Swimming with the Pigs and Sharks in the Bahamas!
Swimming with the Bahamian pigs and sharks in the Exuma Cays was one of the most fun things I have ever done. With the beautiful water and sunshine gleaming down,I could live this day over and over. (Links at the bottom!)
How to Get There from Nassau
We stayed at a resort in Nassau and the pigs and sharks are located in the Exuma Cays (pronounced keys). This is a chain of hundreds of islands in the Bahamas. However, it is not close to Nassau. Not to worry, it is quite easy to get there and even though it may take some time, the journey is beautiful. There are other option to stay in Exuma, but we wanted to go to Atlantis as well, so we decided we would stay in Nassau. From Nassau, we took a 20 minute taxi to Paradise Island. This is where Atlantis and Margaritaville are located. We met our tour group at Margaritaville and boarded a speed boat. The speed boat will then take you everywhere you want to go. I highly suggest the tour we took. Although it was quite pricey, $400 USD for each person, it was totally worth it! Besides getting engaged the day before, tis was the other highlight of our trip.
The Full Excursion
Once on the boat you will ride for about an hour in between stops. Again, going from Nassau to Exuma is not quick but it is so so beautiful the entire way! The tour guides will also point out private islands with celebrity houses, spots for filming Hollywood movies and where Pablo Escabar crashed his plane. So get comfy and enjoy the ride.
The first stop is Iguana Island. Not really the reason I signed up for this excursion but still pretty fun. The tour guides will give you a long wooden stick to place bread on the end and feed them. Even if you don't like the Iguanas, the island is of course gorgeous. We also took a quick swim and just admired being in one of the prettiest places on Earth.
Next stop is lunch on Great Guana Cay Island. This island is far resort style. It is very small, rural and inhabits locals. This actually was one of my favorite parts of this trip. I love going to experience parts of the world that aren't known for tourism. I feel like you get a real feel of culture when you visit these kinds of places. We walked to lunch where we ate the catch of the day fish sandwich, very fresh and yummy. I've never had a fish sandwich before and was a little apprehensive if I would like it or not. It was amazing. Just get it. After lunch, we walked back to the pier that we docked at. We got to see local children playing soccer barefoot and experience the laid back nature of the island. While we waiting for the rest of the group to get done with their lunch we jumped off an old dock into the most turquoise water I have ever seen. There were reef sharks swimming in the distance, but for some reason I wasn't scared. It was one of those just live life to the fullest moments and jump!
After lunch, it is off to Pig Island! This is obviously why many people are on the tour and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! Pulling up to Pig Island and seeing all the pigs swimming and running around is so exciting! I have never seen anything like it. Be prepared, there will be a lot of tourist there. There is a lot of beach room for you to still get some good pictures. I was so surprised when I held a piece of bread up for a pig that is. sat like a dog! Good little piggy! The tour guides will give you bread and carrots to feed them. The really large pigs can get a little aggressive, but if you just through the food over to the side, they will leave you alone. That is all they want. The large pigs were about my size so it can be intimidating for children. I would think twice about bringing children. Not that I don't think it is safe for them, but just consider if your child will be scared. We had a child who was about 7 on the tour with us that was very scared and kept being very mean to the pigs when all they wanted was the food in his hands. He did not understand and it was sad to watch him splash them in the face and yell at them. Be nice to the piggies, they just want your food.
Hopefully while you are there, there will be babies! This was my favorite part because you could pick them up and love on them. However, it may take you a minute to find a calm one. The first one I picked dup squealed like, well, a little piggy! It was funny but it was obvious it did not want to be picked up, so I let that one go. A tour guide found me a calm one and I got to cuddle it for a long time. So sweet!
After Pig Island the fun isn't over, its to the sharks!! Besides the pigs, this is the coolest part. This part is also why I chose the excursion I did and why it is so expensive. There are cheaper excursions that just take you to the pigs. Again, I highly recommend splurging on this.
To get to the sharks, you pull into what I believe they called Yatcht Cove. And yes, it is exactly how it sounds. Lot son yachts all anchored down and docked just hanging out. So that was a fun little perk of this area. These yachts were incredible. I couldn't help but stare. Just passed all the fancy boats you will walk onto a long wooden dock where your tour guides will start cutting up fish and tossing bits into the water to get the sharks to circle around. At first, instincts will kick in and you will think, "I'm not getting into that shark infested water!" But that feeling will quickly go away since the tour guides jump in right away. Our tour guide basically cannonballed into the water of sharks. Seeing the sharks hardly disturbed, I jumped right in as well. These sharks are Nurse sharks. They are known for their docile behavior. They still have teeth that can hurt you, but as long as you keep your hands away from their mouths, you will be fine. They swim very slowly and just circle around looking for little fish bits. They are so calm you can even pet them. Surprisingly, they do not feel like I imagined. I imagined they would feel something like a dolphin. But their skin is tough and feels like sand paper.
After the shark cove, the tour guides will take you to a place that is hard to describe. A sandbar in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. This was just the cherry on top of the whole trip. A little slice of land in the middle of the clearest blue water. You feel like you are standing on the edge of the world and it is a great time to reflect on your awesome day and appreciate where you are. I've been to many beautiful sights in this world, and this one was so simple but so powerful. This is where I hope I go when I die. It was truly heaven on Earth.
Overall, this was one of the best days of my life. I can not recommend this excursion more. It was one of the most fun days I have ever had. So gorgeous and so adventurous all in one!
Full Day Boat Tour to Iguana Island, Great Guana Cay, Pig Island and Shark Cove: https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g147415-d13000503-Full_Day_Small_Group_Tour_to_Pig_Beach_by_Powerboat-New_Providence_Island_Bahamas.html