsurfing or kiteboarding. Guests can also book appointments at the nearby Bon Bida Spa, within walking distance of the resort.
Around the resort, you’ll also find two sparkling swimming pools (one with a swim up bar!) and several sandy beach areas (sort of a beach terrace) with palapas and lounge chairs where you can relax and unwind. For groups looking for the ultimate evening activity, private sunset boat trips can be arranged that include cocktails, snacks and even barbeque dinners.
Nobody ever goes hungry at Buddy Dive Resort. We started each day with a delicious breakfast buffet in the oceanfront dining area located above the dive shop. A tasty assortment of local fruits, cereals, pancakes, French toast, breads, cold cuts, cheeses and eggs made to order got us fueled up for a fun day of adventure. Piping hot coffee, cold milk and fresh juices are also available. The breakfast buffet is available from 6:30 AM to 10:00 AM, so you’re covered whether you’re an early riser or want to sleep in, like we did.
We also enjoyed casual a la carte lunches and dinner at Blennies, under the giant thatched roof tiki hut. Great burgers, fresh catch of the day and healthy salads are all served with incredible ocean views and sea breezes. Don’t miss the Friday night all-you-can-eat BBQ and Manager’s Rum Punch Party featuring live music that also happen here.
“While staying at Buddy Dive for the week, we visited Ingridients twice for dinner. Both were excellent meals with a gorgeous view on the water. We loved the Parmesan pasta dish prepared at our table on the big cheese wheel…the flatbread pizza was also great.” ~ jopyvoigt, Trip Advisor.
When we felt like treating ourselves, we headed upstairs to Ingridients Restaurant for hand-crafted cocktails, great wines and sumptuous cuisine infused with the flavors of the Mediterranean. Their diverse menu includes great pizzas, pasta dishes, steaks, seafood and flavorful vegetarian dishes. There’s also an incredible whiskey selection and whiskey tastings that can be arranged. Oh, and the views overlooking the turquoise sea are pretty incredible, too.
Located just to the north of downtown Kralendijk, Buddy Dive is part of Bonaire’s “Hotel Row” along the coast. From the resort you can walk north to the nearby grocery store, Zhung Kong, where you’ll find a great selection of American brand snacks and beverages. You’ll also find an excellent selection of spirits and wines, too.
Head south by foot and reach Bon Bida Gym & Spa, along with MCB Bank where you’ll find an ATM plus a small strip mall with souvenirs, snacks and ice cream. By truck, you are just a short drive away from pretty much everything else on the island, including the great northern dive sites and the bustle of downtown Kralendijk.
We spent our time doing a mix of diving the house reef, relaxing by the pool and exploring the island with the rental truck offered by the resort. At the end of the day, it was great to sip a cold beverage on our balcony and soak up another glorious sunset with dive boats bobbing just off the coastline. All just steps from our room.
Why We Love This Resort
This resort is perfect for scuba divers who want to make the most of their dive time on Bonaire. It is also great for families with younger children.
If you’re into fish and critter identification, you’ll definitely want to schedule your visit to coincide with the annual arrival of Ned and Anna DeLoach, authors of the very popular Reef Fish Identification & Behavior books. They spend a few weeks each year at Buddy Dive, giving presentations, joining boat dives and signing their books during the Friday Night Manager’s Rum Punch Party. In 2018, they will be at Buddy Dive from May 26 through June 16.
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