4 Reasons Why You Should Skip Seeing the Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas
I went to go see the swimming pigs in the Bahamas, and I don’t think you should do it.
I originally decided to go to Exuma off the recommendations of @ilcala and @colinruggiero, who both have come back with amazingly spectacular footage from that particular area. I met Colin at a film festival where both our films screened, his being a short documentary about Exuma.
By now, most people know about or have heard of the swimming pigs in Exuma, mainly through Instagram. As most of social media seems to be a facade and a pretty exterior, this too fell in line. All my friends who either live there or have been to the Bahamas tried to dissuade me to go, and I was actually going to skip it… but the FOMO took over.
Here are 4 reasons why you should skip seeing the swimming pigs:
1) The Swimming Pigs experience is a huge tourist trap
If you want to be with a bunch of tourists who all had the same idea and are doing it for the ‘gram, there are two places you can “swim with the pigs.”
The original area is farther north in the Northern Exuma cays and consists of a full day long trip, either from Nassau heading south on a power speedboat about ($360 pp) or from Georgetown on Great Exuma ($220 pp). They take you to a few other major tourist areas including swimming with the nurse sharks. Recently an “instagram model” was nipped at by one of these nurse sharks, but the sharks were probably annoyed that their home has become a backdrop for social media and couldn’t decipher if she was a real model or just a tourist. In all honesty, nurse sharks are pretty harmless and usually keep to themselves.
There are two main companies that run these tours from Exuma— Four C’s Adventures & Exuma Water Sports, but there are a few other small tours as well. I ended up going with Exuma Water Sports on the half day tour as the full day was cancelled due to windy weather.
Due to the popularity of the first pig beach farther north in the Exuma Keys, some business savvy locals decided to create another pig beach and placed farm-raised pigs on a small beach. The second pig beach is closer to Great Exuma. They take you on a half day guided tour, along with some other sites including the iguanas and little beaches.
2) The Swimming Pigs aren't cute little piglets on a beach and they don’t really swim.
When our boat pulled up, the first thing I noticed was that these hogs are MASSIVE!! There were a lot of them that were bigger than me. Most of them looked like they were at least 400lbs and the size of small ponies.
The tour operators said they don’t put the piglets on the beach because they are not trained and won't eat out of your hand. The smaller pigs are also bullied by the bigger hogs and left to try to fend for themselves, so the owners raise them on a private farm and bring them over to this little island when they are older and bigger.
The big hogs weren’t shy at all, they swam over to our boat as we got close, the buzzing of the boat motor was their dinner bell. But this was the only time I saw them swim.
3) The Swimming Pigs poop and bite
As we made our way off the boat and into the shallow waters to get photos, we were handed carrots to feed them. Some of the swimming pigs have giant tusks and they have been known to bite some unsuspecting tourists if you don’t watch your back or hands!
I was forewarned and tried to keep a safe distance from them until I felt comfortable enough in the water with them. When I finally did, I looked around and saw all these floating pieces of pig poop on the water’s surface! Needless to say I didn’t put my face in the water or ever “swim” with the pigs.
4) Some of the swimming pigs look like they are not looked after well and have HUGE ENLARGED BALLS.
I’m not a pig biologist or anything, but it didn’t take much for any of us to notice that these giant 400 lb hogs had grotesque looking enlarged balls. I'm not sure why they were so big, but they didn’t look like they were healthy or well taken care of.
Some of the pigs looked like they had dodgy skin conditions or were burnt crisp from the Bahamian sun. After seeing that, it reminded me that I had bacon for breakfast that morning. I felt super guilty afterwards.
In conclusion, go see the pigs if it is on your bucket list, just note that for the same costs, especially for a family, you could charter a boat yourself or go with a guide at Minn’s Water Sports in Georgetown. You could go at own pace to see the pigs and also fully enjoy the idyllic scenery straight out of a postcard. The Exumas archipelago is one of the most beautiful I have seen and the sandbars rival Cook Islands and Tahiti. There are so many untouched and beautiful nooks and crannies to explore, I would focus on what the rest of Exuma has to offer.