It’s the beach. What can I possibly tell you about the beach? Is that what you’re thinking? Sand, water, kids, enough; it’s obvious what to do with kids at the beach. Yeah, but give me a chance, okay? I’m not just going to talk about sand and salty water.
Progreso is also home to El Corchito, a spot with three open cenotes that can only be reached by small boats. This green and wild place is a true paradise within Progreso. Get there early (it opens at 9 am every day) and you and your kids can practically enjoy your own private cenote.
If your little ones prefer swimming in a pool rather than the sea or cenotes, there are a few restaurants with pools on site. El Ha Guay, near the Progreso letters (always worth a photo stop), has a pool and is right on the beach so the kids can run and play while you relax. Maya Ka (pier end of town) also has a pool on site.
For a teeny tiny bit of culture, take the kids to Chicxulub Puerto to see the plaque commemorating the meteor that struck this region some 66 million years ago and caused the extinction of most dinosaurs. It’s small but cool and you can stop by the swing on the beach near the pier there, the kids will surely enjoy it. With a car, it’s also possible to visit X’cambo archaeological site and the nearby salt flats of Xtampú, both fascinating places. As you cross over the bridge towards X’cambo, be sure to tell your young travel companions to look out for flamingos. We’ve never yet made it across without stopping to admire them.
For lunch on the beach, grab a palapa (a thatched umbrella with a table). Sit back, take in the view of the water, and let the kids romp around while you enjoy a lemonade or local beer. Remember, the sea generally gets choppier in the afternoon along this coast, so mornings tend to be the best time to swim with small kids.
You’ll often find people walking up and down the beach selling local sweet treats (calling “merengue, merengue, merengue” as they go by). Try some! It’s a fun experience for the kids and some of the snacks are pretty delicious.
Did you know about the new Malecón Internacional? If you’re exploring Progreso in the early evening, this is where all the family action is to be found. If you’ve been on the beach all day, then head towards the pier (did you know it’s one of the longest structures in the world?) and keep walking until the lights start twinkling and the smell of Marquesitas, a local street snack, and Esquites, cups of smothered corn, hits you. You’ve arrived.
Slow down (I know, by now you’re probably pulling a kid by the arm, or yelling “Come back here right now!”), savor the atmosphere, and watch México doing what México does best: embracing family time. There’s a carousel that opens up around dusk, plenty of statues and sculptures to admire, two small play areas, and of course, access to the beach all the way along. You can buy a beer and a snack, rent bikes, and join everyone else in enjoying the cool breeze that graces us at this time of day.
El Ha Guay Marea Bar
Calle 60 #130 x 21 Parador Turístico
Tel: (969) 935 5595
Mar. – dom. 11 am – 8 pm
Mayaka Sea Food & Snacks
Av. Malecón between 74 and 76.
Tel: (969) 934 4177
Lun. – dom. 10 – 3 am
Carretera Progreso – Chicxulub
Tel: (999) 158 5155
Lun. – dom. 9 am – 4 pm
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Photography by Cassie Pearse for its use in Yucatán Today.
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