Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Basic Guide to Bahamas Pig Beach
The beautiful Bahamas is known for warm tropical weather, drastic shades of blue water, the Atlantis, and Pig Beach! A quick google search of Bahamas pigs will turn up dozens of cute photos of pigs swimming in the blue water side-by-side curious tourists. After learning about this unique experience, it was a no brainer that it ended up at the top of our bucket list. Let’s take a deeper look at Bahamas Pig Beach and how we were able to book the excursion for FREE!
Where exactly is Bahamas Pig Beach?
Exuma is the Bahama district where the Swimming Pigs can be found. The Exumas include over 365 separate islands or cays located southeast of Nassau. Our Pig Friends reside on Big Major Cay, an uninhabited island home only to the 30-40 Pigs that live there. There are many theories out there on how the pigs originated on Big Major Cay including shipwrecks and forgotten food from sailors. Today, visitors come from all over the world to take selfies with the pigs, feed them treats, and sometimes even get chased down the beach! This is where the famous “Bahamas Pig Beach” name came from.
How to get to Pig Beach?
Pig Beach is accessible from either Nassau or the Exumas. The most popular option to see the pigs is by joining a Full or Half Day Boat Tour. These tours include stops at other popular destinations like Blowhole beach and an island filled with giant Bahamian Rock Iguanas. It’s important to point out that most tour operators are located right in the Exumas. The options out of Nassau include either a short flight to Georgetown, Exuma or a High-Speed Boat Ride.
Choosing between Nassau or the Exumas
Departing from Nassau
Since Nassau is further away, it can be more challenging to make the trip over to Bahamas Pig Beach. The Boat tours that depart from Nassau often don’t include all of the stops that the Exuma tours do. In addition, with the distance of the boat ride from Nassau to the Exumas, the weather can lead to canceled tours.
However, it is possible to book flights from Nassau to the Exumas in the morning in order to take part in an Exuma full-day tour. Some tour companies will even book the flights for you that depart and return on the same day. This option can be more expensive and is also dependent on the planes running on schedule. Despite all of the cons of departing from Nassau to Pig Beach, it’s still a great option for travelers who aren’t flexible or are limited on time.
Departing from the Exumas
Due to most of the Bahamas Pig Beach Tours operating out of the Exumas, there are more options to choose from when selecting a tour. Most importantly, the factor that sticks out to me on why the Exumas tours are better than the Nassau tours is convenience. I like being able to not have to worry about catching an early flight or taking a long boat ride to accomplish what I’d like to see or do. In addition, Lisa and I are experience junkies, so taking the long boat ride from Nassau would mean that we would lose out on seeing more of the Exumas due to the time constraint. Finally, departing from the Exumas fit into our schedule. We had a few days that we could move around and the benefit of travel hacking led to minimal out-of-pocket costs.
What to Expect on a Full Day Tour
The tour that we took departed from the Exumas with a bright and early pick up at 7:00 am. The hotel pickup and drop-off were included in the tour price which is always nice. Personally, I dislike tours that require participants to figure out how to get to the departure point, especially when it is that early in the morning. The 3 AM Hawaiian Volcano Hike instantly comes to mind!
After arriving at the registration port, we checked-in and paid the balance for the tour. Everyone received a wristband that separated us from other tour companies. After registering, you can pass time in a small market that sells souvenirs and beach accessories located next to the registration desk.
The time is now close to 9 AM! Yes, 9:00 AM, two hours after being picked up from our hotel. Next, we learned that the second bus of tourists flights had been delayed. Apparently they were flying from Nassau and there were quite a few of them. To kill some time, the boat crew instructed everyone to come aboard and get ready for a pit stop.
Stop #1 – BlowHole Beach
I was glad to get off of the dock! Our boat headed over to the Blowhole beach which was a quick 15-minute boat ride from the registration point. Blowhole Beach was beautiful! We quickly learned where the Blowhole came from. When the waves hit the backside of the beach just right, water came shooting up from a hole in the rocks! It was fun hanging out there and watching everyone attempt to get the perfect selfie.
Stop #2 Thunderball Grotto
We left the Blowhole beach, picked up our new friends back at the dock and set course for the Famous Thunderball Grotto. I actually had never heard of this destination before and learned it was a filming site for Two James Bond Movies. You can only see the Grotto via swim or snorkel. The boat crew passed out snorkel gear and we were on our way. We began a short swim that ended at an opening in a rock. Immediately upon entering the secret cave, I noticed a giant hole in the ceiling. The ceiling hole provided sunlight which turned the water into a shade of blue that I had never seen before. It was such an incredible experience!
Stop # 3 Sandbar Retreat
After snorkeling the Thunderball Grotto our boat dropped us off at a beautiful sandbar. Wide-open right in the middle of the water, we made our way across the sand which melted through our toes. We took some photos and explored the area taking in every last picturesque view.
Stop # 4 Sharks at Compass Cay Island
From relaxing at the SandBar we took a 180-degree turn and turned up the excitement at our next stop. Compass Cay is known for having a large colony of Nurse Sharks. This stop actually costs an additional $10 per person to get onto the island. The island only accepts cash, so be sure to bring enough money for your party. We were able to get into waist-deep water here and see the sharks up close. They swam by us, brushing up against our ankles which really scared the C*** out of me! The sharks were clearly used to human company. They came right up to people and actually enjoyed being held and pet. I’m no shark expert but holding sharks is something that I never thought I’d ever be doing!
Stop # 5 Swimming with Pigs
Pulling up to the Big Major Cay Island I noticed the pigs swimming around the boat and a huge smile came across my face. We all lined up and grabbed some bread from the boat crew to feed our new friends in the water. To be honest, it was a bit overwhelming. Climbing down the ladder into the waist-deep water and turning around into a clan of swimming pigs was absolutely crazy!
I fed the pigs, took some amazing photos, and even got chased by one hungry friend across the beach. It was fun, exciting, interesting, and fast! Experiencing Bahamas Pig Beach is a must on your bucket list!
Stop # 6 Lunch on Great Guana Cay Island
I was very glad to hear that our next stop was lunch! After the snorkeling, sharks, and pigs, everyone was ready to refuel for the next adventure. We headed towards a restaurant on the Great Guana Cay Island. Lunch was not included in the tour price and cost an additional $20 per person. Luckily they did take credit cards! The food was delicious and included a variety of Bahamian themed options. I’m not entirely sure what most of the food was but took a little bit of everything for my plate. Be sure to bring some drinks from the boat to save some money at lunch since they are an additional charge. (We learned this the hard way.)
Stop # 7 Calming Cave
Once we reached our destination, we actually didn’t get off the boat but instead drove right into the cave. It was a quick stop that highlighted the natural cave. The calming cave is pretty huge and was neat to see!
Stop # 8 Bohemian Rock Iguanas
Our 8th visit of the day was to an island Nicholas Cage once owned. It just so happened to be the home to a clan of Bohemian Rock Iguanas. Everyone was handed some fresh veggies as we departed the boat. I was surprised to see how friendly these giant iguanas were. We had fun taking photos and videos of each other as we fed our new lizard friends.
Stops # 9 & # 10 Plane Wreck and Celebrity Islands
The final stops of the day included various sightseeing from the boat. Included was a sunken plane that allegedly belonged to the Drug Lord Pablo Escobar. After seeing the place, we gazed at different celebrity islands and the amazing homes from a distance. Some of the ones that stuck out were Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s Island and David Copperfield’s Island. The boat crew pointed out some other islands and shared fun facts about the Exumas as we made our way back to the registration dock.
Basic Ranking of Bahamas Pig Beach Tour
I’d give this tour a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was a fun-filled day that at times was overwhelming. We saw various sites throughout the day. Made friends with Sharks, Pigs, and Iguanas, and crossed another item off of our bucket list. I didn’t give this tour 5 stars due to the long wait at the beginning. The wait could have been handled better.
Options for Pig Beach Tours
The company we went with was Coastline Adventures and we booked through Trip Advisor. We also looked at a few other options that we have noted below.
Here are some of the top tour options from Nassau
Here is one other Tour Options from the Exumas
How to Travel Hack the Pig Beach Tour
Are you ready for some travel hacking fun? We chose to use Coastline Adventures which costs us $224 per person and $448 total after taxes & fees. Now in the Basic Travel World, there are lots of ways to cover the $448 charge.
Our favorite one for tours and activities is using our Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Capital One Venture Miles can be redeemed as a statement credit after paying for services. We mostly earned them from the 50,000 miles early spend bonus and
10X Mile Bonus through Hotels.com. Unfortunately, the 10X Miles bonus is supposed to end on January 31st, 2020. I’m hoping that they choose to extend it given how easy it is to accrue miles. The 10x bonus partnership with Hotels.com did not extend and ended on January 31st, 2020. This tour costs us a total of $448 or 44,480 Venture Miles. It was awesome being able to get this tour covered via travel hacking! There are tons of other options to cover the costs of tours and excursions using points, miles, and cashback.
More Basic Reading
- FREE Travel Hacking eBook
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- $3,994.61 HOLIDAY VACATION TO THE BAHAMAS FOR $120.02
- Basic Guide to Bahamas Pig Beach
- Basic Guide to Total/Caesars Rewards Status Match
- Guide to the Southwest Companion Pass
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Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.