The world famous donkeys of Mijas, the Burros Taxis, started way back in the 1960´s by a man named Julian Nunez. He was a local man from the village who, like many of the residents, still used a donkey to transport goods, and himself around the village and the local area where they worked in the fields. There are some great old pictures of the village showing them carrying large baskets across their backs with wheat, fruit, and vegetables in, which you see in the Casa Museo.
However, when tourists first started coming up to this previously undiscovered village in the mountains, they started taking lots of photographs, and many asked to sit on them and have a short ride around, for which they paid a tip. In many cases the tip was so large that it was more than their actual wages. Julian Nunez recognised a great opportunity when he saw one, and so began the Burros Taxis. Here´s a great site with more information about this and many other things that have happened in Mijas.
Julian Nunez bought two to begin with and set up 'shop' in Plaza de la Paz, where the tourist buses stopped. He offered rides for a fee which was a huge success, with people queuing up to have a ride. It was so popular that he bought a total of fourteen and even employed someone to help him. Each donkey was registered with the authorities and made to carry a number on a plaque as identification, as they still are today.
Those first fourteen were all given names to them by Snr. Nunez. The names were Bandolero, Platero, Cordobes, Faraon, Cabrito, Mojino, Castaño, Lucero, Romero, Saborio, Rafael, Tipico, Farina and Moreno.
Word spread to tour operators and tourists alike, and it soon became part of excursions for people staying on the coast. As the village geared up to receive more tourists they moved the business to the Plaza Virgen de la Peña, where it remains today. The success of the Burros-Taxis Mijas helped to create the horse and carriage business that also offers rides around the village from the Plaza.
Mijas Pueblo may not have become the tourist Mecca it is today had it not been for the forward thinking of Julian Nunez. The village recognised the significance of this enterprise back in 2011 with the unveiling of a statue in honour, which is prominently placed near the Mijas tourist Office.
The intervention of rules and regulations for keeping the animals has helped to strengthen their extremely popular demand, with people being reassured that they are well looked after. El Refugio del Burrito have an agreement with Mijas Town Hall to look after the conditions of the donkeys through a code of practice. They now even have ´poop bags´ to catch the excrement as they travel around the village with their passengers, and a road sweeper that makes sure the streets are kept relatively clean.