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Progreso Yucatan Cruise Port Tips

El Castillo, Chichen Itza
El Castillo at Chichen Itza.
The Mexican cruise port at Progreso is an up-and-coming destination on the northern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula.

It is a regular port of call on western Caribbean cruises from Gulf Coast ports in the United States. Short-term cruises often include Progreso and Cozumel, while longer cruises will go to Cozumel, Belize and Roatan.

The Terminal Remota, Progreso’s most unique attraction, is a dock that is four miles long. It receives nearly 100 cruise ships and more than 300,000 passengers every year. Passengers take a bus from the ship to the city.

Fast Facts


  • Progreso Beach and the Malecon boardwalk are top local attractions.
  • Chichen Itza is the best and farthest major attraction.
  • December through February are the best times to go.

Where is Progreso Yucatán?


Progreso is 200 miles west of Cancun on the northern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. It faces the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Caribbean Sea. The port is 100 miles northwest of Chichen Itza, one of the most famous Mayan ruins in the world.

Like Cancun, Progreso is on a narrow cape of land that extends out from the coast. The water surrounding the cape is shallow, so cruise visitors will disembark at one of the longest piers in the world.

Because of its location, it is more likely a port of call for cruises that begin in Gulf of Mexico ports such as Galveston and New Orleans instead of cruises that begin in Florida.

Attractions and Excursions


Nearby attractions are mostly limited to Progreso beach with its mile-long promenade known as Malecon. It offers souvenir shops, cafes, a nearby marketplace featuring local arts and crafts, and a 120-foot lighthouse built in the late 1800s.

Otherwise, most of the activities with the Progreso area involve cruise ship excursions. Better-known attractions lie elsewhere.

The most famous and popular attraction is the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, which is located about halfway between Progreso and Cancun. The ruins are about 98 miles or a nearly two-hour drive from the port.


But the drive is worth it. This ancient city, which was first built around 900 A.D., is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the second most-visited archaeological site in Mexico. The massive ruins are both educational and astonishing for their size.

Smaller Mayan ruins are located at Uxmal, Mayapan and especially Dzibilchaltun, which is only 12 miles from the port.

Dzibilchaltun, whose name means “place of the stone writing,” was an ancient Mayan ceremonial and administrative center, the Mexico Tourism Board says. Temple of the Seven Dolls is one of the noteworthy structures because of the dolls discovered there.

The site has a museum with displays of Mayan culture and artifacts discovered at Dzibilchaltun. Some of the artifacts were found at the bottom of the 120-foot-deep Xlacah cenote, a freshwater pool that was created by an underground river.

Prices for these Mayan excursions are often less than $100 per person with discounts for children.

Other Attractions


Another option outside of Progreso is the city of Merida, which is a 40-minute or 24-mile bus ride from the port to the city’s center. The much larger city of Merida offers more shopping and restaurants in addition to museums, plazas and historic buildings.

Many of the buildings in the historic center of Merida, including those on and around the Plaza Grande (central plaza), were built during the colonial period through the 18th and 19th centuries.

One of the top Merida attractions is the Cathedral de San Ildefonso. It is the oldest cathedral on the North America continent. The cathedral was built in the late 1500s using stones from ruined Mayan pyramids and temples, the Mexico Tourism Board says.

Nearby Beaches


Progreso Beach is the quick and easy option for most cruise visitors because it is by the dock.

Otherwise, few beach excursions are available because Progreso Beach / Malecon is so easily accessible. Some cruise lines do offer access to private beach clubs such as Kokomo Beach Club at between $50 and $100 per person depending on the amenities.

Weather / Best Times to Go


Like most destinations on Mexico’s Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico coasts, Progreso has a distinct dry period and a distinct wet period because of the Caribbean hurricane season.

Even though the hurricane season runs from June through November, Progreso’s dry season begins in November with about 2.5 inches of rain historically, according to averages from the Mexico Ministry of Tourism.

The dry season brings about one inch of rain each month from December through April and increases to about three inches in May. It starts climbing until it reaches a high point of about seven inches in September.

Temperatures are hot throughout the year with the average highs ranging from 88 degrees Fahrenheit or 31 degrees Celsius in December and January to 97 Fahrenheit or 36 Celsius in May. High temperatures in the summer make the winter a better time to cruise to Progreso.

The best time to go is December through February for comfortable temperatures and low risk of rain.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Cruise Ports   

April 29, 2019

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