You’re probably reading this after seeing a photo or two of these adorable swimming pigs in the clearest blue water and thinking to yourself – this can’t be real. Or if it is real, it must be some kind of farm or a zoo. The truth is – they live alone on an isolated island in the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas on their own pretty much! The reason they ended up on the island in the first place happened a long time ago and no one seems to agree on the story – either a shipwreck and they swam to shore and survived, or were put there on purpose for whatever reason, etc. Besides that, it is known that they were fed by a man long ago who would come by boat to feed them on a regular basis, and therefore they associate boats with food, and they swim up to the boat to get the first dibs on any snacks. From seeing them swim a bunch of times, my understanding is that they actually float in the Caribbean salt water, and use their legs and arms to propel themselves to their desired destination (usually to where they think there is some food, water, or their favourite drink of choice: Kalik, the Bahamian beer!).
The Two Pig Islands
If you are planning to go visit the piggies, you should know that now there are two official Pig Islands. The original Pig Island is in Staniel Cay (Big Major’s Spot is the name of the exact island), and it became such a huge attraction but Staniel Cay is hard to get to. From either Nassau or Great Exuma Island (the two islands nearby with international airports) it would be at least 2-3 hour boat ride to get to, or you have to fly in a very small (and what I consider scary!) 6 or 8 seater propeller plane to get to Staniel Cay. So, some people that are based out of Great Exuma Island decided to start a second one that is much closer, and can be reached within 10 minutes from the northern tip of Great Exuma (or about 40-45 min boat ride from George Town marinas). Great Exuma is located in the Exuma Cays south of Nassau. You can get a direct flight to George Town, Great Exuma, Bahamas (GGT) from Toronto (Sundays all year round, and Sunday/Thursdays during winter), and from some US cities, or you can connect through Nassau to get to GGT (about a 40 minute flight with BahamasAir or SkyBahamas).
How to get there
So now you’ve picked which Pig Island you want to go to. To get to the actual island of the pigs, the best option I would recommend is to get your own boat to head over, but if you don’t have access to one then the best excursion from Great Exuma Isand are the tours from the Exuma Water Sports group (http://www.exumawatersports.com). They use clean, comfortable, awesome boats or you can even go on jet skis to Pig Island depending which tour you buy. The guides are very laidback, funny and knowledgable, and they will show you some other secret spots including an island with naturally roaming Iguanas, some snorkelling areas, starfish, point out some of the islands that are owned by well known names, etc.
What to expect
Once on the tour, if you are lucky you will see some piglets! They are so adorable. They also have a range of personalities and moods I’ve noticed from going to see them a bunch of times now. Sometimes they will be curious and come right up to you and even be affectionate, and sometimes they get a bit more nervous and hide. It’s amazing realizing how smart the pigs are once you go and spend time with them, to me they remind me of dogs. Definitely makes me think twice about eating any pork products after…!
I’ve posted my favourite pictures with these famous swimming pigs below. Hope you enjoy the photos and have fun when you go to visit them! xoxo