Cruises to Progreso

244 Reviews
Progreso (Photo:Lewis Liu/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Progreso

Located on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Progreso provides an entryway to some of the most well-known Mayan historical sites, including Chichen Itza (100 miles away) and Uxmal (71 miles). The region is also famed for its flamingos and there are more than 2,000 smaller and lesser-known Mayan sites here, too. Xcambo is only minutes away and a tour to Dzibilichaltun (16 miles away) includes a visit to a cenote (a watering hole) where you can swim.

Progreso is sometimes double-billed as a port with Merida -- a colonial city about an hour south -- but it is also very much a town in its own right. It began life in 1871 and has continued to grow over the decades, particularly after its 4-mile-long pier (the longest in the country) was installed in 1989.

It is not the bustling port that passengers will see throughout other parts of the Caribbean and Mexico, however. In fact, aside from the throngs of out-of-town vendors that converge when a cruise ship is in port once or twice a week, it can be pretty sleepy. And that's part of its charm. Progreso feels less touristy and more authentic than Cozumel, for example.

The city center of Progreso is about 5 miles long by 10 blocks and encompasses the malecon ocean promenade. The town also has its own mercado (market), which is where locals shop for fresh produce as well as snacks. You'll find pop-up food stalls in this market dishing up everything from tacos to burritos to enchiladas; for a cheap, authentic taste of Progreso, this is where to come.

And Progreso has a great, easy-to-reach beach -- a vast, clean, stretch of white sand on the Gulf of Mexico's so-called Costa Esmeralda. The town's more upmarket restaurants are on the long, beachfront malecon and some eateries spill over onto the sand itself. So, if you fancy lunch while dipping your toes in the ocean, this is the place to be.

The town has a still-active lighthouse called Faro de Puerto Progreso; although the inside isn't accessible, the lighthouse makes a very useful, visible landmark for keeping one's bearings.

A tour of Progreso won't take more than 45 minutes, so after that take your pick between shopping or la playa (the beach) -- or both.

  • More about Progreso

  • Why Cruise to Progreso?

  • Progreso Cruise Port Facilities?

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More about Progreso

Why Cruise to Progreso?

Pros:

Authentic Mexican port great for shopping, beach-lovers and cultural excursions.

Cons:

It's a 15-minute bus ride to the town proper where some cruisers complain of being hassled.

Bottom Line:

There are plenty of great value offerings for cruisers with varied interests.

Progreso Cruise Port Facilities?

Soon after disembarking your ship, there's a large, duty-free shopping area. Merchandise is attractively presented and decently priced and, contrary to expectation, we found several items to be cheaper and better quality here than in the town itself.

There are more shops beyond the duty-free area, as well as a pharmacy and several clean, free-to-use easily accessible restrooms. There's also a bar offering Wi-Fi, although you'll need to buy a drink to get the code for it. There is no ATM here -- that's in the town itself -- but there is an Information Desk next to the bus stop for the shuttles into town. Ask here for maps and information about tours.

Good to Know?

While cruisers should be mindful of their surroundings, Progreso is a relatively safe port.

Our experience was that while cruisers can be hassled to eat in restaurants or rent sun beds, we were pleasantly surprised to find that a firm "no, thank you" was all it seemed to take in order to be left in peace.

'Aut Progreso' is the name of the company that operates the free bus shuttles from the ship to the town of Progreso itself. They also offer an excellent range of well-priced guided group tours (in air-conditioned buses) from Progreso to all the main tourist sites, including Chichen Itza, Merida and Uxmal. (These cost a fraction of the price of a taxi and can be bought on the spot and paid for in U.S. dollars.)

Please be aware that the market where the free bus shuttle drops cruisers off is NOT the authentic town market, but a tourist replica. The real mercado is around the corner, housed in a slightly decaying, grandiose turquoise building.

Getting Around?

On foot:There's a 4-mile-long pier standing between the duty-free shopping area next to the ship and the port of Progreso itself, so getting around on foot isn't an option if you want to venture any further.

By bus: There are free and regular bus shuttles from the duty-free area next to the ship to downtown Progreso. The journey takes approximately 15 minutes and there are more restrooms as well as a tourist market at the bus terminal the other end. Inquire about additional guided group tours either before boarding the shuttle or at the other end.

By taxi: There's a taxi rank adjacent to the bus shuttle stop with drivers offering rates for private trips to wherever you want to go. While the price might be more than the per-person rate for a tour with bus company Aut Progreso, the taxi option might end up being cheaper (and easier) if you're traveling in a small group. And you can always try to barter.

By Uber: Uber is available in Progreso, and offers another good-value option for getting around.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Mexico's currency is the peso. The only ATM is at the bank in the town itself, about a 5-minute walk from where the free bus shuttle drops cruisers off (but most taxis, vendors and guides will happily accept U.S dollars).

Please bear in mind that if you pay in dollars, you might receive change back in pesos (rather than dollars) so ask first if this is a concern. Most major stores and restaurants accept credit cards, but cash is usually preferred, especially at pop-up locales. If in doubt, it's best to ask in advance so you know before your bill arrives.

Language?

You won't have a hard time if you speak English here, but it will be very much appreciated if you can throw in a Spanish greeting or a "Gracias" here and there.


Progreso Cruise Reviews
We visit some maya ruins and even went to a tiny town name MotulRead More
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Ztroche
Don't love the port, but we loved our excursion with Amos at Explora Caribe for the exploration of the Mayan Ruins, the Pink Salt Lake, and beach lunch. Read More
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Looking19
We did the horseback riding and ceynote swim Excursion in Yucatan. It was a nice experience. It was my first time riding a horse and swimming in a ceynote. I had a great time and the tour guide Russel was awesome. LoRead More
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Chane J 23
We did the Mayapan ruins, tubing, cave snorkel excursion. We were led off the boat and to our bus. The guide gives you some info on the area and history of the Mayan people then its silent for the next hour. Some of Read More
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sunshinecruisin

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