Most people with at least a passing interest in travel have heard about the swimming pigs of Pig beach. This legendary cay in the beautiful Bahamas is probably one of the most photographed yachting destinations on earth. Great Exuma itself is stunning enough, but when you add in some water-loving farm animals it all becomes a bit too much.
Visitors go absolutely wild for these swimming pigs- they’ve even got an Instagram account with over 280k followers! How the friendly pigs got there though is the subject of some debate.
Where did the swimming pigs come from?
There are a few legends competing for ownership of how the pigs came to be stranded in Big Major Cay, as the island is officially known.
The first theory is a widely-held one that the pigs were deposited on the uninhabited island by a group of sailors. They had planned to return at a later date to cook and eat the animals for dinner. Obviously they never did.
Another belief is that the original pigs were the sole survivors of a nearby shipwreck, managing to swim ashore to safety while their masters perished. What a stroke of luck!
These are great stories to tell children and younger travellers, and have inspired visitors to Pig Beach for generations.
So whats it all about?
First off you should drop the anchor in Major Cay and get prepared to dive into the crystal blue Bahamian waters.
There are about 20 pigs living on the uninhabited island, which are fed by locals and tourists. Unsurprisingly the pigs are usually very hungry! They are used to being touched by humans and will swim up to your boat, expecting you to feed them scraps in exchange for striking a pose for your holiday album.
Generally the pigs are gentle and playful, but please be careful when feeding them and remind children that their teeth may be sharp.
How to get there
If you’re travelling by air to see the swimming pigs, the nearest island with an airport is Staniel Cay. The small terminal there has connecting flights to major cities around the world via Nassau. Flight time is around 45 minutes. Once you are in Staniel Cay you will be able to book a trip out to Pig Bay with a local tour operator.
It is highly recommended that you travel to see the pigs by boat though, as the whole experience is improved if you have your own yacht tender. The beach can get quite busy during the high season, therefore it is far better to get the pigs to swim out to you for some one-on-one time, rather than queueing to meet them on the beach!
Big Major Cay is a 2 hour boat trip from Nassau- roughly 77 nautical miles. Sailing conditions in the Bahamas are usually very good, just be extra vigilant around reefs and other shallow areas.
You should speak to a yacht charter expert or travel agent to get your trip organized.
Featured Image Credit: Grand Isle Resort and Spa
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