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“Take an hour... feed the donkeys.. you will laugh and laugh”

Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire
Ranked #6 of 103 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.
Summerfield, FL
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Take an hour... feed the donkeys.. you will laugh and laugh”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

We really enjoyed our visit to the sanctuary. We arrived by cab and Marina insisted that we borrow her truck for a drive through the sanctuary. As soon as the truck stopped you are surrounded by donkeys looking for apples which Marina kindly provided. They seem to enjoy being petted and they actually are very cute. My wife was sitting in the cab of the truck and some donkeys stuck their heads right inside to be fed. As we drove away it was funny to see 4 donkeys following the truck with their heads still hanging over the tailgate just bobbing along.

There is a sad side to this story. The sanctuary receives no funding whatsoever from the local government. Several local supermarkets do donate fruits and vegetables but that is all the help they get. They are totally supported by tourists. With a little support from the government of Bonaire this could be turned into a great attraction for all visiting the island. It would help save the lives of these defenseless creatures and also go a long way to show the governments concern for these animals.
Visit the Donkey Sanctuary while in Bonaire. It will take about 2 hours and will make your heart feel good to help the donkeys.

Visited February 2013
3 Thank Moondog1948
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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  • Italian first
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  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Uppsala, Sweden
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Donkeys are fun, cutie and slow!”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

Donkey Sanctuary is a fun thing to visit for everyone! For families, couples, friends, all ages. I was there with my boyfriend, it was fun and nice to feed the cute donkeys with carrots that you can buy there. they were not especially shy when you came with the car or went out to them... but slow.

Visited February 2013
3 Thank AnnaCocker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairway, Kansas
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Be sure to visit and adopt a donkey”
Reviewed February 4, 2013

Loved visiting to see how this kind couple and their staff have created a safe place for most of the donkey population of Bonaire.

Visited January 2013
4 Thank Susan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
85 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“fun few hours”
Reviewed January 28, 2013

I drug my boyfriend here while were in Bonaire and we both really enjoyed ourselves. The woman running the sanctuary is very passionate about the donkeys. We took our time around and yes, while there isn't much to see, it is really cool just to hang out and feed the donkeys.

Visited January 2013
3 Thank JenTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
26 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“We loved the donkeys”
Reviewed January 25, 2013

The team is doing outstanding work! They have a strong vision for the island’s donkeys, and they’re taking excellent care of them.
Plan about 1 to 2 hours for a stop at the gift shop, a visit to the special-needs TLC pen, and a drive through the grounds. Buy a few bags of carrots, watch for those cool blue lizards, and prepare for some donkey chaos and fun photo opportunities!

Visited December 2012
3 Thank Peace-L4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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