Bahamas: Swimming with Pigs

Yes, pigs.  Swimming.  Amazing, am I right?

I’ll start off by admitting I am a total nerd.  I always buy travel books pertaining to my most favorite destinations.  About a year ago, Ken and I found ourselves searching for the perfect island for an adventurous vacation after our Turks and Caicos trip being less than ideal.  We wanted one with luxury accommodations that still had plenty of excursions and well, things to do.  I’m 25, not 70, and I can only do so much laying around on the beach.

Then, I see it: a picture of adorable little pink-nosed pigs swimming in the clear blue waters of Pig Island.  It’s one of the 365 cays make the Exumas.  That’s all it took for me to say THIS IS IT we are going to Great Exuma next.

It didn’t take more than a few minutes to sell Ken on this one.  The bluest water you have ever seen on a sleepy little island in the Bahamas complete with amazing snorkeling, giant starfish, and secluded beaches.  Oh, and lets not forget there’s a Sandals resort complete with as many tropical drinks as we want.  Done and done.

As usual, we got to Great Exuma with a list of things to see and do.  What can I say?  I have a bad habit.  Number one on my list was obviously to check out these little curly-tailed wonders.  Especially after every cab driver and extremely friendly island native kept asking us if we had seen the pigs yet.

I’ve swam with dolphins and sting rays and there is nothing more magical.  But pigs are unique to the Bahamas.  I’ll admit I didn’t do my research.  I figured these were native, wild pigs that had been living on the sunny little cay for hundreds of years.  I had even read a few stories about sailors leaving the pigs there to breed so they could return and cook them.  My favorite was the version where the pigs swam to the island for safety after a shipwreck and have been soaking up the sun ever since.  I was a little bummed when we learned they were put there only a few years ago by a father-son duo that taught them how to swim and devote time every day to sail out and feed them.  (We actually ended up going on our excursion with them.)  If it really was set up as a tourist attraction, job well done, guys!

Pig Beach, officially known as Big Major Cay, is a small cay in the Exuma cays.  It’s mostly trees and scrub with virtually non-existent sandy beach.  But it’s still beautiful.

 We were lucky enough to visit these guys twice during our visit.  And let me tell you, these are some well-conditioned piggies.  The second your boat gets within 500 feet of the island, the hum of the motor sends these guys running out of the cool shade under the trees right into the water.  They want their rolls and hot dogs, of course.  Yes, I said hot dogs.  Seems so wrong.  I was assured they are chicken hot dogs, but I didn’t verify this.  I’d prefer not to know – and hey! those piggies weren’t complaining.

I couldn’t wait to hop into the water.  It’s just not as fun feeding them from the boat!  All your hear is soft snorts muffled by the gentle waves as these fairly friendly pigs chase you around hoping you have something for them to eat – even if it is your finger.

 The pigs are very uninterested in you, all they care about is getting the grub.  They are willing to work for it – treading water with their hooves right up until they realize feeding time is over.  They’ll let you pet their heads or touch them for a hot dog, but mostly they use you as a launch pad, pushing off of your body to propel to the next scrap of food.  I didn’t mind.  My bruises were well worth it.

We didn’t see any piglets, but they are typically around in the summer months where you can also visit them on the beach as they lay on beach under the palms, sticking their noses in the sand perfectly fat and content.

This guy was my favorite!  I kept saying, “Ken!  Get a picture of me with the black one!”      

Swimming with the local swine in the Exumas was an unforgettable experience and unique to the Bahamas.  If we ever get back, I would happily hop my happy butt on a boat to visit these fun animals again.  Even if they did poop in the water.  They are pigs after all!  Next time?  I need to see some piglets!

Tons more pictures of the island pigs and our Exuma trip can be found on our facebook page!


    • Jessi says:

      It was a lot of fun. I was glad we got to go twice. And if we ever return back to Great Exuma, you can bet we will do it again! The number of pigs on the island vary, they have babies…and then I think some take an unfortunate trip to the main island to be part of the pig roasts. 😦


  1. Mikaela says:

    I swear every time I read your posts I come up with more goals for my own constantly growing list. I did not even realize this was a possibility. Those pigs are pretty cute!


  2. Pingback: The Great Big Animal Bucket List | Berry Random

  3. corinelli says:

    Those piggies are so cute!! I ❤ the black one! I had never even heard of swimming pigs before. Now I kind of want to go visit them.

    Plus, Sandals! I can always use a Sandals trip!!


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