Swimming Pigs of the Exumas
The Caribbean breeze, the pristine beach, the swimming pigs - your next trip will be the most memorable one yet
Curious are the swimming pigs. The islands of the Exuma paint breathtaking scenes of white-sand beaches and vibrant blue-green sea, but one of the most delightful attractions exists, here in the cays, where you least expect it. Swimming pigs – the most unexpected islanders – dive playfully into these waters, and boaters come from near and far just to see them. The swimming pigs of Pig Island, also known to the locals as Big Major Cay, bring a quirky charm to the traditional attractions usually sought by charter guests to the Bahamas.
Plan a stop along Pig Beach with your own private Bahamas charter, and enjoy a up-close and personal swim in crystal-clear waters with the local pigs.
Swimming with the Pigs in the Exuma
What’s so special about swimming with pigs? Pigs are often seen in pens, so watching them swim openly is an amusing experience – and on a Bahamian island, of all places, is the most unanticipated location. The swimming pigs are not afraid to come right up to the boat and greet you as you float up to the island. From the little beach babes to the big Bahama mammas (up to 300 pounds!), the pigs of the Exumas brighten everyone’s day. Some of the swimming pigs are pink or have black spots, and they vary from adult pigs to babes as new piglets born on the islands.
It’s not every day that you see a pig enjoying island life to the fullest, and that’s what makes getting up close to the swimming pigs such and curious sight for your next Bahamas trip. Simply take your boat to Pig Island, and the pigs may even swim out to greet you!
What’s the history of the swimming pigs of the Exuma?
Many legends surrounding the origins of the swimming pigs. One such legend claims that the pigs were left by one of the first ships to travel to the Caribbean from the Old World. Others say that the pigs swam ashore following a shipwreck, or were brought here as livestock by sailors who never returned. No matter the case, the pigs living in the cays of the Exumas thrive in their own tropical paradise. These pigs live on the uninhabited island that many call “Pig Island”, also known as Big Major Cay to local Bahamians.
Now the pigs thrive in tropical solitude and make a fun destination for visitors to the Exumas. They act as a friendly reminder that you’re not alone on your journeys from near and far to the new and dreamy Bahamian scenery.
Where are the best places to see the swimming pigs?
Swimming with the pigs is the best part about a visit to Pig Island. You can reach them easily with your private Bahamas charter, which makes the experience all the more worthwhile. It’s about a two-hour boat ride from the north side of Great Exuma. Set sail for a little known and uninhabited destination, Pig Island – the island where wild pigs roam free on their own private beach known as Pig Beach.
What makes yachting to the swimming pigs such an extraordinary experience is that there are no airstrips on the island. Pig Island can only be visited by boat, making it a beautifully-secluded, tropical paradise for a leisurely swim with pigs. Swimming pigs can also be found with a ten minute ride boat ride to White Bay Cay. This separate location hosts a whole different population of pigs that compete for boaters’ attention.
Staniel Cay is the closest island that offers amenities next to the swimming pigs with a marina, Yacht Club, restaurants, and other lodging, and it also hosts a hidden gem – the Thunderball Grotto. Pair your trip to Pig Beach with a stop at Thunderball Grotto to swim with the tides in an underwater cavern.
Another lesser-known location with small population of pigs is the tiny cay of Abacos. This island is near Green Turtle Cay and home to wild pigs that see fewer visitors than those of Pig Beach in Big Major Cay. For this reason, these pigs may be a bit more timid, but they are cared for by the locals and still enjoy visits.
How to make a Swimming Pig’s Day
The swimming pigs of Pig Beach love to eat. Many who come to see the pigs ask – what does an island pig like to eat? These pigs are well fed with treats from visitors and food and water from the local people. Some of the perfect treats for swimming pigs include many types of fresh produce. You can feed the pigs as long as you treat them, and there are a few foods pigs absolutely love.
Most pigs love to eat cooked broccoli or potatoes. They also love raw vegetables, such as snow peas, dark leafy greens (kale and spinach, especially), tomatoes, beets, all types of squashes, carrots, zucchini, pumpkins, and cucumbers. Pigs also love eating fresh fruits from apples, pears, and oranges to pitted peaches, melons, and berries. Other foods suitable for pigs include rice and uncooked pasta. But one of the easiest treats, as well as the most needed, is fresh water.
It’s important to treat the swimming pigs with respect as you would with any other wildlife you encounter. Pigs have teeth, so mind your fingers when feeding them by hand. Keep in mind that not all “treats” are suitable for pigs, and rum, cakes, or bacon might do more harm than good. Some things that harm pigs include meat, chocolate, sugar, alcohol, milk products, salt, and canned foods.
Add a stop at Pig Island to your next Bahamas trip!