As you embark on a journey to the beautiful islands of The Bahamas, you may find yourself captivated by the allure of swimming pigs. These adorable creatures have become an internet sensation, drawing millions of tourists to the Exumas each year. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about finding and swimming with the famous pigs of The Bahamas. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

All About the Bahamas’ Swimming Pigs

The swimming pigs of The Bahamas have gained worldwide fame for their playful and adorable nature. They reside on various islands in the archipelago, including Eleuthera, Rose Island, Abaco, and Ship Channel Cay. However, the most renowned location to find these charming creatures is Big Major Cay, also known as Pig Island.

How To Find The Swimming Pigs Of The Bahamas!
Little piglet in a water at beach on Exuma Bahamas

Big Major Cay is home to approximately 20 pigs and piglets who have captured the hearts of visitors. The pigs are believed to have been brought to the island in the early 1990s by two farmers, Wayde Nixon and Don Rolle, with the intention of starting a pig farm. However, the pigs quickly adapted to their new surroundings and became a beloved attraction.

Where to Find Pig Beach

Pig Beach, the original swimming pigs’ haven, is located on Big Major Cay in the Exumas. To reach this paradise, you have several options. The closest inhabited island to Big Major Cay is Great Exuma, making it an ideal starting point for your adventure. You can book a tour, charter your own boat, or rent a boat from Great Exuma to reach Pig Island.

How To Find The Swimming Pigs Of The Bahamas!
Wild pigs on Big Majors Island in The Bahamas, lounging and walking around in the sand and ocean.

If you’re staying in Nassau, you can also visit Pig Island. Although it is farther away, approximately 82 miles from Nassau, you can book a tour or take a one-day trip by plane or powerboat. Consider staying at all-inclusive resorts in Nassau, such as Sandals Royal Bahamian, which offer convenient access to the swimming pigs.

The Best Time to Visit the Swimming Pigs

When planning your trip to swim with the pigs, timing is crucial. The best time to visit Pig Island and the other islands with swimming pigs is between mid-December and mid-April, which coincides with the peak travel season in The Bahamas. During this period, you are more likely to find a tour that suits your preferences.

How To Find The Swimming Pigs Of The Bahamas!

However, if you prefer fewer crowds and are willing to take a chance with the weather, consider visiting between June and November. This period is considered the low season due to the possibility of hurricanes. Keep in mind that visiting in the morning is ideal, as the pigs are more active and excited to interact with visitors.

How to Get to Pig Beach

To reach Pig Beach, you can choose between different transportation options depending on your starting point. If you are in Great Exuma, you can easily take a boat tour from Sandals Emerald Bay or charter a boat from the island. This allows you the freedom to explore other islands in the area as well.

If you are in Nassau, you have the choice of a one-day trip by plane or powerboat. Flying to Staniel Cay from Nassau is the most convenient option, as it takes approximately 35 minutes. Alternatively, you can opt for a powerboat tour, which offers a scenic journey with additional experiences like feeding stingrays and observing sharks.

Other Islands with Swimming Pigs in The Bahamas

While Pig Island is the most famous location to swim with the pigs, there are other islands in The Bahamas where you can have similar experiences. Eleuthera, Rose Island, Ship Channel Cay, and No Name Cay in Abaco are among the islands where you might encounter these friendly creatures.How To Find The Swimming Pigs Of The Bahamas!

Meeks Patch Island in Eleuthera offers a unique swimming pigs experience combined with the opportunity to see ducks and even a turkey. Rose Island, a short boat ride from Nassau, is home to nine pigs and provides an excellent snorkeling experience. Ship Channel Cay and No Name Cay are also worth exploring for their beautiful beaches and the chance to encounter swimming pigs.

Safety precautions to keep in mind when encountering the swimming pigs:

Before discussing how to interact with the swimming pigs, it is important to mention that petting them is allowed on Pig Island. However, it is essential to use your discretion, just like with any tour involving animals. It is crucial to treat the pigs with respect and kindness in order to receive the same in return. When approaching and handling the animals, always exercise caution and be considerate.

It is advised not to handle the piglets as they may squeal and startle you, potentially causing you to drop them. The same applies to the older pigs, and it is also not recommended to attempt to ride them. Overall, it is important to keep a close watch on the pigs at all times while interacting with them.

Feeding the Pigs:

The Bahamian Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources has raised concerns about tourists feeding the pigs on the island, implying that this practice may be restricted in the future. In the meantime, for the safety and well-being of the pigs, it is important to keep the following guidelines in mind when feeding them on Pig Island:

  • Refrain from feeding the pigs if you are afraid – Simply put, this is not a good idea. The pigs are quite large and may even chase after you if you have food. If the pigs make you nervous, avoid going to the beach with any food at all.
  • Avoid feeding the pigs on the sand – It is not recommended to feed the pigs on the sand. The best option is to feed them in the water when they swim up to your boat. Feeding them on the sand can cause them to ingest too much sand, which can be harmful to their health. If you are unsure, it is best to not feed the pigs at all.
  • Be cautious – If you turn away from the pigs, they may interpret it as a sign of neglect and nip at you for attention. Keep a watchful eye on them, and if they approach you looking for food when you have none, show them your open palms to indicate that you have no food to offer.
  • Familiarize yourself with the recommended food – If you plan on feeding the pigs, keep in mind that they prefer pitted fruits and vegetables, lettuce, carrots, watermelon, apples, and freshwater. Their access to fresh water on the island is limited and can even dry up at times. So, offering them water is always appreciated!

Upcoming modifications for the feeding of pigs on Pig Island may be in store:

The pigs on the island are capable of finding their own food and have been doing so for a long time, so visitors do not need to feed them. The authorities have suggested implementing a warden at the beach and establishing boundary lines as potential changes to feeding the pigs. This could mean that visitors will only be allowed to observe the pigs, but not feed them. It is uncertain when these changes will be implemented.

In order to ensure the safety of the pigs and the preservation of the area, there may be limitations on future visits to Pig Island. Another issue currently being addressed is the domestication of the pigs, as they used to primarily reside in small forest areas on the island. However, due to the high number of visitors arriving by boat, the pigs have migrated to the beach over time, which is not their natural habitat. This has had consequences. Luckily, discussions are already taking place on ways to protect the pigs while still allowing visitors on a smaller scale.

What to Bring for Your Swimming Pigs Adventure

To make the most of your swimming pigs adventure, pack the following essentials:

  1. Swimwear: Don’t forget your bathing suit or bikini for a refreshing swim with the pigs.
  2. Towel or sarong: Bring a towel or sarong to dry off and cover up when you’re not in the water.
  3. Camera or phone: Capture the precious moments with the pigs and the stunning surroundings. Consider using a waterproof case or pouch for your phone to protect it during water activities.
  4. Sunscreen and sunhat: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays with sunscreen and a sunhat, especially during boat rides and beach visits.
  5. Sunglasses: Shield your eyes from the bright Bahamian sun with a pair of sunglasses.
  6. Goggles: If you plan to snorkel with the pigs or take underwater photos, don’t forget to bring goggles or a snorkel mask.
  7. Insect repellent: Keep pesky mosquitoes at bay with insect repellent, especially during the summer months.
  8. Cash or credit card: Bring some cash or a credit card for purchases on the inhabited islands you visit and for tipping your guide.

Tips for a Memorable Experience with the Swimming Pigs

To ensure a memorable and enjoyable encounter with the swimming pigs, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be respectful: Remember that these are living creatures, not props. Be respectful when interacting with the pigs and avoid picking them up or trying to ride them.
  2. Let the pigs come to you: Allow the pigs to approach you rather than chasing them down the beach. Respect their personal space and observe them from a distance.
  3. Feed them responsibly: If you choose to feed the pigs, avoid giving them processed foods. Stick to fruits, vegetables, and bread. Be cautious when feeding them, as they may be enthusiastic and try to grab the food from your hand.
  4. Leave no trace: Take all your trash with you when leaving Pig Beach. Keep the island clean and protect the natural environment.
  5. Respect the rules: Follow any guidelines provided by your tour operator or the local authorities to ensure the well-being of the pigs and the preservation of their habitat.

Additional Information

The swimming pigs of The Bahamas offer a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors. However, it is essential to remember that the pigs are living creatures and should be treated with respect and care. While the pigs have caretakers who ensure their well-being, it is the responsibility of visitors to follow guidelines and act responsibly during their interactions with these adorable creatures.

Frequently Asked Questions about Swimming with Pigs in The Bahamas

Can you stay overnight on Big Major Cay?

Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to spend the night on Big Major Cay as part of a tour. Most tours only spend a few hours on the island before returning to the mainland. There are no facilities on the island that would allow for overnight stays.

What else is there to see on Big Major Cay besides the pigs?

While the pigs are the main attraction on Big Major Cay, the island also boasts beautiful white sand beaches and a small forest. Even if you visit solely to see the pigs, you can still enjoy lounging on the beach and exploring the island.

Are there opportunities to take photos on Pig Island?

Yes, there will be plenty of chances to take photos during your visit to Pig Island. Just be sure to pay attention to your surroundings before snapping any pictures.

Is there any other way to reach Pig Beach besides by boat?

A boat ride is the only means of transportation to Pig Beach in The Bahamas. Even if you fly to Exuma from another island, you will still need to take a boat to get to Pig Island. Fortunately, arranging a tour is a simple way to make this happen.

What are the typical operating hours for pig beach tours in The Bahamas?

Generally, boats and tours in The Bahamas operate from 8 AM/9 AM to 5 PM, depending on local time.

How much does it cost to go on a day tour to Pig Island? Can you pay with USD?

A tour to see the swimming pigs in The Bahamas can range from $160 to $210 USD per person. The price may vary depending on the tour operator, so it’s advisable to compare options before choosing the best one for you. While the official currency in these islands is the Bahamian Dollar, USD is widely accepted for tour payments.

How long does a swimming pig tour usually last?

Most tours are approximately four hours long, but some may be shorter or longer. Travel time is usually not included in this estimation. The duration of your tour will depend on whether you opt for a half-day or full-day tour, and the type of excursion or tour you choose. Some activities last for a whole day, while others are shorter and only last a few hours.

Do you have to enter the water to interact with the swimming pigs?

No, it’s not necessary to get wet in order to interact with the pigs in The Bahamas. In fact, some people choose to stay on the boat as the pigs often swim over to greet arriving boats. However, some may choose to get off the boat and wade to the island if the boat gets close enough to shore. In that case, getting wet is likely inevitable.

What are the different kinds of swimming pig tours available in The Bahamas?

There is a wide variety of tours to choose from in The Bahamas, including power boat trips, catamaran cruises, day excursions with flights to different islands, and various other tours that offer transportation from your resort to the attraction and back.

Who should avoid the Pig Island excursion?

Due to safety concerns, it is not recommended for pregnant women, individuals with physical disabilities, back problems, or recent back surgery, and those who are easily prone to seasickness to participate in the Swimming with the Pigs excursion.

Is Pig Island, also known as Big Major Cay, inhabited by humans?

Big Major Cay is not inhabited by humans. It is one of the many uninhabited islands in The Bahamas and is mainly used for tours.


Swimming with the pigs in The Bahamas is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. From the stunning beauty of the Exumas to the playful nature of the pigs, every moment is filled with joy and wonder. Remember to be respectful, follow the guidelines, and cherish the opportunity to interact with these unique creatures. So pack your swimwear, bring your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure with the swimming pigs of The Bahamas!

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