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 I would visit.
As it happens, my trip to the Bahamas was a very last-minute decision. I was still living in NYC at the time and didn’t want to stay there for the Fourth of July. So, decided to go to the Caribbean for the first time.
While planning my three-day trip to the Bahamas, I discovered that I could go swimming with pigs and also 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 an activity unless it was safe…
The Unique Swimming with Pig Sharks in the Bahamas Experience
I arrived at Nassau’s airport in the morning of July third, 2015, and in 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 even before I got to the sharks by taking 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 adventurersand 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.
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 and couldn’t wait to go swimming with 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.
The Swimming Pigs of Exuma
Dozens of pigs of all sizes and colors were on the island!
One usually associate 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.
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.
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.
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’ve seen a shark and I could not believe that I was there not only there to see them but also interact with them.
All the visitors who want to go swimming with sharks in Compass Cay have to pay a US$ 10 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.
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 to 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!
I was in the water as much as I could, petting or swimming with them.
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$ 400 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$ 499 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, 80Km (50 miles) off the coast of Florida. The country is comprised of 700 islands sprinkled over 100,000 square miles (check 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.
∗ There’re direct flights also with Air Canada departing from Canada.
∗ From other countries is easier flying to the U.S., Miami or Fort Lauderdale, then taking another flight from there.
∗ To Exuma, there’s an international airport in Moss town, northwest of George Town, and there’re 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’s is also a ferryboat from Nassau to Exuma with Bahamas Ferries, but it’s a very long journey.
If you want more details about how to get to Exuma, read my post: How to get to Pig Beach, Bahamas.
Best time to visit the Bahamas
∗ The Bahamas can be visited all year-round with temperature ranging from 21C (70F) in the winter and 26-32C (80-90F) during the summer.
∗ But there are two things to consider:
- The hurricane season lasts from June to November.
- The months with 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:
∗ Coastline Adventures tour: US$ 235.
∗ Roundtrip flight from Nassau: around US$ 200.
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
- Book Your Flight Find deals on airlines on my favorite search engine: Skyscanner. Be sure to read my How to find cheap flights article.
- Rent A Car Rental Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal.
- Book Accommodation Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. But Hotels.com and Hilton Hotels have very interesting reward programs.
- Protect Your Trip Don’t forget travel insurance! I always use World Nomads for short-term trips and SafetyWing for long-term ones. Find out why Travel Insurance: Much More Than a Precaution, a Necessity.
- Book Tours in Advance Book unforgettable experiences and skip-the-line tickets with GetYourGuide or Viator .
- Book Ground Transportation BookaWay offers a stress-free experience with secure payments and no hidden fees. You pay online and receive your itinerary by email.
- Luggage Solutions Rent your luggage with Cargo or if you need to drop off your own luggage and enjoy your time without dragging it all over a city, find a LuggageHero shop here.
- Get a Travel Card Revolut Card is a pre-paid debit card that enables cash machine withdrawals in 120 countries. I’ve been using my Revolut Card for over a year and never paid foreign-transaction fees again. Get your Revolut Card with free shipping here.
- Packing Guide Check out my How to Pack a Carry-on Luggage For a Five-month Trip to help you start packing for your trip. Don’t forget your camera, chargers and other useful travel accessories.