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“This is more fun than you can imagine!”

Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire
Ranked #5 of 100 things to do in Bonaire
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“This is more fun than you can imagine!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2013

This sanctuary is very well run. Not only is this organization doing good work in saving and caring for these donkeys, but they have made a first-class attraction. Make sure you buy some carrots at the gift shop so you can experience the donkeys full attention!

Visited February 2013
5 Thank BrooklynGrace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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637 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Hinckley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
128 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“So good we went twice!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2013

If you visit Bonaire you have to visit the Donkey sanctuary. The donkeys are hilarious and its great way of contributing to helping these adorable animals. Take lots of photos, video and carrots and you'll have fond memories forever!

Visited February 2013
4 Thank paulkey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kralendijk, Bonaire
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Boanier is one big playground for donkeys”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 28, 2013

There are live stock like donkeys, goats and sheep wandering around Bonaire. They feed themselves and survive pretty well without interference.In the early days.the donkeys were imported to help out with transport. Then the mechanical vehicles took over and the donkeys were left on there own and were treated badly but that was and is no more and thy prosper very well. There have never been so many donkeys on Bonaire, Bonairians think different about animals as the Western Society and leave them be. That is great because visitors of Island can meet the donkeys and other domesticated animals every. That is the real Bonaire! So spend your time and money and wander around slowly and in tranquillity and buy handsome handmade souvenirs which really give you a sweet taste of unforgettable Bonaire..

Visited January 2013
2 Thank Robert L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New England
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Donkey sanctuary - fun, heartwarming, cute!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 27, 2013

We have been to the donkey sanctuary every time we've been to Bonaire (4 times). We always bring new folks with us and it is so fun to see them enjoying the donkeys for the first time!

The people who run the sanctuary do it out of the goodness of their hearts and their love for the animals. Students from Holland come to Bonaire to help with the sanctuary and really like doing it. I saw a bad review and the main complaint was that they were looking for money. Well, that's the only way they can afford to help the donkeys is through donations, purchases at the gift shop and admission cost! Of course they need to encourage giving and buying!

When you drive into the grounds, soon the donkeys start walking to your vehicle. Be sure to bring applies or carrots, cut into pieces and don't give them all out to the first group! There are several more groups of donkeys up ahead! They are very gentle and very cute and, yes, they will stick their heads right into your car window looking for food. Keep you hand flat and feed them and you'll have fun and laugh at their happy and amusing faces!

When you drive away, they'll be running along side your car.....some great photos in the "side /rear view mirrors"! There are great photo ops here, if you like animals and think the donkeys are friendly and cute (and, of course, they are!!).

There are also baby donkeys and donkeys "on the mend" from illness or injury, in a pen. you can go into the pen with them and pet them. it is interesting to hear about the history of donkeys on Bonaire, of the donkey sanctuary. It is very satisfying, knowing that you helped keep them healthy and safe by visiting the sanctuary!!

Visited February 2013
2 Thank brebeans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2013

Great group which is helping animals in need. Lots of fun feeding the donkeys! Doesn't take long to make the tour but it is worth it for sure.

Visited February 2013
2 Thank saylke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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