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From Merida Mexico

Day 12 - Wednesday, February 14, 2018. It had been close to a week since we left the luscious Tulum beaches. It was time to revisit the ocean. We knew that Progreso Beach wasn’t going to measure up to the Mayan Riviera, but it was still supposed to be a clean sandy beach, especially if you avoid the days that the cruise ships docked at Progreso. But first, breakfast.

Our second Airbnb breakfast topped yesterday's breakfast surprise. We got the same rich cafe au lait and incredible freshly squeezed orange juice. The fruit plate of papaya slices (which we dipped in the freshly squeezed orange juice – a trick we learned in Hawaii), cantaloupe, watermelon, banana with yogurt, oatmeal, arrived first. The main course was the most delicious Dagwood sandwich I ever ate - Mexican ham, cheese, cucumber, shredded carrots, Dijon mustard, spinach leaves, on whole wheat bread.

Progreso Bus Station from Merida Mexico

I could get used to this breakfast thing. Satiated, we caught a metro bus to the Progreso bus station. A round trip ticket for two to Progreso cost a mere $76 Pesos ($4.80 USD). Progreso was bigger than I thought and the bus station in Progreso is a few blocks away from the coast.  It took a little bit to get our bearings. The oceanfront at Progreso is very shallow for a long way out. They built a 4-mile long pier straight out to a platform in waters deep enough for the cruise ships and container ships to dock and is considered one of the longest in the world. At first, we ended up on the left side of that bridge where there was a small cleanup crew picking up trash. This area was where the carnival festival was the day before. The beach area was OK but a bit on the ugly after-party side so we decided to go on the other side of the bridge. Sure enough, that led to the long stretch of warm and golden public beach we were seeking.


Eazy, Breezy, Progreso Beach

Wanda dragged along her sun-tent, but the wind was howling. There was no way that tent could be anchored down, so we rented a palapa, a wide tropical umbrella shading two chaise lounges. The air was hot and very breezy, the water was warm, the sand was fun, and the waves were gentle. It was terrific, and we would have loved it even more if we had not stepped foot on the best beach Tulum a week prior. Still, in the 90-degree sun, we took full advantage of Progreso's beach.


Palapas and Wind Surfing at Progreso Mexico

Update: Progreso beach is on the Gulf of Mexico. The water can get a little bit brown during the November to March windy season churning up the sand from the ocean floor. Keep the wind in mind when planning a beach visit. Rent a Palapa, relax in chaise lounges, get served by the beach restauranteurs and take advantage of the breeze as a coolant rather than lying directly on a towel that will get covered in airblown sand.

Progreso's breezy nature makes it a popular windsurfing location. For more information on windsurfing lessons at Progreso Mexico go to


International Boardwalk of Progreso Mexico

After we got our fill of the ocean, we roamed the boardwalk. Progreso is a typical beach town with its tiki bars and outdoor seafood restaurants. There was a miniature version of the Merida crazy market – lots of booths, lots of people, but only one square block under a roof. We tried a mango paleta with chili – definitely not our favorite flavor combination.



I had read about a beach restaurant, Eladio's Bar, which specialized in free tapas when you order drinks. We found Eladios and ordered a beer and a margarita. The waiter kept bringing us one Mexican entre after another. These weren’t just entres, they were meals of tamales, tacos, enchiladas, refried beans, you name it, and they kept coming. Feeling guilty we ordered another round of drinks, and I tried the famous Yucatan Sopa de Lima (lime soup). Stuffed and buzzed, we walked out with a bill of about $10 USD.

When we returned to Merida in the late evening, it was Ash Wednesday, and the Cathedral at Plaza Grande was holding services. We went inside to visit. Built in 1562, it was a typical European style cathedral on the outside but very simple on the inside. As we trekked back to the Airbnb, we peeked inside several different churches and chapels along the way, all seasoned and interesting.

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