I’ve just returned from my amazing trip to the Bahamas, and let me tell you, the journey from Nassau to Exuma is an adventure in itself!
If you’re itching to explore pristine beaches, swim with friendly pigs and soak up tropical vibes, I’ve got you covered.
Before visiting, I spent hours researching exactly how to get to Exuma from Nassau and found that there were a range of options.
Here are the best options depending on what you want to see:
- Swimming with pigs – this full day tour is the best.
- Snorkel at Pablo Escobar’s plane wreck – this Exuma full day tour (includes Pablo Escobar plane wreck, Allen’s Cay, Compass Cay & Pig Beach).
- George Town – fly into Exuma International Airport (GGT) with BahamasAir.
- Little Exuma – fly into George Town then take a 30 minute taxi.
- Private experience – this private plane and boat tour is the best (up to 4 people).
Exuma is a chain of 365 islands that are located 211 km from Nassau. As you can imagine, travel options largely depend on where exactly you want to go in Exuma.
Here’s a brief overview of each popular location in Exuma and how you can get there.
In the rest of this guide, I’ll go into a ton more detail on each one.
Swim with Pigs
If you want to visit the swimming pigs then you’ll want to go to Big Major Cay. The easiest way by far is to join an excursion from Nassau.
- This full day swim with pigs tour will take you from Nassau to Pig Beach by powerboat. It’s one of the most highly rated tours available.
There are very few commercial flight options to Big Major Cay (no direct flights) and no ferries at all so taking a tour is the best way.
If you want to snorkel around Pablo Escobar’s sunken plane wreck then you’ll want to head over to Norman’s Cay.
Norman’s Cay is extremely difficult and expensive to get to on your own.
Pretty much the only way is to join an excursion from Nassau. Other than that, your only option is chartering a flight.
- This Exuma full day tour includes a stop on Norman’s Cay to snorkel around the Pablo Escobar plane wreck. You’ll also visit Allen’s Cay, Compass Cay & Pig Beach.
George Town is the capital city making it the main tourist center of the Exumas. It lies on Great Exuma Island.
The only way to get there is by flying into Exuma International Airport (GGT) with BahamasAir.
There is no longer a ferry from Nassau to Exuma so flying is the only option.
Little Exuma Island is mainly known for the stunning Tropic of Cancer Beach.
To get to Little Exuma Island, you’ll need to take a flight to George Town then take a 30 minute taxi down to Little Exuma which is connected to Great Exuma by a bridge.
Private Tour of the Exumas
If you’re looking for ultimate luxury then you may be interested in this private Exuma full day tour which includes a private flight & a private boat to all of Exuma’s top locations.
You’ll visit Pig Beach to swim with the pigs, stop at Compass Cay to swim with sharks, swim though an underwater cave featured in a James Bond film and meet iguanas.
In the rest of this guide, I’ll be going into way more detail on each of the above options including schedules, costs, timings and more.
Getting to Big Major Cay to Swim with Pigs
The famous Pig Beach is located on Big Major Cay which is an uninhabited island so it’s pretty difficult to get there on your own.
By far the easiest way to get there from Nassau is by booking onto an excursion.
Pig Beach is one of the best choices for your day trip to Exuma as it’s actually one of the closest islands to Nassau so you won’t have to spend a ton of time traveling.
This full day swim with pigs tour is one of the best rated (it has over 300 5-star reviews) and for good reason.
Here’s everything that it includes:
- Fast powerboat ride with amazing views (roundtrip transport)
- The chance to swim and feed the famous swimming pigs on Pig Beach
- See Bahamian rock iguanas at Great Guana Cay
- Swim with nurse sharks at Compass Cay
- Pass by the Pablo Escobar plane wreck
- Small group sizes
- Total time: 8 hours
I actually swam with pigs in the Bahamas myself and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
We started off on the beach watching the pigs running around, getting up close to them and saying hi for the first time.
Afterwards, we entered the water with a cup full of fruit and actually got to feed the pigs (you do it in the ocean so the pigs don’t accidently ingest sand).
It was so cool to watch the pigs literally swimming around from person to person as they happily accepted food offerings. They’re super cute and very friendly.
There are some other more expensive tours that will fly you over to Pig Beach rather than taking you by boat but I personally don’t think it’s worth it.
You’ll end up spending a few hundred dollars extra per person and you won’t save any time at all.
By powerboat, the journey takes around an hour whereas the flight takes 30 minutes.
If you add on the time it takes to get to the airport, go through security and wait for your flight, it’ll actually take you longer to fly which is why the powerboat tour is the best option.
- Swim With Pigs Tour From Nassau (includes transport from Nassau by powerboat)
If you’re looking for a private tour just for you and your party then take a look at this private Exuma day tour which is suitable for groups of up to 4 people.
It includes all of the same things as the above tour but it’s all private – it includes a private flight, your own boat and a guided tour to Pig Beach, swimming with iguanas and more.
- Private Exuma Day Tour (super luxurious, groups of up to 4)
Commercial Flight to Big Major Cay
It’s pretty hard getting to Big Major Cay in Exuma from Nassau all by yourself without booking an excursion but it is possible.
When you arrive on Big Major Cay, you will still need to book onto a tour to see the pigs as currently you can only access Pig Beach by boat.
Personally I think it’s just easier to book the excursion from Nassau as you’ll save so much time and effort.
Just in case you really want to make your own way there then I’ve included exactly how below:
The first thing to know is that there’s no airport on Big Major Cay so all flights land at Staniel Cay Airport which sits on the neighboring island.
The only airline that offers any direct flights to Staniel Cay is Flamingo Air who offer 2 flights each day – one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.
The flight takes just 30 minutes and costs between $116 and $135 each way.
If you wanted to do this as a day trip, you could fly out on the 8AM flight which lands in Staniel Cay at 8:30AM.
You could then catch the last flight back to Nassau later that same day which departs between 4:30PM and 5PM (the exact timings vary).
Once you arrive on Staniel Cay, you’ll need to take a boat over to Pig Beach which can be a challenge in itself.
There’s no scheduled ferry so you’ll either have to join an excursion or get a private boat to take you.
Getting to Norman’s Cay
It’s pretty difficult to get to Norman’s Cay on your own so the best option is to join an excursion from Nassau.
Norman’s Cay is one of Exuma’s lesser known but most interesting islands.
It goes without saying that you’ll find crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches here but you’ll also find a ton of history.
The real star of the show is the sunken plane wreck that lies just off the coast of the island.
This plane actually belonged to Pablo Escobar back in the day but is now a popular snorkeling spot.
I actually snorkeled around this eerie yet fascinating wreckage recently and it felt like stepping into a piece of history.
Whilst swimming through the wreckage, I couldn’t help but let my imagination run wild. I mean, who wouldn’t feel like a treasure-hunting adventurer, right?
One thing I will say though is that Norman’s Cay is pretty difficult to get to from Nassau.
There is an airport on the island, Norman’s Cay Airport (NMC), however there are no commercial flights at all between Nassau and this airport.
This means that if you want to fly, you’ll have to charter a flight which can be very expensive.
The only other way to get there is by joining an excursion from Nassau which is what I did.
Excursion to Norman’s Cay
This Exuma full-day tour includes a stop at Norman’s Cay where you’ll actually get the chance to snorkel around the Pablo Escobar plane wreck!
The tour also includes a stop at Allen’s Cay to meet iguanas, a stop at Big Major Cay to meet the famous swimming pigs and a stop at Compass Cay to swim with nurse sharks!
- Exuma Full Day Tour (includes Norman’s Cay)
Getting to George Town
George Town is the capital of Exuma so it’s one of the main places people go. From here, you can explore beaches or take day trips to some of the lesser known cays.
The easiest and most popular way to get to George Town from Nassau is by flying. The flight itself takes just 45 minutes.
Bahamasair is the only airline that offers direct flights from Nassau to Exuma. They tend to have 2-3 daily flights serving this route.
Here’s an example flight I found on Kayak:
Departure times vary each day however they tend to have one flight in the morning which leaves between 6:45AM and 7AM and one in the afternoon that departs between 4PM and 5:45PM.
On Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays they also have a midday flight that leaves at between 12:30PM and 1:25PM.
Flights depart from Nassau International Airport (NAS) and land in Exuma International Airport (GGT) in George Town.
The price for this flight doesn’t vary much at all and tends to cost between $118 and $127 for a one-way flight.
Unfortunately there isn’t currently a ferry from Nassau to George Town. Bahamas Ferries did run a ferry in the past but it no longer operates so flying is the only option.
Getting to Little Exuma Island
Little Exuma Island is a small island that lies just off the coast of Great Exuma Island but the two are connected by a bridge. It’s particularly famous for the Tropic of Cancer Beach.
To get to Little Exuma Island from Nassau, you’ll need to fly to George Town then drive down to Little Exuma.
I discussed flight options to George Town above. As a quick overview, the flight is just 45 minutes from Nassau and costs approximately $123 each way.
The drive from George Town to Little Exuma Island takes just 30 minutes so you could easily take a taxi or hire a car.
Taking a taxi will likely cost around $30 each way.
And that’s it!
Thanks for reading my guide about visiting Exuma which is one of the Bahama’s most breathtaking islands.
If you’re wanting to swim with the famous pigs but you’re worried it’s too expensive then check out my guide on the cheapest way to swim with pigs as it could save you $250!