Everything you need to know about Pig Beach Bahamas
The most important thing to know when planning a trip to swim with the pigs in The Bahamas is that the REAL Swimming Pigs are not in Nassau or any other island for that matter. The real Pig Beach Bahamas is on a small cay just off Staniel Cay, Exuma called Big Major Cay.
Pig Beach or Big Major Cay is located approximately 77 miles away from Nassau. Making it a long journey for travelers, but worth every minute and perfect for a day trip. The journey to Pig Beach will be either a 3-hour boat ride (don’t recommend) or a 30-minute flight (highly recommend). The cost per person to get you to pig island will be about $500, and there is much more to pig island than just swimming with the pigs. Let’s dive in to explore more info!
About Pig Island & Exuma
A little lesson on Islands and Cays; they are both a piece of land surrounded by water. The difference is, an Island has inhabitants of 100 persons or more, whereas a cay is uninhabited or inhabited by less than 100 residents.
The Bahamas has 700 islands and cays, 16 of which are considered Islands, and the remaining are all cays. The Exuma chain alone is 365 Cays, one of them being an Island, located in the south, called Great Exuma. Great Exuma can be considered the “capital” of the Exuma Chains. It’s the largest island, has an international airport and all the standard government buildings, banks, grocery stores, etc. When booking your trip to Exuma it’s important to note that Great Exuma is not the home of the swimming pigs, the pigs live in Big Major Cay and the closest airport to access them is in Staniel Cay, Exuma. The distance from Great Exuma to Pig Beach is roughly the same as it is from Nassau.
If pig beach is the main focus of your trip, I highly suggest booking your trip to stay in Staniel Cay, Exuma. Not only is Staniel Cay one of the best places in The Bahamas, but it is also 1 mile away from pig beach. Staniel Cay is surrounded by some of the most beautiful water in the world, it is a small island, with roughly 70 residents. It is home to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, a famous Marina, restaurant, and bar.
Staniel Cay is one of the only places in the Bahamas where you can rent your own boat and drive around and explore! This makes getting to Pig Beach an easy task! If you are interested in booking a trip to Staniel Cay, check out my recent blog post Travel Guide to Staniel Cay, Exuma.
The Exuma Cays stretch over 130 miles of water and are all different shapes and sizes. The Exuma’s are home to the famous swimming pigs, the famous sharks, the beautiful Thunderball Grotto, Pablo Escobar’s Island, the underwater mermaid on the piano, turtles, sandbars, and much more. Some of these amazing attractions are close to each other, some are hundreds of miles away.
Meet the swimming pigs of The Bahamas
So how did the swimming pigs get to The Bahamas? There are a few suggested theories on how pig island came to be. One suggestion and the most realistic is that back in the day, the pigs were living on Staniel Cay, which is about a mile away from the current Pig Beach. They were quite loud and stinky, and the residents got annoyed of them, so they moved them to the closest island, Big Major Cay, otherwise known as Pig Beach.
At any given point, there are about 20 pigs on pig beach ranging from little piglets to big piggies. They are taken care of by the Pig Beach Committee, located on Staniel Cay. They ensure pig beach stays clean, the pigs are taken care of, given water, and any extra attention needed.
Is it okay to feed the pigs?
Yes of course! Feeding the pigs is absolutely fine and encouraged! Just a friendly reminder that they should be eating things like fruits and veggies, not candies and chips. They are wild animals and should not be subject to eating highly processed junk food. The healthier and fresher the food, the better! And by absolutely no means should the pigs be given alcohol of any kind, that is inhumane and cruel.
Celebrity pigs of the Bahamas: How they became famous!
Exuma is one of the most popular places to sail or explore via boat as it is extremely beautiful and usually has very calm waters. With lots of traffic flowing in and out by boaters, these piggies were bound to get noticed. Big Major Cay (Pig Beach) is situated in a protected bay, where many boats anchor while they explore the Exuma chain.
Naturally, these boaters saw the pigs, decided to feed them, and the rest is history. Now every time a boat pulls up the pigs are triggered to believe there is food on its way (which is usually the case) and they haul their little booties into the water to get some food.
It’s quite the phenomenon to see pigs swim, as they are land animals, and by no means tiny mammals. The boaters thought this was epic, and as soon as social media was introduced these little piggies went viral, bringing in billions of dollars of revenue into the Bahamas. Thank you, swimming pigs of the Bahamas!
When is the best time to visit the pigs?
You can swim with the pigs in the Bahamas 365 days of the year. Luckily, pig beach is always open, and given the beautiful weather conditions in The Bahamas, any time is a good time. Pig Beach is open every day, however, I would advise going on off-season (May-October) as it’s less crowded, but honestly, any time is good.
Additionally, if you are staying in Staniel Cay, or booking your Pig Beach Bahamas Tour through us, we will time your tour to when the least amount of people are there. This allows you to have more one-on-one time with the piggies and get some great photo ops without all the other tourists buzzing around.
What else is there to do on pig island?
On pig island itself, you can explore the luscious greenery and beautiful views all over the island. Pig island itself is about a mile long, so if you are interested you can explore the whole island within an hour. Additionally, there are some of the most beautiful destinations in the Bahamas within a 5-10 minute boat ride from Pig Beach.
This is why we recommend you booking your pig beach Bahamas tour with us, we will show you all the beautiful, natural beauties of the Exuma Islands & Cays. You can also check out our Travel Guide to Staniel Cay, Exuma for more info! Some of these include the Thunderball Grotto, Endangered Iguanas, Sandbars, Swimming with the Sharks, and more!
Can you pet the pigs?
You can absolutely pet the swimming pigs! They are quite friendly and used to the attention but also a reminder that these are wild animals, they are not pets. Some important things to remember:
- If you do not have food and they are coming toward you, simply put your hands up indicating you don’t have any food.
- Never run from any animal, swimming pig, dog, etc., they chase you. Simply put your hands up and always face them, otherwise, they may nip you on your booty.
- You can pick up the babies, but if they squeal, put them down, as that is an indication that they are not happy or uncomfortable.
Navigating your way to Pig Island
Pig Island is located on Big Major Cay, one of Exuma’s 365 islands. It’s about halfway down the chain, about 77 miles from Nassau.
The absolute best way to get to the swimming pigs is to book a tour with us. Float Your Boat Bahamas flies you down to Staniel Cay, where a captain will be waiting for you to show you the way and explore all the best parts of the Exuma’s.
Pig Island is approximately 1.5 miles from Staniel Cay and can only be accessed by boat. To get to Staniel Cay you must fly (a 30-minute flight) or take a long boat ride from Nassau (2-3 hours). Initially, you may think the boat ride is enjoyable, but I can ensure you that going 40 MPH in a speed boat is not fun. Especially when the weather is a factor you risk getting cancellations last minute.
Because Float Your Boat Bahamas flies our clients out of Nassau, it provides you with the maximum time to enjoy the best parts of the tour, exploring the islands around Staniel Cay. This includes swimming with the pigs, swimming with the sharks, hanging out with endangered iguanas, exploring sandbars and snorkeling the Thunderball Grotto. For more info on our Pig Beach Bahamas tour, click here!
If you are staying in Staniel Cay, you can simply rent your own boat and hop over to pig beach in about 5 minutes. Or you can hire a boat captain to take you there.
Cruise Ship in Nassau: From the port to the pigs
The only option for cruise shippers to see the pigs is if they have an overnight stay or arrive before 7 am. It is a whole day experience, but doable! Contact Float Your Boat Bahamas for more info! It will cost about $500 per person but will be worth every penny. If you are in the Bahamas for only 24 hours this is absolutely the one thing you should do on your vacation!
Other things to consider when booking a tour to Pig Beach
Booking a tour to see the Swimming pigs is one of the best decisions you’ll make. But not only because of pig beach. You will see some of the most beautiful blue clear waters in your life. You won’t believe your eyes. Additionally, you will meet the great people that live on Staniel Cay and experience real island culture. You will explore many more beautiful and natural stops while on your tour. It’s an experience to remember for a lifetime.
There are many companies popping up and doing pigs experiences all over The Bahamas. The original Bahamas Pig Beach is in The Exuma’s. You won’t find a better experience than the one on Big Major Cay. All the Instagram photos and pictures you have seen online are of the real swimming pigs in the Exuma’s. Don’t cut yourself short, there is a big difference when choosing which swimming pigs you see in the Bahamas.
How much does it cost to visit Pig Beach?
Tours range from $400-$1,000 per person. The cost depends on how private your tour is, as well as if you go by boat or by plane. If you want to be on a group tour stacked like sardines on a 3-hour boat ride from Nassau, you can find tours for $400 per person. The price goes up from there and that’s because the tours are private, customized and a more high-end experience.
Additionally, there is a $10 per person fee to enter Pig Beach, but that cost is usually covered in the tour price.
The best experience will be booking your tour to Pig Beach Bahamas with us. Our tours are no hassle, private experiences. You can choose to omit anything you don’t want to do. You could spend your whole 5-hour tour at pig beach if you’d like.
Float Your Boat Bahamas is all about the customer experience. We want to create memories for a lifetime for you and your group. Our guests always tell us that our Pig Beach Bahamas Tour was their “best day ever”. We strive to show the Bahamas in an authentic way, from a locals perspective. You’ll never feel like a tourist on our tours, and you will get to explore the Bahamas in the best way possible, with locals!