Swimming with pigs and sharks in the Bahamas

Is swimming with sharks in the Bahamas on your bucket list? 😉

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would swim with sharks, especially in the Bahamas, a country that I also never imagined would I visit.

While planning my three-day trip to the Bahamas, I discovered that I could go swimming with pigs and sharks in Exuma, a stunning Bahamian island surrounded by some of the clearest waters on Earth.

Visiting Exuma seemed perfect for me, and seeing the swimming pigs could be fun, however swimming with sharks… hmm…. I have to confess that I wasn’t mad about the idea…

In the end, I decided to do it because I really wanted to go to Exuma, and because swimming with sharks in the Bahamas is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Besides, I had to believe that they would not offer such activity unless it was safe…

Pericles Rosa wearing a red speedo floating in the water with some nurse sharks at Compass Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
It isn’t as scary as you may think…

The Unique Swimming with Pig Sharks in the Bahamas Experience 

I arrived at Nassau’s airport on the morning of July 3rd, 2015, and on the next day caught an early morning flight with Bahamas Air. I was still hesitant but at the same time excited to go swimming with sharks for the first time in my life.

What I didn’t know was that the adventure would start sooner as I took an old plane that I doubted would make it off the runway…

Fortunately, it did, and after 40 min we landed and minutes later the driver from Coastline Adventures picked me up at the airport. It was a very beautiful day with bright blue skies and I was already feeling a little more confident.

On the drive from the airport, I got to meet my fellow adventurers and after around 50 min we arrived at the pier to take the boat for the excursion.

The speedboat left the dock and the music blared: “Bahamas, Bahamas…” The people aboard started to drink, dance, chat and laugh; I was having a blast. The captain stopped every now and again to show us private islands owned by celebrities.

Exumas, Bahamas
Imagine having an island in the Bahamas.

At one point the guide jumped in the water to catch some conches to prepare as an appetizer for us.

The weather was perfect, and as we moved forward, the water changed colors: blue, deep blue, light blue, turquoise… I wondered how many shades of blue there could be.

I was still a bit anxious but getting more excited and couldn’t wait to go swimming with the sharks.

The boat ride seemed endless. We rode for almost two hours until we arrived at our first destination: an island with clear turquoise water and white soft sand. I was astonished by its beauty and wondered why we stopped there until I saw its inhabitants.

Pig Beach & The Swimming Pigs of Exuma

Dozens of pigs of all sizes and colors were on the island!

One usually associates pigs with mud and dirt but here they lazed around on the pristine beach or floated dreamily in the clear blue water.

How they got to the island, nobody knows, but now they were living in a piece of paradise.

Pigs of different color, sizes and ages at Big Major Cay (Pig Beach), Bahamas.
Pigs of different color, sizes and ages at Big Major Cay, Bahamas.

We got pieces of bread and jumped off the boat to feed them. And, yes, they were cute pigs, especially the baby ones.

Some of them were very lazy and did not want to go into the water just for a little piece of bread.

I had a lot of fun swimming with the pigs and feeding them.

Pericles Rosa in the water playing with a pig at Pig Beach, Bahamas
Playing with the pigs

We left the pig island and, after a short ride, we stopped at a sandbank in the middle of the ocean.

I could walk for many meters with the water just at my knees. While we relaxed and took pictures, our captain and the guide prepared a conch salad, an exquisite Bahamian dish.

I was getting excited because after the sandbank we were heading to Compass Cay in Staniel Cay, to finally have the great experience of swimming with sharks in the Bahamas.

Some people on a sand bank on Exumas Cay, Bahamas
Exuma, the Bahamas

Swimming with sharks in the Bahamas

As we came into Compass Cay Marina, we could see other boats and some sharks.

The boat parked and I saw sharks swimming back and forth underneath our boat. It was the first time I’d seen a shark and I could not believe that I was there not only to see them but also to interact with them.

All the visitors who want to go swimming with sharks in Compass Cay have to pay a US$ 15 maintenance fee. I paid mine, walked towards the pier and saw dozens of sharks. OMG!

At first, I just sat on the pier speechless because of the number and size of the sharks. Some of them were very big! Then I reached down and started to pet them.

Pericles Rosa wearing sunglasses and a red swim suit  laying down petting sharks at Compass Cay Marina, Bahamas
Getting familiar with them…

A woman from D.C. was the first one from our excursion to jump in the water. Our captain fed the sharks by throwing pieces of fish at them. Nurse sharks are harmless but they are not vegetarians.

When the woman got out of the water it was my turn. What a memorable experience! At one point I was surrounded by at least fifteen sharks. They were all coming because of the food, but I was petting them and they did not mind at all.

I did not expect that sharks could be so friendly!

Pericles Rosa swimming with sharks at Compass Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
Swimming with sharks in Compass Cay, Exumas.

I was in the water as much as I could, petting or swimming with them.

Swimming with sharks in the Bahamas
Swimming with sharks in the Bahamas

Swimming with sharks in the Bahamas was a magical and unforgettable experience!

We still had three more stops on our excursion: one for lunch, one for visiting another island inhabited by hundreds of iguanas, and the last one for snorkelling at Thunderball Grotto where they shot two James Bond films.

I left Exuma convinced that it was the best decision I made to come to the Bahamas.

I still had one more day but I knew that this Fourth of July would be unbeatable.

Safe travels and have fun swimming with sharks in the Bahamas.

Watch Video: Swimming with Sharks in the Bahamas

How to book your tour?

  • You can book a day trip from Nassau to swim with pigs and sharks for US$ 509 here. This tour includes pick-up and drop-off, food and beverage. It has really good reviews and great service.
  • Or if you prefer, you can fly from Nassau to Staniel Cay. This excursion with Viator, a Trip Advisor Company, costs US$ 715 and includes the round-trip flight tickets + tour. Book your tour online here.

Planning your “Swimming with Sharks in the Bahamas” Trip

Where is the Bahamas?

The Bahamas is located in the Atlantic Ocean, 50 miles off the coast of Florida. The country is comprised of 700 islands sprinkled over 100,000 square miles (check the map here).

How to get to Staniel Cay

∗ The main airport in the Bahamas is Nassau International Airport, now known as Lynden Pindling International Airport, situated 10 miles (16 Km) west of Nassau, New Providence Island.

∗ From the U.S. there are direct flights with: Delta,United, JetBlue, BahamasAir and Southwest Airlines.

∗ There are direct flights with Air Canada departing from Canada.

∗ From other countries is easier to fly to the U.S., Miami or Fort Lauderdale, than take another flight from there.

∗ To Exuma, there’s an international airport in Moss Town, northwest of George Town, and there are direct flights from Nassau, Miami, Atlanta and Toronto.

You can book your flights with Skyscanner, which is the website that I use and trust.

∗ There is also a ferryboat from Nassau to Exuma with Bahamas Ferries, but it’s a very long journey.

Best time to visit the Bahamas

∗ The Bahamas can be visited all year round with temperatures ranging from 21C (70F) in the winter and 26-32C (80-90F) during the summer.

∗ But there are two things to consider:

  1. The hurricane season lasts from June to November.
  2. The months with the most rain are May and June.

Hotels in the Bahamas

I stayed in Nassau and just flew to Exumas to take the tour. If you’re looking for hotels my recommendations are:

Exuma: Embrace ResortParadise BayExuma Beach Resort.

Nassau:  Sandyport Beach ResortBritish Colonial Hilton NassauHoliday Inn ExpressMeliá Nassau Beach

Paradise Island:  Bay View SuitesComfort SuitesThe Cove AtlantisThe Ocean Club.

For more information about the Bahamas:

For swimming with pigs and sharks and also to get more information about the Bahamas, visit the Official Site of the Bahamas

Swimming with pigs and sharks
Swimming with pigs and sharks
Swimming with pigs and sharks
Travel Planning Resources For every booking made through my site I donate US$ 1 for a charitable organization. Safe travels ☺

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