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Swimming with the Pigs has become so symbolic of a visit to the Bahamas. But pig swimming takes place in the Exuma Cays, and most tourists visit the island of New Providence – where Nassau is located. In order to experience this bucket list activity, you have to travel down to the Exuma Islands. On my recent visit to Nassau, I was fortunate enough to be invited on a day trip to Ship Channel Cay with Powerboat Adventures. This is truly a great excursion to add on to your Bahamas vacation!
As a full service travel agent, and Bahamas specialist, I was invited to tour the Bahamas with the Bahamas Tourism Board. As always, all opinions are my own.
A day trip to the Exumas with Powerboat Adventures
The day trip to the Exumas was a full day activity. We left our hotel (Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar) at 8am and arrived back at 5:30pm. In addition to pig swimming, our day was packed with adventure and activity.
I love how on our ride down to Exuma, we were presented with a schedule of activities for the day. The tour was super organized and well run. With this excursion, you could do any, all, or none of the various activities. You really could customize your day being as adventurous or relaxed as you wish.
The staff at Powerboat Adventures was amazing, and spent the entire day catering to our every need. Each activity ran smoothly and it was evident the staff takes great pride in both the guests, and in protecting the animals we were interacting with.
Powerboat Adventures Full day Itinerary
We started the morning with a hotel pick up at 8am. Your pick up time will depend on your resort location. We took an air conditioned shuttle bus to the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal, more specifically to the Margaritaville restaurant.
Here we had to sign a waiver, and had the opportunity to use the restroom and grab some water before boarding our speed boat for our hour long ride to the northern Exumas.
Riding the speed boat was like being on a giant jet ski. We were cruising, and the ride was bumpy at times. For this fast ride, they gave us rain coats in case we got wet!
Our first stop was the beautiful, uninhabited Allen Cay. I was one of the few people who opted to jump off the front of the boat! The water was perfection.
At Allen Cay we stayed about 25 minutes to feed the wild iguanas, which was truly an unreal experience. We were given wooden sticks on which to place grapes and the iguanas would run up and grab them. I mean, where else can you feed wild iguanas?
After the iguanas, we boarded back on the boat for a ten minute ride to the private island, Ship Channel Cay. As we disembarked, snacks were available for us (crudité, mini hot dogs, chips & salsa) and the complimentary open bar was ready for business, including serving up delicious Bahama mamas!
The beach at Ship Channel Cay is outfitted with plenty of lounge chairs and the softest sand I have ever felt in my life! When we arrived, we took a few minutes to get settled and then it was time to swim with the pigs!
More on that below –
After the pig encounter, there were still many great activities to partake in. Again, you could do as little or as many things as you wanted to participate in. The group was small, so no overcrowding on this excursion, which I loved!
Up next was the hand feeding of the sting rays and the chance to pet these beautiful creatures. Now, this activity was not in a tank or anything. The entire time we were at Ship channel Cay sting rays were just swimming around… as were sharks.
When it was time for the feeding, guests lined up along the shore so the sting rays could come down the line and interact! This was a beautiful, natural experience and totally safe and controlled, but someone in our group did get her leg sucked on by sting ray.
Like I said, the water was shark infested, and worth noting the staff did tell us not to get too close to the sharks while swimming! The last animal encounter was watching the shark feeding show which was really wild to see a whole school of sharks swimming so close to us. The Powerboat Adventures staff lured them in with a huge shish kabob of dead fish. Again, I loved that you could get as close to, or stay as far back as you wanted!
After the shark feeding, it was time to snorkel. Now you may be wondering how a whole group of tourists went snorkeling in shark infested water – well somehow the Powerboat Adventures staff lured the sharks over to the other side of the cove and cleared out the water for swimming. It was pretty incredible, actually.
Snorkelers are provided all the necessary equipment including the floatation devices (although worth mentioning that this activity is only recommended for strong swimmers).
Snorkelers are brought out to the coral reef in front of the beach. Even though I LOVE snorkeling, I actually opted to relax on the beautiful beach, and enjoy some complimentary Bahama Mamas!
After snorkeling, it was time for lunch. I am still super impressed with the spread that the staff cooked up for us on a private island in the middle of nowhere! Guests were offered grilled fish, grilled steak, salad, veggies and hot dogs. We had fruit and cheese as well.
At lunch leave room for one more thing -fresh conch salad! Watching this be prepared was a highlight of the entire day.
While we were enjoying lunch, the staff went around the beach in a small boat picking up about five fresh conch shells. They then did a demo on how to open the conch, pull out the meat and create this Bahamian delight! (PS Its a lot like ceviche)
Enjoying a sample of fresh conch was a fabulous way to end an amazing day!
INSIDER TIP: Make friends with the staff and you might be the lucky recipient of the opened conch shell.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Around 3:30 the bell was rung, and it was time to board the boat to head back to Paradise Island. After a beautiful boat ride, we were transferred back to our hotel after an amazing day exploring the Bahamas!
Swimming with the Pigs in the Bahamas
We did so many great things on this excursion, but we were all in it for the pig swimming! This is an experience so unique to the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas – and the one I’m sure readers are most curious about!
Overall, we spent about 20-30 minutes interacting with the pigs. You could touch, feed or pet the animals, again having as much interaction as you felt comfortable.
As we prepared to meet the pigs, we were lined up in about knee deep water, facing the shoreline. This was a little nerve wracking knowing that the sharks and sting rays were swimming behind us, but we all put those nerves aside in anticipation of the pigs!
We were given apple slices to feed the pigs, and finally it was time. Out they came, running towards us in a little line – which was a little terrifying, honestly!
They warned us about this, but as soon as the pigs hit the water, they started defecating everywhere. It was pretty gross, but at least it was solid, and you could do your best to avoid the chunks (hey, just trying to give an honest review here).
It was very overwhelming for me to have the pigs running everywhere, and it was a little chaotic at first. After a minute or two everyone, including the pigs, seemed to settle in and it was clear the pigs are such gentile, docile creatures. I pet a few pigs, and tried to grab some pig-selfies.
Other guests continued to hand feed the pigs and they were able to get in the water to pose for pictures.
Overall this was a cool experience, even despite the pig poop! I would be cautious about taking smaller children to this encounter. The staff really stressed that when the pigs came out, they did not want guests running back to the shore, as the pigs might get confused and start running amok.
What to bring on your Powerboat Adventures Excursion
Most of what you need is provided by the tour. Throughout the day there were always snacks and water available. On the private island there is a nice clean restroom with a sink for hand washing.
Some items to bring:
Waterproof case for your phone
Dramamine for motion sickness
How to book Swimming with the Pigs
If you are looking to book a trip to the Bahamas, you should reach out to inquire about my travel planning services. I am a full service travel agent and a Bahamas Destination and Wedding Specialist. I can help you plan the perfect Bahamas vacation for your family, including a day with Powerboat Adventures.
If you already have your trip booked and are interested in this tour, you can book that here.
I would recommend this excursion to anyone visiting the Bahamas who loves unique experiences, animal encounters and learning more about the islands in which they are vacationing. I truly had an awesome time at Ship Channel Island and I cannot wait to return with my kids!