Swimming with pigs in Exuma, The Bahamas

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Every time we come back from a vacation we think to ourselves that nothing will be able to top it!
We had a good feeling about the Bahamas, but we have already seen incredible beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters...could the Bahamas have all of this and maybe more?
Let me tell you that it did not disappoint and it left us speechless once again.
We mentioned in a previous article why we chose to visit Exuma out of the many islands in the Bahamas and we also talked about some important things to know before traveling there.
In case you missed the article you can check it out HERE.


THINGS TO DO IN EXUMA

Oh boy! Well let’s see…what could you possibly do in paradise?

SWIM WITH THE PIGS
This is for sure a once in a lifetime experience! Coming from a country where pigs are usually served for dinner, seeing these fatties running freely on their own private island and swimming in the bluest water, made for an unforgettable memory.
Now, don’t kid yourself, they are not affectionate and looking for love, they just want to be fed…a lot! After all, you can take the pig out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the pig!
Location: Staniel Cay


DARE TO SWIM WITH SHARKS!
This is something I never thought in my entire life that I would be doing! Me…swimming with sharks? Should I have mentioned before hand that I am terrified of them?
This turned out to be an incredible experience! Something meant to take you out of your comfort zone for sure. The sharks were super friendly and would constantly come and rub against me! Petting a shark…checked!
Ok ok…full disclosure now, before you think I am braver than I actually am, they are nurse sharks…and have no teeth! But nurse shark…white shark, potato…potåto. ;)
Location: Compass Cay


PET THE FRIENDLY IGUANAS
Yes, you have read that right! And yes, you will come to learn that the friendliest animals on Earth reside on Exuma.
These rock iguanas have their own island. Well, it was actually owned by Nicolas Cage, but they kinda took over and Nick was nice enough to let them.
Location: Leaf Cay


THUNDERBALL GROTTO
The famous grotto from the James Bond movie. Snorkeling is a fun thing to do here and the more adventurous ones jump from a small whole straight into the grotto. Not a recommended thing by the locals though.

Now how to do all these you might ask? Well, pretty simple. There are several tour companies that provide a tour to all these locations, including a short stop for a drink on a sand bar in the middle of the ocean and a tour of some celebrity islands worth millions of dollars, designed to make you feel poor!

We went with Robert’s Island Adventures and the price was 200$ per person plus an extra 10$ to get to Compass Cay where the sharks are. This is the average price available with most companies. There are companies that offer cheaper prices but they have around 50 people on a boat. We were only 12 for example.
The one thing I did not like about this tour (and this is with all the companies, as they all are pretty much the same) is that you spend too little time at every location. Some cays are very distanced apart, so you will be on the boat most of the time in order to get there, leaving you with limited time for the actual activities.

STOCKING ISLAND
This place is a must! What seemed to be the least interesting thing of Exuma turned out to be one of our favorite things! We are now so fond of this place that we promised ourselves to one day return. I cannot actually put a finger on why: the vibe…the landscape…the friendly stingrays…or that moment at sunset when we looked at each other and could not believe where we were.

Getting to the island requires taking a water taxi from George Town centre for 15$ return ticket.
The island is most famous for the Chat n Chill bar where you will have the best food on Exuma! Seriously, you must try the BBQ ribs! On every Sunday they have their famous pig roast and everybody gathers there to enjoy it, however it tends to get very crowded, so if you are not keen on the pig roast and think that you could settle for the BBQ ribs, going on a different day might be a better idea.

Exploring the island is a fun thing to do as it changes scenery from one corner to the other, from the calm shallow waters to the rough seas. So don't stay in just one place! Go...wander!


Another amazing things about this place is that you get to feed stingrays. Having a stingray get on your lap in hopes for food is a such a great feeling as they are so soft and it feels like they hug and caress you.
Be careful though, not all stingrays are as friendly as these ones! These were raised by someone on the island ever since they were babies and they are somewhat like pets. Cute little flat water puppies!


TROPIC OF CANCER BEACH
How cool is that Exuma is located right at the Tropic of Cancer!? And I guess that the beach here had to live up to the expectations, because without a doubt is one of the most beautiful beaches with the clearest blue water we have ever seen! It took me a while to adjust my eyes and take it all in in order to actual believe that it is real!


COCOPLUM BEACH
Shallow perfect water, white powdery sand and even sand banks make for an incredible beach to spend your day at!
This beach is at its best when the tide is low and the sand banks start forming…and your jaw starts dropping! This is also the best time to go searching for sand dollars!


WHERE TO EAT
There are a few good places on the island where you can enjoy good and even cheap food.

Splash bar @ Hideaways resort
This is the bar at the resort we stayed at. The food was ok, however it was very expensive. Add the 12% tax and gratuity and it goes of the roof.

Island boy café
Close to the main market in the town centre, this café has good food (mostly burgers, sandwiches and wings) at a convenient price.

Santana’s bar and grill
If you go to Tropic of Cancer beach you might want to make a stop at Santana’s bar and grill and try their famous lobster or cracked conch.

Chat n Chill
Best food on Exuma for sure and surprisingly at a very good price. The relaxed vibe and friendly atmosphere are a huge plus.
Besides food, the sunsets here are breathtaking!


MUST TRY:
Anything with conch – the traditional food on the island is conch, which is a really big shell. They make conch salad, conch fritters and even conch burgers and they are delicious!


Bahama mama! – You can’t leave the Bahamas without trying their traditional drink!

Goombay smash – The other traditional drink of the Bahamas (and this should stay between us, but I liked it better than the Bahama mama…sssshhh)

I can honestly say that we left a bit of our souls in Exuma besides my hat at Chat n Chill on Stocking Island. I guess it’s the best retirement a hat could ever dream of! We hope to get back one day to see how the hat has aged, but in the meantime if you get there before we do, please send us a photo with the Flip Flops Only hat…in case it’s still there. It will for sure make our day!


Sending warm hugs and don’t forget…it’s better in the Bahamas!
O

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