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Swimming With Pigs in the Bahamas: What You Need to Know About this Popular Excursion

Melinda Crow

Last updated
Nov 9, 2023

Read time
5 min read

You’ve likely already heard of swimming with pigs in the Bahamas. Cruisers heading to the Bahamas can go hog wild by getting in the water with swimming pigs on ship-sponsored shore excursions or independent tours on cruises with cruises with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise lines, among others.

While on these shore excursions, visitors get into the water with wild pigs, feed them apples and scratch their backs and tummies. The pigs are friendly and eager to get a piece of fruit. But to be clear, you don't actually swim with pigs; it’s more of a splash around with pigs experience.

We got our toes wet with the swine on a recent shore excursion to see if a swimming pigs tour is worth the hype. Here's our review of swimming with pigs in the Bahamas.

The Background on Swim With Pigs in the Bahamas Shore Excursions

The most well-known swimming pigs experience involves getting in the water with feral pigs on Pig Beach, located on an island in the Exuma district. Pigs have a natural affinity for the water, and when visitors discovered a colony of feral pigs living beachside on Bahamas' Exuma islands, a popular tourist attraction was born.

But for cruisers, the activity almost always features trained domesticated pigs on small islands much closer to the cruise ports of Nassau or Freeport and the cruise lines’ private islands.

Where and How to Book a Swim With Pigs Experience on Your Bahamas Cruise

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas (Photo: Just dance/Shutterstock)
Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas (Photo: Just dance/Shutterstock)

For private island stops, look for swim with pigs excursions from Perfect Day at CocoCay, the private island owned by Royal Caribbean and also now a stop on select Celebrity cruises.

MSC has swim with pigs excursions available from their private Bahamas island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. And Norwegian offers a Great Stirrup Cay swim with pigs excursion, which is the one we took.

Third-party tour operators offer excursions to swim with the pigs from both Nassau and Freeport. You may find excursions offered on Princess and Margaritaville at Sea cruises as well.

Swimming With Pigs Bahamas Excursion: Our Experience

Our first glimpse of the pigs followed a hair-whipping ride on a 15-person speedboat. Other cruisers were already in the water with the pigs in an enclosed area of the beach as we approached.

Before we could get our feet wet, we were taken up to a patio with tables and chairs where we were given a quick lesson on interacting with the animals.

Here are some rules/facts we were told: Don't tug their ears or tails. They love their stomachs to be scratched. Never feed them with your hand; always use the wooden skewers provided. Hold the skewers to the side and away from your body. Please don't poke the pigs with the skewers.

Ten minutes later, the earlier group in the water was ushered out, and we made our way onto the small beach and into the ocean with about 10 pigs of varying sizes, though the smallest was still the size of an overweight Rottweiler.

A staff member handed us a skewer and two apple pieces, and even as we put an apple onto the skewer a pig spotted the juicy morsel and quickly swam over. (The water wasn't more than stomach-high on most adult cruisers, but deep enough that the pigs often needed to swim.)

It quickly became apparent that the pigs are most interested in the apples. We tried scratching a stomach or two, but as soon as a pig realized there's no more food, it moved on to the next person.

The group spent the next 20 minutes or so feeding pigs as they swam from person to person. There was much laughter and squealing (from the families with young cruisers, not the pigs), and lots of bacon walking jokes.

It's hard not to smile at swimming pigs, but the lack of any interaction beyond the feeding was somewhat disappointing. None of the pigs seemed interested in being scratched, and the pigs that had enough to eat headed to the beach to lounge and didn't want to be approached. We were out of the water and back on the patio well before it was time to go.

Is a Swim With Pigs in the Bahamas Excursion Worth It?

If you love pigs, then this excursion is worth it; just don't hope for something more than simply feeding them. No swimming. No snorkeling. You won't even get your hair wet unless you purposely dunk yourself into the waist-high water (which you’ll likely not want to do once you see the floating pig poop on the water’s surface).

We enjoyed our swimming with the pigs excursion overall despite some disappointments but found the price (currently $149 per adult and $109 per child on NCL) a bit high for what the actual experience was. If seeing the piggies is high on your bucket list, offset the excursion cost with a hot deal on your Bahamas cruise.

Some swimming with pigs excursions are packaged with beach breaks or even a lunch, both of which would add value to the Bahamian adventure.

Water shoes are recommended, both as protection from pig hooves and rocks in the sand. It's easy to get caught up in chasing after a pig, but you don't want to go too fast -- unseen rocks can easily cause an injury. You should also bring towels from the ship.

Publish date October 10, 2019
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