Pig Beach, Bahamas


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).


Pig Beach

No, this isn't a photo from a farm, this is on the beach near Staniel Cay.


The original pigs were shrouded in mystery, as no one knew for sure where they came from. The current pigs are brought over from Nassau as they have become a tourist attraction. Pigs do surcomb to disease and die from time to time, and they are replaced with a new pig to keep the pig population going. That being said, the pigs are doing their own part to keep their numbers up. These little piglets were going to town as they feasted upon their mother.


The pigs do enjoy a different lifestyle from their agrarian counterparts, as they live on a beach and often go for swims in the pristine waters. There is a freshwater spring in the island, but the pigs prefer to stay on the beach where tourists bring them food. This has led to the locals providing them fresh water on their beach front villa. 


The pigs will come out into the water when a tour boat arrives, because they know tourists are going to bring them lots of tasty snacks! 


It was fun to watch the pigs swim with superyachts in the background. 


While the big pigs like to go swimming, the smaller piglets seemed content to hang out under the bushes. Keeping cool in the shade as they sleep the day away with full bellies from all the tourist handouts. 

Thunderball Grotto

Honestly, Staniel Cay has been our favorite area in the Bahamas. It is so popular with tourists that they offer all the amenities you would like to have, while still being small enough that you feel isolated in paradise when anchored. There is also cell phone coverage here which makes accessing the internet possible while at anchor here. 


Right next to Staniel Cay is the Thunderball Grotto, named so as it was the location for the underwater fight scene for the James Bond movie Thunderball. 

The grotto is a beautiful cavern inside where the limestone has eroded away to create this huge cavern with an open skylight in the center. The best part about the grotto is actually what can be found beneath the surface. 


The grotto is teeming with large fish that will swim right up to you as you swim. At the surface, large stripped fish will come right up to your hands and mask, but if you dive down, larger fish will be skirting along the bottom!

The grotto is best visited at low tide, and at slack water. At low tide, the ceiling is farther away, allowing you to snorkel without hitting your head. At slack water, there is less of a current ripping through which makes the entire experience easier to navigate. 

We visited the grotto our first time at low tide and with a slight current. It was really fun and we spent a few hours swimming around this small area. It might seem like you could see it all in a few minutes, but the truth is every time you revisit a spot, something new will be swimming there. 

We returned for our second grotto experience at high tide, and the current was a bit stronger. The rocks were closer to our heads and the current was very strong. We swam around for a little while but it wasn't as enjoyable. 

If you visit the grotto, be sure to visit it at low tide and when the current is lighter,; you will have a magical time in there! 

Iguanas on Allen's Cay

The Bahamas are a magical place, each little island is an entirely different world from the last island you visited! On some islands,  


One of the most northern islands in the Exumas is called Allen's Cay and is home to a population of iguanas. These iguanas live on the vegetation found locally on the island, but they are very willing to take handouts from local tourists that come to see them. 


While we were on the island, Maddie was able to get some incredible pictures of the iguanas as they came out of the native plants and scampered along the beach! 


After a while, some rather big iguanas came out to see what food was being handed out and puffed up to show off to the smaller iguanas.  


He made his body very large and began strutting around the beach trying to scare off smaller iguanas that were around. Maddie insisted on tossing the food towards the smaller iguanas instead of directly feeding the big iguana. 


The smaller iguanas would grab the lettuce and run away when the big iguana would come over to challenge them. Sometimes, the iguanas would drop their lettuce and the big iguana would take over the situation and chow down on the leafy goodness as the smaller iguanas watched. 

After beating to windward for days, arriving on this magical island where random iguanas greet you on the beach as you make landfall was quite the experience!  

Getting Internet in the Bahamas

In the Bahamas, you can either get internet access on your phone by paying an exorbitant amount of $10 per day for 500MB or you can get a BTC (BalTeCo, Bahamas Telephone Company) SIM card and access internet like a local would. 

BTC stores are all over the Bahamas and usually in walking distance from any port of entry. Once you have a SIM card, you will need to do these steps to get and to renew internet on your phone. 

First, you need to have money on your account. To do this, you can either call BTC and add funds to your account, but this is a very slow and ineffective way. The other way is to download and install the BTC app and register your account with it. 

In the App, there is a menu called BTC Top Up, where you can add money to your account with a credit card. Once you have money in the account, you can then follow these steps to convert your money into data.  

FYI, the best value plan costs $35 + 7.5% tax, so you should add $38 to your account when you Top Up. 



The first step is to call *203#  

This will take you to the BTC menu option where you can carry out all changes to your account and convert money into products. 


When you hit send, this screen will pop up. I speak English, so I selected option 1. 


Option 1 shows you what plan you currently have. 

Option 2 is voice and data, but if you have WhatsApp, then you can make calls over the internet and won't need to spend extra money on voice plans. 

Option 3 is just data. 

Select Option 3. 


Now it gives you the choice of the different data plans available. Option 5 has the best value of dollars per gigabyte, and costs $35 + 7.5% tax, so a bit under $38. 

Select option 5. 


Press 1, and you have now selected your new data plan.

The call will now terminate and you will not have internet. You now need to turn off and restart your phone. When your phone turns on, you will receive a text message from BTC letting you know that you have renewed your data plan and that you need to restart your phone to activate it. You now have internet access! 

The BTC App's Quick Top Up requires internet access to work, so it is wise to keep money in your account so that if you run out of data, all you need to do is dial *203# to add more data. If you find yourself without money in your account and no internet access, you will have to wait until you get to a BTC store or try the long process of waiting on hold for the next available BTC representative to add funds to your account for you. 

With that you are all set to enjoy internet access while in the Bahamas!