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BAHAMAS Great Exuma
Chris Mannix
February 15, 2013
Come for the tropical beaches and luxurious spa treatments, stay for the neighborly pigs. Just make sure you bring something to feed them....
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February 15, 2013

Bahamas Great Exuma

Come for the tropical beaches and luxurious spa treatments, stay for the neighborly pigs. Just make sure you bring something to feed them....

Swimming with pigs might sound like an uncomfortable way to spend an afternoon. Until you try it, that is. Not far from the Thunderball Grotto—so named for its use as a location in the 1965 Bond movie—in Exuma is a quiet cove where a local tour company will drop you for a dip. You'll be greeted by a group of pigs, who will charge out into the deep waters to swim with you. Pet them, splash with them—they'll stick around as long as you are feeding them.

Porcine interaction is just one of the charms of Exuma, an archipelago of 365 islands in the southeast Bahamas. The largest, Great Exuma, was settled in the late 1700s by wealthy Europeans. Cotton plantations—worked by slaves—quickly became the biggest industry. One notable settler, John Rolle, grew disenchanted with the slave trade and upon his death freed his slaves and deeded his land to them. Many of Rolle's former slaves adopted his last name and today 60% of the locals still carry it.

From those plantations sprouted paradise. Luxurious resorts freckle the islands, and the crown jewel is the Grand Isle Resort & Spa in the capital city of George Town. Seventy-eight gorgeous villas sit on a picturesque 18-hole golf course that overlooks a sprawling, white sandy beach. Guests can spend the day pampered at the SeaStar Spa (Balinese massages are a specialty) and finish it lounging in the heated infinity pool that offers a spectacular view of the sunset. Or if you're looking for a little more activity, you can scuba dive, spearfish or rent a boat and check out some of the smaller cays in Exuma. (It's probably a good idea to steer clear of the ones owned by David Copperfield and Eddie Murphy, though.)

In short, this island paradise has something for everyone—man, woman, child. Even pig.

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