On the Gulf of Mexico, Progreso is Mérida’s closest access to the sea, an easy 33-kilometer (20.5-mile) drive on Highway 261.
Meridianos flock here in summer to escape the intense heat and sticky humidity—as many as 150,000 during July and August weekends. The whole town comes to life; all the restaurants are open, usually quiet shops hustle, and the beaches are filled with families enjoying the surf and sea.
Cruise ships also land here two to three times a week, disgorging several thousand passengers each. Many of those passengers take buses straight to Mérida and the Puuc Route, but Progreso has made a number of improvements to its waterfront in an attempt to entice cruise-shippers to stick around.
One drawback the town can’t do anything about is the constant and sometimes powerful wind, which buffets the entire northern coast. In fact, Mexico has sent two windsurfers to the Olympics; they trained in nearby Chicxulub Puerto. You’ll see little wind-sport activity directly in front of Progreso, however, as the long pier disrupts the airflow.
From Mérida, buses leave the Auto-Progreso terminal on Calle 62 between Calles 65 and 67 every 10–15 minutes 5 a.m.–10 p.m. daily (US$1.25, 45 minute). You’ll be dropped off at the bus station in Progreso (Calle 29 between Calles 80 and 82, tel. 969/935-3024), a few blocks from the center of town and a short walk from the malecón.
Vans also make the round-trip from Mérida to Progreso, leaving Mérida from a small station at Calle 60 between Calles 65 and 67 every 15 minutes or so (when full). In Progreso, the same vans head back to Mérida from the corner of Calles 31 and 82.
From downtown Mérida, drive north on either Paseo de Montejo or Calle 60. The two streets eventually merge and become Highway 261, which leads directly to Progreso.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition