So I’m not going to lie, sometimes when deciding where to go on vacation, I let one little things sway my entire trip. This was the case when trying to narrow down the locale for my most recent trip to the Caribbean with some girlfriends.
Have you seen these adorable swimming pigs in the Bahamas? A few minutes into scrolling through that feed and I was sold on a trip to the Exuma Cays. Read up on 20 things you should know before visiting and also 15 things to do there but this post is all about those pink little cutie patooties!
The swimming pigs call Big Major Cay in the Exumas (Bahamas) home. Local legend goes that the island’s owner released a few pigs on the island and with no natural predators, they just took over! The pigs soon became well known and when boats sailed up near the island, out the pigs would come swimming looking for food. Well as you can imagine, the sight of these pink piggies swimming through the bluest waters in the Caribbean quickly became something of a local spectacle and is now one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Exumas.
Here’s how my adventure swimming with the pigs went down:
We stayed on Great Exuma and the Swimming Pigs are located on Big Major Cay quite a ways away, so you have to go by boat. There are a lot of excursions and private charter options but I ended up choosing Exuma Water Tours. Their full day tour was the same price as the #1 rated tour’s half-day price, so that seemed like a price performer to me. The swimming pigs were actually only one stop on the tour and we ended up getting to hit most of our “must dos” in the Exumas on this one tour.
We were picked up at our villa on a bus and then taken to the launch point on the northern end of the island. There were about 15 people on our boat and our Captain (Captain Smiley) knew these cays like the back of his hand. As we made our way north through the cays, he told us stories about each Cay, including which ones had famous owners (Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, David Copperfield, Nicholas Cage, and Johnny Depp all have homes in the Exumas). Our trip included stops off a cay to dive for starfish, snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto, swimming with nurse sharks on Compass Cay, and feeding iguanas on Leaf Cay as well as a stop on Mile Long sandbar.
But the highlight of this excursion, and really the whole reason why the trip was booked, was the swimming pigs! They’re located near Staniel Cay, which is quite a hike (boat ride!) from Great Exuma. As we turned a corner and started pulling up to the island, I could see quite a few boats and –eeek!!- swimming pigs! You cannot imagine how blue the water is in the Exumas and the sight of these little guys swimming out to greet our boat was just too much!!!
Our captain pulled up close to shore (for those who didn’t want to jump in and swim) and everybody piled out for some time to frolic with the piggies on the beach (getting a selfie with a pig is no joke!). Our captain had plenty of food (mostly bread) so you could feed the pigs. You cannot image the sheer amount of picture taking that went on here.
There were dozens of pigs eager to swim around with us (who am I kidding? They just wanted food!) So even though there were several boats there, it didn’t feel crowded.
We stayed on the island for probably an hour and didn’t feel rushed at all. It really was such a cool experience and I can’t recommend it enough, especially if you pair a visit with the swimming pigs with a tour through the cays like we did.
Here are some tips for a trip to swim with the pigs:
- There are a lot of companies and captains you can charter to get you to Big Farmer’s Cay.
- Exuma Water Sports has the most popular tour on Great Exuma but they won’t take you to Farmer’s Cay. They have a private island close to Great Exuma that they keep stocked with “cute pigs only.”
- Exuma Water Sports offers a Jet Ski tour option, which looks amazing!!
- Most tours to the swimming pigs also include a lot of other popular stops like swimming with nurse sharks on Compass Cay, feeding iguanas on Leaf Cay, and snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto.
- Bring a camera (preferably waterproof), towel, sunscreen, and a dry long sleeve shirt for the way back.
- If you’re staying on Staniel Cay, the pigs are super close and easy to get to.
- The pigs aren’t crazy about taking “selfies” so beware!
- Schedule your boat trip early on in your vacation in case they cancel due to bad weather-you’ll still have a chance to reschedule.
Have you swam with the pigs in the Exumas? Is it on your bucket list? Hop on over to Facebook and let me know!