– Beyond Progreso – Top 5 Things to do with Your Kids

If you are visiting Progreso by cruise ship or vacationing for a few days or a week, Progreso (and area) has much to offer to families.
In our previous Blog “Progreso Mexico Top 5 Things to do With Your Kids” we addressed activities actually “within” Progreso.  
This Blog is a continuation, offering insights on what is available just “beyond” Progreso, mostly along the coastline (within 1hr).

    Pink water and Pink flamingos, provide a perfect backdrop to a family photo. Approximately 35km from Progreso (32 minutes) you will find Telchac Laguna Rosada (small pink lagoon) which features small mangrove salt ponds that, depending on the stage of plankton and algae (combined with sun and salt), can show an array of colours including blue, brown, orange, light pink and bright fuchsia.  These evaporation pools are for salt collection.  As the salt concentrates, the color fades.  On your way to the salt ponds (and beside the salt ponds), when in season, you may be lucky in viewing flocks of wild flamingos, roseate spoonbills, or white egrets.  Don’t forget to bring a camera (with zoom lens if possible / drones not permitted) or binoculars, some water to keep yourself hydrated, and tip money for the salt pond tour.Special Notes:
    If you are looking for colourful shades of water, it is recommend that the salt ponds be visited between 12noon-3pm when the sun is high in the sky causing the best reflection. The local guide has advised that the ponds are usually the “pinkest” during February, May, June, July, November, and December.  However, if you are more interested in the birdlife, early morning is recommended.  Other than the one “designated” salt pool, you are no longer permitted to wade into the salt waters.  Looking for a unique souvenir?  Salt is available on site to purchase, at very reasonable prices.
    Hours:         7am-7pm
    Location:     N21 19.865 / W089 20.931
    Admission:  Please Tip
    Directions:  35.6km from Progreso. Progreso/Telchac Highway #27 at Dzemul-Xtampu Intersection.
  2. XCAMBO – Mini-Archaeological Site
    This mini-explore and climb is a fantastic road trip for the young children of your Family , the older ones would likely prefer an exciting Adventure with YucatanCenote.com (Bigger Cenotes, Larger pyramids and more fun!)
    Take a 35 minute drive along the coast East of Progreso and you will find Zona Arquelogica Xcambo, dating 100 BC-600 AD. This is a very small archaeological site located just down the road from the “Salt Ponds”. As you are permitted to climb all of the structures and as this site is quite “compact” it is small enough for the kids to enjoy and explore, without getting too hot.  It is believed that the city of Xcambo was very important in its time for salt development. There are 11 structures (3 main structures and a scattering of smaller structures).  The most notable architecture is a rounded step-bodied pyramid as well as a small chapel built on one of the main foundations.  The chapel, dedicated to the virgin, was built in the last century and is occasionally used by local Christians. A number of burials were discovered during the excavation of this site including ceramics and figurines from the island of Jaina and Guatemala which signifies the trade of rich foreign offerings in barter for much prized salt.Special Notes:
    I would recommend visiting this site when the cruise ships are not in port as it can become crowded, especially in the morning. If you are visiting on a cruise day, then visit later in the afternoon after the ship tours are finished.  I have visited this site many times and have had it all to myself.   If you are visiting in the “rainy” season, there is a good chance that you will experience a “damp” explore due to the proximity of the mangrove swamp and marshland.
    Hours:  8:30 am – 4:30 pm
    Location:  N21 18.837 / W089 21.225
    Admission:  $75 pesos
    Directions:  35 minute drive from Progreso
    38km East of Progreso. 6km from Telchac Puerto. 2km from the coast – just off of the Progreso-Telchac highway.
    It is not just the destination, but the journey.  Imagine meandering through just over 1km of mangrove channels in your personal small boat , being pushed along by a young local guide with a long bamboo pole, with shady trees protecting you along the way.  Visit Cenote “Dzonot-Tzik” within San Crisanto’s Mangrove Preserve (Manglar de San Crisanto). A guide will push you in a small wooden boat through the mangroves to a fresh water spring Cenote. Enjoy swimming in the crystal clear waters of the small mangrove spring cenote teaming with little fish and some larger tarpon. San Crisanto Mangroves is home to a variety of birds, fish, snakes, turtles, raccoons, herons, woodpeckers, kingfishers, catfish, and crocodiles.We would recommend doing the tour in the morning, during high tide for ease of maneuverability, and for better privacy. Bring some crackers to feed the fish (they will come right up to you)- please supervise young children.  I highly recommend to bring masks/snorkels so that you can enjoy the fish up close and personal and if you have a waterproof camera, it is a must!  There are benches and a couple of tables at the Cenote should you wish to bring a picnic lunch and drinks. Please discard trash accordingly.  Don’t forget to tip your guide.
    – YouTube Video Link:
    Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
    Location Ticket Office:   N21 21.050, W089 10.297 
    Phone:  991 105 3710
    Admission:  $60 Mx Pesos
    Directions: 50 minute drive from Progreso.
    52km East of Progreso (10km from Telchac Puerto).  If driving from Progreso, drive East past Telchac Puerto into San Crisanto. At the crossroads in San Crisanto (on the corner is a variety store “Tienda Las 2 Hermanas”) turn right for approximately 1 block. You will see a large round building to your left (just past the baseball diamond).  Go to that building to purchase your tickets.  From there follow the guide (you in car / guide on bicycle) for approximately 3 minutes to the location where the Mangrove boats are parked.  There are rustic restrooms at the parking area (use them before you get into the boat as there are no other restrooms). 
    Extra surprise:  Behind the ticket booth you can see more pink salt flats!
    Just 90 min away, East of Progreso along the coconut coast through various fishing villages to Dzilam de Bravo , the end of the Coastal highway.  When you reach Dzilam de Bravo, take the beach road to the Lighthouse.  On the other side of the lighthouse you will see a palapa grass roof building which is a combination restaurant and tour service building “Sociedad Cooperativa de Servicios Turisticos Sayachuleb”. You will be purchasing your tickets (for a boat tour) inside this building.   There are three different tours. (2hr, 2.5hr and 3.5hr).
    I have always thoroughly enjoyed the 2hr tour which will take you to two locations:  i) Into the gulf of Mexico where you will exit the boat (water approx. 4feet deep) and experience swimming in a freshwater eruption in the ocean where Yucatan’s underground rivers meet the sea; where fresh water meets salty; and cold water mixes with the warm of the Gulf of Mexico.  A truly unique phenomenon.  ii). Next, you will then proceed to the shoreline on the edge of the Biosphere and dock at a rustic pier.  You will exit the boat and hike on an equally “rustic” boardwalk through the mangroves to cool off in a tranquil mangrove freshwater spring Cenote.Special Notes:
    On your return, We highly recommend that you feast on a Yucatecan lunch at the seaside restaurant “El Fortin De Juan Sayachuleb” under the shade palapa. The beach-side location is wonderful, the food is delicious and the service is friendly.
    Lifejackets are included.
    We highly recommend that you contact them prior to your arrival to make reservations to ensure availability as some of the boats are used by local fishermen and they will check on weather conditions (as you will be going into the gulf waters).
    – YouTube Video Link:
    Telephone:  9991 41 2532
    Facebook:  “Sayachuleb Dzilam De Bravo”
    Restaurant:  11am-5pm
    Location (Tickets):  N21 23.674 / W089 53.158Directions:  1.5 hours drive from Progreso.
    82.8km from Progreso via YUC27Admission: Priced per boat (8 people max).
    – 2hr:  Freshwater spring, cenote = $900 pesos
    – 2.5hr:  Freshwater spring, bird nesting zone, river, cenote = $1,400 pesos
    – 3.5hr:  Freshwater spring, bird nesting zone, river, cenote, Las Bocas Beach = $1,700 pesos
    Want to bring your experience and adventure up a notch?  Let YucatanCenote.com EcoAdventures make all of the plans, take care of all of the details, customize and create an amazing, memorable, unique and authentic Family Adventure for you.  Child car seats and booster seats are included as well as snacks, full lunch, drinks, all admissions, life vests, and masks/snorkels, private Guide (English/Spanish), and private Transportation with tourism insurance/plates.  Most Adventures will take you 1 hour south of Progreso to amazing subterranean Cenotes, authentic Mayan villages and incredible Archaeological zones, Caves etc.  YucatanCenote Eco-Adventures can customize an Adventure to visit easy access Cenotes suitable for young families or if you are looking for something more adventurous, they will deliver!
    – YouTube Video Link:
    Website:  YucatanCenote.com
    Email:     YucatanCenote@gmail.com
    Yucatan Tours of Cenotes