A day trip to the Exuma Cays, the Bahamas

A few years ago, we went on our Caribbean vacation to the Bahamas. Although it had been quite some time ago, and we hadn’t even started our “onpoints” journey at that time (it was only “withkids”), some of our friends (a post for you, Alex) were asking for a Bahamian story. We decided to feature the most memorable part of our adventure (and one of the most memorable vacations we have ever taken!) — a day trip to the Exuma Cays!

We took this trip in mid-June, and getting to the Bahamas was relatively easy; we flew SFO-Miami-Nassau. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from the west coast.

The Bahamas is a chain of islands and cays (with 16 main islands) in the Atlantic Ocean; it’s located North of Cuba and Southwest of Florida.

We stayed in Nassau (New Providence Island) for ten days and planned and booked a whole day trip to the Exumas before-head. We chose the Flamingoseashore Tour as our tour operator; their private tour package included roundtrip airfare to the Exuma Cays, feeding the iguanas, swimming with and feeding the pigs, swimming with the nurse sharks, and lunch.

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So, on the given day, we took a taxi from the hotel to the airport and then took a charter airplane from Nassau to Exuma. It was just the three of us and another couple (and a pilot, of course) on the plane, and it took us about 30 minutes to get there!

Upon landing, we were greeted by a lovely lady waiting to transport us to the shore by car. A short ride to the shore, and here we were on a brand new-looking private boat with two crew members ready to begin our tour!

We knew that we had three major attractions to see, so we took off to our first stop — the Exuma Island rock iguanas!

These iguanas are native to the Bahamas and are considered an endangered species. They are indeed beautiful and huge! Sophia helped to feed them, and they seemed happy about it (so did the seagulls 🤭).

It was still relatively early in the morning (around 9 am), and maybe since we were on a private tour and we didn’t have to wait for anyone, we were the only people on the beach. This was a good thing because the iguanas weren’t tired of tourists yet and still were hungry.

When we were done taking pictures and admiring these prehistoric animals in their natural surroundings, we went back to the boat for another short ride toward the next island.

The second stop was the swimming pigs!

This attraction was probably the main reason we took this tour in the first place. Not every day do you get to see a pig swimming in the ocean. Once we saw pictures of those creatures swimming in turquoise waters, we knew we could not miss a chance to witness them ourselves.

We still remember that moment when we were drifting on a boat and saw a pig and a stingray just casually swimming toward us! What a picture! Sophia was so excited and was getting ready to feed the pigs with a piece of bread in her hands.

No one knows for sure how the pigs became the sole habitants of that island. There are a few theories, such as sailors (or pirates 🤭) left them there to come back for them later but never came, or they survived a shipwreck and swam to the closest piece of land, or they simply ended up living there after being brought by the farmers. Well, rest assured, we were glad that the swimming pigs living on the beach exist and we got to see them!

There are some ground rules about feeding the pigs, like giving one small piece of food at a time, and it had to be thrown right into their mouth or lifting your hands up if you don’t have any food left or you’re not ready to feed them.

The only food the pigs are allowed to eat from the tourists are fruits, vegetables, and bread. Our tour guides had a couple of loaves of bread ready for us, so that’s what we fed to the pigs.

Also, apparently according to the notice pictured above, the pigs should not be ridden or given alcohol. Wonder, what’s the origin of this notice 🤔?

Have to mention here that some of the pigs were huge; Sophia got a little scared and ran to the boat, where she could safely observe them from a distance.

Huge thanks to our tour guides for watching Sophia and ensuring she had her hat on while we were taking lots of pictures. We had plenty of time to enjoy these adorable animals; we spent about an hour there.

Next, we ventured on a short ride towards our next and final stop of our tour.

Since we had enough time left, we stopped at a little island in the shallow waters for a swim. The beauty of the colors, the warmth of the water, and the peacefulness were definitely something out of this world.

When we were done, we journeyed on another kind of swim — the swim with the sharks!

We arrived at another island and stopped at a little pier where you could wait for your turn to go into the water for a swim with the nurse sharks or grab a snack at the cafe.

The nurse sharks are bottom dwellers species; they are suction feeders and primarily eat fish. They can not bite you per se, but their suction teeth can brake, let’s say, your finger bone if you put your hand on their belly.

Roman went in first and wasn’t scared to “pet” the shark! Although the pictures look somewhat like the screenshots from “Jaws,” the experience was not that bad 😬.

We did not plan for Sophia to swim with the sharks, well, because, you know — they are sharks. She was watching the parents in the water and started demanding to go for a swim justifying it with, “but I came here too.”

The guys said it was safe enough, and she did not have to touch them. She lasted about 2 minutes and started crying, “they are kicking me” (probably touching her with their long tails). After that, she was promptly “rescued” by her mother 😅.

This rather interesting activity finished our sightseeing part of the tour, and we went back to the Black Point to rest and have lunch. We had lunch at the Deshamon Restaurant & Bar, local food dining was included with the package, and it was only us there.

After lunch, we checked out the quiet streets of this Bahamian village.

Later we were given a ride to the airport and took a flight back to Nassau. At around 6 pm, we were already at the hotel.

This was one of our favorite day trips and the most exotic experience so far, and we very much recommend it. The tour was kid-friendly, both adults and Sophia enjoyed the day a lot, and it was definitely worth every penny!

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