A quick shuttle bus ride from the cruise pier, this sleepy Yucatan resort town is a fine place to spend a lazy day, drinking $2 Coronas at ocean-view cafes, or lounging on the mile-long beach. But the big attraction is access (on full-day tours) to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
What We Love
Mexican Eats: Grab a seat at one of Progreso's many palapas (thatched-roof restaurants) and try Yucatan cuisine such as marinated pork, fish, or chicken cooked in banana leaves.
Beach Massages: You can get a decent open-air massage on the beach starting at around $25 to $30, depending on how many beds are available.
Best Known For
Mayan Ruins: Here's your opportunity to delve into the mysterious Mayan culture. Commit a day to exploring Chichen Itza (one of the most important archeological sites on the continent) or the ruins of Uxmal, once one of the prettiest cities in the Mayan world. Both are about two hours from Progreso. Or head 12 miles from the pier to Dzibilchaltún, an important ceremonial center of the Mayan world.
Access to Mérida: The modern Yucatan capital, about 45 minutes from Progreso, has a large historic district with a central plaza and Spanish colonial buildings. The marquee attraction is the Catedral de San Ildefonso, one of the oldest cathedrals on the continent. The city also has fine museums and art galleries.
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Who It's Best For
Families: In Progreso, in addition to time at the beach, the kids will enjoy poking around the open-air crafts market and interacting with vendors selling candy and bunuelos (Mexican donuts).
Culture Vultures: This is your chance to immerse yourself deep into Mayan culture or Spanish colonial history.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Beware of Beach Vendors: Just as you float into a state of oblivion soaking in the rays on the Progreso beach, you may hear the rattle of trinkets proffered by roaming vendors. Just say no.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.