How to Swim With Pigs in the Bahamas

Getting to Pig Beach and Visiting With the Swine Responsibly

Two pigs standing in clear ocean water

 Kerstin Anke / EyeEm

There's a little island in the Exumas, Bahamas, that is home to no humans but more than a dozen pigs and piglets who can be seen swimming around in the crystal-clear seas. Pig Beach has beckoned many a tourist, including some of the cast of "The Bachelor."

Nobody knows exactly how long the little oinkers have inhabited the island (more than a decade, it seems), but they’ve since become the local celebrities. While they seem like friendly company, tourists should visit Pig Beach responsibly so as to preserve these adorable, jovial creatures and keep them healthy.

Getting to Pig Beach

Pig Beach is the southernmost beach on Big Major Cay in the Exuma Cays, a 120-mile archipelago located southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas. With 365 islets, there is literally a cay for every day of the year. The Exuma Cays are among the most pristine Bahamian islands and it’s easy to see why A-listers like Johnny Depp and Richard Branson retreat here. 

The only way to get to Pig Beach is by boat, so tourists will either have to charter one themselves or book an excursion. Four C’s Adventures is a popular tour group that has a full-day offering. Whichever company you choose, make sure the tour group is practicing sustainable and ethical values. Tourism in the area has become so popular that the safety and health of the pigs has been compromised by it.

How to Visit Responsibly

Seven of the 20-ish pigs on the island died abruptly in 2017. At first, alcohol was the believed culprit, but an autopsy revealed that the swine died from sand ingestion. Many tours include feedings as part of their excursions—and the pigs rely on these feedings now instead of finding their own food sources—but it's up to tourists to handle these feedings responsibly.

No matter what the tour groups give you to feed them, only feed the pigs pitted fruits and vegetables. Giving them fresh water is an even better idea because water on the island is limited. To prevent them from swallowing too much sand, be sure to feed them while they're in the water, not on the beach.

Where to Stay

There is nowhere to stay on Pig Beach, specifically, but many nearby resorts and hotels offer excursions and boat rentals, themselves. On Great Exuma, the Grand Isle Resort's three-day True Exuma Experience package includes villa accommodations, daily breakfast, and a half-day excursion to Pig Beach. On Staniel Cay, the colorful Staniel Cay Yacht Club can arrange excursions, too.

Similarly, you can charter your own boat from the Fowl Cay Resort, minutes away from Pig Beach, and it's actually included in the price of your stay. A more budget-friendly option is Isles Inn (which gives you access to a golf cart for getting around the island), but you would have to purchase Pig Island excursions in addition to your accommodation.

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