Not to be confused with the “Bay of Pigs” in Cuba- there is a place that vacationers flock to in order to swim with the pigs! It is “Pig Beach” on Big Major Cay, one of the over 365 islands in Exuma, a district of the Bahamas. The island is about 82 miles southeast of Nassau, and about 50 miles northwest of Georgetown. It is entirely uninhabited by humans.
The only way to reach Pig Beach is by boat, so most people take one of the guided tours or charter a boat for the day. Several tour companies offer this excursion that includes swimming with the pigs and nurse sharks, hanging out with iguanas, snorkeling in the famous Thunderball Grotto (seen in two James Bond films), and having a sandbar picnic.
How did the pigs get there? There are tales about a shipwreck as well as one about hungry pirates who dropped them off and never made it back for their meal. But two men, Wayde Nixon and Don Rolle, claim to have brought the first pigs to the island in hopes of starting up a pig farm in the late 1990s. Nixon has claimed he was preparing a sustainable food supply in case of the feared Y2K computer meltdown. Lucky for the pigs it never happened!
As for now, visitors are still allowed to feed the pigs. A few have died because they were given alcoholic beverages… so it is being more closely monitored these days. The food should be limited to fruits and vegetables and folks should be careful to feed them in the water instead of placing them on the sand to prevent too much sand ingestion. They encourage feeding them fresh water as well since they have such a limited supply on the island. Some of the pigs will chase you if you are carrying food!
Most of the tours run between 9 a.m. and sunset. The best time to go would be early in the morning before they get so full and lazy. They tend to get tired in the late afternoons and
lounge around more in the sand rather than paddle in the water.
Where can you stay in order to have access to the chartered boats or tours to Pig Beach? Being a Sandals specialist, I will always tell you to stay at one of their properties because of the fabulous all-inclusive amenities they offer as well as their fabulously appointed rooms. Many island accommodations in the Caribbean tend to ignore placing nice furnishings in rooms because you are expected to enjoy the beaches and surroundings rather than focus on your room. Sandals properties make sure that all areas are the best they can be. Sandals Emerald Bay is one of their best. It was a Four Seasons’ property before Sandals purchased it. It also has one of the most beautiful golf courses I have ever seen. If you are traveling with children I would suggest the Grand Isle Resort or Fowl Cay. Best of all, Delta is now offering non-stop flights to the area!
So… pigs may not fly but they sure can SWIM!
The Classy Travel Blog is a great way to educate yourself; Not only with travel tips and tricks, but also with insight on all of the Classy Destinations around the world.