The Bahamas’ Swimming with Pigs experience in Exuma is a unique and captivating natural phenomenon that has gained international fame and become a must-see attraction for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience in the Caribbean. Thesee Bahamas Swimming Pigs live on a small island known as Big Major Cay, or frequently referred to as the Pig Beach. Located in the Exuma Cays, a picturesque chain of 360 islands in the Bahamas, this phenomenon involves a group of feral pigs that swim in the crystal-clear, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea
These charming and photogenic Exuma pigs have become an internet sensation and a symbol of the Bahamas’ natural beauty. They are known for their endearing habit of paddling out to greet passing boats, creating an enchanting scene as they eagerly swim towards visitors. Tourists flock to these remote islands to witness and interact with the Bahamas Swimming Pigs, offering them food and taking photos with them in the stunning surroundings of the Exuma Cays.
The exuma pigs have adapted remarkably to their aquatic lifestyle, becoming adept swimmers and beachcombers. They live freely on the uninhabited islands, frolicking on the beaches, sunbathing in the sand, and occasionally taking a dip in the ocean to cool off.
Swimming with Pigs have not only become a beloved attraction but also a symbol of the Bahamas’ commitment to preserving its natural wonders. The Bahamas government and local organizations have worked to protect these pigs and their habitat, ensuring that they remain a sustainable and enchanting part of the country’s tourism industry.
Where is Pig Beach (Big Major Cay) island?
Swimming Pigs Tours to Exuma from Nassau
Visitors hoping to go swimming with pigs have the choice of taking a Plane or Boat. By flying to Exuma from Nassau, you have the benefits of a short journey time; 30 minute flight vs 3 hour power boat ride one way; aswell as incredible aerial views of the Exuma Cays. After landing in Exuma, visitors are transferred to the Pig Beach by boat. But those benefits come with a premium price tag, approximately $675 per person with a Swimming Pigs Tour by Plane.
The Swimming with Pigs option by Powerboat, whilst less comfortable, maybe better suited to travellers on a budget. A note of caution: due to the calm seas required to journey in a Powerboat from Nassau to Exuma, these boat tours maybe frequently cancelled at last minute due to high winds and rough sea conditions. If booking a powerboat tour to Pig Beach you may want to consider booking it for the start of your vacation, incase the tour operator has to reschedule you to another date due to bad weather. The good news is that if you are concerned about weather cancellation, you should strongly consider a Swimming with Pigs Tour by Plane, as this avoids the rough seas and weather cancellation is rare when traveling by plane.
Compare Swimming with Pigs by Plane vs Powerboat
- Tour by Plane
- $675per person
- 30 minute Flight in Comfort
- Stunning Aerial Views
- Visits 7 Exuma Attractions
- Guaranteed Small Group Size
- Weather Cancellation Rare
- Premium Tour (Transfers Included)
- Private Upgrades Available
- Tour by Powerboat
- $500per person
- 3 hour Boat Ride one way
- No Aerial Views
- Visits 4 Exuma Attractions
- Large Groups
- Risk of Weather Cancellation
- Budget Travel Focussed
- No Private Upgrades
Included in an organised Swimming with Pigs Tour will be your roundtrip journey from Nassau to Exuma, entrance fees to Pig Beach, Lunch, and stops at other Exuma attractions like the swimming with Sharks (at Compass Cay), Sandbar, underwater plane wreck and James bond Thunderball Grotto.
You can learn more about these other Exuma Attractions in our Exuma Islands Guide.
The Bahamas Swimming Pigs Origin Stories
The origin story of the Bahamas’ Swimming Pigs in Exuma is a fascinating tale of local legend, maritime history, and a touch of mystery. While the precise origin remains debated, several theories attempt to explain how these charming creatures came to inhabit the Exuma Cays.
1. The Shipwrecked Pigs
One of the most popular theories suggests that the swimming pigs are descendants of pigs shipwrecked on one of the uninhabited islands in the Exuma Cays. According to local lore, sailors in the 18th or 19th century transported the pigs as a future food source but encountered a shipwreck near the islands. The pigs, known for their strong swimming abilities, are said to have survived the wreck and made their way to the nearby islands.
2. The Marketing Stunt
Another theory revolves around the idea that the swimming pigs were intentionally placed on the islands as a marketing stunt. Some stories attribute this to a local entrepreneur looking to attract tourists to the area. In this version, the pigs were strategically placed on an uninhabited island to pique the curiosity of passing boaters and entice them to explore the Exuma Cays.
3. The Exuma’s Movie Connection
Yet another theory connects the pigs to the entertainment industry. It is said that the pigs were left on the island following the filming of a movie or television show. When the production crew left the island, they left the pigs behind, unintentionally creating the swimming with pigs iconic attraction.
4. The Yacht Owner’s Pets
Some locals claim that a wealthy yacht owner decided to keep pigs as pets on one of the islands in the Exuma Cays. Over time, these pigs became feral and learned to swim in the surrounding waters. As the pigs multiplied, their unique behavior started to draw attention.
Regardless of the exact origin, the Bahamas swimming pigs of Exuma have become an enduring symbol of the Bahamas and a cherished tourist attraction. Their friendly and photogenic nature, combined with the stunning backdrop of crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches, has made them a must-see for travelers from around the world.
Swimming with Sharks at the nearby Compass Cay Marina
Swimming with sharks at Compass Cay Marina is an exhilarating and unique adventure in the Bahamas. Located in the Exuma Cays not far from the Swimming with Pigs, the Compass Cay Marina offers a thrilling opportunity for visitors to get up close and personal with nurse sharks in their natural habitat.
Upon arrival at Compass Cay Marina, you’ll have the chance to wade into the crystal-clear, waist-deep waters of a protected cove. Here, you’ll encounter gentle nurse sharks, which are known for their non-aggressive behavior. These docile creatures are accustomed to human interaction and often approach visitors curiously.
The experience allows you to swim, snorkel, and even hand-feed the nurse sharks, creating unforgettable memories and photo opportunities. While these sharks can be quite large, their placid nature makes the encounter safe and suitable for people of all ages.
Professional guides and staff at Compass Cay Marina prioritize safety and provide essential information on how to interact with the sharks responsibly. It’s important to follow their guidance and avoid any sudden or aggressive movements that might startle the sharks.
Swimming with sharks at Compass Cay Marina is an awe-inspiring adventure that offers a unique opportunity to appreciate these incredible creatures in their natural environment. It’s a thrilling, educational, and eco-friendly experience that allows you to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of marine life while creating unforgettable memories in the stunning waters of the Exuma Cays.
Visit the Stunning Sand bar at nearby Pipe Creek.
The Exuma Sandbar in Pipe Creek, located in the Exuma Cays of the Bahamas, is a natural wonder that emerges during low tide and captivates visitors with its stunning beauty. This sandbar is essentially a long, narrow stretch of shallow, white sand that rises just above the surface of the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The sandbar is a dynamic and ever-changing formation that appears during low tide. As the tide recedes, it gradually emerges, creating a striking contrast between the sand and the surrounding deep-blue waters. This sandbar is surrounded by some of the clearest waters in the world, making it a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and wading. The water is typically calm, allowing for a safe and enjoyable experience.
Snorkelers and nature enthusiasts are treated to the opportunity to encounter various marine species in the area. Colorful fish, starfish, conch, and other marine life can often be spotted while exploring the surrounding waters.
Pipe Creek is a neighbouring island to Compass Cay (Swimming with Sharks expereince), and only 15 minutes by boat from the Pig Beach and famous Bahamas Swimming Pigs.
Why you must go Swimming with Pigs in Exuma
The swimming pigs of Exuma are a testament to the allure of the Bahamas, where nature’s beauty and enchanting mysteries come together to create an unforgettable experience for all who venture to these pristine waters. Whether their origin is rooted in maritime mishaps, marketing ploys, or cinematic connections, the swimming pigs have become a beloved symbol of the Bahamas’ charm and natural splendor. Be sure to book your Nassau to Exuma Day Trip by Plane with us.
In recent years, the Bahamas government and local organizations have recognized the importance of protecting and preserving this unique natural wonder. They have implemented regulations to ensure the well-being of the pigs and maintain the integrity of their habitat. Tour operators and visitors are encouraged to practice responsible tourism by respecting the animals, not feeding them harmful or inappropriate food, and keeping a safe distance to avoid causing stress.