Buddy Beach and Dive Resort

Why we selected Buddy Beach and Dive Resort: Having subscribed to several dive magazines for years we were familiar with most of the advertised dive resorts, and as a Divi timeshare owner we were also familiar with their property on Bonaire. To make my final selection I referred to the Web and reviewed the web pages for the different resorts and their rates. Several factors drew me to select Buddy's. First, they had the immensities we wanted including apartments with kitchen facilities, air conditioning and cable TV. Second they offered a "3-D," "drive - dine - dive," special and the price was reasonable. Lastly, I was impressed with their web site. I thought it presented information about their operation quite effectively and completely enough for me to make an informed decision. . Of course I worried before we arrived if we would be in for any surprises, but I am happy to report we were not.

Arriving at the front desk we were cordially greeted and, following the European custom, asked if we would like to see the accommodations before registering. A short walk and we arrived at the one bedroom apartment that would be home for the next week.
The resort consisted of several facing buildings separated by a courtyard containing a pond, pool and walkways. The open-air bar and pool were located on the water's edge. The grounds were well kept and neat. The pools were a bit disappointing but, let's face it, we weren't there for the pools. Our building was two floors while others were three floors. Each room had a patio or balcony.

In 2000 we were accompanied by Anne's sister, her husband and son. We reserved a three-bedroom apartment for the group. The good news was that there was plenty of space for everyone, and for each bedroom there was a private bath and shower. A necessity when you travel with my sister-in-law! The bad news was that the main room was located on the second floor and two additional bedrooms on the third floor. The main area was arranged much like the one-bedroom apartments. The upstairs bedrooms were spacious and also air-conditioned.. The front bedroom also had a balcony.

Our Building

Anne walking in the common area.

Common area from the bar.

Sunset at Buddy Beach
The apartment consisted of a large living area with kitchen (not air conditioned), a small bedroom with a king bed and bath with shower. The living area opened to a small patio with a table and two chairs that overlooked the water and pool. An added plus was that it faced west allowing us to enjoy the sunsets from our own patio while relaxing between dives or before dinner. In the three-bedroom apartment the bathroom was adjacent to the main living area and off the bedroom as in the one-bedroom apartment.

Living area and kitchen.
The living area was nice and large with a sofa, two chairs, dresser and cocktail table. There was a well appointed kitchen with a small refrigerator, gas range, microwave and automatic dishwasher. Use caution with the hot water as it's scalding hot! Adjacent to the kitchen was a small counter with two stools for eating. While not air conditioned a ceiling fan provided enough air circulation for comfort. There was plenty of open floor space which can be put to good use (right) and adequate closet space.
Plenty of floor space.
Anne and I were quite comfortable during our stay at Buddy Beach and Dive Resort. The only recommendation I might make for improvement would be more frequent maid service. Maid service is not provided daily although a change in towels is made daily and beach towels can be exchanged anytime. Year 2000 Update! Maid service is now provided daily. A much appreciated improvement.

The bedroom.
The bedroom, which was air conditioned, was just large enough to hold the king bed and one nightstand. There was enough room on each side to comfortably get in and out of bed, but that was it. The bathroom was adequate and the shower comfortably accommodated two if you hate to shower alone. During the evenings we would leave the door open and the air conditioning would cool the adjacent living area so that it was comfortable but not cold. One word of caution about leaving the doors open!! In 1998 and 2000 the mosquito population was acceptable and allowed us to leave the doors open. 1999 was another story. The mosquitoes were terrible and required us to continually burn candles or mosquito coils to combat them.

In the three-bedroom apartments: The bedroom on the main floor off the living area is appointed as above with the exception that it had two twin beds. In the upstairs bedrooms one is quite spacious and the second is a bit smaller.

Without question the beds were comfortable.
The Restaurant: Our "3-D" package included breakfast which was served in the restaurant overlooking the water (now served at the pool bar due to damage from the storm of November 1999). Breakfast was buffet style and adequate but not spectacular. Yes, it probably would have been better had we arrived at the early end of the serving hours and not the latter, but we (especially me) preferred sleeping in rather than eating. Lunch (their hamburgers are excellent) and dinner could be secured at the bar or in the restaurant (bar only until repairs are complete to the restaurant).

The food was good and the prices reasonable.

Buddy's Resort Restaurant
The Dive Operations: As mentioned previously we found the staff friendly and helpful. They all seemed to make an extra effort to ensure our Bonaire dive experience was a good one. The dive shop is located beneath the restaurant. There, in the office, Andre briefed us on the Bonaire Marine Park regulations and had us complete the forms. With the payment of the $10 fee we received the plastic identifiers to attach to our BCD's indicating we were briefed and had paid the admission. Immediately behind the office is a large room where your gear is stored, hung on wooden pegs, between dives. Adjacent to that is another room where Buddy's rental gear and weights are stored. Everything was so convenient. If you needed weights you just walked up and took whatever you needed. It seems that there are some places where trust still prevails. Underwater cameras can be rented from the office..

Buddy's Boat Dock
The boat dock is the center of most activity and is conveniently located within a few steps of where your gear is stored. The dive boat schedule is posted on a white board outside the office. Boat times are listed and you simply sign up for whichever boat trips you want. It's best if you know what time they clean the board for the next day's dives. The boats fill up quickly if you aren't standing there ready to put your name down. One refreshing advantage is that Buddy's did not offer just two boat trips daily, the mandatory 2-tank early morning dive and single tank afternoon dive.

Year 2000 Update! The boat dock pictured at left was destroyed in the storm of November 1999. A new dock, roughly the same size as the last one, is now in place with plans to put an extension on the end.
With Klein Bonaire so close all boat dives were single tank and offered five or six times throughout the day. We opted for late morning and mid-afternoon leaving the early morning trips to those so inclined. Most Klein Bonaire dive sites can be reached within 20 to 25 minutes. The seas were smooth making the boat trip a pleasure (not like Aruba). Buddy's operates two boats each accommodating a maximum of 16 divers.

Immediately adjacent to the boat dock are rinse bins for your equipment with separate rinses for cameras and regulators. A freshwater shower was also available on the dock. Buddy's layout certainly minimized the lugging of your equipment from one place to another. Everything was conveniently located. Another great feature was Buddy's "Drive-thru." For your shore dives you simply took your equipment from storage, placed it in your truck or van and then visited the drive-thru to pick up tanks. Again, no excessive lugging of those heavy tanks was necessary.

Dive boat leaving the dock.
Year 2000 Update! Good news for animal lovers. Bonaire is actively taking an interest in caring for its homeless pet population. They have begun a spay and neutering program for the countless cats and dogs that wander from hotel to hotel in search of handouts. At Buddy they established a pet feeding station in a convenient location on the hotel grounds, and I believe the other hotels have also done so. Their objective is two fold: To feed the homeless population, and to keep the pets from visiting the hotel rooms. For those of us who love pets we don't mind, but there are plenty out there who don't care for them.

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