Swimming with pigs is one of the best things to do in The Bahamas. Including how to get there, the best time to visit, what to pack, and where to stay, here’s everything you need to know about how to swim with pigs at Pig Beach!
Swimming With Pigs On Pig Beach In The Bahamas
Swimming pigs is something you don’t see every day and is definitely a bucket list experience. 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.
The Best Time To Visit Pig Beach
The best time to swim with the Bahamas 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.
PROMO CODE: Use our promo code TRAVEL21 when booking your vacation at EMBRACE Resort to get a 5% discount!
How To Get To Pig Beach In The Bahamas
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.
How Did The Pigs Get To Pig Beach?
How the pigs 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!
What To Expect When Visiting Pig Beach
You won’t spend all day with the pigs.
When taking a Pig Beach excursion, most tour operators will allow you to spend about 15-20 minutes with the pigs. If you want to spend more time with them, plan to take a private tour, which will give you more freedom.
Tour guides cannot guarantee that the pigs will swim with you.
These are wild animals and they are free to roam as they please. They are motivated by food and can often be coaxed into the water, however, that depends on how many people have already fed them during the time you visit. I was able to swim with the pigs the first time I visited, but on my second visit, they were not as interested in food and they stayed closer to shore.
You will share the island with other tourists.
You won’t be the only tour boat at the island when visiting. There are often at least 2-3 other boats at Pig Beach. It never felt crowded when I was there, but I can imagine it might be crowded during high season — which is why I recommend visiting during the off-season.
Important Tips For Swimming With Pigs At Pig Beach
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 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/
What To Bring To Pig Beach
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.
Not at this time. There is no public transport to Pig Beach so you must book an excursion to visit the pigs. Because these are wild pigs, you don’t want to visit the island without a knowledgeable tour guide. This helps to keep both humans and pigs safe because the guides can inform guests how to protect both you and the pigs — and make sure the pigs are treated ethically.
It will take approximately 3 hours by speed boat to get from Nassau to Pig Island.
This will depend on which tour operator you choose and whether you are traveling from Staniel Cay or Nassau. Prices vary between about $250 to $500 per person for adults and $100 to $250 for children.
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