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All about Progreso in Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Day Trips


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Author: Tobias

The Port City of Progreso is a perfect location to spend a lazy day at the beach and stroll along the promenade. Progreso is about 35km away from Mérida. The journey by car takes about 30min from the city center of Mérida and the place is most of the time very busy.

Day Trips


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Progreso, Yucatán, Mexiko







35km from Mérida

Travel Time:

30min from Mérida


No entry fee

Price Level:




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Puerto Progreso is a port city in Yucatán near to Mérida, located on the Emerald Coast. The city of Progreso itself is quite small, but there are also plenty of things to do in the surrounding area.

The port of Progreso was founded by Don Juan Miguel Castro in 1872, and due to its strategic location - just 22 miles (36 km) away from Mérida - is considered a natural gateway to connect Yucatán with the rest of the World by sea.

The beach

Just 30 minutes from Mérida, Progreso is the favorite beach of the Yucatecans due to its proximity to the city and in addition to the fact that some people have a beach house along the coast. That makes it a perfect place to take a beach day trip from Mérida.

The beach of Progreso
The beach of Progreso

Progreso is a quiet tranquil place. But on weekends, when many are off work, Progreso comes to live. The port city is a common stop for cruise ships, which dock at its long pier. The pier is almost 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) long, making it the longest pier in Mexico.

What immediately catches the eye on the beach are the seagulls. Progreso is a very beautiful place to enjoy the sea, that's why beach is used by locals and tourists alike and the water is pleasantly warm all year round.

Progreso beach
Progreso beach dog

The Emerald Coast

Progreso is the most famous port city on the Emerald Coast. The Emerald Coast (Costa Esmeralda in Spanish) is an unofficial name for the the 98 km long coastal area in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula. The name comes from the emerald colored water.

Some interesting figures:

Figures about Emerald Coast
Figures about Emerald Coast

Emerald Coast
The Emerald Coast

A few tips

Progreso is also the arrival point for numerous tourist cruises from around the world. When a cruise ship docks, many tourists come to the city. Therefore, you can check the cruise ship schedule before going on a trip.

But Progreso is the only beach town that is really affected by crowds of cruise ship passengers. Weekends are the busiest and Sundays are especially crowded as families gather for the so-called "Domingo Familiar".

The beach offers few places with shade and these are occupied relatively quickly. If you want a place under palm trees, you should come early. The locals find shade under the pier that leads into the sea. There are also umbrellas and sunbeds available for a fee.

If you want to snorkel, you can, of course, but the water is not ideal. Due to the conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, the water is a bit murky and you don't have very good visibility underwater.

One more important note at the end: If you drive yourself, you should completely avoid alcohol, because the Mexican police have no sense of humor when it comes to controls.


The beautiful seafront of Progreso is lined with several restaurants but most of the restaurants on the Malecon closing by 8:00 pm. There are only a few restaurants that stay open late with music or dancing.

If you are looking for a tip: Crabster Seafood & Grill (Calle 19, No. 148a) is serving up seafood specialties and Western fare and is our #1 among Progreso's seafood restaurants.

Try a grilled lobster tail, a tasty octopus ceviche or a delicious tuna carpaccio. The restaurant is very centrally located on the Malecon and cannot really be overlooked. You can find more information on the Crabster Facebook page.

A place on the veranda is highly recommended. But it's also a favorite spot of street musicians, which means you'll probably be serenaded. By the way, don't you think, the view to the sea looks like a painting?

Directly to the right of the pier on the beach (at the end of Calle 80) there is Eladio's Bar Progreso. Eladio's is a well-known restaurant chain and serves a wide variety of Yucatan specialties and seafood platters. If you are a vegetarian, you will also feel at home there.

The fish restaurant La Antigua, which is about 10 blocks from the pier if you walk east along the beach promenade, also has a very nice atmosphere.

You'll find La Antigua at the intersection of Calle 21 and 60. It's in the second row, so it doesn't have a view of the beach. You can get a first impression on the Facebook page of La Antigua.

Progreso restaurants
Crabster Seafood & Grill

Progreso Farmers and Artisans Market

Two blocks southeast of the cruise port (roughly at the intersection of Calle 25 and Calle 78 by Pelicano's Restaurant) you'll find the lively Progreso Farmers and Artisans Market.

The market is usually open on Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. But you can also check the Progreso market's Facebook page to see if it's open when you're there. The market offers organic products, wood carvings, jewelry and much more.

Reserva Ecologica El Corchito

The Reserva Ecologica El Corchito nature reserve is located - coming from Mérida - directly in front of Progreso. It is about 80 hectares in size and has three cenotes and two shallow waterholes that are ideal for children.

If you come to Progreso on highway 261 and then turn right onto road 27 towards Chicxulub, after 200m there is a parking lot and the entrance to the reserve. Near the entrance, you will usually be greeted by many curious animals.

You can take a boat trip through the mangroves and observe birds, lizards and other small mammals. You can also swim in the cenotes, which are fed by underground freshwater streams. A path made of wooden planks winds its way through the mangroves above the water.

The developed part of the reserve is not huge and can be explored within an hour. It is also an attractive venture for families with small children.

The entrance fee is 120 pesos for foreigners and 60 pesos for Mexican residents. You can pay by card or cash. You are not allowed to take any food or drink into the Reserbvat (some bags are checked). Safety vests are available on site.

Lizard at Reserva Ecologica El Corchito
Reserva Ecologica El Corchito

Museo & theme park

You will also find the new and modern Museo del Meteorito right on Progreso's beach promenade. It is located directly on the beach promenade Malecón de Progreso, about seven blocks east of the pier.

Right next to Progreso, almost an extension of Progreso, is Chicxulub. There is also a great attraction for kids, the theme park Sandero Jurasico.

On the "Chicxulub Jurassic Trail" there are life-size dinosaurs (Velociraptor, Brachiosaurus, Triceratops and many others) that are moved by motors and also make sounds.

Museo del Meteorito in Progreso
Museo del Meteorito in Progreso

How to get to Progreso from Mérida?

Progreso is very easy to reach by car in half an hour from Mérida, the highway 261 leads there bolt upright. There is also a regular bus service from Mérida to Progreso via Auto Progreso that starts daily around 5:00 am.

The buses ("colectivos") depart from the station in Mérida, located on Calle 62 between Calle 65 and 67. An AutoProgreso ticket cost just about 25 pesos each way.


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Best Tours: The Progresso Region

If you would like to explore the Yucatan Peninsula and Mérida with a guided tour, there are wonderful experiences from Viator. We have selected the three best tours for you.

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Learn Paddle Board and Explore the Mangroves of Progreso

My Top Recommendation (likely to sell out)

Learn Paddle Board and Explore the Mangroves of Progreso

The somewhat different tour. Free cancellation. It starts from US-$62

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Another very special experience

Progreso Xcambo Mayan ruins excursion and beach break

A nice combination: culture and beach. Free cancellation. It starts from US-$85

average rating is 4 out of 5
Best Tours: The Progresso Region

Not either/or, but also!

Cenote Adventure Tour

You visit three fantastic cenotes + lunch. Free cancellation. It starts from US-$100

average rating is 5 out of 5
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