Overview of Buddy's Reef

Buddy's Reef

Bonaire North
ABC Islands


Buddy's Reef is off the docks of Buddy's Dive Resort. Please check in with their dive shop before gearing up.

Directions: 2.5 km North of Kralendijk, just North the intersection of Kaya Gobernador Nicolaas and Kaya Amsterdam.


ShoreDiving Survival: Campaign for Patrons
  Please click HERE to learn how, for $1 a month,
YOU can help sustain and grow ShoreDiving by becoming a Patron!

A very warm 'Thank You' to all the one-time and continuing contributors.
Because of you, after 20 years, we are becoming Ad-Free and Tracking-Free!!!

Buddy's Reef Patrons:   Please consider becoming a Patron for Buddy's Reef
*  Andrew Kerlin (Great White) -- Been coming here for 15 years.

Dive Site Links:   (If you have a relevant link for Buddy's Reef, please write us here.)
No external links have been submitted.

Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

11/13/2014 Brad Stan (Avg: 3.25 Review) - My first trip Bonaire. Amazing. Did shore dives at 23 different sites. We stayed at Buddy Dive resort so we dove this reef several times. I would say it is just okay compared to other sites on the island. But it is very convenient and great for beginner divers (my wife). I definitely prefer diving this site north (i.e. head right) as opposed to south. South side is a bit more sparse in terms of reef conditions and aquatic life. This is also a very fun and easy night dive. My wife did her first every night dive her and to our pleasant surprised, we were joined by a large school of tarpon and saw several spotted eels.

11/08/2013 Bob Weins (Avg: 4.46 Review) - We dove and snorkeled Buddy reef the last two weeks of August of 2013. I did a couple of 6AM dives with my sister-in-law and those were very nice dives and included a 10 to 15 minute encounter with a hunting octopus being shadowed by hinds. It remained out in the open slowly crossing the sand at the top of the reef and tenting small bits of coral and seaweed. It even approached me but did shy away as I slowly reached out to it. My wife and I were sick for the second week so we did almost no diving but were able to snorkel a few times and found that the action was not on the edge of the reef but along the concrete wall of what use to be Lion's resort (now part of Buddy). We regularly encountered schools of two types of silversides numbering I would estimate at a thousand or more and anywhere from three to eight midsize tarpon (3 to 4.5 ft range) which appeared to be using us to corner the schools of silversides as they would come through the schools directly at us and then turn off at about 3 feet. After one of the snorkel trips I sat down and listed everything I could remember seeing in just that hour of snorkeling. Keep in mind that we probably saw less than half of what was there and I probably did not remember everything either or saw things I was unable to identify. But here is what we did see during that hour of snorkeling. Dusky squirrel fish, 3 different schools of different silversides (possibly dwarf herring, and bonnet mouth), green razor, bluehead wrasse, small school of glassy sweeper, a small black, gray and white lionfish, 7 tarpon, juvenile sharpnose puffers, porcupine fish, sand tilefish, redlip blinnys, peacock flounder, striped blinny, long spine (black) sea urchins, 2 sergeant majors defending nests,4eye butterfly fish, stoplight parrot fish (male and female), blue parrot fish (male), queen parrot fish (male and female), hog fish, Spanish hog fish, corkscrew anomnies, snooke, one small octopus imitating a clump of seaweed (a behavior we had not seen before) shadowed by a wrasse, a larger octopus which appeared to be nuclear hunting in a small coral head with an entourage of spanish hogfish and hinds, harlequin bass, graysbee, red hind, juvenile yellowtail damsel, slippery dick, yellow goatfish, palometa (school of 8), rainbow runners, bicolor damsel, both gray and cubera snappers, trumpet fish (shadowing a parrot fish)needle fish (probably either houndfish or flat needle fish, lettuce sea slogs, flameback basslet, rock beauty (both mature and juvenile) intermediate French Angel transitioning to an adult (had the scale coloration of a mature fish but still had the fading remains of the yellow strips of a juvenile, snook and bonefish.

07/03/2012 Jim Olinger (Avg: 3.66 Review) - If you're staying Buddies (or Don's) it doesn't get much easier than this. There are lots of comments about this site, so I'm going to speak to the newer 'phosphorescent' night dive being offered by Buddy's. I really enjoyed the dive and my wife hated it because she felt completely blind! They put a visor over your mask and if you get close to the coral, you can see lot's of glowing yellow, green and some reds. I think the trick is to allow some area of visibility at the bottom of your normal mask lens so that you can see where you're going (The visor allows the blue light through, but it's dark enough to make it hard to see where you're going.) The local tarpon will be greatly attracted to this brighter light and you'll find yourself completely surrounded by these 3-5' predators as they speed off after prey out of cover. One other item of interest about this dive. We saw a creature called the 'thing'. They are supposedly very quick to vanish from dive lights but I suspect they don't see the blue light as well. It looked like a giant centipede…a very cool sighting!

01/16/2012 Jim Haggart (Avg: 3.96 Review) - Excellent easy site. Just use the tanks at the pier and jump in. Easy, easy...good place for a check out dive. Saw lots of EEL's, some puffer fish, trunkfish, drummers and large yellow fin tuna.

12/02/2011 Kym Haggett (Avg: 4.72 Review) - This is a really busy dive site due to the large amount of people staying at Buddy Dive & using the house reef. It's a lovely looking reef here with quite a lot going on so you don't need to go far north or south from the entry point to see stuff. It's true what people say about the dive boats, they are in & out from the dock but we've never had a problem with them in the 5 years we've been coming to Bonaire. If you hear them, stay low look above & keep clear of them. Once they're docked they will be away from the ladder on the exit point. It's the normal safe practice on any dive site, Bonaire has a lot of boats coming in & out & they're not always just dive boats so be aware of them on all exits. The guys at Buddy Dive are really helpful & lovely to deal with.

07/23/2010 anonymous (Avg: 3.43 Review) - As mentioned in an earlier review, watch out for Buddy Dive's boats. We were told during orientation that all boat captains look out for divers' bubbles. Not so. Heading toward the designated exit stairs, I found a boat only a few feet overhead (prop turning). There were several other divers nearby and upon exiting I noticed that the dock where the boats usually tie up was empty. Someone is bound to get seriously injured (or worse) if this dangerous activity continues!

06/10/2010 Anonymous (Avg: 3.05 Review) - While exiting the water on the assigned dive ladder on the dock, the dive boat approached the same dock about 2 feet from the ladder with the prop turning. I found this very unsafe and disturbing. There were many divers in the water and boats were coming and going overhead in about 9 feet of water.

03/24/2010 Dan Scoggin (Avg: 4.40 Review) - This was our second trip to the island, and we found that the night diving off Buddy was the best diving of the trip. The ease of entry with camera equipment was wonderful and the life in the reef really jumps at night. We are think that on our next trip we'll dive 3 time a night and sleep the day away. Any one that is interested in the fish and coral will not be disappointed.

12/03/2009 VA Bob (Avg: 4.73 Review) - We dove at Buddy's in 2008 while staying at another location, and decided we'd stay right there if we returned to Bonaire. On our second trip in November, 2009 we stayed there and were very pleased with everything about the place. They do everything they can to make it a great diving experience, and a pleasant stay above water. I would not hesitate to return. We ventured off-property to a number of other dive sites along the coast, and enjoyed them. But, we found that Buddy's Reef was as good, or better, than a lot of them while being a lot easier to access from their facility. We made 6 dives there and had the reef mostly to ourselves during Thanksgiving Week, so don't go then (that will keep the crowd down when we go back!).

08/14/2009 Anonymous (Avg: 4.71 Review) - We stayed here for a week at the first of March and had a wonderful time. We sometime dove the house reef twice a day.

06/22/2009 Rlskill1 (Avg: 4.10 Review) - A VERY EASY DIVE. Bonaire diving doesn't get much easier than a dive on Buddy's Reef. A good introduction to Bonaire's reef system. The staff at Buddy Dive are excellent. Watch for boat traffic as the docks at Buddy Dive are docks for the house dive boats.

05/18/2009 Cynthia Arnold (Avg: 5.00 Review) - We just stayed at Buddy's from May 9-16, as a new diver I didn't know what to expect, we did 13 dives while in Bonaire, 5 boats dives and the remaining 8 from Buddy's dock, which included 2 night dives. The entry was easy - stairs, lots of marine life right around the dock. The coral reef drop off was only a short swim from the dock. The reef was covered with lots of marine and plant life. Large tarpon surrounded us on the night dives. We dropped to 90 feet one day, not sure where the reef stopped. The visibility was great. We loved Buddy's and being new divers we stayed on their reef. It was very well marked and was in our comfort zone. Can't wait to go back to Bonaire and visit some of the other shore diving sites.

11/12/2006 John from Miami (Avg: 5.00 Review) - Nice site, just fantastic! A lot of Tarpon swimming near you. I love Bonaire!

05/22/2006 Jason NYC (Avg: 4.40 Review) - This was our house reef during our week long stay. We dove here about 6 times in one week, mostly all at night. Entry down steps, follow rope to drop off in about 25fsw, head north, saw lots of the usual and one small hawksbill, visibility about 75ft. Nice night dive! Current? What current! Look out for Charlie the very large 3+ft tarpon that isn't shy and likes to hunt by dive light. The Buddy facilities made shore diving here and at other sites a real pleasure. Have dinner at the Lion's Den after a night dive here!

07/25/2004 JoAn (Avg: 4.38 Review) - This was our house reef, so we dove it multiple times - morning, noon, and night! Diving can't get easier than this. They have a rope that leads you from the dock to the reef. There are also nice sandy areas that are perfect for open water training classes (and so that no coral is damaged during the classes).

07/22/2004 John White (Avg: 4.29 Review) - The 2002 trip was our second to Buddy Dive, have done about 13 dives on the house reef. I'd be hard pressed to chose between a dive starting 45 minutes before sunrise or right at sunset. Those two times are when I have done most of the house reef dives.

01/03/2004 Deborah Norton (Avg: 3.85 Review) - We stayed at Buddy Dive and found this site to be as good as almost any on the island. It is a very easy site to dive and convenient. We dove it 4 times on October 2003, including one night dive. The reef is in good condition an the marine life adundant. The frogfish hangin out just south of Buddy's were really a treat.

12/08/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 4.13 Review) - Very Nice!

10/15/2003 Marge Lawson (Avg: 4.41 Review) - Did this dive a couple times. The first time, the most unusual sighting was an unusual brown sea cucumber with black spots. The second time we did this dive we found the green frogfish that is right out in front of Buddy's in a black rope sponge, which was also covered with brittle star. We like this dive better than the La Machaca dive just to the north.

04/27/2003 Brent Houchens (Avg: 3.55 Review) - This is a pretty healthy site even after Lenny and with a lot of diver traffic. Go toward Capt. Don's and look in the hull of the "wreck". When we were there, it was rumored to be the home of a huge eel. The best thing about this reef is the resort attached to it. We stayed here, and while the food, dive shop, and lodgings are just average, the drive and dive station where you can pull up your truck and load tanks is second to none for serious shore divers. We did some boat dives, but next time we will just drive because the boats go to shore dives more often than not (Klien Bonaire is the exception, and we had some great boat dives there).

09/09/2002 Jim Haggart (Avg: 4.33 Review) - Best reef on the island. Easy entry from their dock. The reef goes from Buddy's, past Lions Dive to Capt Dons. Great for night diving. Saw Octopus, Turtles, Squid, etc…

08/30/2002 Marc R. Brouwers (Avg: 4.85 Review) - Since I work at base of this beautifull divesite(Buddy dive shop) I can only say this site can compete with any site on island, just take your time and you'll see anything you want, ofcourse I'm here daily but I see my underwater friends everyday, and I introduce them to my students very often, very wide variety of life, of corals and fish, Boy am I happy to life on Bonaire

08/21/2002 Fiona Rattray (Avg: 3.93 Review) - We stayed at Buddy Dive, so this was the house reef. Reef showing a bit of wear in places (Lenny?), good fish life though.

07/03/2002 Tony Leona (Avg: 4.04 Review) - Very nice, easy dive. Lots of fish life from lettuce sea slugs to a variety of eels and even tarpon. You can also dive "Capt. Don's" reef for Free. The good Captain has decided to charge divers that enter the water from his resort, very unlike most places in Bonaire!

06/28/2002 Dan Benson (Avg: 4.85 Review) - This is the house reef for Buddy Dive, and open to anyone. This is diving at it's easiest. We stayed at Buddy. Picked up our tank, walked 5 paces and were in the water! And despite the traffic the reef is in very good condition, with two resident Octopus, etc. The slope begins in 30' of water and falls off rapidly to 130'. The bottom continues to slope to deeper than you can go. Nice colony of garden eels at the 130'.

09/10/2001 Charles Ackerman (Avg: 3.79 Review) - Gear up, jump in and go! Nice dives and good night snorkeling. Lots of sea urchins at night. Good variety of fish.

07/03/2001 Mike Field (Avg: 4.92 Review) - Very easy and enjoyable dive.

05/16/2001 Scott Chaffee (Avg: 3.89 Review) - Dove this site several times as this is the resort I stayed at. Nice dive right off our doorstep. Tons of life on this reef, several small sunken ships, can go deep if you want to. Seahorses, sharptail eels, peacock flouners, cudas, scorpionfish, all the usual and unusual reef creatures.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: NB1901


Entrance at Buddy's Reef 

If you miss this entrance, you were asleep!


 Map     Sat
GPS: NB1902


Parking at Buddy's Reef 

Parking is plentiful. In the back ground, you can see their shore diving drive-through service: drop off your tanks, pick up some more! Excellent idea.


 Map     Sat
GPS: NB1903


Entry at Buddy's Reef 

Their excellent facilities have a well-designed ladder for easy entry and exit.




Aerial at Buddy's Reef 
(click photo for details)

Nestled between Captain Don's and Sand Dollar resorts.

Last Verification: February, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Buddy's Reef  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.93
Bottom Conditions:  4.21
Reef Conditions:  4.11
Animal Life:  4.32
Plant Life:  3.82
Facilities:  4.71
Solitude 3.11
Roads:  4.43
*Site Average:  4.22

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.57
Beginner Scuba:  4.64
Intermediate Scuba:  4.36
Advanced Scuba:  3.82
Night diving Scuba:  4.39

Number of reviews for this site: 28


  Search  About You  |  About Us  |  Contact ShoreDiving.com


© Copyright 2000-2020 ShoreDiving.com, LLC. tm All rights reserved.
Please read and understand the
Disclaimer concerning information contained in this site.