The Exuma Bahamas Beach Pigs: Everything You Need to Know

By K.C. DermodyK.C. DermodyK.C. DermodyK.C. Dermody is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland and has had hundreds of travel articles published online and in print, including Yahoo! Travel, Trips To Discover, Hotels.com, Travelocity, and many more. She also creates itineraries for major tour companies focused on Greece, Croatia, Iceland, Ireland, the UK, Canada, and the US.Meet Our Team | Updated on April 12, 2024 | Posted In: Honeymoon Destinations


When you look up the Bahamas, at least one of the images you’re likely to see is of what looks like very happy pigs swimming off a pristine Caribbean beach. I don’t know about you, but when I found out the Bahamas beach pigs weren’t just some AI creation, seeing them in person immediately went on the bucket list. I started digging into why they were there, how to get to them, and how much it cost. In this guide, I’ll reveal everything you need to know to enjoy this extraordinary experience.

Only about 25 pigs and piglets are there, roaming free and not held in captivity. Despite being wild, the pigs are extremely friendly. This is because their primary food source is the food that visitors feed them. You typically won’t see any other animals on the island, except maybe a few stray cats and the occasional goat.

Bahamas Beach Pigs

Where is Pig Beach

Pig Beach is located on an uninhabited island called Big Major Cay, also known as Pig Island, part of the Exuma Cays. There have been other swimming pig attractions popping up across the Bahamas. However, these are merely tourist traps. The pigs are usually held in captivity rather than enjoying the freedom to roam as they please like the originals.

Why There Are Pigs on a Beach in the Bahamas

Pigs are not a native species to the Bahamas, so you might wonder how they ended up there. Nobody really knows for sure. But, the most popular theory is that they were moved to the uninhabited island when locals complained of their smell on the nearby farming island of Staniel Cay.

Once the pigs were moved to Big Major Cay, the winds carried the smell away from Staniel Cay, resolving the issue. The farmers would have to boat to the island every day to feed the pigs, which led to the pigs swimming out to greet their providers. 

Another story that could explain the Bahamas beach pigs is that the pigs swam to the small island when the ship they were on was wrecked. Some also believe that early settlers dropped the pigs off on Big Major Cay to store them as food with the plan to pick them up later but they never managed to do it.

Where to Stay to See the Bahamas Beach Pigs

There are three different islands that I recommend staying at to see the Bahamas beach pigs: Staniel Cay, Fowl Cay, and Great Exuma. Staniel Cay and Fowl Cay are a mere 10-minute boat ride from Pig Island, but they are tiny and require a seaplane to reach.

Great Exuma is the largest island in the Exuma Cays, home to the city of Georgetown and an international airport. If you are uncomfortable renting your own boat to explore the Cays, I recommend staying on this island rather than the two smaller islands. The boat ride from Great Exuma to Pig Island is approximately two hours but usually involves other stops along the way.

The Bahamas offers some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Below I’ll go over a few resorts on the different islands that would all be excellent choices for your stay that includes a visit to Pig Beach.

Fowl Cay Resort

If you’re someone who wants secluded luxury with everything you could possibly need included, Fowl Cay Resort is the place for you. This resort is on its own private island, just a few minutes from Pig Beach. To make the trip to Big Major Cay even more convenient, a power boat is included in the price of your stay.

At Fowl Cay Resort, you’ll stay in a private villa equipped with unlimited snacks and drinks. Airport transfer from Staniel Cay, fishing gear, all your meals and beverages, access to tons of water sports equipment, and much more are included. The opportunities are endless at Fowl Cay for creating a dream vacation.

Book your stay: https://www.fowlcay.com/

Staniel Cay Yacht Club

This resort has something for everyone, whether you’re visiting by boat or airplane. You can also purchase a package plan with inclusions similar to Fowl Cay resort, such as your own power boat, three meals a day, and equipment rentals to explore the island.

Since Staniel Cay Yacht Club has its own marina, you can leave for a tour to Pig Beach and other Exuma destinations right from the property. Reef sharks and stingrays also frequent the area, so you might just see some marine life right from your front porch. There are four different restaurants on the property that offer top-notch dining experiences too.

Book your stay: https://stanielcay.com/

Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma

Located on Great Exuma, Sandals Emerald Bay is a large, all-inclusive resort that will have you wishing you could stay forever. Tours to Big Major Cay will pick you up right from the resort, making it a breeze to see the swimming pigs. You can also enjoy many activities that are included in the rates like scuba diving, golf, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing.

You can choose between several different accommodation options, including standard rooms, honeymoon suites, and villas with butler service. There are 11 restaurants so you’ll never have to eat the same thing during your stay. Although the food is so good, you might want to return to some restaurants more than once. 

Book your stay: https://www.sandals.com/emerald-bay/

How to Get to Pig Beach

There are two ways to get to Pig Beach. You can either take a tour or rent a boat from Staniel Cay. Tours are available departing from almost anywhere in the Bahamas. However, unless you stay on one of the three islands listed above, you’ll have to take a seaplane to Staniel Cay, which makes the price much higher.

Renting Your Own Boat

Renting your own boat to get to Pig Beach is only recommended from Staniel Cay if you have a lot of boating experience and know how to navigate the islands. If that’s you, this option is ideal for exploring more of the Exuma Cays, going beyond Pig Island. 

You can travel at your own pace and it’s possible that you’ll save some money by renting a boat. Plus, you can also revisit the beach pigs as often as you’d like. If you aren’t comfortable navigating the islands on your own, some boat rental companies will provide you with a captain. Check with your resort to find out which boat rental options are near you.

Bahamas Beach Pigs

Bahamas Beach Pigs Tours

Most tours to the Bahamas beach pigs come from Great Exuma. This is typically an all-day tour via a power boat that can include stops at Compass Cay to swim with nurse sharks, snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto, a stop at Iguana Island, and much more. Some of the most popular tours are:

Best Time to Visit the Beach Pigs

You can visit the beach pigs year-round as the weather is always warm in the Bahamas. However, you should know that hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th. If a storm comes, tours will be canceled, and the pigs will be taken to shelter for safety. 

Tours generally run from 9 am to 5 pm. Therefore, if you rent your own boat, the least busy times to visit are early in the morning. The pigs are very active and eager to be fed, so you’ll get the most activity and love from the pigs at this time. The pigs become full and worn out as the day progresses, making them a little lazier. You most likely won’t see them swimming or being interactive by the afternoon. 

Bahamas Beach Pigs

Cost to Swim with the Bahamas Beach Pigs

The cost of swimming with the pigs will vary depending on where you’re coming from and your method of transportation. The cheapest way to visit the pigs is to stay on Staniel Cay and rent a boat to get to Big Major Cay. However, you’ll have more to do and can stop at multiple popular destinations in the Cays by taking a tour from Great Exuma. 

Here is an average cost breakdown for a few different options to see the beach pigs:

  • Renting a boat: $250-$400 per day
  • Half-day tours: $150-$200
  • Full-day tours: $300-$375
  • Full-day tours from Nassau via speed boat: $350-$500

Other Things to Do Near the Swimming Pigs

The Exuma Cays have over 300 islands. There is much more to do in the area than swimming with pigs. You will likely see a few of the attractions mentioned here if you take a tour. In case you don’t get the chance to visit the beach pigs, these are some of the other things you should consider doing:

Bahamas Exuma Cays
A woman paddleboarding around the wreckage of a plane that landed in the water off of Norman’s Cay in 1980. This site is now a popular destination for snorkeling.
  • Swim with the Compass Cay reef sharks
  • Snorkel in Thunderball Grotto
  • Feed the rock lizards at Lizard Island (Leaf Cay or Allen’s Cay)
  • Go on a fishing trip
  • Visit one of the many secluded sandbars
  • Snorkel over a plane wreck off of Staniel Cay
  • Take an air tour
  • Dive for conches
  • Wander around the Exumas Cays Land and Sea National Park
  • Snorkel with a sunken mermaid and piano

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