Swimming with Pigs in the Bahamas

by Jack Cheng
Better Beach Bahamas Swimming with Pigs

The Famous Pig Island, Exuma, and all you need to know! (Updated 2021)

What if there’s a nation on Earth ruled by pigs that, unlike Animal Farm, co-exist peacefully with the rest of our world? Although the notion might make you scoff ‘when pigs fly,’ here at Big Major Cay in Exuma, it’s actually ‘when pigs swim.’

While the Bahamas is known for sunny weather, pristine beaches, and savoury conch fritters, the mysterious colony of pigs at Exuma has long fascinated travellers who decided to hop into the water with them. So wildly popular are the curly-tailed denizens that roam the shallows of the uninhabited cay, it became to be known as Pig Breach.

For those hoping to paddle a few laps with them in crystal-clear water, here’s what you need to know:

About Pig Beach

Better Beach Bahamas Swimming with Pigs

No one knows for sure how the pigs came to be on Big Major Cay, though there are a few theories to this enduring mystery. Some claim the pigs were left here by sailors who had planned on eating them, only to never return. While others say these fuzzy transplants swam ashore from a nearby shipwreck.

In recent years, a local man has come forward claiming that he released the pigs during the Y2K scare, in hopes of creating a sustainable food supply on the island.  

Regardless of their origin, the 20 or so pigs on the cay survived over the years from food fed by both locals and visitors. A caveat for those hoping to feed the pigs: A wave of them have died from tourists feeding them alcohol and the ‘wrong’ food.

How to get to Pig Beach?

The easiest way to get to Pig Beach is by privately chartered boats, powerboats, yachts, boat tours, or by seaplanes. While you can sign up for boat tours in Nassau, some are only available in Georgetown on Great Exuma. You can also book flights from Florida. If you hope to explore Great Exuma, try grabbing a cab or rent a car. If you do decide to rent a vehicle, be prepared to drive on the left side of the road.

Best Places to Stay to Visit Pig Island

Sandals Emerald Bay is located on Exuma Island, so all you’ll need is a quick car ride. The resort features 5-star all-inclusive amenities, organic Red Lane® Spa treatments, championship golf course, and 11 gourmet restaurants with both regional and internationally-inspired menus.

If you’d rather stay in Nassau and take the 45 minute mini-flight to pig island, we recommend staying at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar or The Ocean Club – a Four Seasons Resort. For private groups, you can also rent out Ocean West Boutique Hotel, a beautiful BIPOC owned mansion close to the Cable Beach Resort strip.

Best Places to Stay to Visit Pig Island

Sandals Emerald Bay is located on Exuma Island, so all you’ll need is a quick car ride. The resort features 5-star all-inclusive amenities, organic Red Lane® Spa treatments, championship golf course, and 11 gourmet restaurants with both regional and internationally-inspired menus.

If you’d rather stay in Nassau and take the 45 minute mini-flight to pig island, we recommend staying at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar or The Ocean Club – a Four Seasons Resort. For private groups, you can also rent out Ocean West Boutique Hotel, a beautiful BIPOC owned mansion close to the Cable Beach Resort strip.
Best Places to Stay to Visit Pig Island

Sandals Emerald Bay is located on Exuma Island, so all you’ll need is a quick car ride. The resort features 5-star all-inclusive amenities, organic Red Lane® Spa treatments, championship golf course, and 11 gourmet restaurants with both regional and internationally-inspired menus.

If you’d rather stay in Nassau and take the 45 minute mini-flight to pig island, we recommend staying at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar or The Ocean Club – a Four Seasons Resort. For private groups, you can also rent out Ocean West Boutique Hotel, a beautiful BIPOC owned mansion close to the Cable Beach Resort strip.

When to visit Pig Island?

Better Beach Bahamas Swimming with Pigs

Getting there early will guarantee a full day of activities with the pigs. Most tours arrive on the island after 9 a.m. If you opt for air tours or private boat tours, try and beat the crowd to experience a quieter beach. By mid-morning and well into late afternoon the beach can become extremely crowded.

If you arrive later in the day, the pigs might be all pooped out. Don’t expect them to do much other than napping on the beach.

Try and avoid hurricane season, which falls between June to November. If there is a storm in the area, local businesses might take the pigs into a shelter. 

What can you expect besides the pigs?

Better Beach Bahamas Swimming with Pigs

Although Pigs are the main attraction on the island, there are plenty of nature, wildlife, and white-sand beaches on the cay. You’ll also encounter a few rock iguanas, goats, and a few stray cats.

As a part of Staniel Cay, Pig Beach is close to the main island, its village and airport. Staniel Cay is famous for the snorkelling and diving spot, “Thunderball Grotto,” where parts of the 1965 James Bond movie were filmed.

Better Beach Bahamas Swimming with Pigs Staniel Cay

Another popular dive site in the area is the sunken wreck of a drug smuggling plane that was supposedly ditched by the cartel. Local tours offer snorkelling and diving trips around the wreck.

All around Exuma, you’ll find many sandbars and shallow waters for water activities and interacting with marine wildlife. In Compass Cay, there’s also a natural habitat for nurse sharks by the marina and visitors can see them up close in the water.

Better Beach Bahamas Swimming with Pigs Compass Cay

Other points of interest include the Exuma Land and Sea Park, also called “The Aquarium,” where visitors can explore underwater corals, marine life, and find other useful info on Exuma at the visitor centre.

What to bring?

-Cameras

-Swimwear

-Snacks and lunches

-Sun protection, including sunscreen, hats and shirts

-Change of clothes

-Towels

-Sweaters or jackets for colder evenings or for extensive periods inside air-conditioned watercraft

-Charger or batteries for your phone if you plan on taking pictures or videos with it

Popular tours and flights

 

This little piggy went swimming, and you can too! Let our Expert Travellers help you capture the moment and plan the perfect tailor-made vacation to the Bahamas.

 


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