This city and port on the Gulf of Mexico is a very popular resort due to the white sand beaches and the clarity and peacefullness of the waters, which is created by a breakwater close to the shore. Progreso also serves as the gateway to Merida, the state capital.
Progreso is a port city in the Mexican state of Yucatán, located on the Gulf of Mexico in the north-west of the state.
The beach along the Malecon in Progreso is clean, with lots of watersports available. There is a craft market at the shuttle bus drop off and several restaurants with tables and chairs right on the beach.
Merida, around 30 minutes drive away, is the capital of the Yucatan state and a major attraction for many visitors. You will find lots of shops around the city square. Sights here include the Cathedral of San Ildefonso, the City Museum, the Pasaje de la Revolucion and Museum of Contemporary Art.
Other attractions include Casa Montejo, Government House and the clock tower on top of City Hall.
Chichen Itza, the famous Mayan archaeological site is at least 2 hours drive away from Progreso. The site includes the Temple of Kukulkan, the Ceremonial Ball Court, the Well of Sacrifice and the Observatory.
Uxmal, another archaeological site is slightly nearer (around 90 minutes each way). Here you will find the House of the Turtles, Pyramid of the Magician and the Palace of the Governor.
X’cambo archaeological site is a less crowded and nearer option, it features a pyramid, burial sites and sacrificial wells.
Dzibilchltun site is only 15 minutes from Progreso. It is the largest site discovered so far.
Snorkelling in the clear waters of nearby ‘Cenote Caves’ is a popular shore excursion.
Uaymitun is a wildlife and bird sanctuary and another excursion option.
Golfers can head to La Ceiba Golf Course, just outside Merida.
Progreso’s Malecon Beach offers lounge chairs, umbrellas, watersports, fishing trips, volleyball, changing rooms and showers.
The disabled cruiser visiting Progreso
Where You’re Docked
Cruise ships dock at Progreso Pier, which juts five miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. The terminal has several cantinas, souvenir shops and a taxi stand.
The Malecon in Progreso is a short shuttle bus ride from the terminal.
After you disembark your ship, you’ll arrive at the “outer realm” of tourist shops and duty-free stores located immediately at the cruise terminal. Make your way through these, and you’ll find complimentary shuttle buses to transport you across the lengthy pier to the heart of town. Here, you’ll find more vendors offering to take you to the ruins, get a massage or tour the city.
Taxis are readily available at the pier or in town if you wish to explore further afield.
Car hire is also available at the pier area.
Good to Know
In the 1800s, the Yucatan Peninsula was one of the richest areas in Mexico, thanks to its sisal production (a type of fiber often used in rugs). You can still see some signs of its former wealth by taking a tour downtown and seeing some of the stately manors held over from that era.
While travelers should be mindful of their surroundings, Progreso is a relatively safe port. The U.S. State Department issued a warning for travelers to Mexico in January 2018 due to increased violent crime activity in the country. Travelers to Yucatan were encouraged to “exercise increased caution.”
The peso is the official currency of Mexico, but U.S. dollars or euros are widely accepted in this tourist port. There are few ATMs or banks right in port within a four-block radius of the Malecon (and many more in Merida). Keep in mind that if you pay in dollars, you might receive change back in pesos (rather than dollars) — ask first if this is a concern. Most major stores and restaurants accept credit cards, but cash is usually preferred, especially at mom-and-pop locales. Again, inquire in advance so you know before your bill arrives.
You won’t have a hard time if you only speak English here, but it’s polite if you can throw in a Spanish greeting or a simple “Gracias” at the end of your transaction.
If you’re sticking close to the port in Progreso, your shopping options are fairly limited to the souvenir shops at the terminal, the shops along the Malecon (filled with souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and pharmacies), plus the street and beach vendors. You’ll find the best prices on souvenirs in the shops in this area, as well as in downtown Merida. Haggling is both an expectation and an artform; so feel free to negotiate for the best price.
If you want to get a glimpse of a more authentic experience outside of the souvenir shops, go to the mercado at the heart of town to peruse the produce, meats and other items on offer to locals.
Authentic souvenirs from the Yucatan Peninsula include a guayabera, a pleated cotton or linen men’s shirt, or a huipil, a traditional embroidered women’s blouse or dress, both widely available in stores throughout the peninsula.
Points of Interest
- Progreso – a seven-
Progreso Accessible Excursions
Whether your cruise ship stops in
Progreso Accessible Guided Tour
This 4 hour accessible