A vacation in The Bahamas isn’t complete without a walk on the wild side! We’ve partnered with travel blogger and outdoor adventurer Angie Orth from Angie Away to see which animals to look for during your island escape.
The Bahamas, a string of 700 islands off the southeast coast of Florida, have long been a staple spring break destination. They’re easy and affordable to get to, offer accommodations for almost every budget and have everything you’d expect from a tropical island paradise – palm trees, mixed drinks, white sand beaches and turquoise seas.
If you’re only hanging out at the hotel pool though, you’ll miss interacting with some of the most interesting locals – the animal residents of The Bahamas. Read on for my suggestions to make your tropical trip a safari like no other.
1) Bahamian Rock Iguanas
The best place to spot one of the rare Bahamian Rock Iguanas is on Allen’s Cay, an uninhabited island located in the glorious Exuma island chain. The Exumas are a strand of 365 islands and cays that cover 100 square miles of untouched, azure sea. The island is only accessible via boat, so rent one or hop on a Four C’s Adventure tour.
The friendly and curious iguanas are a pinkish hue, and they’ll scurry up to a tour boat by the dozens in the hopes of acquiring tasty grapes, lettuce or other produce.
There are only 5,000 Bahamian rock iguanas left in the wild, so interacting with them is a real treat.
2) Swimming Pigs
Unlike their rock iguana neighbors, the swimming pigs are not endangered – in fact, more and more hydrophilic swine are popping up around The Bahamas as demand for the experience grows. The original and now, world famous, swimming pigs of Exuma live on Big Major Cay, an uninhabited cay just around the corner from yacht outpost Staniel Cay. You can book day trips via boat from Exuma or Nassau, or fly into Staniel Cay’s tiny airstrip and rent a boat on your own. Just don’t forget snacks – these little (and large) piggies love lettuce, apples and all sorts of produce.
3) Sting Rays
The water in The Bahamas, considered by many to be the clearest in the world, affords perfect visibility of Southern Rays as they glide gracefully through the shallows.
You can spot Southern Rays, affectionately known as the puppy dog of the sea, all over the islands, but some of the friendliest ones pop up every day for snacks at Chat n’ Chill, a casual beach bar on Stocking Island, across the harbor from Great Exuma. As many as four rays at a time will glide up to the shore to say hello, flying over your toes with their smooth skin and taking conch, fish or crab right out of your fingers. Don’t worry about the “stinger” – unless you step on a ray or threaten it, the only surprise is just how friendly these elegant “sea pups” can be.
4) Abaco Parrot & West Indian Flamingos
The Bahamas are a bird watcher’s paradise, though many don’t realize it because it’s hard to turn away from the gorgeous water. Great Inagua is the third largest island in The Bahamas, and nearly half of it is covered by Inagua National Park, home to more than 80,000 West Indian Flamingos, the bright green Bahama/Abaco parrot, and 140 species of pelicans, ducks and hummingbirds, some which are found nowhere else. You likely won’t be able to get too close to the majority of the skittish fowl, so bring a good zoom lens.
The quickest way to meet sharks in The Bahamas is to go straight to Stuart Cove’s in Nassau and sign up for the Shark Adventure, a 2-tank dive where Caribbean Reef Sharks swarm around ecstatic divers below. On the island of Bimini, divers can hop aboard a boat at Bimini Big Game to experience the Great Hammerhead Shark Dive, which is available only during the winter months. The truly adventurous can head to Grand Bahama Island for a cage-free Tiger Shark dive, one of the most thrilling underwater experiences in the world.
Good news for the shark-averse traveler: spotting one is actually pretty tough unless you’re specifically searching for them. Swim with abandon!
Need a Spring Break?
Browse our full inventory of spring escapes:Explore Now
Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.