In this article, learn everything you need to know about pig beach and how to swim with pigs in the Bahamas.
We recently joined a day tour with 3N’s Exuma Vacations to see the swimming piggies with our own eyes, and the experience really did live up to our expectations. When you visit the Bahamas, you must see the famous swimming pigs — it’s quite the spectacle!
Crystal-clear water, blue sky, pigs that not only live on a deserted cay but also swim…what’s not to love?
The setting of Pig Beach is stunning, the piggies were friendly, and the whole situation was the perfect mix of bizarre and awesome!
Why are there swimming pigs in the Bahamas? What island do you swim with pigs? How much does it cost to swim with pigs in the Bahamas? I’ll cover all of these questions and more in this complete guide.
Here’s everything you need to know about swimming with pigs in the Bahamas.
Table of Contents
- Choose Your Tour Operator
- Visit the Swimming Pigs from Nassau
- Visit the Swimming Pigs from Staniel Cay
- Where to Stay to Swim With Pigs
- Cost of Swimming With Pigs in The Bahamas
- Why Are There Swimming Pigs in The Bahamas?
- Where is Pig Beach?
- Can You Swim With the Pigs?
- Can You Feed the Pigs?
- Is it Safe to Swim With Pigs in The Bahamas?
- Caring for the Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas
- Swimming Pigs Video
Choose Your Tour Operator
First of all, you should know that there are some imposter pigs in the Bahamas! The original, famous pigs are found on Big Major Cay, just a 5-minute boat ride from Staniel Cay in the Exumas.
There are a few tour operators to choose from, but we enjoyed our day with the highly-rated (#1 on TripAdvisor) 3N’s Exuma Vacations, which offers small group tours (12-15 people only), with a more personalized feel.
What I love most about this company, however, is the fact that it’s 100% locally owned and operated.
In fact, the “N” in 3N’s stands for the names of the family members: Nellie (grandmother), Nikki (mother), and Natajia (daughter). Supporting the female-owned, locally-operated business is one of the many benefits of joining this tour.
Unless you have your own boat, the best ways to see the swimming pigs are to either stay on Staniel Cay and join a day tour, or visit the swimming pigs from Nassau on a day trip by plane.
Visit the Swimming Pigs from Nassau
If you’re based in Nassau, it’s easy to see the swimming pigs of the Bahamas.
This day trip whisks you away in the morning by plane from Nassau to Staniel Cay, and back in the late afternoon in time for a sundowner. This is the most luxurious, safe, and comfortable way to visit the swimming pigs from Nassau!
First, you hop on a charter flight from Nassau to Staniel Cay (which is included in the tour package). At the airport on Staniel Cay, a representative from 3N’s Exuma Vacations will be waiting for you to take you to the pier — which is just steps from the airport.
Board the well-maintained speedboat, get briefed on the day by the captain, and head off to experience the swimming pigs.
Of course, the day trip will include other major highlights of the area. You’ll see the Thunderball Grotto, the nurse sharks at Compass Cay, the Bahamian rock iguanas, a postcard-perfect sandbar, a sunken plane, and a stop for lunch.
Learn more about visiting the swimming pigs from Nassau and reserve your spot here, or click the button below.
Visit the Swimming Pigs from Staniel Cay
This is the swimming pigs tour that we joined and highly recommend if you plan on basing yourself on Staniel Cay. It’s the exact same as the tour from Nassau, minus the flight. Learn more about it here.
Wake up, enjoy a lazy morning coffee and be ready for the tour around 9:00am. I say “around” because things really do work on island time here.
Once the plane lands from Nassau, you’ll meet up with that group and head to the pier — which is just steps from the airport and Embrace Resort (which is owned by 3N’s and is where we stayed).
Hop on the speedboat, get a briefing from the captain, and then sit back, relax and enjoy the day!
The itinerary of this trip is the same as if you joined from Nassau. Swimming with the pigs is the highlight of course, plus Compass Cay (with nurse sharks), Bitter Guana Cay (with Bahamian rock iguanas), the Thunderball Grotto, the gorgeous Pipe Cay sandbar, and a sunken plane.
During our trip, I appreciated how we were given the freedom to go off and do our own thing if we wanted (photos, videos, etc.). The order in which we visited the highlights was somewhat up to us as well.
If we didn’t want to join a particular activity such as snorkelling, that was no problem, we could just stay on the boat. If there was a choice between swimming underwater and through a cave, or keeping our head above water, we were able to discuss which option we preferred.
It was nice to have a say and give our input!
To find out more about this day tour from Staniel Cay and to reserve your spot, click here or the button below.
Where to Stay to Swim With Pigs
The two best places to base yourself to go swimming with the famous pigs in the Bahamas are Nassau and Staniel Cay.
Where to Stay in Nassau
In Nassau, there are numerous accommodation options to choose from.
If you book the Gold/All-Inclusive swimming pigs package with 3N’s Exuma Vacations, you’ll receive return transportation from your hotel in Nassau to the airport. If you don’t choose the Gold tour package, you simply meet at the airport in Nassau.
If you’re staying on Paradise Island in Nassau, your pick-up time will be around 6:00 AM – 6:30AM and Cable Beach area is 6:30AM – 6:45AM.
Where to Stay in Staniel Cay
We stayed at Embrace Resort on Staniel Cay, which has quite possibly the most friendly staff of anywhere we’ve stayed! Nikki is the owner and Natajia, Gracie and Dexi are the three women in the office who are so helpful and welcoming.
There are 7 colourful villas here offering balconies and pool views.
Embrace is located right by the airport and the pier, which means you can sleep in on the morning of the pig tour and be ready to go around 9:00AM.
Goats On The Road readers receive a complimentary bottle of wine on check-in at Embrace Resort. Simply use promo code GOATPIGS when booking. Learn more here.
Pro Tip: Embrace Resort offers their guests 30% off the swimming with pigs in the Bahamas tours.
☞ See Also: 10 Best Beaches in the Caribbean
Cost of Swimming With Pigs in The Bahamas
The cost of the fun day trip with 3N’s Exuma Vacations is $499 from Nassau for adults (including flights), or $249 for adults if you’re staying on Staniel Cay. Here are some more details:
Cost of Swimming with Pigs from Nassau
Children under 6: $250
Infants 2 and under are free
Round-trip flights from Nassau
Airport greeting in Staniel Cay
All entrance fees, taxes, and fuel surcharges
Complimentary WiFi on board
Food for the swimming pigs
Storage in the office
Transfers to lunch
WiFi at the office
Unlimited soft drinks
Assorted snacks & chips
Pro Tip: If you opt for the Gold Package for just $100 more, you’ll receive roundtrip transportation from your hotel to the airport, beer on the boat, and a tasty lunch. Learn more here.
Cost of Swimming with Pigs from Staniel Cay
Children under 6: $100
Infants 2 and under are free.
All entrance fees and taxes
Assorted snacks and chips
Food for the swimming pigs
Storage in the office
Transfers to and from Staniel Cay Yacht Club or Staniel Cay Airport
WiFi at the office
Pro Tip: Embrace Resort guests receive a 30% discount on the tour. Learn more about visiting the pigs from Staniel Cay here.
Why Are There Swimming Pigs in The Bahamas?
This is probably the most frequently asked question. It’s not often that you see pigs on tropical beaches!
There are a few folk tales surrounding why the pigs on are the beach, but since Captain Dave with 3N’s Exuma Vacations and the owner of Embrace resort are both born and raised on Staniel Cay, we got the real story.
Basically, the locals of Staniel Cay were keeping their pigs in pens. As you can imagine, since the cay is less than 2 square miles, the smell became a bit of a problem.
Luckily, there was a deserted cay next door, so they decided to move the pigs there. When it came time to feed them, the farmers would simply hop in their boat and make their way to Big Major Cay.
The pigs started associating the sound of the boat motor with food and decided to swim out to greet their owners.
Yachties and sailors started noticing that pigs were swimming out to greet them as well, someone took a photo of the scenario and posted it online…and the rest is history.
Now, the swimming pigs in the Bahamas are one of the most popular attractions in the Exumas.
Where is Pig Beach?
The island where pigs swim is often called “Pig Beach”. But, that’s just the nickname given to the beach that the swimming pigs live on.
The island (cay) itself is called Big Major Cay and it’s located in the Exumas, right next to Staniel Cay. Find it on the map here, and check out the image below.
Can You Swim With the Pigs?
Yes, you can definitely swim with the pigs!
When the boat arrives at Pig Beach, it will idle offshore. The pigs will be excited to see you and come swimming out to the boat. It’s recommended to swim before the boat moors up on the sand, as the water will be cleaner the deeper out it is.
Can You Feed the Pigs?
Yes, you can feed the pigs. In fact, if the pigs come swimming out to your boat and you don’t feed them, they’ll be quite disappointed! During the pig tour, you’ll be able to feed them bread.
Is it Safe to Swim With Pigs in The Bahamas?
Short answer: yes, it’s safe to swim with the pigs. However, these are animals that roam free on the island, and there are some things to keep in mind.
Captain Dave gave us instructions on how to feed, how to swim, and how to interact with the pigs so that we had an enjoyable experience. Here are my top tips for having a safe visit with the pigs.
1. Don’t feed them on the beach
The pigs should be fed while they are swimming in the water for two reasons. The first is so they don’t ingest a bunch of sand while trying to eat the food you’ve given them, which will make them really sick.
The second reason is if you have food on you while you’re on land, the pigs may become forceful and try to get it from you. Do not feed the pigs on the beach, or have any food on you while on the beach.
2. Don’t run
If one of the pigs comes over to you while you’re on the beach and you’re getting freaked out, don’t run! All that will happen is a bunch of pigs will start chasing you. Always walk, don’t run.
3. Put your hands in the air
When you have no more food to give the pigs, put your hands up and show them there’s nothing left. They will then leave you alone and swim or walk away to find someone who does have food.
4. Swim away from shore
The pigs defecate on the beach and in the water by the shore. However, we didn’t see any poop on the sand, but while in the water, we could see the pigs relieving themselves…but, fish came around to promptly take care of the waste!
Regardless, it’s not the most sanitary thing to put your head underwater right at the shore with pigs all around you. Go for a swim with the pigs in deeper, clean water.
5. Don’t pick them up
In some cases, it’s ok to pick up the piglets and you can even bottle feed them if you want.
But, I suggest leaving the babes alone so you don’t upset the mother. Plus, pig hair is quite coarse and you may end up with a rash on your stomach or chest if you’re not wearing a shirt.
6. Give belly rubs
The pigs love to get their bellies rubbed! It’s the funniest thing. Feel free to give them a rubdown.
Caring for the Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas
When we found out that there were pigs living on an island, with tourists coming to swim and feed them, I’ll admit we were a bit skeptical about their wellbeing.
However, since seeing the swimming pigs firsthand and speaking with a member of the pig association, we saw and learned that they are very well taken care of.
Sure, tourists feed them bread, but they also have a veterinarian who does frequent check-ups, they receive vaccines, they’re fed “pig food”, and (here’s the kicker), they get coconut oil massages to help their skin and hair!
Swimming Pigs Video
If you’re looking for something fun and unique to do during your trip, then swimming with pigs in the Bahamas should be on your list — or at the very least, seeing them.
We had such a great time on the tour and could not stop laughing when the pigs came swimming towards our boat for food! It really was quite the sight.
On top of seeing swimming pigs, we really loved how the tour took in many of the incredible highlights of the Exumas. Whether you’re staying on Staniel Cay or in Nassau, spend one of your vacation days with 3N’s and the swimming pigs — you won’t regret it.
Thank you to 3N’s for a fabulous day on the water! Book your swimming pigs trip here.
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