Looking for an adventure? Join the hundreds of tourists, myself included, who flock to The Bahamas each year for the chance to swim with the pigs! Whether it’s a bucket list item or just for an exciting day trip, here are some tips on how to make your experience swimming with the famous pigs of The Bahamas memorable and safe.
Spoiler alert, having done this, yes, I do recommend this fun activity. But there are a few things you should know before you go.
Swimming with The Bahamas’ pigs
I’m sure by now you’ve seen pictures and videos of Influencers swimming with adorable pigs in The Bahamas. Cute? You bet! But my experience was more of an Instagram versus reality kinda situation than anything else, lol. Hopefully, my pro tips will ensure you have a much smoother and more enjoyable experience.
Swimming with the pigs was just one of the five stops during our excursion with the Pieces of 8 Charter company. I will briefly mention the other stops, but the focus of this post is the swimming pigs.
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Swimming with Pigs in The Bahamas – FAQ
I will get into my personal experience and tips for swimming with the infamous pigs, but first I am going to answer some general questions. You likely have some of the same questions so I thought I’d address these first.
Click here if you want to skip this section and head straight to my personal story and tips for swimming with the famous Bahamas pigs.
Can you go swimming with pigs in the Bahamas?
Yes, you can. Although, in reality, you will more than likely be standing in the water with them and not really swimming with the pigs. As you can see from the picture above, I am standing in knee-deep water.
Even if you can’t swim, you will still enjoy this excursion. The boat stops right at the beach so the water is very shallow as long as you don’t go out very far.
I feel the need to mention that these are wild pigs. They are not tamed, nor are they on an animal reserve. This is a public beach with wild animals. They are, however, accustomed to people visiting them and feeding them.
Do the Bahamas pigs bite?
While they are mostly docile, they are nonetheless wild. I should know, one bit me on the ass but more on that later… So to answer that question, yes the Bahamas pigs can and do bite. If you are feeding them, be sure to hold the carrot up high where they can’t see it until you are ready to hand it to them.
Can you pet the swimming pigs in the Bahamas?
Yes, but again, do so at your own risk. The Bahamas pigs are wild animals so you risk getting bit. For the most part, they are docile; however, they do get very excited when hoards of tourists show up on boats. They are smart animals and they know that this means they are going to get fed.
If you want to pet one of the swimming pigs in the Bahamas, I suggest feeding it a carrot first, then petting it.
Where are the swimming pigs located?
The swimming pigs live in an area of The Bahamas called The Exumas, which is a secluded chain of over 365 islands. The pigs live on Big Major Cay, often referred to as Pig Beach. Big Major Cay is only accessible by boat. You may visit on your own private boat, or join a tour group.
If you are taking a cruise that docks at Nassau, Bahamas, you will not be very close to the pigs. The same is true if you are staying at a hotel in Nassau. An excursion will be necessary to take you there by boat.
I was staying at The Atlantis Bahamas Resort on Paradise Island and it was an all-day excursion. Swimming with the pigs is one of the many day trips in Nassau. We left the hotel at 8 am and returned around 5 pm that evening. You should plan to be away all day for this excursion.
As I mentioned earlier, the pigs were just one of our stops that day. Because they are so far away, it’s better to break up the boat ride with stops at other locations, including feeding iguanas and swimming with nurse sharks.
How did the pigs end up in The Bahamas?
Not native to the islands, no one is 100% sure how they ended up there. Rumour has it that the pigs are a result of a shipwreck back in the 1990s. They may also have been left there by a group of sailors whose plans were to return and cook them.
No one knows for sure how the pigs ended up on this beach, but there are approximately 20 pigs living on Big Major Cay island in The Bahamas.
How much does swimming with the pigs in The Bahamas cost?
This will depend on which tour company you select. When going on a cruise, each ship will likely offer this as an excursion when stopping at Nassau. If you are staying in Nassau on your own, there are a few different tour companies you can go with.
We went with Pieces of 8 Tours and the cost was $425 USD per adult. This included being picked up by the tour group at our hotel, the boat ride to five different islands, drinks on the boat, as well as lunch.
Our stops included: feeding ancient iguanas, swimming with nurse sharks, lunch at a traditional Bahamian restaurant, swimming with the pigs, and enjoying some free time at a secluded sand bar.
My experience swimming with the Bahamas pigs
Okay, now that we’ve gotten the general questions out of the way, it’s storytime. I will begin by saying that this was my least favourite stop of the day. I loved swimming with the nurse sharks! And feeding the iguanas was also really cool. So, if you aren’t sure about the pigs, just know that you shouldn’t skip the excursion because of that.
The swimming pigs became famous after an Influencer posted a video online. This video went viral and tour companies emerged to take tourists to see them. Because they are so far away from the popular town and port of Nassau, these tours make stops along the way. After all, no one wants to go on a 4-hour boat ride without stopping!
As you can tell from my face in the above picture, I wasn’t exactly overjoyed to be in the water with the pigs. This would be because moments before this picture, one of the larger pigs bit me on the ass. Yes, really. Remember when I said they are wild animals, I wasn’t kidding.
I wasn’t teasing the pig or doing anything I shouldn’t have been, I simply turned my back to one of the larger pigs. With their poor eyesight, they are easily confused. When several boats arrive at once and the carrots come out, they get really excited.
Check out my Instagram reel and see the bite for yourself. I jumped and yelped, but I am fine. Thankfully, it was just a small bite. I didn’t bleed, but it left a nice red mark for the day. Having said this, I loved the entire day and don’t regret this excursion one bit.
Ten tips for your swimming with the pigs’ excursion
- Bring two towels and a warm sweater or hoodie with you as you’ll be getting in and out of the water several times.
- Wear or bring water shoes with you. There are rocks on the pig beach and having shoes on would have been a lot nicer on my feet.
- Watch out for floating pig poops because they are wild animals so they do poop in the water.
- Make sure you put your phone in a waterproof case or use a waterproof camera such as a GoPro. I love my GoPro and its awesome picture quality. If you prefer to use your phone’s camera, I suggest hanging it from a lanyard so you don’t drop it in the water. One company makes matching custom lanyards and custom keychains so you can have some fun creating these before your trip.
- If you are travelling with kids, bring something for them to do on the boat. Each island is approximately an hour apart so you have lots of downtime on the boat between stops.
- Leave your drone at home as you are not allowed to fly it on these islands.
- Don’t turn your back on the pigs, especially the larger ones. Pigs are easily startled because their eyesight isn’t very good.
- Keep your hands up and your phone away from the pigs as they can get confused when everyone arrives and starts feeding them. You don’t want one confusing your phone with a carrot.
- Don’t try and pick up or hold the pigs or iguanas, they are wild animals and may scratch or bite you. One girl on our tour ended up badly scratched when she chose to pick up an iguana.
- And finally, please only use reef-safe sunscreen to protect the ocean and wildlife. It truly does make a difference and I encourage everyone to be a sustainable traveller.
Is swimming with pigs in the Bahamas worth it?
In my opinion, yes, swimming with the pigs in the Bahamas is worth it. But only because it was part of a full-day tour where we got to experience other things. I enjoyed the day immensely.
Is swimming with the pigs in The Bahamas on your bucket list? It was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I really enjoyed swimming with the nurse sharks. For me, that was the highlight of the tour.
If you are thinking about staying at The Atlantis Bahamas Resort as your home base for the swimming with the pigs’ experience, check out my honest and very thorough Atlantis Bahamas Review here. It is a stunning resort, but there are pros and cons to staying here.
I lay it all out for you in my honest, unsponsored review. Spoiler alert, while expensive, I do highly recommend staying at Atlantis Bahamas.