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“a must for animal lovers”

Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire
Ranked #6 of 102 things to do in Bonaire
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: In 1993 Dutch Nationals, Marina Melis and her husband Ed Koopman, established a donkey sanctuary on Bonaire for sick, wounded and orphaned donkeys: Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire. The primary objective of Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire is to offer a sheltered, protected life to all the donkeys of Bonaire. Our information about the lives and experiences of donkeys is also raising awareness amongst the local community, schools and tourists. At this moment there are more than 400 donkeys living in Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire. They are provided with food, drinking water and medical care and have plenty of room and freedom. When a report arrives about a live wild donkey in distress, volunteers are sent to the rescue. Sick and wounded animals are nursed and, where necessary, a vet is called upon to give medical attention. Orphaned foals are raised with a baby bottle. All stallions that arrive at the sanctuary are castrated to avoid expansion of the numbers of donkeys in care. Once the animals are recovered, they are lucky enough to spend the rest of their lives lovingly cared for at Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire. In all the years Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire has been active, a lot has already been achieved. Hundreds of donkeys were saved from the streets in miserable condition and were given a safe life in the sanctuary. Too bad there were also many donkeys that suffered from so severe illness or injuries, that they could not be cured. Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire paid for these animals the cost of putting them to sleep by a vet, so at least they were released from suffering any longer.
Matthews, NC
Level Contributor
46 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“a must for animal lovers”
Reviewed January 1, 2013

aside from our diving experiences, the Donkey Sanctuary was the best time we had while visiting Bonaire. We are animal lovers, so we enjoyed feeding the donkeys and watching them politely nudge to get to our carrots. Our 15 year old sat in the bed of our rental truck and had a hoard surrounding her at all times. It is well worth the cost of admission and cost for a couple bags of carrots to take a break from diving and play with the donkeys. We really enjoyed the gift shop and the commentary from the dedicated staff/volunteers regarding the donkeys.

Visited December 2012
2 Thank Beth S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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664 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“The best laughter of the trip”
Reviewed December 25, 2012

This place is a hidden gem of a good time. You will laugh your head off at the donkeys trying to get in your car for a carrot. ( buy more then one bag to feed them at the gift shop). It's $7 to get in and $3 a bag for carrots. It's one of the best gift shops on the island IMHO, Lots of hand made stuff and the proceeds go to the donkey rescue. Takes about and hour and half to go through the place, or longer if you like. A great way to relax and laugh.. Must do it.

Visited December 2012
3 Thank Tx_becca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A Must See!”
Reviewed December 19, 2012

It would be a waste of a trip if you went to Bonaire and didn't visit the Donkey Sanctuary. it's 100% clear they staff loves the animals and takes the best care of them. Feeding them is an absolute riot! And for the most part, they're very well behaved - enough that I'd feel perfectly comfortable having children around them. Great cause, even better experience.

Visited November 2012
2 Thank aceman28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clearwater, Florida
Level Contributor
222 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“Pleasant sanctuary”
Reviewed December 14, 2012

This place was very interesting and definitely a must see while on Bonaire. The donkeys for the most part are curious and friendly, they'll come right up to you for petting. Some of them even tried to follow us home! I believe you can drive around the area, it was rather muddy during our visit, so it was suggested that walking would be better. We couldn't go very far within the sanctuary, but there is a watchtower you can climb and see the island from above. This is a good spot to take kids, there are outer areas with iguanas and chickens that are fun too.

Visited January 2012
2 Thank CAK314
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
110 reviews
70 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Great owner, great facility, great experience”
Reviewed December 12, 2012

I had visited the donkey sanctuary in Bonaire many years ago, but since then the owner has upsized to a much larger location to accommodate the now 450 donkeys living on-site. It's clear that she truly cares for the animals and--even though she has less-than-complimentary things to say about some of the locals who mistreat the animals--she is very friendly and welcoming to visitors.
The donkeys themselves are just roaming free within the sanctuary and are mild-mannered and generally happy to be around people.
Overall, great experience and a very, very worthy service to support.

Visited December 2012
2 Thank Cmud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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