Progreso Beach: Soak in The Sun Near Merida

Kristina from Off Path Travels in front of the sign at Progreso Beach near Merida in Yucatan, Mexico

Visiting Progreso Beach is the perfect way to soak in the sun and enjoy the beach near Merida!

Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, about 25 miles (40 km) north of Merida, Progreso Beach is home to a long, white-sand beach with turquoise water, where you can sit under a palapa, swim in the sea, and get food and drinks delivered to your spot on the sand.

The town of Puerto Progreso, Yucatan is located on a long peninsula running along the coastline, which stretches all the way from Telchac Puerto to the east and Chelem to the west, and includes Progreso Beach.

Progreso, Mexico is definitely worth visiting to dip your toes in the warm water and relax on the white sand! The beaches are nice and there are many other places to explore in the area, including Mayan ruins, beach clubs, and the world’s longest pier.

If you’re in nearby Merida, take a day trip or spend a few days enjoying everything Progreso Beach has to offer.

This guide to Progreso, Mexico covers everything you need to know to visit, including how to get there, where to stay, and the best things to do in Progreso.

A statue in Progreso Beach near Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

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On a cruise and looking for the best Progreso excursions? Check out these top Progreso tours:

How to Get to Progreso Beach From Merida

The closest airport to Progreso is Mérida International Airport (MID). Fly into Mérida, rent a car, and drive about 40 minutes directly north on Highway 261 until you reach the beach in Puerto Progreso, Yucatan.

Booking a rental car in Merida is the best way to explore the state of Yucatan in Mexico.

We recommend using DiscoverCars for the best car rental deals in Mexico. With them, you get no hidden fees, 24/7 customer support, and free cancellations.

Check out our article on Renting a Car in Mexico for everything you need to know before you book a rental and must-read tips for driving in Mexico.

Taxi from Merida to Progreso

You can also take a taxi or Uber from Merida to Progreso. The taxi costs around $250-$350 pesos for the ride. Make sure to agree on the price before you get in to avoid any surprises.

The colectivo going to Progreso Beach from Merida in Yucatan, Mexico

How to Get from Merida to Progreso by Bus

Instead of a bus, many locals take a colectivo (shared transport van) from Merida to to Progreso Beach. It takes about 30 minutes and costs about $20 pesos each way.

The van leaves every 15 minutes starting at 4 am and the last one returns to Merida at 8:30 pm. It drops you off near the center of town in Progreso. From there, just walk about 4 blocks north on Calle 80 until you reach the beach.

The colectivo station is located on Calle 60 between Calle 65 and 67 (GPS coordinates: 20.964404,-89.623644), about two blocks south of Plaza Grande, the main square in Merida.

You can also catch a bus from Merida to Progreso with nearby Autoprogreso buses for about the same price.

Day Tours from Merida to Progreso

Another option is to book a tour to Progreso from Merida to visit Puerto Progreso, the beach, and El Corchito Ecological Reserve in one day.

How to Get to Progreso from Cancun

If you’re coming from Cancun, book a first class bus from Cancun to Merida and then use any of the transportation options above to get to Progreso.

Is Progreso, Mexico Safe?

Progreso is a laid-back beach town that’s considered safe for tourism, much like the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Of course, you don’t want to think about everything that can go wrong, but accidents do happen, and getting Mexico travel insurance will help give you peace of mind during your vacation.

We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance for Mexico because it provides trip protection, coverage for 200+ adventure travel activities, emergency medical insurance and evacuation, gear protection, and much more. 

Where to Stay in Progreso, Yucatan

Progreso is a growing tourist destination with plenty of accommodation options ranging from hostels to mid-range hotels to beachfront vacation rentals on the outskirts of town.

Hotels in Progreso

Hotel Maria’s Nicte Ha: standard rooms and kitchenette studios in a lovely garden setting with a pool, a 2 minute walk from the beach

Capital O Jose y Lety: spacious rooms in a new hotel with central pool and communal kitchen, only 1 block from the main beach

Hostel Aabilo’ob: budget-friendly dorm beds and private rooms with a shared kitchen and lounge, about a 5 minute walk from the beach

Michael and Kristina from Off Path Travels on the pier at Progreso Beach

Vacation Rentals near Progreso

VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) rentals are an excellent option for finding a place to stay in Progreso, Mexico. Vacation rentals offer a better value compared to most hotels and you get to experience life like a local. Booking.com also lists vacation rentals in Progreso.

Casa Luna Beach House: beautifully designed 3-bedroom house with a pool, right on the sand on Chelem Beach

Private Oasis on the Beach: spacious 5-bedroom beach front house with pool and private casita on Chuburna Beach

Cozy Beach Apartment: budget-friendly, cute 2-bedroom apartment located about a block away from Chicxulub Beach

A pier near Chelem in Yucatan, Mexico

The Best Things to Do in Progreso Beach

Progreso is a cruise ship port with tons of excursions and plenty of beaches for relaxing, but there are also Maya ruins, freshwater cenotes, and much more to explore nearby!

1. Eat tacos and drink cerveza on Progreso Beach

The sand near the pier in Progreso by Merida, Mexico

The central beach area stretches about 1/2 mile to the east of the pier and has a malecón (boardwalk) lined with seafood restaurants and souvenir shops. If you’re looking for a Ritz Carlton or 5-star restaurant, you’re in the wrong spot.

But if you want to hang out under the sun, stick your feet in the sand, and kick back a few authentic Mexican drinks, like refreshing micheladas, you’re in luck!

Keep walking east to find a couple of places with pools and lounge chairs that cater mostly to cruise ship passengers, like Maya KA.

For a more local vibe, check out the restaurants and market on Calle 80 between the central plaza and the main beach area. If you’re coming from the pier, just keep walking straight inland and you’ll be on it.

2. Unwind at an all-Inclusive beach club

Some of the many palapas at Progreso Beach near Merida, Yucatan

For a worry-free and relaxing day, get a day pass to one of the beach clubs along the shore at Progreso Beach.

This day pass gives you all-inclusive access to a beach club on a beautiful white-sand beach in Progreso. It includes a Mexican buffet, open bar, pool, and access to kayaks and other water activities. The perfect way to spend a relaxing day at the beach in Mexico!

3. Visit El Corchito Ecological Reserve

El Corchito Ecological Reserve is an eco park with wildlife, cenotes, and mangroves that’s perfect for families and for cooling off on hot days. The reserve is only about a 5 minute drive and a quick boat ride away from downtown Progreso.

This tour to El Corchito Ecological Reserve includes a visit to El Corchito, the pink salt flats of Xtampu, the Mayan ruins at Xcambo, and a nearby flamingo sanctuary.

If you’re looking for more cenotes, check out Cenotes Cuzama near Merida for a refreshing dip in crystal clear water.

4. Take an ATV tour of Progreso Beach

An overhead shot of the water and palapas at Progreso Beach near Merida

This adventurous ATV tour of Progreso takes you to explore a ghost town, visit an old henequen hacienda, swim in a blue lagoon, and ends with relaxing at a beach club in Progreso Beach.

5. Go for a swim in the gentle waves

An overhead shot of the town of Progreso and the nearby beach

Swimming is one of the best things to do in Progreso Beach! The water has a stunning brilliant turquoise color that’s hard to resist. While Progreso Beach’s warm water and gentle waves are perfect for a refreshing swim, it’s still in the Gulf of Mexico. Meaning that it’s usually a bit cloudy and doesn’t have good visibility for snorkeling, like the crystal clear water in Cozumel further south.

Overall, Progreso Beach is very nice, with soft, white sand that’s free of hard rocks or shells. There may be a bit of sargassum (seaweed) at times, but they do an excellent job at removing what they can from the main beach area.

The beaches in Progreso are free for public use, but there are shaded seating areas for a fee at the restaurants and beach clubs.

6. See the world’s longest pier: Progreso Pier

An overhead shot of the world's longest pier in Progreso, Yucatan

Progreso is a port city that’s home to the world’s longest pier. The Progreso pier is about 4 miles (6.5 km) long and stretches out into the Gulf of Mexico to connect the small beach town to worldwide shipping transit and cruise ship arrivals.

The pier is centrally located in the city of Progreso and is actually a quite pleasant architectural aspect of the city. The section of the pier closest to town is lined with archways that stretch about as far as the eye can see.

While you are not permitted to walk out on the Progreso pier, there is a smaller fisherman’s pier next to it (on the west side) which you can explore. And on the other side is the main section of Progreso Beach.

7. Visit other beach towns: Playa Chelem and Playa Chuburna

The pier on the lagoon side of Chelem, near Progreso Beach

Chelem and Chuburna are two smaller towns just west of Progreso and are accessible via a local colectivo (catch it from one block west of the main plaza in Progreso). They’re less touristy than Progreso Beach and have even more relaxed vibes. These areas offer great stretches of desolate beaches with plenty of vacation rentals: condos and private homes.

Chelem has a quiet plaza area and a few restaurants scattered about. You can walk from the ocean shore on the north side to the lagoon pier on the south side in about twenty minutes.

The coast near Progreso Beach in Yucatan Mexico

8. Roam the Mayan Ruins at Xcambo

Another point of interest located between Progreso and Telchac Puerto is a small Mayan archeological site, Xcambo Ruins. You can explore the area in an hour or so. It has quite a few buildings and one unique aspect: a Christian church has been built right in the center of the site.

9. See thousands of pink flamingos

A flamingo taking flight on the boat tour in Yucatan Mexico

Celestun has thousands of flamingos (and even some crocodiles) living in its mangroves and lagoons. It’s a natural reserve located only about an hour and a half southwest of Progreso, in the neighboring state of Campeche.

If you’re short on time, this guided day tour includes with a visit to El Corchito, a drive to the photogenic pink salt flats, a tour of the Xcambo archeological ruins, and a visit to a flamingo sanctuary near Progreso Beach.

10. Visit Playa Uaymitun and Telchac Puerto

The sand at Progreso Beach near Merida, Yucatan

On the other side of Progreso – you will find a completely different world. Between Progreso Beach and Telchac Puerto, there are tons of vacation homes and small condo communities lining the ocean side.

One popular location is Playa Uaymitun and the locals here say it has the best beach in the area!

There are tons of vacation rentals occupied by snowbirds from the U.S. and Canada and beach homes owned by Merida locals. The area is sparsely developed though; simply one row of homes and condos lines the water with plenty of open lots scattered about.

If you like seclusion and privacy, this might be the place for you.

It is slightly more difficult to venture this way without a car, so it’s best to book a rental car to explore the beaches in this area.

11. See the impressive Uxmal Ruins

An archway at the Quadrangle of the Nuns at Uxmal

With multiple impressive buildings, the Mayan archeological site of Uxmal is a must-see and it’s only about and hour and a half drive from Progreso.

This guided tour to Uxmal Ruins includes private transportation from Progreso, a visit to the ruins, and a dip in the pool at Hacienda Uxmal afterwards.

12. Scuba dive at Alacranes (Scorpion Reef)

If you are into snorkeling, scuba diving, or fishing, you do have an option in the area, Alacranes reef. It isn’t extremely popular, but there is a large reef located about 60 miles north of Progreso in the Gulf of Mexico.

Final Thoughts on Progreso Beach

If you are in Merida and want to get a beach fix, head up to Progreso Beach. Stick close to town if you don’t mind a bit of a touristy atmosphere, head east of Progreso for a smaller-town feel, and go west if you want to have an isolated beach vacation.

Chill in the sand and go for a quick dip, and before you know it, you’ll be back in Merida (or back on your cruise ship) and ready for the big city life once again.

Looking for more things to do in the area? Check out all Yucatan Peninsula articles and these:

Have you visited Progreso Beach in Mexico? Let us know in the comments below.

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