The mere mention of the word the Bahamas already evokes pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and blissful island life. Such descriptions are not enough to talk about the beauty of this Caribbean nation where people go to escape.
Nearly 700 islands comprise the Bahamas, many of which are uninhabited, making them as pristine as ever. Its closeness to the United States – to Florida, to be exact – makes this Caribbean country the perfect summer spot for vacationers or those who just want to log off and be away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
One popular attraction in the Bahamas, probably not seen in any other country, is Pig Beach. The pigs rule over Big Major Cay, and they are famous among tourists for their swimming skills. The pigs look adorable when they are playing by the beach, all the more when they swim to try to reach the arriving tourists. There are no human residents on Big Major Cay, so pigs are kings and queens of this island.
A Bahamas vacation is never complete without a voyage to Pig Beach.
Why Are The Pigs On The Island?
The swimming pigs are world-famous, and yet, for a time, nobody knows how they ended up on Big Major Cay. Their presence on the Bahamas island remained a mystery, producing such theories listed below.
- A storm washed them ashore on the island.
- Pirates purposely left the pigs on the cay, or they survived a shipwreck.
- Some suggest they were put on the island to attract tourists.
The true story is that in the 90s, residents of the neighboring Staniel Cay put the pigs there to be slaughtered later on for food, and as they say, the rest is hog history.
Plan The Visit
Aside from sunscreen, what tourists need the most for a Bahamas trip is the eagerness to be out there. Here are some travel reminders before booking that ticket to paradise.
- Travelers must present a negative coronavirus test result taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.
- Tourists should also accomplish a health visa where they can log their vaccination status and process their health insurance.
- There are no quarantine requirements.
Fly To Bahamas
When pigs fly, they would look cute, but since that’s impossible, it’s better to watch them swim for now. They look adorable as they wag their tails and play with the water. Those who are overly excited to be with them should book a flight.
From the U.S., tourists can choose to have a flight that directs them to the Bahamas’ largest gateway, the Lynden Pindling International Airport in the capital Nassau. This busy airport is the stepping stone to adventure. Travelers can also book a flight to the district of Exuma, where another international airport is located.
There are other airports in the country serving its many islands, but the ones in Nassau and Exuma are most practical for a trip to Pig Beach. Whichever tourists choose, they’ll be welcomed by the Bahamas’ warmth and pristine waters, anyway.
Nassau and Exuma are closer to Pig Beach compared to ferry ports, making flights ideal for those chasing time. From Nassau, travelers can book a 35-minute flight to Staniel Cay, the closest neighborhood from Big Major Cay, where Pig Beach is located. Meanwhile, from Exuma, it’s another two-hour boat ride to the beach. There’s also a speedboat ride from Nassau that lasts for three hours.
Boat To Bahamas
Another option to reach the Bahamas is by ferry from Florida. Lucky are those who have their yacht, but not to the point of jealousy because everyone has their share in the Bahamian paradise. The only ferry operator in the area that offers this direct route is Balearia Caribbean.
Fort Lauderdale and Miami have ports that service ferries to Freeport in Grand Bahama or Bimini, respectively. A ferry ride from Fort Lauderdale takes at least four hours, while that from Miami takes three hours.
The ferry ride, of course, takes longer than a plane trip, but the views are as amazing.
Ferry passengers from Bimini or Freeport can opt to travel directly to Staniel Cay. However, most tourists explore other areas of the Bahamas first, like the capital Nassau or Exuma. From Nassau or Exuma, tourists can have a two to a three-hour boat ride to Pig Beach. Those already on Staniel can get to the piggy paradise in just 10 minutes.
Which Is Better? Plane Or Ferry Trip?
Tourists have their reasons for choosing plane travel, mainly because it’s faster and more comfortable. Frequent flyers are used to the ease and comfort that they might actually be missing on the joys of riding a plane – something so pure for first-time flyers.
Sure, flying saves time, but nothing beats the joy of riding a ferry and taking in all the sights and sounds of the Caribbean for a good three hours. After all, what’s the best way to visit an island nation but by boat, right? Flying fish and dolphins might even say hello to excited ferry passengers.
So, yes, it might not be efficient, but it’s better to take the boat, at least from either Nassau or Exuma to Pig Beach. It’s a holistic experience, as a complete Bahamas package.
Reminders When Visiting Pig Beach
It’s nice to see pigs roaming around an island, far from the condition of other swine: caged and dirty. The pigs on Big Major Cay are friendly, but that doesn’t mean tourists can just do whatever they want with them, so here are the dos and don’ts.
The pigs are well-fed by Staniel Cay residents, and it’s not recommended to feed them processed foods and drinks – even if they ask for it. Their favorites are fruit and vegetables. Common sense dictates not to hurt pigs even if they tend to be aggressive. It’s not recommended to just grab, hug, and carry them, especially when they are uncomfortable. Need not say more: practice the “Leave No Trace” principle.
The Bahamas is a unique Caribbean destination, thanks to its pristine beaches, welcoming locals, and ultimately, the swimming pigs.