Why go to Progreso?
Authentic Mexican port great for shopping, beach-lovers and cultural excursions.
It's a 15-minute bus ride to the town proper where some cruisers complain of being hassled.
There are plenty of great value offerings for cruisers with varied interests.
Progreso Cruise Port Facilities?
Soon after disembarking your ship, there's a large, duty-free shopping area. Merchandise is attractively presented and decently priced and, contrary to expectation, we found several items to be cheaper and better quality here than in the town itself.
There are more shops beyond the duty-free area, as well as a pharmacy and several clean, free-to-use easily accessible restrooms. There's also a bar offering Wi-Fi, although you'll need to buy a drink to get the code for it. There is no ATM here -- that's in the town itself -- but there is an Information Desk next to the bus stop for the shuttles into town. Ask here for maps and information about tours.
Good to Know?
While cruisers should be mindful of their surroundings, Progreso is a relatively safe port.
Our experience was that while cruisers can be hassled to eat in restaurants or rent sun beds, we were pleasantly surprised to find that a firm "no, thank you" was all it seemed to take in order to be left in peace.
'Aut Progreso' is the name of the company that operates the free bus shuttles from the ship to the town of Progreso itself. They also offer an excellent range of well-priced guided group tours (in air-conditioned buses) from Progreso to all the main tourist sites, including Chichen Itza, Merida and Uxmal. (These cost a fraction of the price of a taxi and can be bought on the spot and paid for in U.S. dollars.)
Please be aware that the market where the free bus shuttle drops cruisers off is NOT the authentic town market, but a tourist replica. The real mercado is around the corner, housed in a slightly decaying, grandiose turquoise building.
On foot:There's a 4-mile-long pier standing between the duty-free shopping area next to the ship and the port of Progreso itself, so getting around on foot isn't an option if you want to venture any further.
By bus: There are free and regular bus shuttles from the duty-free area next to the ship to downtown Progreso. The journey takes approximately 15 minutes and there are more restrooms as well as a tourist market at the bus terminal the other end. Inquire about additional guided group tours either before boarding the shuttle or at the other end.
By taxi: There's a taxi rank adjacent to the bus shuttle stop with drivers offering rates for private trips to wherever you want to go. While the price might be more than the per-person rate for a tour with bus company Aut Progreso, the taxi option might end up being cheaper (and easier) if you're traveling in a small group. And you can always try to barter.
By Uber: Uber is available in Progreso, and offers another good-value option for getting around.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Mexico's currency is the peso. The only ATM is at the bank in the town itself, about a 5-minute walk from where the free bus shuttle drops cruisers off (but most taxis, vendors and guides will happily accept U.S dollars).
Please bear in mind that if you pay in dollars, you might receive change back in pesos (rather than dollars) so ask first if this is a concern. Most major stores and restaurants accept credit cards, but cash is usually preferred, especially at pop-up locales. If in doubt, it's best to ask in advance so you know before your bill arrives.