Leave the bustle of Nassau, Bahamas, for a day and embark on an adventure exploring lesser-known Bahamian islands in the Exuma Cays, an archipelago of 365 tiny islands.
The virtually untouched islands are a great choice for nature lovers or travelers seeking relaxation, as they offer both seclusion and undisturbed miles of pristine beaches, crystalline waters, abundant wildlife, and more.
One of the best ways to explore the Exumas is to cruise off the coast of Nassau and take a sightseeing tour on the water. Here are a few highlights you’ll encounter on your visit.
The Famous Swimming Pigs
Part of Exuma Cays’ charm is their famous swimming pigs, which have become a viral social media sensation in recent years.
The pigs live at Pig Beach on Big Major Cay, and no one is sure how they arrived there – the island isn’t inhabited by humans and the pigs are not native to the area. It’s possible that they were left by a group of sailors (who likely planned to return and eat them) or that they swam over from a nearby shipwreck at some point in time.
However their journey began, today these friendly island pigs are always up to pose with visitors for a killer Instagram shot – as long as you provide them a snack!
Rock Iguanas, Sharks, and Stingrays
In addition to splashing around with the wild swimming pigs, in the Exumas you’ll have the chance to see other wildlife, including Bahamian rock iguanas, sometimes called Bahamian dragons.
Like the pigs, the iguanas run wild in a natural habitat on the islands. A flourishing population of endangered rock iguanas resides at Allen Cay. The closely monitored breeding program has left the cay teeming with more than 1,000 iguanas that visitors can feed and photograph. The prehistoric-looking reptiles are big fans of vegetables and grapes, so be sure to bring them some goodies and they’ll be happy you came.
Sharks and stingrays also often roam around in the shallow waters at Allen Cay – they’re usually not aggressive, but you should never harass or try to touch wild creatures.
Snorkeling and Sea Life in the Exumas
Lastly, those who want some time under the sea should head to Ship Channel Cay, the private island of Powerboat Adventures. This island is just two miles long and a half-mile wide, which provides expansive views of the sea in every direction. Snorkel off the island for an up-close look at tropical fish feeding on local plant life and even stingrays and sharks.
Landlubbers can stroll the shores of the island to take part in the preparation of a fresh Bahamian conch salad and then taste the results. Conch is the national dish of the Bahamas, so don’t head home without taking a bite.
Book a stay at Hilton Nassau to use as your base while you explore the Exuma Cays.