Swimming with pigs is one of the best things to do in The Bahamas. From how to get there, the best time to go, and where to stay, here’s everything you need to know about how to swim with pigs at Pig Beach!
Picture it: crystal-clear turquoise water, sunshine-filled days, and little piggies swimming up to you while chomping on food. I mean… what’s not to love?
Though it’s debatable how the pigs got to the island in the first place, these adorable tropical creatures are a huge bucket list item in The Exumas island cluster. You can expect both an unforgettable experience and some amazing photos.
How To Swim With Pigs In The Bahamas: Must-Know Tips
The Best Time To Swim With Pigs In The Bahamas
The best time to swim with the pigs is definitely in the off-season. Though beautiful and warm all year round, the high season in The Bahamas begins in December and runs through April — during which time hundreds of people visit the pigs every single day.
Hurricane season in The Bahamas runs from June through October, meaning there is a possibility of rain and an elevated risk of hurricanes.
Because of these two factors, I recommend visiting in September, October, November or May.
Personally, I visited the pigs in the middle of November, and though there was some rain, the weather was still perfect. Plus, I got to swim with the pigs without battling it out with tons of other people and got the experience of a lifetime because of it.
The Closest Place To Stay Near Pig Beach
Swimming with the pigs at Pig Beach is easily done by staying on Staniel Cay. Though the pigs swim off the shore of Big Major Cay, Staniel Cay is a quick 5-minute boat ride away and has the most tourism infrastructure in the area.
I stayed at EMBRACE resort on Staniel Cay and absolutely loved it. They offer seven different villas of various sizes and budgets and have amenities like kitchens and in-room jacuzzis. Plus, the resort is right next door to the airport so catching flights is a breeze.
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The Best Way To See The Pigs at Pig Beach
By far the easiest way to swim with pigs in The Bahamas is by boat — specifically, a boat tour.
With tours running out of Staniel Cay, 3N’s Exuma Vacations Swimming Pigs Tour makes planning your trip to pig island easy. Not only is this operator family-owned, efficient, and personable, but they also offer 12-15 person capacity boats while other companies in the area are much more crowded. Their tours also include multiple stops on each ride. In particular, this tour stops at the pigs, at the Compass Cay nurse sharks, a sandbar, Thunderball grotto and more.
If you’ve opted to stay in Nassau instead of Staniel Cay, then you do still have options. 3N’s Exuma Vacations runs a 7-Hour Swimming with Pigs Tour From Nassau that includes 4 hours on the boat and a 30-minute flight to and from the Exumas.
Either way, it’s a good plan to book your pig excursion well in advance. Depending on the time of year, tours can book up fairly quickly and you don’t want to miss your chance.
What To Know About Swimming With The Pigs At Pig Beach
How They Got To Big Major Cay Is… Debated
The question everyone has when planning a visit to Pig Beach is… how exactly did they get there? While no one knows for sure and you’ll get a different answer from everyone you meet, the most acceptable answer is that the pigs stink and they had to be moved from a town to an uninhabited locale.
I mean, sure, the pigs are adorable when they swim in the tropical waters, but they are still farm animals!
Beware Of Poo
Speaking of pigs being farm animals, they do tend to, you know, evacuate their bowels from time to time. However, instead of in a designated pigpen, they do it either on the beach or along the shore.
It sounds grosser than it is, and they tend to not do it in deeper water, but the big thing to remember here is to not dunk your head underwater around the pigs, and just be aware of the possibility of poop.
Don’t Bring Food
This one’s a little debatable, as pigs tend to eat (almost) everything, but there have been some hiccups with tourists feeding the pigs sand-encrusted food in the past. Pigs can’t digest sand, and food that has been dropped on the beach can be potentially very harmful to the animals.
The Swimming Pigs Ltd recommends if persons want to feed the pigs to bring fruits, vegetables or bread and NEVER to feed on the beach both for the pigs not ingesting sand and also to avoid pig bites.
Keep An Eye On Them
As the pigs don’t have great eyesight and can be easily startled, make sure you keep an eye on them at all times. Don’t let them get behind you, and don’t try to tease the pigs with food. There have been reports of tourists getting nibbled on by a hungry pig, but this can generally be avoided if you don’t treat food as a game.
And of course — be friendly with the pigs! They’re pretty loveable animals who are used to humans, and they’re generally down for some rubs and affection.
That being said, please do not touch the newborn piglets. They do not like to be touched at that age and mama may bite if she hears her piglets squealing.
Covid-19 Tips for Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas
Covid-19 Testing & Visas
Swimming with the pigs means following Covid-19 regulations for both your home country as well as The Bahamas.
For vaccinated travelers entering The Bahamas, you must get a rapid Covid-19 test no more than 5 days before you arrive. To make the process as easy as possible, I recommend getting this test 2-3 days before and then, once you’re cleared for Covid, applying for your visa into the country. This visa costs roughly $40-$60 and takes 24-48 hours to process.
The reason I recommend taking your Covid test 2-3 days before your arrival:
- In case of last minute flight changes or delayed flight you’ll still be within the 5 days.
- Travel visas are generally received within 24 hours, 49 max and if you don’t see it by 36 hours you can call or email them and ask for an update.
- If you’re doing the Swimming Pigs Tour from Nassau, you’ll need that test to go from Nassau to Exuma so if you take it 3 days before then you’ll be able to do the tour within the first 2 days of your trip without retesting.
Of course, Covid-19 requirements and fees can be different for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. You can keep up with the various regulations here: https://travel.gov.bs/
Covid-19 Regulations In The Bahamas
In general, I found Covid-19 restrictions in and around Staniel Cay to be minimal as they’ve had only a few cases of the virus. However, there is a mask mandate that’s enforced in indoor areas and the airport.
As is the new norm, keep your masks on hand and hand sanitizer at the ready.
Returning To The United States
All travelers (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) will need a negative test within 1 day of returning to the United States.
To make this process easy, EMBRACE Resort offers everyone (whether they’re staying at the resort or not) rapid antigen Covid tests on the property. These tests are $35 per person and you can book an appointment in advance using this link.
What To Pack For Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas
Toiletries: For any ocean-based trip, I highly recommend using reef-safe sunscreen. This will make sure that both you and the marine life stay healthy and happy. Also, pack some bug spray – it was sold out on the island during my stay, and you don’t want to be caught without it.