Progreso is one of Yucatán’s most iconic beaches. In my years living in this beautiful state and countless visits to this beach with its calm waters and lively atmosphere, Progreso has given me endless memories of sunny days with the sound of my friends’ laughter in my ears, and a delicious merengue, mango, or michelada in hand.
However, don’t assume that Progreso confines itself to evening pursuits
In the words of a certain ogre from one of my favorite movies, “By night one way, by day another:” a description that perfectly fits the essence of Progreso. If you decide to visit this place on a Saturday or Sunday night, you’ll be surprised at how the energy transforms, diverging from the daytime commotion. Despite the bustling crowds, the streets become more intimate, and the lights cast a romantic spell over the port.
Recently, I had the opportunity to experience one of these magical nights in Progreso and let me tell you, I was amazed. While it’s true that the sea is the epicenter of much of the daytime activities, when night takes over the coast, the Traditional Boardwalk, the International Boardwalk, and the Chocolate Pier come to life with a wide variety of culinary and recreational options for all tastes.
On this evening, my friends and I decided to start our night journey by walking along the Traditional Boardwalk. Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by a symphony of music, with salsa melodies and other genres filling the air from various points along the boardwalk. The musical notes invited us to explore the various restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops lining the Traditional Boardwalk. Crabster Seafood Grill, Mobula, and Casa del Pastel are just a few examples of restaurants that offer an exceptional seafood menu if you prefer a more formal dinner by the sea.
We chose to head towards the Chocolate Pier, which connects the Traditional Boardwalk to the International Boardwalk. The wooden floor illuminated with colorful lights created a magical atmosphere, heightened by the sea breeze. Along the pier, we discovered a variety of Marquesita stands and murals that invited us to take as many photos as we wanted, while the musicians in the area added a special soundtrack to the experience.
Crossing the pier, we were captivated by a series of amusement rides marking the beginning of the International Boardwalk. The striking Ferris wheel and carousel welcomed us. “Ready?” I asked my friends, and with that simple gesture, we began our journey along the 3.4 miles that make up this beautiful boardwalk.
For some, the idea of covering 3.4 miles may seem like a challenge, while for others, it’s simply a leisurely walk. But here’s the fun part – whether you’re taking it slow or cruising on a rented bike, the path is packed with cool surprises, making the distance a side note to the good times ahead.
Among my favorite artistic monuments from our stroll are a pirate ship, the iconic Progreso sign, a hammerhead shark, and the skeleton of a whale that was stranded on the beach in 2006; all perfect for your next profile picture (or your next favorite WhatsApp sticker).
If your visit to Progreso aims to keep your body in motion or enjoy sports activities, the International Boardwalk has a surprise for you. Here, you’ll find exercise machines and a sports unit that, since 2022, features a skate park, ideal for adrenaline enthusiasts on wheels, whether on rollerblades or a skateboard. There are also beach volleyball and soccer courts, so don’t forget to bring your ball!
On the flip side, if you’re craving delectable street eats and a laid-back evening in Progreso, you’re in the perfect place. Along this long boardwalk, a plethora of nighttime-only options await. Dogos Beach, located in front of the children’s play area, will tempt you with its tasty turkey and beef hot dogs. For those in the mood for a more sophisticated culinary experience, Del Porto, a bit further away, specializes in pasta and wines.
And if you want to try something unique, La Frit’ El sabor de Bélgica will surprise you with its authentic Belgian cuisine. If none of these options appeal to you, you can always opt for a DIY picnic and enjoy an outdoor dinner in this charming nocturnal setting. The choice is yours, and the diversity of options is the hallmark of nights in Progreso.
In addition to these culinary delights, Progreso does not skimp on entertainment. Music and dance play a key role in this port. The passion for rhythm is evident, and it’s not uncommon to see people enjoying a dance even inside the restaurants. If you’re looking to move your feet to the beat of the music, you’ll be delighted to know that Casa de la Cultura hosts “Noche del Recuerdo” (Night of Memories) every Saturday at 8 pm. At this event, you can dance to the rhythm of salsa, rock & roll, danzón, cha-cha-cha, and more.
And don’t worry, there’s always something new on the horizon. Progreso is known for regularly hosting themed musical events, as well as exciting sunset bazaars that take place periodically. Don’t forget to check the social media accounts of the municipality to stay informed about upcoming events.
So, there you have it. Progreso offers all kinds of fun for all kinds of people, whether you’re there for music, dance, food, recreational activities, or all of the above. Whatever you’re looking for, Progreso is the perfect place to enjoy to the fullest and create unforgettable nighttime memories. I’m sure convincing my friends for a future visit will be a piece of cake.
By Sara Alba
Panamanian with a Mexican accent since 2005. Editorial Assistant, a walking jukebox, and always lurking on social media, in the constant search of hidden gems to visit and share.
Photography by Sara Alba for its use in Yucatán Today.
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