For many years, the Bahamas attracted tourists who wanted to relax on their pristine beaches or dive in some of the best spots in the world. However, in the last decade, Pig Beach (Big Major Cay), located in Exuma, has become one of the most famous places among the 700 islands in the country.
The Pig Beach is an inhabited island home to 20-25 feral pigs. Although there are some theories, no one knows exactly how the animals arrived on the island. The hogs are familiar with tourists, who love to interact and swim with them. Yet, it is essential to be careful and follow all the instructions.
Although the animals are friendly, visitors should know a few things before visiting the island.
Dos On Pig Beach
Have a Unique Experience Swimming With Pigs
The most famous Pig Beach's inhabitants are skilled swimmers. As they are used to human interaction, the pigs will often swim with visitors - but it doesn't mean people don't need to be careful. It is recommended to swim in areas where they can't stand and avoid playing with piglets, as the mother can become protective.
There are no hotels on the island, and tourists need to book a tour to visit the island. Luckily, plenty of agencies offer day trips to Pig Beach, especially in Nassau.
Take the best pictures for Instagram
Agencies often motivate tourists to take as many pictures as they can with the pigs and ask people to tag #swimmingpigs when posting it. There are no doubts that the pigs are in use with the spotlight, but tourists need to be careful with their phones, as sometimes they can mistake the devices for food.
Visitors are also allowed to carry the pigs to take pictures. Sometimes the animals can get frightened when someone picks them up. If that happens, the best thing to do is put them gently back on the ground.
Treat The Pigs With Some Food - But Not Everything Is Allowed
There is only one thing the pigs on the islands expect from tourists: food. As the travels to the island increased, the pigs didn't need to hunt for their meals anymore as visitors often bring them food.
There is a pre-approved list of things they can eat, including fruits, vegetables, bread, and pig feed that can be purchased on the island or provided by the guides. The tour guides will instruct the correct place to put the food, so the pigs won't drink too much saltwater or eat sand.
Help To Keep The Island Clean
Pig Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the Bahamas and it receives tours every day. As there are no hotels and restaurants, tourists will bring snacks and drinks on the boat, but it is important not to leave trash behind. Not only because the beach will get dirty, but because pigs eat anything and the chances are high that they will eat any trash people leave behind.
There are also other animals on the islands, including stray cats and iguanas, so it is important to keep the island clean for them as well.
Don'ts On Pig Beach
Don't Let Your Fingers So Close To Them
Pigs are not exactly the most delicate creatures. Although tourists are motivated to bring them food, it is essential to remember never to feed them using your fingers. Those animals have poor sight and can easily bite someone's finger while eating.
The risks of getting injured while feeding a pig are real, so following the tour guide's instructions for food is the safest thing to do. For tourists with children, it is also essential to pay attention and never let them feed the pigs.
Don't Share Your Drinks With The Pigs
Some years ago, seven pigs were found dead on the island and people were suspicious that tourists gave them alcohol. Although the autopsy revealed an excess of sand ingestion caused the deaths, reports revealed that it became common to see tourists giving them alcoholic drinks, which is harmful to the animals.
While exploring Pig Beach, it is crucial to respect the famous inhabitants and includes their eating habits. Hogs are not supposed to drink alcohol or eat snacks that are not listed by the tour guide.
Children And Pigs Not Always Get Along
The Bahamas are a family destination and bringing children to an island with swimming pigs might sound like a terrific idea. However, the pigs on the island are not small and some children might be scared.
Besides that, the boat trips are long and the island doesn't have bathrooms. Tour agencies will often advise not to bring small children and just bring older ones if they are comfortable on boats and around big animals.
There is a Good Reason To Avoid The Afternoon Tours
Most tours in the Bahamas are available from the morning until the afternoon. Although staying long in bed or doing other things in the morning sounds tempting, avoiding excursions during the afternoon is better. According to some guides, the pigs are more active early in the morning when they are still hungry. During the afternoon, they are often full and won't pay attention to the tourists.
It is also good to avoid visiting the Bahamas during the hurricane season, from June until November.