Puerto Progreso Yucatan: A Sandy Paradise in the Mexican Gulf

The beaches of Puerto Progreso Yucatan are some of Mexico’s Gulf best-kept secrets.

This resort town near Merida welcomes visitors with a splendid beach, perfect for hot summer days.

There’s a reason why Progreso has become one of the favorite destinations of Yucatan natives and foreign tourists alike, not only as a weekend getaway but also as a temporary summer residence.

If you’re traveling to Merida, Puerto Progreso is the ideal complement to the cultural experience of Yucatan.

Especially if you feel like escaping to the beach at some point (after all, you are in Mexico).

Where is Puerto Progreso, Yucatan?

Puerto Progreso is just over 40 km from the city capital of Yucatan, Merida, less than an hour’s drive.

This beautiful coastal town is home to the most important commercial port in the state and is the gateway to the Yucatan Peninsula from the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition to a relaxed and familiar atmosphere that invites you to rest and disconnect, Puerto Progreso Yucatan offers a vast selection of water activities, tasty foods, and lodging options.

10 Best things to do in Progreso Yucatan

puerto progreso yucatan
Source: Oswaldo Ordóñez / flickr.com

Puerto Progreso is an unbeatable place to practice a wide variety of water sports, such as windsurfing, kayaking, or fun jet ski rides.

You can also walk along the boardwalk, taste regional food, and enjoy its charming beach.

Many Mexican families enjoy the sea and the sun during vacation, especially during Holy Week, July, and August.

The atmosphere is tranquil the rest of the year, and there are few tourists.

Therefore, seek a getaway to Puerto Progreso outside the national tourist season to enjoy this little paradise.

1. Visit El Corchito Ecological Reserve

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El Corchito in Progreso Yucatan – Source: Mayan Heritage / flickr.com

El Corchito is an ecological reserve located 2 km from the entrance of Puerto Progreso.

If you are a lover of nature and tranquility, you will want to escape to this place surrounded by cenotes where you can spend a day with family or friends.

The visit is an adventure from start to finish since you will begin the journey by taking a boat tour through a river surrounded by mangroves until you reach a small island.

Once there, natural scenery will open before you, revealing the famous water bodies.

El Corchito is one of Yucatan’s most important ecological reserves and home to many flora and fauna.

Thanks to its privileged location in the marsh, it is home to different types of plants and mangroves full of birds, fish, and turtles.

2. Enjoy the beautiful Playa Cerditos (piglet’s beach)

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The piglets at Playa Cerditos

Puerto Progreso has a unique beach in Yucatan: Cerditos Beach.

This paradise of white sand, emerald waters, and a relaxed atmosphere is perfect for tourists traveling with children and looking to enjoy a calm swell.

The reason for its name is found in 8 adorable piglets that were rescued from animal abuse and now enjoy medical attention, care, and a protective environment.

Pay attention, because they always go out to enjoy the sea and the beach at noon.

You will be able to see them, even pet them, but in no way feed them or bother them.

The beach has lounge chairs and umbrellas for rent, although you can always bring your own things and set up anywhere you want.

Cerditos Beach is located next to the Naval Zone of Puerto Progreso. If you are traveling by car, you must cross the Progreso-Chelem Bridge and turn right towards the coast.

3. Practice your favorite water sports

Puerto Progreso’s beach allows extreme adventure enthusiasts to get their adrenaline pumping on a jet ski, windsurfing, or speed through the waters in a banana boat.

The reason is that the beach gets strong winds throughout the year, making it ideal for these activities.

Not surprisingly, many athletes prepare here for various competitions and tournaments.

4. Stroll along the boardwalk

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Source: Mayan Heritage / flickr.com

The Malecon is the central gathering point in Puerto Progreso. During the vacation season, visitors and locals walk along this area and enjoy the views.

At the same time, its thatched-roof restaurants are the meeting point for people looking to give their taste buds a treat.

A little after the traditional boardwalk is the Malecón Internacional de Progreso, a recently created work that joins the previous one through the Muelle de Chocolate (Chocolate Pier).

This 1 km long tourist walkway has several attractions, games, lights, and a lively atmosphere.

Undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful spaces in the city, perfect for summer nights.

A carousel that runs in the evenings and overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, the giant letters “I Love Progreso,” the Pyramid of Kukulkan, and the Pirate Ship are just some of the attractions of this beautiful promenade.

It also has restaurants, national and international food stands, kids’ playgrounds, murals, reading areas, bike rentals, and more.

5. Relax on the beaches of Progreso Yucatan

Source: Javier Arellano / flickr.com

You will find beautiful views of the wide beach of Progreso all along the boardwalk.

One way to enjoy it is to eat seafood at one of the restaurants overlooking the sea.

Progreso beach is one of the quietest beaches in Yucatan, with an atmosphere free of crowds and good services to spend a day in the sun and sea.

The sand is white, the water is emerald, the waves are moderate, and the environment is clean and well cared for.

The beach also has structures to take pictures and plenty of space to sit comfortably.

The impressive deep-sea port of Progreso, one of the most representative docks in Mexico, deserves a special mention, located right on the beach.

6. Crossing the Chocolate Pier

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Progreso’s Pier – Source: Fernando Valdés / flickr.com

The “Chocolate Pier” in Puerto Progreso is an old fishermen’s pier where fishing boats unloaded their catch around the 1950s.

It was rebuilt in 2009 after being damaged by Hurricane Gilberto in 1988.

Its curious name comes from the so-called “Solidaire du Chocolat,” the first transatlantic race of sailboats linked Progreso with the ports of Nantes and Saint Nazaire.

From this point, you will have beautiful views of the beach and the famous pier of arches.

The place takes on a unique charm at sunset. This space also houses some food establishments, tables, lounge chairs, and the colorful letters of Progreso.

7. Fall in love with the Callejon del Amor (Lover’s Alley)

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In recent years, Puerto Progreso has made efforts to take care of the port and changes to keep its spaces clean, safe, and pleasant.

The old Calle La Mugre is one of those that have benefited from the municipality’s efforts, two blocks from the Malecon.

Today it is known as the Callejón del Amor (Lover’s Alley) and is a space where visitors can have a pleasant time and take pictures of its beautiful murals.

The murals beautify the route and give life and color to the street.

The promenade is characterized by its romantic, cozy, and lively atmosphere. Don’t miss it!

8. Ride a kayak on the Puerto Progreso Yucatan estuary

Another of Puerto Progreso’s attractions is “La Ría,” a channel navigable by kayak or boat.

The facilities are simple but safe and have all the necessary equipment to enjoy the activity.

The rent for a single kayak is 100 pesos (5 USD), while a double kayak costs 200 pesos (10 USD) per person per hour.

You may want to read: Izamal Yucatan, Mexico: The Yellow Sacred Magical Town

9. Admire Las Coloradas Pink Lagoon

pink lagoon
Source: Jose Alfredo Moreno Romero / flickr.com

Yucatan is a constant surprise. Very close to Puerto Progreso, going towards Telchac Puerto, you will see a detour that leads to the Archaeological Zone of Xcambó and, right there, the beautiful Pink Lagoon Las Coloradas.

This body of water is characterized by its high salt concentration, creating an effect similar to that of the Dead Sea.

The Pink Lagoon is named after the color of its waters. The colonies of flamingos that elegantly stroll through it also acquire this characteristic.

In case you didn’t know, flamingos are born white, and as they grow, they acquire their characteristic pink color.


Responsible for this is the shrimp larvae that rest on the bottom of the lagoon and are the basis of their diet.

In fact, by looking at the color of a flamingo’s plumage, it is possible to get an idea of its age. The pinker the color, the older the bird is.

The lagoon is very shallow and perfect for taking pictures and enjoying an unparalleled pink spectacle.

10. Discover the Mayan Ruins of Xcambó

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Source: Oswaldo Ordóñez / flickr.com

Very close to Puerto Progreso and the Pink Lagoon is the port of Telchac and the ruins of what may have been a great Mayan city.

I’m talking about the archaeological site of Xcambó, a center where bartering took place in ancient times, as shown by the remains found on the site.

In fact, it is believed that the meaning of the word Xcambó is “place where bartering takes place.”

The archaeological site has a central square around which the most prominent buildings are located, a chapel built inside the archaeological site, and other courts of a residential nature.

As you walk through each of the paths of the site, you can imagine how numerous the population was at its moment of maximum splendor.

Throughout the length and breadth of this space, there are houses, prominent temples, and small huts that probably belonged to low-income families.

The most outstanding buildings of the place are the Temple of the Cross, a unique construction staggered with a cross in its superior part, the Temple of the Sacrifices, and the Chapel of the Virgin.

Taste traditional Yucatan foods

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Be sure to try a Marquesita – Source: Terry Chen / flickr.com

As in all of Mexico, eating in Progreso Yucatan is something you will enjoy very much.

The city’s gastronomy has a strong presence of fish and seafood, although there is no shortage of the country’s more traditional foods, such as the famous cochinita pibil.

One place in Puerto Progreso to eat well at a reasonable price is the Francisco I market, located two blocks before reaching the boardwalk.

Here you will find various food stands that make delicious seafood tacos, grilled meats, and many other delicacies.

They also sell fruit cocktails, natural juices, smoothies, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and meats.

Some typical dishes of Puerto Progreso are fish head soup, breaded grouper, fried fish, grouper in Tikin Xik, battered wreckfish, and others.

For dessert, there’s yucca with honey, sweet pumpkin, sweet potato with coconut, pumpkin seed marzipan, and the famous marquesitas.

The latter is one of the most traditional Mexican desserts. Originally from Yucatan, they consist of a crunchy roll filled with Nutella and ball cheese, although there are also other versions.

Strolling along the boardwalk of Puerto Progreso and eating a marquesita is a kind of ritual celebrated in this city. Will you honor it?

Among the typical beverages are soft drinks with regional juices, horchata, corn atole, and others.

Visit Celestun and Sisal Yucatan

Do you have time for more? Then be sure to visit these two places located near Puerto Progreso.

They will allow you to continue exploring Yucatan’s natural, historical, and cultural wealth.

Magical Town of Sisal

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Sisal’s lighthouse – Source: Manuel Murillo / flickr.com

Sisal is one of Mexico’s many Magical Towns throughout its territory.

It is 83 km by road from Puerto Progreso, a little over an hour’s drive, and 55 km from Merida.

Sisal is one of Yucatan’s oldest ports, boasting a tremendous historical and cultural heritage. In addition, its natural charms make it an unmissable stop on any route through the peninsula.

In colonial times, Sisal was a pivotal point for commercializing various products (cocoa, cotton, and henequen).

Today, it is one of the most beautiful excursions to do from Merida. Its tranquil atmosphere and friendly people make it ideal for those looking to escape their daily stress.

Sisal’s main attraction is its beaches bathed by green waters that contrast with the white sand and palm trees that line the coast.

But that is not the only thing it has to offer. Strolling through the town’s streets and appreciating its historic buildings is an experience.

Don’t miss the Aduana Marítima, the house of Empress Carlota, the lighthouse, the Fort of Santiago, and the cannons in the central park. The cannons date from when the town had to defend itself from pirate attacks.

Sitting and watching the sunset from the pier is another of the best things to do in Sisal.

Finally, don’t hesitate to take a boat tour through the El Palmar State Reserve.

The tour will take you into a universe of mangroves that keep rich marine fauna and many endemic and migratory birds.

Crocodiles, flamingos, herons, raccoons, and pelicans are a common part of the landscape.

Celestun Biosphere Reserve

Celestun Biosphere Reserve
Source: Felix SELWA / flickr.com

A little further on, 115 km from Puerto Progreso, is the Celestún Biosphere Reserve, another of Yucatan’s great tourist attractions.

Here you will find a small coastal town that stays away from the usual tourist routes, so it is preserved as a true natural paradise.

Why visit Celestun? Because it is a unique opportunity to see the pink flamingo and other rare bird species.

The estuary in this area is protected by the Ría de Celestún Biosphere Reserve, which ensures the safety of one of the richest ecosystems in Mexico.

Besides the charm of the town and the nature surrounding it, visitors mainly come to Celestún to see flamingos.

These beautiful birds visit the mangroves in the area every year to breed and feed.

Sometimes, more than 3,000 flamingos are together, making for an awesome pink postcard. The experience is well worth it, so I suggest you don’t miss it.

We’ve ended our tour of Puerto Progreso Yucatan; I hope you enjoyed it.

This place is really worth it, isn’t it? Escape from the routine on its beautiful beaches, stroll along its boardwalk and taste delicious seafood.

You deserve to be pampered, and Puerto Progreso will spoil you. Vamonos!

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