Have you heard of the Bahamas’ most famous residents, the swimming pigs of Big Major Cay, often known as pig beach?
This is one of those touristy activities that lived up to the hype for me. The pigs really do swim right out to your boat, and I had a blast on this adventure. However, not all swimming pig experiences are created equal. My greatest advice for making the most of your day swimming with the pigs is as follows:
Pick a Local Tour Operator
Big Major Cay is an uninhabited island in the Exumas, so unless you have your own boat, you’ll have to take a tour from Nassau, Staniel Cay, or somewhere else in the Exumas to get there. It’s part of a day trip that usually includes a few other destinations, such as the nurse sharks and a sand bar.
Many businesses offer the swimming pig experience, but 3N’s Exuma Vacations out of Staniel Cay, the closest populated island near the pigs, provides a good historical perspective. Dave, our skipper, definitely had a unique bond with the pigs, as he had been with them since they moved to Big Major Cay. You can use this operator out of Nassau even if you aren’t staying on Staniel Cay.
I also admired how little their boats were. When taking a boat from Nassau, you may find yourself with 20 to 50 passengers simply on your boat!
So, how did the pigs end there on Pig Beach in the first place? They relocated the pigs off of Staniel Cay because, well, they smelled, as Captain Dave relates the story. Having a pig farm that wasn’t sharing space with the already tiny inhabited islands seemed like a smart idea at the time.
Other legends claim that the pigs were abandoned by pirates, or that sailors dropped them there in the hopes of returning later to transform them into a meal, or that the pigs were survivors of a shipwreck. Dave’s account, in my opinion, is the most realistic.
Whatever happened to get them there, no one knew the pigs could and would swim, turning them into one of the Bahamas’ most popular attractions!
Since then, many pig beaches have sprouted up, but the pigs on Big Major Cay are the originals.
Get in the Water
I couldn’t suppress my joy when I first saw the pigs swimming towards the boat in search of treats. I didn’t need to be urged twice to jump in the water after Captain Dave encouraged me to do so. The piglets are lovely as they swim, puffing. They’re also quick and can swim considerably farther than I anticipated.
I strongly advise you to join them in the pool and swim with them! Don’t put off your interaction until you get to the beach, which may be packed. Because they come straight up to the boat, this is one of your finest chances to have a few seconds alone with them.
I liked how the images turned out as well. Captain Dave was fantastic at shooting shots for me, and he made sure to keep feeding them treats so they’d stay and swim for a while.