Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park
The Exumas are a stunning archipelago of remote islands and cays strung between Nassau and Long Island, and around a dozen of these tiny islands are protected within the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park. Established in 1958 as preserve where no fishing is allowed, it was the first marine protected area in the Caribbean. It has been highly successful at maintaining the fragile beaches and marine life found in the area. Visitors can take boat tours to the park to go diving and snorkeling on the many healthy reefs, and to explore the secluded tropical islands, where endangered Bahamian iguanas roam the beaches. On Big Major Cay, you can go swimming with the pigs at Pig Beach and give them fresh water, as their water supply is limited.
By Travis Marshall, AFAR Local Expert
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Pigs, Sharks and Iguanas
There's only one destination where you can swim with pigs, sharks and see wild Iguanas. The Exuma Cays are a chain of 365 islands that holds the most beautiful white-sand beaches and it's impossible to see them all. Going on a day trip with the Four C's made this possible. Cruising along the sapphire-blue water, we saw private homes of the rich and famous such as Tim McGraw, David Copperfield, then on our next point and to our amusement, swimming pigs!!! It's hard to believe that pigs can swim until you actually see them with your own eyes. Floating and swimming around in the water, you hear a resounding "oink oink", they'll also freely and fearlessly approach you for food. Funniest, best and cutest encounter ever. The tour then docks at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, where you get the opportunity to swim with a group of nurse sharks. This is only for the brave and not for the fainthearted. Entering the water full of sharks isn't something everyone will be comfortable with. Though, you'd be surprised on how quickly you realize how harmless they are. They sure have thick skin! Concluding the tour was docking at an island with wild Iguanas- a chance to feed and interact with them. Rare wildlife encounters and venturing the dreamy, tropical Exuma islands are what this tour is all about. You may also see dolphins, stingrays and turtles around, but this is certainly top of the list and the best of The Bahamas.
By Denise Hoo