There are a pile of reasons why Progreso, located in Mexico’s safe Yucatan peninsula, should be on your bucket list. It is the perfect place for family vacationers, adventure seekers, budget conscious travelers, and solo wanderers. If you love exploring and being slightly off the beaten path, this place is for you. Here are 7 top reasons why I think you would really love Progreso, Mexico!
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Progreso Beach with a Malecon!
I love the beach. The sand. The palm trees. The warmth and sunshine. And in Progreso, you can find the beach right in town! In fact, there is a seaside street or “Malecon” in Spanish, that is lined with fabulous restaurants and shops. The restaurants even have palapas (little thatch-roofed huts) on the beach and will serve you there! Read my 6 day itinerary on Progreso (coming soon!) for more info on Progreso beach and the malecon!
Perfect Size and Easy Location
Having grown up in a small town, I like places that aren’t overly big. And for vacations, I especially like towns that are walkable yet still large enough to have a variety of restaurants, shops, and everything you would need. We found Progreso fit the bill for all these things. It truly was the perfect size. The whole main downtown and malecon area are walkable and could be covered in an afternoon. Plus, the traffic wasn’t crazy like the neighboring city of Merida. It was nice to be able to cross the street with the kids, knowing the drivers weren’t trying to run you over!
Although Progreso is not really a big tourist center, it is still easy and cheap to get to. Nearby Merida has an airport only half hour or so away and Cancun (with often cheaper flights) is about a 4 hour drive.
The best guacamole ever comes from a restaurant on the malecon called “Carabelas”. Never have I cared much for avocados, but guacamole is a whole different story if it is made right. And this stuff I could eat with a spoon! But, if you happen not to be a guac fan, there are plenty of other food choices both on the malecon and throughout town. Pretty much everything we had was amazing! Full of flavor, and fresh. My mouth is almost drooling now as I’m writing and thinking about the coconut shrimp, tacos, enchiladas, nachos, and of course the drinks we had throughout our stay!
You won’t find any starbucks, mcdonalds or other chain restaurants here (except a Domino’s pizza). But, I don’t think you will miss them. There are plenty of local options with dishes packed full of flavor. And if you happen to tire of Mexican cuisine, there are other choices. We tried many different places and you can read all about our experiences at each here (article coming soon).
Close to Attractions
Location, location, location. Maybe this is so cliché, but it is true. Most of us don’t want to go on a vacation to be stuck in the middle of nowhere. Even though you may not have heard of Progreso, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. Actually, this place is easy to get to and it is close to so much! There are countless cenotes, various mayan ruins, haciendas, beaches, wildlife and the large colonial city of Merida all close by. We could have stayed in Progreso for months without running out of sites to see.
When I say budget friendly, I am comparing with Canadian standards (and for my neighbors in the States, the prices would be even better! Lucky you guys!). When we went over Christmas 2017, our Canadian dollar (CAD) was worth about 14 pesos. Based on that exchange, the 2 bedroom apartment we rented off airBNB cost around $70 CAD/night (probably close to $55 USD/night). A typical meal for my husband, two little boys, and I with drinks usually cost around the $350-$400 peso range or anywhere from $25 – $30 CAD. And that included two alcoholic drinks! In the cold north, that would have been at least an $80 meal! We had a few cheaper meals but splurged as well, so that is only the average price. If you are really wanting to stretch your dollar, the tacos in the market were $13 pesos each (less than $1 CAD)! Depending on your appetite, you could probably have a meal on 3 or 4 bucks.
The shopping was mostly inexpensive as well. We only bought a couple things, but they all were a good deal. Our kids’ shirts as well as a tank top cost around $7 each, while I paid roughly $15 for a beautiful dress for our baby girl. On the other hand, toys seemed to be high priced. Since we were in Progreso for Christmas, we wanted to buy some sort of toy for the kids. It cost about $20 or so for an airplane set with little men and cars that was dollar store quality. The boys had half the pieces broken on day one!
The Yucatan is the safest state in Mexico and the close-by city of Merida is the safest large city in Mexico. Violent crime is very low in Merida and the city was actually included as one of the top 50 safest cities in the world. Progreso’s crime stats are most likely included in the stats for Merida since it is so close. So you can feel at peace knowing it is most likely safer than your own hometown.
No one wants to go away just to be stressed! Another thing to love about this Mexican gulf town is the low-key, laid back lifestyle. It is truly tranquil. No one is in a rush and none of the salespeople are pushy. Locals are friendly and really love kids. On days when a cruise ship is in port, there is a little more happening. The artisan market opens up, and there are considerably more tourists walking the streets and beach. But it is large enough, I still wouldn’t call it crowded.
Now that you have all the reasons to visit Progreso laid out before you, why not plan your trip now?! Need more info? Checkout my 6 day itinerary full of info (still coming…I promise!) on where we stayed, ate, and what we saw! Subscribe below to get my new articles on Progreso directly to your email! Have any comments or questions? Leave them below! I would love to hear your thoughts or help if I can. 🙂
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