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“Wonderful people doing wonderful things”

Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire
Ranked #5 of 66 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.
Reviewed December 8, 2014

We took a day-tour of the Donkey Sanctuary from our cruise ship (HAL - Noordam) and spent about 80 minutes feeding and interviewing the donkeys. The Sanctuary takes in injured donkeys and maintains about 500 donkeys overall. Most of the donkeys had good manners, but a little pushing started when we reached the bottom of the carrot barrel. Lots of photo ops, lots of velvety donkey noses up close. On-site nursery, too! We had a Blast, with lots of smiles and good memories. If you have a spare morning, and like walking through a herd of donkeys, this is right up your alley. Nice "safari-style" drive. We had no problems here and would like to go back someday soon.

2  Thank Scott N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"bags of carrots"
in 60 reviews
"gift shop"
in 43 reviews
"baby donkeys"
in 26 reviews
"car window"
in 19 reviews
"stick their heads"
in 24 reviews
"special care"
in 14 reviews
"buy carrots"
in 20 reviews
"fun feeding"
in 9 reviews
"animal lovers"
in 11 reviews
"love animals"
in 13 reviews
"bring lots"
in 10 reviews
"admission fee"
in 6 reviews
"friendly donkeys"
in 10 reviews
"fun visit"
in 10 reviews
"observation tower"
in 10 reviews
"bought bags"
in 8 reviews
"non profit"
in 10 reviews
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412 - 416 of 841 reviews

Reviewed December 5, 2014

I love this place! Even though I come to dive I can't wait to go and visit these fun and adorable guys and gals! They all have great personalities and will make you laugh! Heard about this place from New Zealanders her not easily amused and they said it was wonderful! Make sure you get plenty of carrots for the guys and don't forget to look at them I back at them when they run with you beside the car.

2  Thank Mary Dewy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2014

This is a great outdoor activity for all ages. The sanctuary now holds about 500 donkeys of all age and you get the opportunity to do your own little 'safari drive' through the area and feed the donkeys with carrots you buy at the shop. They love it, and you will have fun too!
The nursery takes care all the young and the sick ones and kids can get close to the little ones. The young donkey Robin likes to play and learnt how to open the gate (hence a little naughty), but it's all fun!
Finish off with some souvenirs in the shop you will have spent a great hour, or two at this sanctuary!

2  Thank Sholm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2014

This was so fun. It was such a nice break from the diving and snorkeling. We spent about 2 hours here we laughed and laughed it was great. It is a non-profit and I love that they are caring for these abandoned and orphaned animals. When you go in you will immediately be surrounded by the donkeys who are looking for the carrots you bought at the welcome center. They will even run beside your car looking for another carrot. We got out at the watch tower and was immediately surrounded some just wanted to be petted but most were there for the food. On the way out stop at the tortoise enclosure the tortoises actually will walk up to you to be petted.

3  Thank forangela
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 11, 2014

We went to the donkey sanctuary today after we spent the morning at jibe city in lac bay. Absolutely one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever had watching these wonderful friendly creatures come over to me for attention. At first I thought it was for food but I quickly realized, no, they want me to pet them and pay attention to them. They followed my husband, myself and my 3 teenagers around as we explored the sanctuary on foot. We observed the mothers, sick donkeys, babies, and the others. We were shown how to approach the donkeys and told of their history. I had researched the sanctuary so I was familiar with the backstory but my husband and children were touched by the donkeys story. This organization has done an outstanding job in helping these wonderful animals. If you have the chance, visit their website, visit them in bonaire, make a contribution. This is such a wonderful cause. As a special aside I wanted to share a wonderful act of kindness by the owner towards us. We were abandoned by our taxi driver who told us to just wait by the side of the road for a taxi. Now we are from the cruise ship and when a lot of your economy depends on tourism, what kind of message does this send when you have extremely rude taxi drivers which we had not one of but two. This sanctuary is 10 minutes from town. I even asked our original taxi driver who dropped us off at Jibe City if they would take us to the donkey sanctuary afterwards and he said it was out of the way (which it wasn't) and even when I offered him more money, he refused. The owner, Marina, drove us back in her pickup and did not want a dime. We insisted she take a donation for the animals. That to me is human kindness. Thank you again for the wonderful day you showed us!

2  Thank jm87964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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