When you look up the Bahamas, you will likely see these happy pigs swimming around on a pristine Caribbean beach. I don’t know about you, but when I found out the Bahamas beach pigs were real, they immediately went on the bucket list. I started digging into why they were there first, how to get there, and how much it cost, which I will also be spilling with you!
Only about 25 pigs and piglets are on this island at a time. They run free and are not held in captivity. Even though they are wild, the pigs are extremely friendly. This is because their primary food source is the food visitors feed them. You typically won’t see any other animals on the island, except maybe a few stray cats and the occasional goat.
Where is Pig Beach
Pig beach is located on an uninhabited island called Big Major Cay, also known as Pig Island, in the Exuma Cays. There have been other swimming pig attractions popping up across the Bahamas. However, these are merely tourist traps, and the pigs are usually held in captivity rather than roaming freely.
Why There Are Pigs on a Beach in the Bahamas
Pigs are not a native species to the Bahamas, so you may wonder how they ended up there. Nobody knows the answer for sure. But, the most popular theory is that they were moved to the uninhabited island when locals complained of their smell on the nearby farming island of Staniel Cay.
Once the pigs were moved to Big Major Cay, the winds carried the smell away from Staniel Cay, resolving the issue. The farmers would have to boat to the island every day to feed the pigs, which caused the pigs to swim out to greet their providers.
Another story that could explain the Bahamas beach pigs is that the pigs swam to the small island after a shipwreck. Some also believe that early settlers dropped the pigs off on Big Major Cay to store them as food to pick up later essentially.
Where to Stay to See the Bahamas Beach Pigs
There are three different islands that I recommend staying at to see the Bahamas beach pigs. They are Staniel Cay, Fowl Cay, and Great Exuma. Staniel Cay and Fowl Cay are a mere 10-minute boat ride from Pig Island, but they are tiny and require a seaplane to get to.
Great Exuma is the largest island in the Exuma Cays, with the city of Georgetown and an international airport located on it. If you are uncomfortable with renting your own boat and exploring the Cays that way, I recommend staying on this island over the two smaller islands. The boat ride from Great Exuma to Pig Island is around two hours but usually involves other stops along the way.
The Bahamas has some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Below I’ll go over a few resorts on the different islands that would be excellent choices for your stay to visit Pig Beach.
Fowl Cay Resort
If you are someone who wants secluded luxury where everything you could possibly need is included, Fowl Cay Resort is the place for you. This resort is on its own private island, only a few minutes from Pig Beach. To make the trip to Big Major Cay even more convenient, a power boat is included in the price of your stay.
At Fowl Cay Resort, you get a private villa equipped with unlimited snacks and drinks, airport transfer from Staniel Cay, fishing gear, all your meals and beverages, access to tons of water sports equipment, and much more. The opportunities are endless at Fowl Cay when creating your dream vacation.
Book your stay: https://www.fowlcay.com/
Staniel Cay Yacht Club
This resort has something for everyone, whether you’re visiting by boat or air. You can also purchase a package plan that has inclusions similar to Fowl Cay resort, such as your own power boat, three meals a day, and equipment rentals to explore the island.
Since Staniel Cay Yacht Club has its own marina, you can leave for a tour to Pig Beach and other Exuma destinations right from the property. Reef sharks and stingrays also frequent the area, so you may see some marine life right from your front porch. There are four different restaurants on the property that have a top-notch dining experience.
Book your stay: https://stanielcay.com/
Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
Located on Great Exuma, Sandals Emerald Bay is a large, all-inclusive resort that will have you wishing you could stay forever. Tours to Big Major Cay will pick you up right from the resort, making it a breeze to see the swimming pigs. You can also enjoy many included activities, such as scuba diving, golf, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing.
You can choose between a few different accommodations, including standard rooms, honeymoon suites, and villas with butler service. There are 11 restaurants at this resort, so you never have to eat the same thing during your stay. Although the food is so good, you may want to return to some restaurants more than once.
Book your stay: https://www.sandals.com/emerald-bay/
How to Get to Pig Beach
There are two ways to get to pig beach. Either by taking a tour or by renting your own boat from Staniel Cay. You can take a tour from almost anywhere in the Bahamas. However, unless you stay on one of the three islands listed above, you will have to take a seaplane to Staniel Cay, making the tour extremely expensive.
Renting Your Own Boat
Renting your own boat to get to Pig Beach is only recommended from Staniel Cay or if you have a lot of boating experience and know how to navigate the islands. This option is ideal if you want to explore more of the Exuma Cays than just Pig Island.
You can go at your own pace and may even save money going this route. You will also be able to revisit the beach pigs as often as you want. If you are not comfortable navigating the islands on your own, some boat rental companies will provide you with a captain. Check with your resort to see boat rental options near you.
Bahamas Beach Pigs Tours
Most tours to the Bahamas beach pigs come from Great Exuma. It is typically an all-day tour via power boat that can include stops at Compass Cay to swim with nurse sharks, snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto, a stop at Iguana Island, and much more. Some of the most popular tours are:
Best Time to Visit the Beach Pigs
You can visit the beach pigs year-round, as the weather is always warm in the Bahamas. However, you should know that hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th. If a storm comes, tours will be canceled, and the pigs will be taken to shelter for safety.
Tours generally run from 9 am to 5 pm. Therefore, if you rent your own boat, the least busy times to visit are early in the morning. The pigs are very active and eager to be fed, so you’ll get the most activity and love from the pigs at this time. The pigs become full and worn out throughout the day, making them a little lazier. You most likely won’t see them swimming or being interactive anymore by the afternoon.
Cost to Swim with the Bahamas Beach Pigs
The cost of swimming with the pigs will vary depending on where you’re coming from and your method of transportation. The cheapest way to visit the pigs is to stay on Staniel Cay and rent a boat to get to Big Major Cay. However, you’ll have more to do and can stop at multiple popular destinations in the Cays by taking a tour from Great Exuma.
Here is an average cost breakdown for a few different options to see the beach pigs:
- Renting a boat: $250-$400 per day
- Half-day tours: $150-$200
- Full-day tours: $300-$375
- Full-day tours from Nassau via speed boat: $350-$500
Other Things to Do Near the Swimming Pigs
The Exuma Cays have over 300 islands. There is much more to do in the area than swimming with pigs. You will likely see a few of these other attractions if you take a tour. In case you don’t get the chance on your visit to the beach pigs, here is a list of some of the other things you should look into:
- Swim with the Compass Cay reef sharks
- Snorkel in Thunderball Grotto
- Feed the rock lizards at Lizard Island (Leaf Cay or Allen’s Cay)
- Go on a fishing trip
- Visit one of the many secluded sandbars
- Snorkel over a plane wreck off of Staniel Cay
- Take an air tour
- Dive for conches
- Wander around the Exumas Cays Land and Sea National Park
- Snorkel with a sunken mermaid and piano