Donkeys were brought to Aruba during the colonial era to serve as beasts of burden, and have walked the island for 500 years since then. When donkeys stopped being the primary mode of transportation for the inhabitants of Aruba, they were released and wandered aimlessly along the road where they used to carry passengers and pull carts. Before the creation of the sanctuary, a large number of homeless wild donkeys wandered in packs search of food and water, were subject to abuse and got killed alongside the roads, creating a danger for humans and donkeys alike.
The idea of creating a place where these animals could live their lives in a secure environment, became reality in 1997. Now, approximately 130 donkeys live in Santa Lucia Sanctuary, but another 40 are still roaming the island. Now the donkeys have a safe haven, where each of them has a name and receives food, water, shelter, medical care and plenty of love.
When approaching the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary, you will hear a distinctive braying of a donkey in a welcoming salute. Curious donkey muzzles reach for you to check out the new arrivals and offer the visitors additional greetings. A herd of adorable donkeys, with their grey to deep brown coats and elegant ears, attract the attention of many viewers with their inquisitive nature.
Santa Lucia Donkey Sanctuary welcomes guests, offering information, excursions as well as places for snacks and refreshments. Visitors are encouraged to feed and pet the donkeys, and locals are encouraged to adopt them. There is also a souvenir shop at the sanctuary, where you can buy original gifts.