Today we are diving headfirst into one of the most bizarre but also adorable and memorable experiences you can have in The Bahamas: swimming with pigs. Yes, you read that right. Move aside, synchronized swimming dolphins; the pigs are here to steal your thunder. Join us as we explore the enchanting land of The Bahamas and learn all about what it’s like to brave the waters with our porky friends.
So picture this: You’re chilling on the white sandy beaches of the Exumas in your finest resort wear, sipping on a Bahama Mama, and minding your own business, when suddenly you see a snout peeking out of the crystal-clear turquoise water. Wait, is that a pig? And another one? Yeah, swimming with pigs is almost exactly how it sounds, but possibly even better.
Where Can You Go Swimming With Pigs?
You can swim with pigs Southeast of Nassau, where you’ll find Big Major Cay in the Caribbean (also known as Pig Beach). It’s an uninhabited island in the Exumas located north of Staniel Cay, and it’s the only place in the world to find the famous swimming pigs and have this type of uber-weird experience.
The Exumas, a group of 365 islands in The Bahamas, are renowned for their lavish beauty and seclusion. Due to the celebrity status of its residents (the Exuma pigs, obvi), Big Major Cay is one of the busier islands in the area. For real. Who doesn’t want to swim with piggies? They’ve been on The Bachelor, so that must mean something.
To get to Big Major Cay, you have to take a boat or a plane. Luckily, because this is an oddly popular excursion, it’s easy to arrange transportation. The boat ride from Staniel Cay takes no longer than 10 minutes, and it’s close enough to be reached by plane from Nassau in under 30 minutes. Grab your tried-and-true swimsuit, and let’s go to Pig Island.
What Should You Know Before You Go Swimming With Pigs?
Okay, let’s add that to the list of questions you never thought you’d ask. But hey, since you’re wondering, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your dip with the piggies.
1. Avoid Hurricane Season
While this is a solid overall tip, it’s especially important when it comes to swimming with pigs. Not only do you not want to be swimming with the little guys during a storm, they really don’t want to be swimming with you. Don’t worry about them; their survival instincts keep them safe during storms, but they won’t be paddling around with you.
2. Wear a Comfortable Bathing Suit
When embarking on the whimsical adventure of swimming with pigs, don’t underestimate the importance of donning an active suit. Imagine: You dive into the crystal clear waters, and a chorus of oinks fills the air as the playful piggies approach. Now imagine struggling to keep up with these delightful swine just because your ill-fitting suit chooses this exact moment to float away.
Trust us, the key to swimming with pigs lies in your ability to embrace their quirky charm and stay snug in the supportive embrace of an active swimsuit. No one wants to be the one squealing, “My bathing suit betrayed me!” while those adorable piglets paddle circles around you.
3. Hire a Local Boat Tour Company
You’re definitely going to want to hire an experienced tour company when it comes to swimming with the piggies. Like any excursion, you could try to figure it out yourself, but you will be better off getting help from a company with tour operators who know what they’re doing. The tour guide can handle all the details for you, and you can just sit back and relax and snap pics of the swine, sandbars, and stingrays.
Some companies offer options like half-day tours and full-day tours, some of which include not only swimming with pigs but other options. Inclusive packages might feature swimming with sharks or sea turtles, drinks on board a private chartered boat, and more. Don’t worry too much, though. The sharks of Compass Cay are nurse sharks, which are generally docile unless provoked.
Level up your powerboat-visiting-pigs excursion and swing by Bitter Guana Cay to wave to the Bahamian Rock Iguanas. Thunderball Grotto is another must-see — you might recognize it from the James Bond movies Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. More of a rom-com fan? You’ll likely recognize it from Splash, starring Tom Hanks.
Sounds like a dream? Yeah, we think so too.
4. Book a Stay Nearby
If you’re looking to base your entire vacay around swimming with the pigs (or other Exuma excursions), think about staying close.
The Grand Isle Resort and Spa is a favorite, as well as the Staniel Cay Yacht Club — they both have bungalows and suite options. They really do have something for everyone.
If you’re bringing the whole family, the villa option is amazing to have space for everyone, plus they have kids’ activities all year round. If you might leave the kids at home, enjoy relaxing spa treatments and dinners with views of the best of the Exuma Cays. Honestly, you had us at “dinners where you don’t have to peel squished mac and cheese off of the floor and where you might actually be able to sit and enjoy your food.”
5. Go With an Open Mind
If you’re looking to swim with the swine for your next vacation, we’re guessing that you already have a pretty open mind. Nevertheless, this tip prevails! Be open to trying new things, and be open to all the possibilities.
You may be the type who writes out an entire itinerary and plans down to the minute (we get it, trust us!), but learn to roll with the punches when things change and be open to all options.
Peeping some local iguanas? Snorkeling with nurse sharks? Taking a day trip to see an underwater shipwreck? If you keep an open mind about all possibilities, you will find that you can do anything!
If your next vacation includes a trip to The Bahamas, plan a day excursion to go swim with pigs on their little private island. Visiting pig beach is a once in a lifetime experience, and you know you want to snap a selfie with one of those cute critters. Now, get planning, grab your sunscreen, and scratch this one off of your bucket list.