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Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

This award-winning dive resort is dedicated to making your vacation on Bonaire the best one ever.
By Patricia Wuest | Updated On February 1, 2024
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Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

My dive buddy and I had decided to make our dive on the Hilma Hooker—Bonaire’s exploration-worthy wreck with a fun backstory—as a shore entry. This was (ahem) many years ago, and it was my first time on Bonaire. Even though the island isn’t known for wreck diving, I’d been told the Hilma Hooker was a must-make entry in my logbook. In order to conserve air, we made a surface swim to one of the site’s three mooring buoys, and then dropped down to the wreck, lying on its side on the sand bottom. At the bow, we were immediately greeted by a feisty sergeant major. He was all of maybe 7 inches, and he was determined to ensure that we knew we’d have to get past him if we wanted to inspect the bow any closer. If you’ve ever seen a sergeant major ready to rumble, then you know why I giggled. I mean, this fish had attitude! Within seconds, he was joined by equally bossy pals. It didn’t take long to figure out what was causing them to aggressively charge us—they were protecting their nests of purplish-colored eggs on the wreck’s bow, and they didn’t care one bit that we were neoprene-clad, bubble-blowing giants. (Fun fact: The sergeant major’s genus name—Abudefdub—means “father.”)

That first trip to Bonaire was memorable for me—at the time, a relatively new diver just learning what I loved in a dive vacation. By the end of my week on Bonaire, I began my longstanding love affair with the island. It is the Caribbean island that most appeals to independent divers who appreciate 24/7 shore diving. And once again, in 2024, divers from around the world gave Bonaire multiple awards in Scuba Diving magazine’s annual Readers Choice Awards, including a No. 1 rating for Best Beginner Diving, Best Underwater Photography, Best Snorkeling and Best Shore Diving. The latter award is notable—for the 31st consecutive year, Bonaire has maintained its reign as the No. 1 Shore Diving destination in the Caribbean and Atlantic region in this prestigious reader survey.

People standing in the water

If you're a fan of shore diving, Buddy Dive Resort in Bonaire is your ideal destination. Bonaire has proudly secured the top spot for Best Shore Diving for an impressive 31 consecutive years.

Courtesy of Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

Scuba Diving launched its Readers Choice survey in 1994, which polls readers on their favorite destinations, resorts, dive operations and liveaboards. Bonaire is a perennial fan favorite, as is Buddy Dive Resort and its dive operation, which have won scores of these coveted awards over the years. In 2024, Buddy Dive added 13 more awards to its impressive collection. The resort and dive operation ranked in the Top 10 for Best Overall Resort, Best Overall Dive Center, Value of Resort, Quality of Staff, Best Restaurant, Quality of the Resort, Quality of Rooms, Quality of Facilities, Quality of Training and Courses, Quality of Dive Boats, Quality of Staff, Quality of Rental Gear and Best Attention to Safety.

For more than 40 years, Buddy Dive Resort has been beloved for its lovely accommodations and onsite dive operation that have something for every diver—a variety of room choices, onsite restaurants, unlimited air/nitrox in packages, comfortable boats, a 24/7 drive-thru tank fill station, complete rental and retail center, and exceptional staff. When booking the Drive & Dive package, guests will have everything they need for the dive vacation of their dreams.

Buddy Dive has seen many changes and improvements over the last four decades, but one thing has not changed—the resort is treasured by divers because each member of the Buddy Dive team is focused on treating you as if you are part of the Buddy Dive family. It is a friendly, cozy and warm-hearted place to call “home” when you’re on vacation.

Boats in the water

Buddy Dive offers a range of accommodations, including 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments and studios, all featuring captivating ocean or garden views. Each unit is thoughtfully and comfortably furnished, providing an inviting and ideal home away from home for you, your family, and friends.

Courtesy of Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

The Diving, Training and Courses

You can take advantage of guided boat dives and instruction from the on-site PADI Five Star IDC, or you can rent a truck, gear and tanks and explore the wealth of sites on the island on your own schedule. With Buddy Dive, the choice is yours!

Many of the island’s named dive sites are suitable for all levels of divers, including the sites off Klein Bonaire, a 2-square-mile island off Bonaire’s western shore, reachable only by boat. Buddy Dive offers boat diving as an add-on option. And of course, the resort boasts the famous drive-thru air and Nitrox fill station, making shore diving a breeze.

Buddy Dive offers a full complement of scuba certification courses, at every level of dive training imaginable, conducted in several languages year-round. Are you or someone in your group hoping to learn to dive? Beginners can enjoy their first diving experience with perfect water conditions, friendly and experienced instructors, and all facilities conveniently located in one place. They can either take an introductory course such as Discover Scuba Diving or choose full Open Water Scuba certification. Kids can learn to dive in courses aimed at the younger set, including SEAL Team and Junior Open Water. Interested in earning a specialty? Try the Lionfish Hunter or Wreck Diver courses. Tec divers or divers who are interested in starting technical training will find a wide range of courses at Buddy Dive Resort. In addition, If you want to “go pro,” you can start your career in diving and become a dive instructor. Buddy Dive Academy offers six PADI Instructor Development courses a year. These courses offer you the chance to realize your dream and start a career in the dive industry.

A group of people in scuba gear in water

Embark on the journey of turning your dreams into reality in 2024 by becoming a PADI Instructor with Buddy Dive Bonaire—a proud PADI Career Development Center. Start living your passion and shaping a fulfilling career in the world of diving.

Courtesy of Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

This resort boats a variety of special events, including the family-friendly Kids Sea Camp (July 6–20, 2024), marine-life education week (August 10–24, 2024), the “Thru the Lens” photography weeks (August 24–31, 2024, and August 23–29, 2025), tec diving weeks (September 28–October 5, 2024, and September 27–October 3, 2025), and CCR weeks (May 26–June 1, 2024, and April 19–25, 2025).

If you’re looking for a special experience—especially if there are nondivers in your group—the Sail, Dine & Dive tour combines Buddy Dive’s guided diving with all-inclusive service from Epic Tours, plus a lunch and 4-course dinner on board a 44-foot catamaran! During the 8-hour excursion (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.), you will make two guided dives. There are limited spots available for snorkelers, too. After the first dive, lunch is served on the catamaran, while the crew sets sail for the second dive site. Following that dive, the catamaran finds a sheltered spot, guests can enjoy ice-cold drinks and relaxation while the crew prepares dinner. You will end the day with a 4-course dinner and drinks during one of Bonaire’s famous sunsets.

Best of all, Buddy Dive’s incredible dive team makes the difference for divers hoping to experience the best of Bonaire. They will go out of their way to make every dive a safe and enjoyable experience you won’t forget.

The Resort and Accommodations

The excellent resort staff is equally as attentive, and they will ensure that you have everything you need during your dive vacation. The resort offers 72 rooms, including studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that have ocean or garden views. Each apartment has a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living area with cable TV, telephone, patio or balcony, air-conditioned bedrooms that each have their own bathroom with shower. The studios have a small kitchen, separate bedroom with air-conditioning and a bathroom/shower, and a small patio.

A row of white cars parked in a row

Buddy Dive extends its offerings beyond diving, assisting you in planning excursions to explore the island. With a vast fleet of over 100 trucks available for rental, your journey to discover Bonaire's wonders becomes not just an adventure underwater, but a comprehensive exploration of the entire island.

Courtesy of Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

The resort also caters to adventure seekers who want to try other activities on the island beyond diving. With more than 100 trucks in their rental fleet, Buddy Dive has plenty of inventory for guests who want to explore the island. There is an activity desk that can help you plan off-site excursions. Some favorite activities include windsurfing at Sorobon Beach, feeding the donkeys at the Donkey Safari Park, and exploring the rugged beauty of Washington-Slagbaai National Park. If you just want to relax during your surface intervals, the resort has two swimming pools (including one with a swim-up bar). There are also two restaurants, Ingridiënts and Blennies. Guests can take advantage of daily offerings such as Tuesday steak night, Thursday's all-you-can-eat ribs, Saturday’s food truck festival, and more.

Buddy Dive is more than an oceanside resort: With three on-island dive centers, including one in downtown Kralendijk, all offering tank refills, daily guided dives, boat dives and more, the resort has you covered no matter how you choose to vacation on Bonaire. Discover the Buddy Dive difference—the resort will be “your home away from home” while you enjoy a carefree Caribbean lifestyle that’s uniquely Bonairean.

A table with food and drinks on it

When Buddy Dive Bonaire proudly garnered an additional 13 Readers' Choice Awards, it secured its position in the Top 10 for Best Restaurant. Indulge in delectable meals during your stay, as Buddy Dive continues to not only excel in diving but also elevate your culinary experience.

Courtesy of Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire

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