Progreso is a port city located on the Gulf of Mexico. Its foundation arose from the need of a henequen exportation port that was close to the state capital. The Federal Government granted permission on February 25, 1856.
Nowadays, this port city is where the main fishing industry is, as well as the industry where containers are distributed to the neighboring provinces, and more recently where large touristic cruise ships dock.
In the way that many rich New Yorkers spend the summer in the Hamptons, many affluent residents leave Merida city to spend summer in the cooler seaside environment.
Progreso also appeals to abroad visitors, as many North Americans and Europeans come to Progreso for its tropical weather as an escape from the cold winters in their home towns.
Expats are a growing community that has settled down in the small quiter neighboring towns of Progreso, like Chelem, Chuburna and Chicxulub. But use Progreso as a place for shopping and dining.
This port has 54,000 inhabitants and features many services such as super markets, hardware stores, restaurants and a hospital. The port also has a 6 km long pier, the longest in the world, which has full marina facilities and it’s helped the city to become a major international shipping port for both import and export.
Cruise Ships full of tourist coming from Miami, Panama and France dock at the end of the pier for a few days. Tourist can take a shuttle to the foot of the pier and then into town. Merida, the capital city is just 36 km (22.3 miles) from Progreso. Merida has many shopping malls and fine restaurants; tourist often book day tours from Progreso to places such as archeological sites like Chichen Itza or cenotes (sink holes) one of Yucatan’s most popular attractions.
But what is there to do in Progreso? Exploring the city can be a wonderful experience, the beachfront features a boardwalk that runs parallel to the beach. Here you’ll find many restaurants with delicious sea food dishes. Most restaurants provide Palapas right on the beach for clients.
There are also peddlers selling different crafts but we recommend walking to the craft market where everything is cheaper. Even if you are not looking to buy a souvenir, it is a fun experience to see the local arts, wood carvings, blankets, onyx carvings and Mayan artifacts replicas.
The fruit market is right across the street, it is an authentic and colorful place to visit and get that local experience. You can also take a small tour around the city on the sightseeing tour, it is cheap and you can take it right in front of the market.
If you are visiting Progreso in February you may catch the Carnival that consists on a parade and a big celebration. It goes during five consecutive days and the whole community participates in it.
Progreso has great tropical weather and a beautiful turquoise waters for most of the year, except during winter month when sometimes the winds and tides stire up the water and toss seaweed on shore.
Overall the beaches of Progreso are clean and beautiful, and it is a great place to visit while on the Yucatan.