Last year, my sister and I were lucky enough to be able to escape to Antigua for a week away at the beginning of Spring. We enjoyed the island and found many fun things to do but our most memorable activity was definitely Antigua's Donkey Sanctuary.
Being an animal lover, I never say no to an opportunity to meet and help local animals when traveling. Although the hotel we were staying at offered quite a few tourist pamphlets, we actually found out about the sanctuary on Trip advisor. Rental cars are quite cheap on the island and we were able to rent a car for the day to go meet the rescue donkeys.
The main road on the island was well sign-posted and it wasn't difficult to find our way to donkey heaven located on the eastern side of the island near the town of Bethesda. We arrived to find a few volunteers on site and no one else visiting that morning. As we were departing a group came in that was with an island tour so ask around and I am sure you can make your way there somehow.
During our visit, we were given a tour from a very nice volunteer and told that over 150 donkeys live on site. Many of the donkeys the sanctuary takes in are pregnant and we even got to meet some foals.
The incredible part of meeting the donkeys is that even though some have a bad history with humans and have been in some way injured, the donkeys are all exceptionally loving and cuddly. A few of the donkeys chose to follow us around and kept putting their heads under our hands to signify they wanted to be pet. All in all, I must admit I hugged quite a few donkeys that day.
While there is no cost to visit the sanctuary, visitors on site and online are given the opportunity to adopt a donkey for $25US. I adopted Ushi who had followed me around the whole morning since I felt like we had a good connection. The money collected from adopted donkeys helps to feed the donkeys and provide them with veterinary care.
If you are visiting Antigua, don't hesitate to take a few hours away from the beach and go visit this amazing charity. The hope is that all stray and roaming donkeys on the island will be brought to the sanctuary to keep them safe from cars and abuse. If you happen to see Ushi, give him a big hug from one of his biggest fans.