Swimming with the Pigs in Exuma is a must when visiting the Bahamas
The scenery in the Bahamas might be legendary, but it’s got nothing on the wildlife. From iguanas and flamingos to dolphins and spider crabs, there is always something exciting to see here. While spending time in this exotic archipelago, you might even get the chance to see pigs swimming through the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic. Yes, the Bahamas are home to the famous swimming pigs of Big Major Cay.
Also known as Pig Island, Big Major Cay is one of the more than 300 islands making up the Exuma Island chain, and it offers the easiest access to the famous swimming pigs of the Bahamas. These little pigs are not necessarily natives of the Bahamas but have lived here long enough to charm everyone who visits. The local community considers itself their guardians and is committed to ensuring their safety and wellbeing. They have created a system that provides them with fresh water and security, including pens and nurseries to care for sick pigs and piglets.
How Did Pigs Get in Exuma?
The true story of the arrival of the swimming pigs of the Exumas has been lost to history, but that doesn’t mean there are not plenty of theories. One story goes that pigs were left behind after a shipwreck or similar emergency. The pigs ended up fending for themselves when their caretakers failed to retrieve them after evacuating the island. Another story, one that is far more likely, is that the pigs came from Staniel Cay, a nearby island. The locals deliberately placed the pigs on Pig Island to minimize the smell in their own homes. They traveled to the island regularly by boat to feed the pigs. Eventually, the pigs associated the boats with food and began swimming eagerly to meet boats that appeared in the nearby water.
While we may never really be able to know the true origins of the pigs or verify any stories, one thing is for certain: These little pigs just love swimming for their dinners. We also know that people love visiting them. More than six million people come to Pig Island every year!
How to Meet the Swimming Pigs
If you want to swim with pigs in Exuma, the first thing you need to know is that Pig Island is not inhabited by people. In other words, reaching it might not be so simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You have several options. You can bring your vessel to feed the pigs of Exuma, or you can use a ferry to reach the island. You can also use a boat tour.
On a tour, your guides will explain the various rules of Pig Island and help you understand the safest way to engage with the famous swimming pigs and the best ways to feed them. This includes never hand-feeding them, which can increase the risk of aggressive behavior, and only feeding in the water and not on the beach, which helps preserve the pigs’ natural behavior. The tour may also provide or explain the proper diet for the pigs. While some visitors are tempted to share their foods or convenience foods with the pigs, this is highly discouraged. Pigs should only be given fresh fruits and vegetables for health reasons.
Swimming with the pigs in Exuma is a must-do activity for anyone visiting the Bahamas. Just a day trip away from Florida, this experience is exciting, enriching, and full of memorable opportunities. Call us today to learn more or to plan to swim with pigs!