Angry Birds IRL: MTV Visits Pig Island
Pig Island is real. It is in the Bahamas. And it is incredible.
Angry Birds has never been a franchise built on the most coherent of logics (explosive birds vs giggly pigs via explosive flinging = wut).
So when Sony Pictures announced it was adapting the gajillion-selling game for the big screen, they had ample room to build on the source material. The Angry Birds Movie (out now on Blu-ray & DVD) took a scant backstory, and transformed it into a LOL animated comedy in which the inhabitants of Bird Island attack Piggy Island after said swines dupe them into stealing all their eggs.
Tropical locations, talking birds, and islands dominated by some of the cutest fluffballs this side of a Muppets convention. We thought it was preposterous too, until we visited….
Pig Island is in the Bahamas, and happens to be exactly as incredible as that combination of six words would suggest.
While we haven’t personally visited all of the Bahamas’ 700+ islands, we’re going to out on a limb and christen Pig Island (AKA Major Cay, located in the Exuma island district) as the best.
Located a blissful, sun-drenched two hour(ish) boat ride from Nassau, even the commute is a bucket list experience in itself. Sitting on a powerboat as it zips past countless tiny islands, white-sand beaches and around 892 different shades of blue ocean (we counted), is enough to make you feel like a movie star (there’s a reason Johnny Depp and Nicholas Cage just happen to own private islands around those parts).
The squeals start as soon the boat starts to slow and drift into Pig Island Bay, and it takes a second to realise the squeaks aren’t coming from the pigs - rather a chorus of boatmates descending into harmonious ‘daws’ at the sheer sight of the adorable piggies doing their thing on the isolated, tropical beach.
Let’s get the obvious question out the way first - the pigs are friendly. Super, super friendly. Even getting off the boat is a bit of a logistical head scratcher, because two of the hefty pigs have trotted out into the shallows to welcome us in pers… pigs-on(?!). The real key to becoming their new BFF though? Carrots. And lots of them.
While they’re dog-like enough to trot alongside you out of sheer interest, whip out a carrot and they’re yours for the duration. You can make them walk alongside you, sit on command (well, some of them, depending on how hungry they are), and go for a paddle just by walking into the water with a carrot held above.
The number of pigs is also a surprise. While they’re unlikely to build boats, villages or weaponise anything anytime soon, their community has grown rapidly in recent years (we counted around 12 adult-sized pigs, and around 8 piglets scampering around).
Partially this is because of how popular they’ve become with tourists and celebrities (Kourtney Kardashian, Amy Schumer, Jennifer Lawrence and Beyonce have all visited), but their numbers have swelled in part because of how and why they actually got there in the first place…
Truth or Balderdash?
From a movie POV, we can happily report the theory that all island-based pigs are complete douchebags is a huge porky. As for the truth behind the actual island and how it came to be IRL? That’s a more complicated tale.
Ask any of the locals, and pretty much everyone is clueless as to how the pigs really knows how they got there. Rumours and theories range from a survivalist terrified about the Y2K bug/apocalypse dropping them there for future NOM, to someone suggesting that they were moored there after a Christopher Columbus-era boat overturned and they swam to safety.
Then there’s the slightly more believable suggestion, that the local island owner needed a place to keep pigs for an annual hog roast - but when they saw the pigs’ burgeoning popularity, they decided to stave off the bacon-fest in favour of a tourist attraction.
Pig selfie aside, as part of the Exhuma Escapes day trip, you’re given the opportunity to stop off on a secluded beach occupied by a veritable gaggle of giant iguanas. Not only is it a mini-paradise, but feeding iguanas grapes is one of the most surreal and surprisingly adorable things you’ll do during your stay.
Meanwhile, if you’re more into Birds than Pigs, then we heartily suggest Nassau’s Ardastra Gardens and Zoo, a conservation-focused local zoo that houses an array of beautiful, captivating animals.
From flamingos to snakes, coatis and capybaras (Google them both right now if you’re unfamiliar), and a cavalcade of chatty, tropical birds, it’s a morning well-spent.
The hardest thing is putting down the camera, TBH. Hop off the boat and anywhere you turn, there’s a friendly, smiling pig, stunningly beautiful waters and achingly Instagram-worthy scenery at your disposal.
The Angry Birds Movie is out on DVD and Blu-ray now.
Written by: @spliggle
TAKE MY MONEY NOW: MTV Travelled with… The Bahamas Tourist Board, while the lovely crew aboard Exhumas Escapes transported us from Nassau to Piggy Island (and back again). We were also lucky enough to enjoy a traditional local meal with actual traditional local people (we heartily recommend it).