Swimming with pigs and visiting iguanas in The Bahamas
January 6, 2021
Whilst this might sound far fetched, the Exumas in the Bahamas is just one opportunity that presents itself as an excursion away from your hotel in the Exumas. You may have seen these cute porcine swimmers online, on social media feeds or heard friends in discussion about where they can swim with pigs, well the answer is the aptly named Pig Beach on Big Major Cay, an uninhabited island where these feral pigs splash and swim about seemingly living the life of utter luxury.
From Nassau or the Exumas a day trip is within easy reach to visit the friendly inhabitants of Pig Beach, take a boat tour and excursion to Pig Bay and come home with the boasting rights to say you have snorkelled amongst the friendliest and cleanest pig you could possibly ever find! The most innovative and adaptive pigs you ever will know, thanks to the tourist ocean safaris which come from afar in search of the perfect Instagram snap, the pigs no longer need to scavenge on land for snacks but paddle out to the boats and swim alongside piggy-paddle waiting for a treat. Remember to feed responsibly, the ingestion of sand can be fatal to the pigs so feed them in the water and think about what might be most suitable for their diet, it’s hard to go wrong with fruit and veg.
The origin of the pigs of Pig Bay is something which leads to many a heated debate across the Bahamas. Locals will tell of pirates stowing the pigs on Big Major Cay to come back to at a later date and to feast on. Alternatively some argue sailors of times past fell victim to the variable weather of the hurricane season, leading to shipwreck but luckily the pig contingent of the ship managed to paddle to safety. Perhaps the most sensible reasoning is that the pigs were relocated from nearby Staniel Cay due to the objections of neighbours to the stench of the pigs being reared by one local inhabitant. The sceptics say that they were brought in as a tourist attraction, my least favourite of all the theories. Personally I like to think they were left behind by the pirates who were distracted by the next haul of treasure!
Taking a chartered boat trip or guided tour to Pig Bay in the morning is best to visit as these gluttonous creatures can be full up by the afternoon depending on how many visit and swim amongst the pigs offering them snacks along the way. This leaves time in the afternoon to swim in the pristine waters of the Cays and explore the coral and marine life. Before Pig Bay stole the limelight the main attraction of this corner of the Bahamas was Iguana Island.
Arm yourself with handfuls of fresh grapes and an assortment of fruit and take a boat to the tiny former-island of Little Water Cay, the best place to see the critically endangered Turks and Caicos rock iguanas where over 2,000 Iguanas call it home. These dark-coloured iguanas will quickly emerge at the prospect of a free lunch and once you set foot on the Cay it can be astonishing just how many of the iguanas were in hiding which you were unable to see before disembarking from the boat! This very important wildlife habitat and refuge is not only home to reptilian friends but also a whole host of birds nesting on the island making for some excellent bird spotting too. With beautiful crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches, it’s a pleasure to share the iguana’s beaches with them.
Iguana island is surrounded by coral reef and makes for some of the best snorkelling and diving of anywhere in the Bahamas. It’s this rich marine life which attracts migratory humpback whales from from colder waters to the warm waters of Iguana island which are rich in plankton. July is the perfect month if you’re in search of migratory whales, their migration season lasts longer into August and September, but due to the tropical climate, weather can deteriorate over these months.
A day trip filled with wildlife and activity, from starting off on Pig Beach with the feral swimmers, to snorkelling in the beautiful waters of the Bahamas with a visit to Iguana island en-route, a day trip in the Bahamas is something very unique!