This beach is photogenic, and it seems that everyone who visits it hypes up how great it is.
Think about it, you are at a beach and there are pigs swimming! How cool is that? Where did they come from? How did they get here? Why are there pigs on this beach?
At first, we were sucked into the hype and thought it was so amazing. After a few minutes, the magic passed and we realized what was really going on.
Drunk tourists were picking up the squealing piglets and then dropping them, because they are drunk and a squirming piglet is hard to keep a hold of. Everyone is wasted at all hours and the beach is littered with pig turds.
The original pigs lived deep in the island, surviving by foraging and drinking the fresh water found deep inland at a natural freshwater lake. No one is sure how those pigs got there, but they were discovered and soon it became a tourist attraction.
We feel that seeing those pigs would have been awesome! These pigs, not so much.
The current swimming pigs come from Nassau and are brought to the island by a local company that feeds and waters the pigs. The pigs regularly die from ingesting sand, and are promptly replaced, because there is a huge industry revolving around the pigs at this beach.
The pigs now exist solely to bring tourists to this part of the Exumas. While at Staniel Cay (the closest island with an airport) we overheard the local tour guys with the boats. They charge $400 per person to take you over to see the pigs. $400! I saw one savvy tourist negotiate the price all the way down to $150 per person. This seems really ridiculous since the pig beach is about 1 nautical mile away from where the tour boats are located.
I’m not saying that Pig Beach was a waste of an area to go, in fact, this anchorage and location was my favorite spot in all of the Bahamas, but we only went to the beach twice. Once when we first got there because of all the hype, though the magic quickly faded; and a second time a few days later to see if we would like it more when the beach was less crowded. Sadly, the pigs are exhausted and do not want to deal with people. Most of them run away from non-locals, and one of them will bite your butt (literally, her name is Karma and she will bite you in the butt).
A few hundred meters north of Pig Beach is Cruisers Beach, and we loved watching the sunsets from here. A little bit south of Pig Beach is the Thunderball Grotto, a cave that is filled with more colorful fish than it has water! Right behind the grotto is some amazing coral reefs to explore as well.
The main reason why I enjoyed this anchorage so much is the proximity to a grocery store. It seemed that most of the Bahamas was either “city with no scenery” or “scenery with no civilization”. Nassau in New Providence is the prime example of this. While the beaches are public, the house by the beach is owned by someone so wealthy that they pay a police officer to patrol the beach and not let cruisers land there (yes, a public police officer being paid by a private citizen to keep people off of a public beach; doesn’t sound too legal to me). The Berry Islands were the opposite, they were beautiful but completely deserted. You had to stock up before you went there because there was no store to pop into and pick up some more pasta sauce.
Staniel Cay hosts two, rather small but still existent, grocery stores. If you needed more food, you could dinghy over to it and walk a short distance to the store where you could buy fresh fruit and vegetables (which will rot quickly so only buy what you are going to eat in a few days).
So the anchorage by Big Majors (the island with Pig Beach) has beautiful snorkeling, grocery store access, awesome sharks you can swim with at the marina on Staniel Cay, and a great beach to relax on (not the one with the pigs).