I’ve been to the Bahamas 5 times with my family, and no hurricane will keep us away! While the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands are rebuilding after Hurricane Dorian, they need tourism dollars to help! In this post, I’m talking about the top Bahamas Shore excursions to do.
This is the last post in my Bahamas series, so if you missed any, be sure to catch up here! When you go to the Bahamas there are tons of things to do other than lay on the beach… if you want! Below are the most popular shore excursions in the Bahamas!
Must-Do Bahamas Shore Excursions
1. Swimming with Pigs
I’m pretty positive that the trendiest Bahamas shore excursion right now is swimming with pigs. Ever since I found out we were going to the Bahamas, I had to make it happen. I had been bugging my family for weeks to get them to book this excursion, but my mom and sister aren’t huge animal people, so that was something to consider. However, finally, we found a good option for all of us.
The Exumas Swimming Pigs
If you’re looking for the original swimming pigs, you’ll want to head to the Exumas. One island in the Exumas (a collection of 135 small islands and cays) called Big Major Cay is home to the original swimming pigs. These wild pigs were found on the island mysteriously and first reported in a London Paper, The Guardian in 2002. Though wild, they are now used to humans visiting them throughout the day. It is reported that the pigs are taken to shelter during hurricane threats. The pigs and Exumas were unaffected by Hurricane Dorian.
The swimming pigs aren’t the only wild animals you’ll have the chance to interact with, during an Exumas shore excursion. Many companies also visit the habitat of extremely endangered rock iguanas, sharks, and sea turtles. This the most popular way to see the swimming pigs, however, keep in mind that these are 100% wild pigs and you are encroaching on their habitat. They will chase you for food and they can bite.
From Nassau or Paradise Island, Exuma is at minimum a 2-hour boat ride. Excursions average about $210/person.
Sandy Toes Bahamas Swimming with Pigs
We chose a different option in Sandy Toes Rose Island Excursion. Rose Island is only a couple miles off the coast of Nassau, and a 25-minute boat ride. Rose Island is a quiet island where Sandy Toes has a private bar, beach, snorkeling gear, and of course, swimming pigs. The Sandy Toes pigs were raised by the company from babies so they are trained, tame, well-cared for, and absolutely NOT wild.
You have the opportunity to interact and swim with the pigs all day long. They come out in shifts so they get breaks in between all that swimming and snacking. In addition to the pigs, we also had the opportunity to snorkel, enjoy the private beach, hit the bar, have lunch, and lay in the hammock garden!
This was a full-day excursion, 10am-3pm, for $129/person.
2. Snorkeling in the Bahamas
Snorkeling is such a great activity in the Carribean because the water is so clear. In the Bahamas, there are tons of marine life and beautiful reefs to observe by snorkeling. Many excursions tag on snorkeling as an added benefit, so even if you aren’t looking for a snorkel-only excursion, you can still experience it on other trips.
On our excursion to Rose Island with Sandy Toes, we got to snorkel around the Rose Island Reef. We saw live starfish, tons of fish with tropical colors, the reef, and more. As an added bonus, when I was swimming with pigs down the beach, a two-foot-long tropical fish swam right by me! No snorkel needed!
Flying Cloud Snorkeling
We didn’t do this specific trip, but I can’t recommend the company enough. You’ll find more about the Flying Cloud crew below from our Sunset Cruise experience, but suffice to say, they were such a great company and crew! I’d recommend them and any of their excursions. They offer a half-day ($85/person) and full-day ($105/person) cruising snorkeling adventures.
3. Swim with Dolphins, Sea Lions, Sting Rays, Oh My!
There is an abundance of sea creatures and marine life that you can swim within the Bahamas! In my few trips I’ve done several different types of swimming/paddleboarding/petting with dolphins, sea lions, sea cucumbers and even stingrays!
You’ll find all of these things at Atlantis Resort. You can book these experiences whether you are a guest or not. There are of course many other options on the island, as well. However, I loved my experience paddle-boarding with dolphins at Atlantis, this year. It was one of the highlights of my trip! I prefer doing an activity vs just petting or posing for photos because it allowed the dolphins to swim around us and naturally and interact on their terms instead of staged photos. Marine Life interactions booked at Atlantis benefit the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation. The Atlantis Blue Project funds scientific research and supports the conservation of marine life and their habitats.
Atlantis Dolphin Cay
The Atlantis Dolphin Cay started as a sanctuary for 17 dolphins and 10 sea lions displaced after Hurricane Katrina years ago and has grown to one of the “largest and most sophisticated marine habitats in the world.”
You can do so much at the Atlantis Dolphin Cay. There is everything from kayaking to swimming, to snorkeling with the dolphins to meet and greets with sea lions. Here is a full list of Dolphin Cay experiences you may book on your trip.
I would recommend booking your experience ahead of time if there is something you really want to do. Many of these excursions have limited spots and fill up quickly. However, you can always check when you arrive and throughout your trip, in case there are cancellations (we got lucky booking the night before presumably due to late cancellation by another guest).
Can you Watch or Take Photos at the Dolphin Cay?
For the members of your party not participating in the experience, they may watch from the viewing area, or for a small fee, under $20, they can come onto the beach to take photos. Keep in mind they will still be a distance from you in the water, but they may get some good shots for a smaller fee than the official photographer.
Purchasing photos of your experience is expensive. You can pay between $25-50 for a single photo or digital download, or over $100 for all of the photos of your experience. I recommend taking the card and waiting until you get home to download or purchase any photos. I got the one you see here for a $14 download.
Atlantis Marine Life Experiences
In addition to the Dolphin Cay, Atlantis has tons more marine habitats where you can book experiences. From stingrays to sharks, to snuba or snorkeling, there are so many options at Atlantis! These experiences are so fun and there are so many to choose from!
4. Sunset Boat Ride in the Bahamas
Anytime I’m near water I feel like I belong on a boat! My family loves our sunset boat rides. We seem to have made a habit of booking them whenever possible, and the Bahamas was no different. We don’t do super fancy outings, just an evening on the lake, drinks, and the sunset!
Flying Cloud Sunset Dinner Cruise
The Flying Cloud dinner cruise was perfect. For $75/person, we sailed on a catamaran around the island of New Providence, ate dinner and sipped rum punch from the bar. The crew was so friendly and incredibly knowledgeable and willing to share so much about the island and its history. I’d definitely recommend this cruise and company to anyone looking to book a boating excursion in Nassau!
What about you? Do you have any favorite Bahamas shore excursions? Let me know in a comment below!