North of Kralendijk on Bonaire, the snorkeling at Buddys Reef is a good beginner snorkel dive site. This is the house reef for the Buddy Dive Resort. The shoreline is a cliff which has stairs down to the docks. There are generally barren sand flats from the cliff out to the wall edge, where there are some coral heads to observe. The water depths range from 6 feet out to 30 feet at the wall edge. The visibility is lower than other dive sites, typically around 40 feet on normal surf days. During a Buddys Reef snorkeling dive, you may encounter parrotfish, trumpetfish, sergeant majors, french angelfish and four-eyed butterflyfish among the few new growths of brain coral and staghorn coral.
The Buddys Reef snorkelen dive site is located offshore of Buddy Dive Resort and is accessible by shore and by boat at Buoy #29.
After snorkeling, the Buddys Reef Resort has a good beach restaurant and bar to enjoy a post dive drink.
To reach the Buddys Reef snorkeling dive site from the Kralendijk town center, head north on Kaya Grandi, which becomes Kaya Gobernador Nicholas Debrot for 2.5km. Turn left heading west into the Buddy Dive Resort and follow the driveway as it turns to the right. Continue past the first parking area on the right to the second parking on the right and park. Walk west through the resort to the Buddy Resort dive shop. There are stairs on the docks to enter the water. The best snorkeling is along the cliff rocks to the south of the dive boat docks. About 100 feet south of the docks, there are some new growth staghorn coral groupings.
Before snorkeling off Bonaire, it is important to remember that there have been two recent (relative to coral growth rates) storms. In 1999, Hurricane Lenny passed near the island resulting in the first big waves in over 100 years. This wave action over a 24 hour period had a severe effect on the shallow water corals on west-facing coastlines. There was significant toppling of the massive coral colonies, along with bleaching and smothering. Similarly, in 2008, Tropical Storm Omar passed near the island producing heavy wave action along west-facing coastlines. The effects of these storm, along with occasional bleaching events, have left many of the snorkeling dive sites not appearing as they had in past photos nor seeming as described in the brief locally printed snorkeling dive descriptions, which tend to be older. While snorkeling off Bonaire, you'll occasionally encounter some large, older coral formation remnamnts that give clues to the size of the past reefs. And, you may notice some small new growth occuring along the sand flats where new coral is taking hold in the cemented coral rubble, especially quick growing fire coral.
All of the offshore water of Bonaire has been long protected as part of the Bonaire National Marine Park. For several decades, the waters off Bonaire have been guarded to produce a pristine underwater environment offering a unique experience for snorkeling. With water visibility up to 100 feet, Bonaire snorkelers are treated to numerous varieties of coral and abundant marine life. The marine park has dozens of snorkeling dive sites marked by small yellow boulders along the road side and yellow or orange buoys offshore. The marine park requires all snorkelers in Bonaire waters to have an annual snorkeling license visible on their mask with the fees collected to continue protecting the waters (the fee can be paid at any dive shop). Should you happen to spot an lionfish, the Bonaire National Marine Park requests that you report any sightings of the invasive fish by calling them at (599) 717-8444.
Overall, Buddys Reef is the 18th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 20 snorkeling dives in Bonaire.