White sand beaches, Caribbean sunshine, turquoise sea… and a group of well-behaved swimming pigs! An unbelievable picture. Visiting the swimming pigs in the Bahamas – this is a dream for many including one of our dedicated readers, Sina.
► Current update: the official statement regarding the death of some pigs on the Exuma Island in the Bahamas, as well as some behaviour rules that every visitor should consider! ◄
Swimming with pigs in the Bahamas
Dream destination Bahamas | Travelling by boat to Major Cay | The swimming pigs
Correct behaviour towards the pigs | Shark breeding station | Sina’s summary | Your trip to the Caribbean
So you want to come and swim the pigs
Sina’s trip to the Bahamas in the Caribbean lasted 9 days, where she spent several nights at the 4 star British Colonial Hilton hotel in Nassau. She also stayed for one night in the Regatta Point guesthouse, from which she took a day trip to Big Major Cay island, where the pigs gleefully paddle around. The bay, where the animals prefer to wander, is not so easy to reach. The best way to get to the uninhabited island is via the port of Great Exuma. Here, you can visit the Grotto from the James Bond film ‘Thunderball’, as well as a shark breeding station, in addition to swimming pigs.
Travel by boat to the Big Major Cay
“This day trip was 8 hours of pure happiness. I have never experienced so many great, exciting and breathtaking moments at the same time in my life. If you ever have the opportunity to experience a tour like this – do it! The boat was large enough so that all the guests had enough space, as well as access to water and other drinks. The boat was fast and the surrounding islands were explained to us in great detail – we could also marvel at many of the luxurious villas which are located in the Bahamas.
Our first stop was a sandbank in the middle of the sea. We could go up and down the sandbank and there was enough time to take the perfect photo – Of course, I had to send a greeting to the Guru! From there we travelled to the James Bond Grotto for snorkelling. There were so many great, colourful fish, which I had never seen before.”
Absolute Highlight: the pig beach
“After these amazing first impressions, we entered the piggy bay without warning, and we were greeted with screeching. As soon as the pigs had spotted us, they blissfully began to approach us. Our tour guides had of course taken care of everything and so everyone grabbed some bread, jumped into the water with the pigs and fed them. There were up to 10 pigs in the bay and three small babies were hiding in the bushes. Sadly, they did not feel like swimming on this day – a pity! We had a lot of fun with the pigs (some were huge), and of course, everybody tried to get the perfect photo with them! Swimming pigs – I still cannot believe it to this day!”
“This small section of the beach was a bit overcrowded, as there were two other boats in the bay. Despite this, everybody could spend time with the animals and we were all truly saddened when it was finally time to get back on the boat. Swimming with the pigs was truly a breathtaking moment – it’s certainly one to tick off the bucket list!”
Do’s and Don’ts – Correct behaviour towards the pigs
Recently, some sad news circulated through the media: at the famous Pig Beach in the Bahamas, a total of 7 of 21 swimming pigs mysteriously died. People soon began to speculate whether humans were responsible for the death of the animals. It is said that an unknown offender may have given them alcohol. However, according to an official statement from the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources in the Bahamas, it is now clear that human interference can be ruled out.
According to the Bahamas Tourism Office:
“The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism regrets the death of the swimming pigs that was recently reported. The world-famous swimming pigs of Exuma attracts millions of visitors to The Bahamas annually. The Bahamas remains a wonderful destination for visitors […].” Bahamian Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, V. Alfred Gray, has said that the pigs recently found dead on the cay were found to have died from ingesting sand.”
There is no evidence to suggest that humans were responsible
According to the statement, the chief veterinary officer reported that a large amount of sand was found in the stomachs of the dead animals. The Minister also concluded that in conjunction with the appropriate agencies, protocols will now be put in place in order to govern the industry and protect the animals.
Even though in this case there is no evidence to suggest human wrongdoing was responsible for the death of these seven pigs, I would still like to give you a little bit of advice about how to treat the animals. Unfortunately, time and time again tourists are simply found to not be treating the animals with care. It’s sad what some people will do just for an Instagram picture…
If someday you decide to head to the Bahamas and fulfil your dreams of seeing the cute swimming pigs, please bear in mind the following tips:
- Be aware that pigs are omnivores and will try to eat anything.
- If you feed them, the food must be fresh and not rotten. The pigs love, for example, fresh watermelon and cabbages.
- It is also important to provide them with enough fresh water. This is often forgotten.
It’s common sense how you should not treat the animals, however sadly, it happens all too often:
- Under no circumstance, should you harass or chase the animals,
- carry them
- give them bad food
- or leave plastic rubbish on the beach
Swimming in the shark pool?!
“Another crazy moment occurred just a few seconds later. As I made my way back to the boat, a two-meter-long stingray darted past me and the pigs, and swam back out to sea again. Crazy! Back on the boat, everybody’s faces were full of excitement. And it didn’t stop there, as we were now on our way to the shark breeding station.
At this breeding station, we had the opportunity for an extra 10 dollars, to swim with the sharks. I still have goosebumps today. The breeding station is located in a small harbour and from a footbridge, you can look down on about 20 sharks. After composing myself for a few seconds (I watched too many white-shark horror movies when I was younger), I jumped into the water. Initially, I did not want to move at all, in fear of touching anything. But after a while, I felt more comfortable and could see how calm and peaceful the sharks actually were. Before I knew it, we were stroking them and even swimming alongside them, holding onto their fins. After 15 minutes of pure adrenaline, I was so happy and really proud that I did it!”
A dream trip comes to an end
“Afterwards, we circled a plane wreck under the water in our boat, and collected beautiful Starfish in the middle of the sea, which we were allowed to bring to the deck. Then we headed to a small island, where we enjoyed a Bahamas buffet at a very traditional bar – this was accompanied by some great music! The food was delicious and the locals were, as always, incredibly warm.”
“We then travelled by boat to a lonely island, where we fed iguanas grapes and salad. On this section of beach, there were over 40 different iguanas, all differing in size. Iguanas are in fact very peaceful animals, but they do not like to be stroked – careful, they bite! After the feeding, we went back to the starting point and our tour guide drove us all back to the airport via bus. Later on in the evening, we laid in our hotel room in Nassau, incredibly pleased and tired from all of the excitement. If I had to recommend one thing, it would be this day trip! It was by far the best thing I have ever done. I got to see and experience so much – incredible!”
When is it going to be your turn?
We would like to thank Sina for her great report on her experience in the Bahamas. I am glad you enjoyed the island and swimming with the pigs. The collection of islands that make up the Bahamas are an absolute dream destination and should be on everyone’s bucket list in my opinion!! So, when are you going to go?