You’ve made it to Nassau, Bahamas, and now you want to cross off that bucket list item and swim with the pigs. While it’s common to think that “The Bahamas” is a single destination, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Bahamas consists of over 700 islands, many with amazing attractions and beauty that differs from the others.
The good news is, that traveling between the islands of the Bahamas is fairly simple. There are many excursion companies that provide boat trips, while others that provide air and sea plane adventures. There is also a ferry, and you can even explore different Bahamian Islands while on a cruise, as many cruise lines offer multiple stops within the Bahamas.
If swimming with the pigs is your goal, here’s our step by step guide on how we took a day trip to Exuma while staying at Atlantis, Paradise Island.
The Back Story…
Our original plan was to visit Exuma via boat from Paradise Island; however, due to weather and waves, that excursion was cancelled. We were so disappointed, and quickly decided we were determined to make the trip, so we found an alternative route. Visiting Exuma via plane instead of boat helps eliminate the risk of cancellations due to rough seas, and also increases the amount of time you get to spend on the island.
Purchase Plane Tickets
The first step in getting to Exuma (by air) from Nassau is to purchase plane tickets. Several airlines provide service between Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport and Exuma’s International Airport in Georgetown. Bahamasair and Western Air are the two most popular. We chose Western Air, as we were booking seats right at 24-hours before departure and they had the best pricing and availability. The average cost to fly from Nassau to Exuma is around $175 per person roundtrip.
Schedule an Excursion in Exuma
Your next step is to choose an excursion company to use in Exuma. We went with Coastline Adventures. Their excursion includes swimming with the pigs at Big Majors Cay, visiting Thunder Ball Grotto for snorkeling (featured in the James Bond 007), feeding Iguanas at Nicolas Cages Island, Swimming with sharks at Compass Cay, fresh conch salad, snorkeling a plane wreck and your transfers to and from the airport. The cost is around $225 per person (with an additional charge if paying by credit card). If you choose to do Coastline’s one day fly in, you MUST book your air through Western Air Bahamas.
Get Ready to Meet the Pigs
Once your tickets are purchased and excursion is booked, the next step is to prepare for your big day! Sunscreen, a camera and towel are absolute necessities for this trip. We went at the end of March, and I also wish I had brought a light jacket or sweatshirt of some sort. When the boat stopped the temperatures were perfect, but while we were underway, it got pretty chilly due to the wind.
You will be able to check a bag if you’d like, so we opted to pack in a sturdy oversized beach bag (here is what we used) for the trip. This way we had towels, sunscreen, hats, some snacks, backup batteries for the GoPro, etc. all in one place. The boat and plane are not very large so it’s a great idea to pack as minimally as you can.
You will also need your passport and some cash for tips and lunch. On our excursion, we stopped at a place for lunch that was $20 per person, plus the cost of drinks. At first we were upset over the price, but after we were finished, we realized it was worth every penny, as it was some of the best food we’d ever eaten!
The Big Pig Day
Once your excursion day has arrived make sure you have arrangements to and from the airport. We use Higgs Transportation whenever we are in the Bahamas. They are super reliable and have great vehicles and drivers.
Since traffic in Nassau can be hit or miss, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, especially if you are coming across from Paradise Island.
After you get checked in at the airport, there’s only one option for breakfast, Dunkin’ Donuts, so if this isn’t your jam, make sure to plan ahead.
During your flight you will see some of the most gorgeous blue waters ever. The flight is very short and only lasts about twenty to thirty minutes.
Upon landing, you’ll find the Exuma Airport is VERY small. You will exit the plane, and claim your luggage on the carousel back of a tractor. The tour company that you’re using should be there to greet you with your transportation. Coastline had their bus just past the exit of the airport to the right hand side.
The bus ride to our boat was VERY long and windy. If you suffer from motion sickness, this will be the worst part of your day so be sure to plan accordingly.
When you arrive to the boat, you’ll be asked for your passports. We were not fans of this, but it is part of what’s needed in order for them to get you checked back into your flight. It’s smart to keep a digital copy as backup (photo on your phone, etc) just in case something were to happen. We had no issues, but it certainly did make us uneasy.
We boarded our boat, went out and watched one of the guides onboard dive for conch, then headed to meet the pigs. Your day will be full of so many gorgeous sites and awesome adventures. It’s a full day but definitely one for the bucket list, so be sure you’re rested and hydrated so that you can fully enjoy it!
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