The Bahamas is undoubtedly among the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world. The country offers a diverse range of attractions for fun-loving tourists. While there are many attractions scattered across the Bahamian islands and cays, one attraction, in particular, takes every visitor’s fancy; Pig Beach, located in Big Major Cay, is one of the most visited attractions in the country and with good reason.
Here’s all you need to know about Pig Beach!
Pig Beach Folklore
There are several stories regarding the pigs on Pig Beach, most of which are just fanciful speculation. One of the main stories is that the pigs were left here by sailors who wanted to cook them and eat them when they get back, but they never got back, and the pigs, apparently, were able to survive on the food washed ashore from shipwrecks.
Some believe that the pigs swam here from a shipwreck. But the story that’s likely to be true is that the pigs were left here by the residents of Staniel Cay because they smelled horrible, and some speculate that they left the pigs here to raise them as food.
Are There Pigs On Bahamian Beaches?
Yes, there are pigs living on the beaches in the Bahamas. Pig Beach isn’t the only place where you can see wild pigs in the country; there are several other islands inhabited by pigs. But Pig Beach is the name that comes to mind when talking about swimming pigs in the Bahamas.
Where is Pig Beach?
Pig Beach belong to Exuma Islands, which is a cluster of islets located just 80 miles from Nassau; there are 365 Exuma cays. Most visitors like to stay in Nassau, but the Exuma Islands offer several accommodation options as well. Pig Beach is located on Big Major Cay, and the island isn’t inhabited by humans.
The Landscape of Pig Beach
The island, Big Major Cay or Big Exuma Cays, is only a mile in length. It has similar features to other Bahamian islands – soft white sands speckled with palm trees and the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea are some of the mesmerising details of the cay.
What You Should Know About The Pigs At Pig Beach
The estimated number of swimming pigs on the beach is 20 to 25. They range from piglets to adult pigs in size; the biggest and the oldest of the pigs is called Big Momma. These pigs are feral, but they are used to the human presence and rely on tourists for food.
When Should You Visit Swimming Pigs?
You can visit the swimming pigs any time you want, but avoid the high season if you can; the beach tends to get a little crowded during this time. September to mid-November is the offseason; the beach sees fewer visitors. The peak season spans from December to January, which is when the beach is packed with tourists – the Christmas time is particularly busy for the beach. June to September is the low season; the island is practically empty during this time, but this is also the hurricane season, so you best avoid it.
Also, in the morning, pigs are all active and energetic to get their food, but in the evening, they are a bit sleepy and like to lie around on the beach. Afternoons are an excellent time though; the pigs are still active and will readily come for a swim with you!
What’s The Closest Neighbourhood To Big Major Cay?
Staniel Cay is the closest neighbourhood to Pig Beach; it is only ten minutes by boat.
How To Get To Pig Beach
There are several ways you can travel to Pig Beach, but it’ll always be part of a tour. Getting here from Staniel Cay involves a ten-minute boat ride, and if you are travelling from Great Exuma, it’s a 2-hour boat ride. Travelling from Nassau involves a thirty-five-minute flight journey to Staniel Cay, and the rest of the journey is covered by a 3-hour speedboat ride. If you are travelling directly from Florida, it’s one hour by air to Andros Island, another forty-five minutes to Staniel Cay, and the rest of the journey consists of a boat ride.
All these travel options are part of day group tours. But if you can spare the money, you can request a private tour and have the amazing pigs all to yourself for a while.
How Much Will It Cost To Swim With The Pigs?
Prices change according to the season, time of your visit, and the type of tour you’ve chosen. But here’s an approximate price breakdown:
- Speedboat from Nassau – Around USD 400 per person
- Plane from Nassau – Around USD 500 per person and USD 250 per child
- From Staniel Cay – Around USD 250 per person and USD 100 per child
- Private tour from Staniel Cay – Starting from USD 1,000 for the smallest boat, which can accommodate four people.
- From Florida – the costs range from USD 630 to USD 900
All these prices are subject to change; there are many special offers and tour packages available; some companies offer private tours too – when choosing a package, compare prices, read reviews, and find the package that suits you the best.
Can You Stay On Pig Beach?
Most tourists choose to stay on other islands close to Pig Beach, but the Exuma Islands are home to several resorts, hotels, and restaurants as well. However, Big Major Cay is uninhabited, so you cannot really stay at Pig Beach.
What You Should Know About Visiting Pig Beach And Guided Tours
You can’t spend the entire day with the pigs. Most tours allow tourists to spend around fifteen minutes with the pigs, but if you want more time, you need to spend a bit more money and go for a private tour, even then, you will only get around half an hour with the pigs.
Most of these guided tours include other activities like swimming with sharks, diving, and snorkelling. Also, pigs don’t always swim in the sea; if you are visiting in the late afternoon, you are likely to see them snoozing on the beach. Remember that you cannot always have the pigs all to yourself, even if you are on a private tour; you will have to share your time with other visitors.
Other Things To Do And See
Aside from swimming with pigs, most guided tours include visiting Thunderball Grotto, swimming with sharks at Compass Cay, and visiting Bitter Guana Cay to see iguanas. Apart from snapping pictures with pigs and feeding them, there isn’t much else to do here at the beach, but most tourists like to relax and sunbathe here.
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What You Should Know About Feeding Pigs on Pig Beach
Feeding swimming pigs at Pig Beach sounds like tremendous fun, and so it is, but you need to know a few things:
- You should only feed them fruits, vegetables, and bread – talk to your guide if you don’t know what to feed them
- There are many pictures of tourists feeding pigs directly from their hands, but it isn’t a good idea; these pigs are feral, and they tend to be a little aggressive when they are hungry, so put down the food right next to them. Also, if you don’t have any food, show them your empty hands.
- Tourists are advised not to feed the pigs while on the beach; they are used to swimming to get their food and feeding them on the beach could break this habit.
Are Swimming Pigs Friendly?
Although these pigs are wild animals, they are friendly – and that is as long as you behave well. They don’t mind you swimming right next to them and lightly touching them. Treat them well and they will behave friendly towards you in return.
Is Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas Ethical?
Several stories claim that the pigs aren’t treated well, but in truth, they are taken care of by a group of caregivers. They feed the pigs, and there’s also a nursery for the baby pigs. If the pigs are sick, a vet tends to them until they get better. These pigs are used to humans, and they are always excited to see boats.
Can You Swim With Pigs While Pregnant?
You can, but it could be risky. The waters are sometimes smooth and sometimes choppy. During summer, for example, there’s a likelihood of thunderstorms. But if you really want to go swimming with pigs, check the weather forecast; if calm waters are predicted, you should be okay, but keep in mind that some pigs are quite large, and they can be a little aggressive at times.
What Shouldn’t You Do When Visiting Pig Beach?
Always care for the animal. These pigs are innocent animals; all they want is to get fed and then sleep. They are used to tourists visiting them, so they don’t mind posing for a picture, but you shouldn’t try to pick them up and try to get them in the right position so that you’ll have a nice photo.
Also, be patient and wait for them to come to you; some tourists run after them, trying to get hold of them; this is extremely unethical behaviour. What’s more, you should never give them processed food; you can only feed them fruits, vegetables, and bread. More importantly, do not litter the beach.
What Do I Need To Pack For Pig Beach?
You will need a bathing suit and a beach towel, and don’t forget your sunscreen and insect repellent. You’ll definitely need your camera or your mobile to take photos. Consider bringing a waterproof pouch to store all your electronics. You might also want some snacks, and you’ll need plenty of water to survive the heat on the Pig Island.
Marine Life Around Pig Beach
The marine life around Big Exuma Cay is made up of rays, nurse sharks, crabs, lobsters, groupers, reef fish, turtles, and slugs. Vividly-hued corals also form part of the underwater world of the Exuma Islands.
Where Else Can You Swim With Pigs?
White Bay Cay, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, and a tiny cay named Piggyville are a few other places where you can see pigs in the Bahamas.
Other Attractions Close To Pig Beach
There are several other attractions in the vicinity; they are all worth visiting, and most of them are included in guided tours – Thunderball Grotto, Bitter Guana Cay, Sandbars at Pipe Cay, sharks at Compass Cay, diving spots, and snorkelling sites are some of the other draws for tourists.
Pig Beach in Popular Culture
Pig Beach has become a popular topic, and tourists post pictures of the beach on social media sites like Instagram. The beach was also featured in The Bachelor, a television show.