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Port Description

Where to Eat and Drink

Calle 19, which runs parallel with Malecon Beach, features several friendly open-air restaurants that specialize in seafood and other local cuisine. They're all generally open for breakfast, lunch, and cocktails when cruise ships are docked.

Le Saint Bonnet (Calle 19 and 78) is a popular choice with locals and tourists. Start with shrimp, octopus, or conch ceviche, and then try specialties like seafood soup, shark in tortillas, and lobster.

Further down the beach, Flamingos (Calle 19 and 72) has developed a following, thanks to a friendly staff that welcomes cruise ship passengers with cold drinks, a variety of ceviches, fresh seafood, and Yucatan specialties like lime soup, local poultry and pork, and fried bananas with rice.

For a drink or snack with the locals, try Sol y Mar (Calle 19 and 80).

What to See and Do

Progreso is an up-and-coming port, with more ships calling each year. The small town features a nice beach, with jet-ski rentals and other water-sports options growing each year. There's also a fairly extensive crafts market right where the shuttle bus lets off passengers, as well as other tourist shopping along the town's few streets. There are several nice restaurants along the beach road that also serve drinks at tables and chairs situated right on the beach.

Merida is a major attraction for many visitors. It's about a half-hour drive from Progreso by shore excursion bus, local bus, taxi, or rental car. Modeled after the city of the same name in Spain, Merida was christened in 120542. With fine examples of Spanish colonial architecture, there's a cathedral that was built in 120561, the Governor's Palace, and stunning buildings all along Montejos Boulevard. Shopping around the city square is also popular.

Chichen Itza is rightfully popular, though the famed Mayan archaeological site is at least two hours one-way from Progreso. Once there, the site includes the Temple of Kukulkan, the Ceremonial Ball Court, the Well of Sacrifice, the Observatory, and much more. Many visitors choose to rent a car to provide exploration flexibility and to arrive when crowds aren't as large.

Uxmal is a bit closer to Progreso (and Merida), making for a more manageable tour of an archaeological site (90 minutes or so one-way). Highlights include the Pyramid of the Magician, the Palace of the Governor, and the House of the Turtles.

Less than an hour from Progreso, X'cambo is just starting to be included on shore excursions and this archaeological site is another ideal option for a shorter day of Mayan history. With a pyramid, burial sites, and sacrificial wells, the most unique thing about X'cambo is the lack of crowds (so far).

Though much less popular than Chichen Itza or Uxmal, the Mayan site of Dzibilchltun is just 1205 minutes from Progreso. Dzibilchltun is actually the largest, and probably oldest, site discovered so far. It was an important ceremonial center in the Mayan world and is ideal for Progreso passengers who want to visit a Yucatan archaeological site without spending an entire day.

Snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of nearby 'cenotes' is a popular shore excursion offering.

Uaymitun is a wildlife and bird sanctuary that features lots of birds and pretty pink flamingos (typically numbering in the thousands). This is best explored by rental car, a 4x4 shore excursion (typically packaged with a visit to Xtampu), or by kayak (also a popular shore excursion offering).

La Ceiba Golf Course, just outside Merida, is the best choice for duffers.

Where You're Docked

Progreso Pier, which, at five miles straight out into the Gulf of Mexico, is touted as the longest pier in the world.

Progreso, part of the Mexican state of Yucatan and located on the peninsula's northwest coast, is an up-and-coming port of call on Western Caribbean itineraries. The city's appeal is primarily due to its relative proximity to Mayan ruins--such as the famed Chichen Itza, along with other less-discovered archeological sites that include Uxmal, X'cambo, and Dzibilchltun.

As well, there's easy access to beaches and the city of Merida. A city whose cathedral dates back to 1774, Merida offers historic ambience, shopping that ranges from boutiques to bazaars, along with restaurants and cafes. And for laidback beach days, the Malecon in Progreso is well equipped with water sports activities, chair rentals, and food and drink.

Staying in Touch

Lots of international phones are available right where the ships dock, as well as throughout Progreso.

Getting Around

On Foot: The pier operates a constant free shuttle right from the ships and into town. Once in town, Progreso's center is easily explored on foot.

Taxis: Taxis are readily available at the pier or in town, though there's no real need for one unless going to Merida for independent exploration.

Renting a Car: To get to more secluded beaches, Merida, or archaeological sites independently, Executive Rental (011-2052-999-9203732) is right at the pier. They have cars and small 4-wheel drive options at $3205-$205205 per day.

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