SWIMMING WITH PIGS IN EXUMA CAY, THE BAHAMAS
THIS LITTLE PIGGY MAY HAVE GONE TO THE MARKET BUT YOU’LL BE THE ONE SQUEALING ALL THE WAY HOME AFTER SWIMMING WITH THE PIGS IN EXUMA CAY, THE BAHAMAS WITH EXUMA WATER SPORTS.
A short trip to Exuma Cay from Nassau will bring you snout to snout with enormous swimming pigs and no matter how you get there – by plane by powerboat by Bahama car ferry by catching a ride with Superman or by swimming if you have too – you get there! Exuma was the highlight of my trip to The Bahamas and while terribly expensive -like EVERYTHING in The Bahamas – it is worth every minute of your time and every penny in your pocket.
Not only will you swim with gargantuan pigs, you can feed and swim with sting rays and hang out on the beach and share grapes with ginormous iguanas.
But that is not all I assure you. You will see new colors of the ocean you didn’t think could possibly exist and white sand beaches created for the Gods and that is coming from someone who has been to the Maldives, Thailand, Belize and Zanzibar. I didn’t think I could be shocked anymore after 83 countries and given the unimaginable scenery I’ve been privileged to lay eyes on but boy was I wrong. The white sands and turquoise, sea green, cerulean, clear and blue waters that wrap even Nassau itself cannot compare to those of Exuma. You will be stunned. Here you can swim in water so clear that iridescent fish are visible to the naked eye so you can only imagine the rewards of snorkeling here.
To top it off you will get the luxury of making the short climb to the top of Bonefish Bay and see rock structures and arches carved out by God’s second greatest carpenter after Jesus himself, and that is the ocean. While you are straddling this hill you will see the deep navy blue of the Atlantic to one side and the Windex colored (both blue and green) of the Caribbean to the other.
If you want to see that distinction even clearer, take another day trip to the unique pink sands of The Bahamas to the Glass Bottom Bridge on Eleuthera and be stunned yet again. In Eleuthera, the two are separated by a strip of rock just 30 feet wide.
And, if you are curious like me, you will also want to know how Eleuthera got its pink beaches. Well, according to several sources including, BudgetTravel, the light pink sand “gets its hue from thousands of broken coral pieces, shells, and calcium carbonate materials left behind by foraminifera (tiny marine creatures with red and pink shells) that live in the coral reefs that surround the beach.” While they are not the bubble gum pink that some Instagramers would have you believe, they are pink nonetheless which is in and of itself rather awesome and an important thing to see when in the area.
Before you leave Exuma, stop at Big D’s for a conch salad (pronounced “conk”) or conch burger to die for that blows Nassau’s conch out of the proverbial water and be dazed by swaying palm trees with a delicious Bahama Mama or it’s non-alcoholic sister – fruit punch – in hand.
So you will want to know how you get to this paradise of all paradises and see this’ be all end all’ of ‘be all end alls’ of beauty and experience this adventure that will leave you with a smile stretching from ear to ear right? Most definitely read this then as the information out there is presently a bit scarce. I highly recommend you get online and look up Exuma Water Sports and book a half day tour with them. Whether you get Peter Pan, Justin Timberlake or MJ as your chauffeur, captain or first mate, you can’t go wrong. In fact, Peter, Justin and MJ (all of whom were nicknamed above by me) are just to name a few of the wonderful tour guides at Exuma Water Sports. Also, you will need to get online at Bahamasair (or perhaps Sky Bahamas) and buy a round trip ticket to Exuma. I warn you in advance that these are the islands so be flexible as planes run on island time. In fact, Bahamasair has some ‘not so good’ publicity i.e. an unintended slogan – “If you have time to spare, fly Bahamasair”. While funny no doubt, some of you might not find it to be so hilarious while you are waiting at the airport but be patient as it is so worth it. For me, each flight was only about an hour behind and it did not affect my tour. The cost for the flight round trip was $150 and the cost for the half day tour was $150 for a total of $300. Your beer, water, sodas, snacks, snorkeling gear, transport to and from the airport and one of the best days you’ll ever have in your life are included in that price.
What do you need to take with you? A towel, camera, sunscreen and a hat and simply wear your swimsuit and shorts and t-shirt, or sundress/cover up and flip flops in route. The wind from the speedboat ride will blow you dry for your return flight.
So $300 may seem like a lot but let me tell you your other options:
You can make my mistakes i.e. 1) not book in advance and find all tours are sold out; 2) trust HiddenBeaches when they say you can go but not respond to your emails to confirm departure time and date leaving you without options because everyone is sold out; 3) take a 2 hour powerboat (each way) with Powerboat Adventures (for $219 for full day tour) or one of the other operators (for anywhere from $319 to $399) on what can sometimes be tumultuous waters leaving your trip either canceled due to weather or leaving you sore and nauseous and beat down exhausted; and/or, 4) really screw up and think “hey there’s bound to be a local Exuma tour operator able to take me last minute upon arrival at the airport or a ferry boat who goes from Barraterre to Major Cay a/k/a Pig Island so I’ll catch an early morning flight, catch a taxi ($60/each way to the dock – no way) or rent a car from Thompson’s Car Center (a lot better but still $75/day) and see what happens ”. DON’T DO THIS! I was only saved by the pity Peter of Exuma Water Sports took on me as his tour passengers boarded one by one on his magical carpet to unimaginable beauty and playful adventures a/k/a his shuttle seeing me standing all alone in front of the tiny little airport in Georgetown as my own much sadder version of Charlotte’s Web danced in my head. (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU PETER AND REBECCA FROM EXUMA WATER SPORTS!! I am jumping for joy in gratitude for you!)
Finally, be aware of the following cautionary tales for this adventure because I personally hit the trifecta today in the mistake department.
1) I was head butted in the stomach by Squealy the Pig and stepped on by Blackie. Perhaps my orange swimsuit wasn’t the best choice given their drug of choice is carrots and I looked like one today! So while funny, perhaps, you shouldn’t wear orange on this tour. Maybe they can see color. Also, remember to feed the pigs the whole carrot and if you are going to hold onto some in your hands to disperse at your leisure, be aware they know you have them and they are wild animals so be careful and hide them.
2) Lay your hand completely flat when you are feeding the sting rays their hot dog. Let the stingray swim over your hand and sort of roll it off your hand into its mouth. My stingray got a little frisky with me and tried to suck on two of my fingers. It didn’t hurt but surprised and scared me; however, it was completely my fault. No matter what, keep your hand absolutely flat.
3) An iguana actually drew blood! It bit my finger and bit it hard. Why? I think he thought it was a purple grape. If your toe nails or fingernails are pink or purple or a shade somewhere in between, watch out! And, again, remember, they know you have food. Don’t kneel down on the sand with food in your hand which is within reaching distance. Otherwise, next time, you could be the one responsible for changing the blue colors of the Caribbean to red.
Now that you are fully armed with the necessary information, trust me and go on the half day tour (1/2 is good enough) with Exuma Water Sports and swim with them piggies and enjoy the rest of my recommendations in Exuma. And, if you adhere to the above instructions I provided, you can return home exhilarated like me but with all your fingers and your toes.
If you have any questions or can add something about Exuma or The Bahamas, I would love to hear from you so fill out the form below. Then go unlock the Travelirvana in you.