Pig beach is one of those places that you always see on Instagram, but don't really know much about. Are there really pigs roaming free on the beach? Where even is it? And when can we go?
You only have to scroll through the feeds of a handful of travel and lifestyle bloggers to spot pig beach. And you know exactly what the Instagram post looks like - bikinis, impossibly blue waters, white sands and, you guessed it, pigs! Here's everything you need to know about visiting the hot spot yourself (or at least add it to your bucket list).
Where is pig beach?
Pig beach (yes, that's its genuine name) is located in Exumas, The Bahamas. As history goes, a photographer and ocean guide, Jim Abernethy, discovered the brilliant spot on an island called Big Major Cay, while exploring the surrounding waters.
The island itself is about 82 miles southeast of Nassau, and about 50 miles northwest of George Town, and is uninhabited by humans. Instead, it's home to approximately 20 pigs and piglets - as well as a few stray cats and goats, who can be found on the island. The pigs do a lot of eating, sleeping, swimming, and meeting humans.[instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/By-tmFPI7pg/[/instagram] [instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/BVVsDF7B6-b/[/instagram]
How do you get to pig beach?
The only way to reach Pig Beach is by boat, which means renting one out or taking a guided boat tour. A local tour company offers a full-day tour which includes visiting the pigs, swimming with nurse sharks (!), a picnic and snorkelling in the famous Thunderball Grotto for £158, or you can look at getting a boat of your own for closer to £200.[instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx5eTnqiJZt/[/instagram] [instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/BcnMqeVFzJt/[/instagram]
Are the pigs friendly?
Mostly people seem to say yes, but @ourpassportdiary shared her experience of Pig Beach on Instagram, writing that if you take food to give to the pigs, they may react with hostility. "Knowing they can get aggressive, I put some vegetables in a toiletries bag and brought it to the beach to give to the little piglets," she explained. "But one of [the larger ones] was onto me and could smell the veggies through the toiletries bag. She chased after me, and nipped at my hip.
"And oh man did it hurt! I bruised a lot, but she didn’t break skin, as she didn’t really bite me. She was just letting me know she wanted the food. So beware, if you bring food in the morning, they will want it!"[instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/BXg-S-qlh3D/[/instagram]
Of the pigs, tourism director Joy Jibrilu told official Bahamas tourist board:[instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/Bplm3LAHjzy/[/instagram]
Other things you should know
- Local guides recommend arriving to feed the pigs early, when they are genuinely hungry and will play in the water for food. By noon, the animals are often full and lazy (same), ready for a nap under a tree rather than a swim.
- Don't feed the pigs on the sand, to avoid sand inhalation. Many advise offering them fresh water to help with dehydration, too.
- Some of the pigs are HUGE! Don't expect cute little piglets squealing around - a lot of them are close to hog size, meaning they're probably not as cute as you're expecting.
Dusty Baxter-Wright Senior Entertainment & Lifestyle Writer Dusty Baxter-Wright is Cosmopolitan's Senior Entertainment and Lifestyle Writer, covering celebrities, movies, TV and books as well as travel, interiors, food and drink on a daily basis.