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caribbean mama

What to do in Progreso,Yucatan, Mexico?

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Hi,

We are taking a cruise in August 2008 out of Galveston on the Ecstasy. Have never been to Progreso, so would like some ideas of what to do while there. Got Cozumel covered on excursions, but not Progreso. So, any input would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

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Have you considered a tour to Chichen Itza? We're going there week after next. It is at least an hour and a half drive each way, though.

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Hi,

We are taking a cruise in August 2008 out of Galveston on the Ecstasy. Have never been to Progreso, so would like some ideas of what to do while there. Got Cozumel covered on excursions, but not Progreso. So, any input would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

 

We have sailed the Ecstasy twice and have been to Progreso four times. One of our favorite excursions was the trip to Uxmal to see the Mayan ruins there. Here is a link to my review (my review is #22 on this thread).

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=449074

Last November, we did the Dzilbulchaltun, Mexican Buffet, and Horse Show which is very close to Merida. The ruins are much smaller with no pyramids but the largest structure is the Temple of Seven Dolls, which is quite large. The ruins are some of the oldest, dating back to 500 BC. There is a very interesting museum on the site. The buffet, dancing, and horse show takes place at a nearby ranch, Tierra Bonita. The food was very good and plentiful - we could go back for seconds. We enjoyed watching some dancers and singers and the horse show included roping and riding.

On another trip, we took the Merida Sightseeing and Shopping tour which we also enjoyed. We saw the oldest cathedral on the North American continent and other interesting sights in Merida, which is only about a 30 minute drive from Progreso. We also had time to do some shopping before returning to the ship.

Another time, we took the free bus into Progreso where it dropped us off at the market place. We did some shopping and then returned to the ship.

Perhaps our favorite tour was the trip to Uxmal but we enjoyed all of our trips to Progreso.

Be sure to read all the other threads as there is a lot of good information on this forum about the tours in Progreso. Hope you have a wonderful cruise!! Travelgirl

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Do you remember what items were served on the buffet at the ranch? My children will be 8 and 10 when we go. I just want to be sure there is something they will eat.

 

Thanks,

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Do you remember what items were served on the buffet at the ranch? My children will be 8 and 10 when we go. I just want to be sure there is something they will eat.

 

Thanks,

 

We took this excursion just last Friday, February 1st. Our guide was Maria Carmen, who was a delight. Someone learned it was her birthday, so we sang Happy Birthday to her. The ride from the pier is about 20 minutes. The time at the ruins is limited so we only saw the large court area and the cenote (which is used by locals as a swimming pool - with good reason!) The largest ruin is somewhat distant and a long walk. Mary told us 8 blocks, which would be 1/2 a mile each direction - perhaps so, but I'm not convinced it was actually that far. It was hot and 3 of us opted to spend time in the new, air conditioned museum instead. I found it interesting, but for kids probably not so much. It's less than 10 minutes to the ranch. The menu is limited but the kids should eat what's served. They had lime soup (appears to be chicken broth with a lot of lime juice - very good). A fresh salad (no problems there), refried black beans, Mexican rice (not what passes for Mexican rice here in the states - MUCH better), and probably what was ground pork (goat maybe - I'm not sure, but I don't think it was beef - very good whatever) fixed with local spices, much like ground beef for a taco. There were corn tortillas on the table, and the ground meat and rice made a really good sort of burrito. WARNING: the sauce in the bowl on the table is habenero - DON'T LET THE KIDS GET ANYWHERE NEAR IT!) Desert was a choice between a coconut pudding and rice pudding. The rice pudding was very good. They have sodas, beer and water as part of the meal. Margaritas served in tall jelly-type are sold on the patio and in the arena. The left overs are sold for $1 a glass at the end of the day. Unless your children are extremely picky eaters, they should enjoy the food. There are a handfull of venders around the open patio with various small and large items at reasonable prices. All remain at their tables in the shade. I bought a small leather coin purse that was made by the man sitting there, for only $4. He asked my name and using a leather burning tool, wrote my name and Merida, Yucatan on the back in neat lettering. He only spoke Spanish, but you can communicate by pointing, etc. My daughter bought a hand-made double-weave porch swing/chair for $40 - something she'd priced at home for $80 or more. (I suspect she could have haggled it down a bit more.) There are seats on the patio. The same dancers that were performing on the dock performed more local traditional folklorico dances for us on the patioi, and a petite singer with a huge voice, Paloma, sang a few songs. The rodeo/charro demonstration area is held in a large arena with covered stadium type seating (or rather concrete benches). Several charros show off traditional tricks and skills. At the end, the older charro took the one child that was with us for a short horseback ride. I had wanted to visit Chichen Itza, and maybe some day I will get to, but in the meantime this fun excursion more than made up for spending 5 hours on the road! We really enjoyed the day and can recommend it highly. I think the kids will love the rodeo part of it. And eat the food.

 

If you are lucky enough to get Maria Carmen as your guide, please say hello from a recent passenger, and let her know we will remember her fondly for a very long time.

 

Linda

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I would recommend doing an excursion in or near Progreso. Or at least do an all-inclusive. We tried to hang out on the beach and were bombarded by locals every 2 seconds. Next time I WILL plan an excursion or stay on the ship.

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We took this excursion just last Friday, February 1st.

Linda

 

Hi Linda - Were you on the Voyager? We have this excursion booked for our 3/23 Voyager cruise. I am concerned that the new departure time for the ship (5:30pm instead of 8:00pm) will make them cancel this excursion. If you were on the Voyager, did they move the start time of the tour up for you, or shorten the tour? I have contacted RCI for more info and they just say they're looking into it. If this tour gets cancelled, I'll have to find something different.

 

Thanks for your review; it sounds like a fun day!

 

Thanks, Nan

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We just got back from Progreso. We chose the kayak adventure tour (after the Celestun trip was cancelled and the Caves & Cavern tour was sold out) and were so disappointed. The water levels were really too low for kayaking and most of our group spent a lot of time stuck in the sand. There was lots of garbage and the the tour guides were not helpful at all.

 

The water just isn't the same clarity as you find in Cozumel, so if you're looking for beach/water time - make sure you book it for Cozumel. Also, several people complained about agressive sales at the Progreso public beach and the Corona Beach Break excursion.

 

I don't mean to be negative - I just don't want anyone else to waste money & time like we did on the Kayak tour! I did hear nice things about Chichen Itza, though!

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Hey Nan, are you on the Voyager of the Seas March 23rd ? We have a thread going for that cruise . If you are on it, please join our thread. It's March 23rd Spring Break...Hope to see you on the thread soon. Janice

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Hi Linda - Were you on the Voyager? We have this excursion booked for our 3/23 Voyager cruise. I am concerned that the new departure time for the ship (5:30pm instead of 8:00pm) will make them cancel this excursion. If you were on the Voyager, did they move the start time of the tour up for you, or shorten the tour? I have contacted RCI for more info and they just say they're looking into it. If this tour gets cancelled, I'll have to find something different.

 

Thanks for your review; it sounds like a fun day!

 

Thanks, Nan

 

Hi Nan, Yes we were on Voyager! The departure time had already been moved up to 5:30 for that visit. The excursion departure time had been moved up by 1-1/2 hours or so as well, which led to a bit of confusion for the tour provider. They thought we had to be back to the ship about an hour earlier than we really did. There was not nearly as much time at the ruins as I would have liked - and at least another 30 or 45 minutes would have added to the experience. Those that went on the the Temple really didn't have time to visit the museum as long it minimally takes to quickly walk through, and even I, who skipped the temple and wandered the small museum could have used a bit more time to explore the displays outside. I'd like to go back and revisit the site. I was slightly disappointed - until I learned that those who spent 5 hours on a bus to Chichen Itza only spent about 1-1/2 hour there as well.

 

Even still, we REALLY enjoyed this excursion. I remembered after I posted the buffet menu that I had left out the chicken mole dish on the buffet. I understand it was tasty, but because of food allergies, I had to pass on it.

 

I hope you get Carmen Maria!!

 

There are a few vendors set up at the Rancho with some local crafts reasonably priced (be sure to haggle on more expensive items). The small leather craft coin purses and book marks decorated with a Mayan God are easy to carry and inexpensive - the man sitting at that table was the craftsman and personalized the coin purse with my name after I paid him - which I hadn't expected. There are several small shops and a larger Cinco Soles at the pier where you can purchase souveniers and liquer as well (though my daughter said she could buy at least one brand of tequilla at home for a bit less.)

 

I'm only uploaded a small number of my many photos, and I don't think I have any of this excurion posted yet, but here's my webalbum (the cruise is in the 2nd album, and the ship photos are in the third):

 

http://community.webshots.com/user/LoneStarStitcher

 

You can check back in a few days when I hope to have everything fixed and uploaded.

 

My daughter's photos are here:

 

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AcNmbho0atmH-&emid=sharview&linkid=link4

 

The Progesso pictures start at #87.

 

Hope you have as wonderful a cruise and great a time as we did! Wish I was going to be onboard with you!

 

Linda

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Hi,

We are taking a cruise in August 2008 out of Galveston on the Ecstasy. Have never been to Progreso, so would like some ideas of what to do while there. Got Cozumel covered on excursions, but not Progreso. So, any input would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

 

Hi! We were there Feb. 20. We didnt feel like going on a 5 hour tour to some of the more popular ruins after being at sea for 2 days, so we went to XCAMBO. It was about 45 mins away. We liked it just fine. And we also saw a lot of flamingos and the Mayan salt flats. It only cost $12 each for the trip. The guides name was Pablo. He is or was American and was very informative. He is at the market where the shuttle drops you off. If you do any shopping you can easily bargain to about half price on some things, like sombreros and dresses. We stopped at the big bar at Corona beach and I dont think they understood that tamales are supposed to be cooked, and they brought my girlfriend a hot dog with mayo and onions, yuck. The beer was ok tho. You can get beer across the street from the market for $1. We liked Progreso because it wasn't so touristy as some places.:D

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Hi! We were there Feb. 20. We didnt feel like going on a 5 hour tour to some of the more popular ruins after being at sea for 2 days, so we went to XCAMBO. It was about 45 mins away. We liked it just fine. And we also saw a lot of flamingos and the Mayan salt flats. It only cost $12 each for the trip. The guides name was Pablo. He is or was American and was very informative. He is at the market where the shuttle drops you off. If you do any shopping you can easily bargain to about half price on some things, like sombreros and dresses. We stopped at the big bar at Corona beach and I dont think they understood that tamales are supposed to be cooked, and they brought my girlfriend a hot dog with mayo and onions, yuck. The beer was ok tho. You can get beer across the street from the market for $1. We liked Progreso because it wasn't so touristy as some places.:D

 

I think we met on the ship. You talked about hitting your head on a top bunk bed. It stung so bad, you were up and around walking about 11 PM.

 

You are in the construction business.

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Hi Linda - thanks for the additional information! I am glad to hear that the tour went on in spite of the change in departure plans - we are really looking forward to this excursion! Did they move your start time up also or did it still begin at 12:30?

 

Ironic that you had to pass on a dish because of food allergies - I am in the middle of a lot of testing and believe that I'll be eating gluten-free on our vacation . . . but I'd be eating gluten-free at home anyway, and I'd much rather be on a cruise!

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get off the ship and get the tour to Uxmal from Auto Pregresso. We just went it was great service was wonderful ask any questions.

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Has anyone done this excurion in Progresso? Looking for something fun to do with 15 & 17 year old sons. Please give some advice if anyone has been to Progresso.

Thanks so much!

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Hi Linda - thanks for the additional information! I am glad to hear that the tour went on in spite of the change in departure plans - we are really looking forward to this excursion! Did they move your start time up also or did it still begin at 12:30?

 

Ironic that you had to pass on a dish because of food allergies - I am in the middle of a lot of testing and believe that I'll be eating gluten-free on our vacation . . . but I'd be eating gluten-free at home anyway, and I'd much rather be on a cruise!

 

 

Yes, our start time was moved up to the same time everyone else was getting off for day tours. We barely had time to grab a quick breakfast and run. I'm thinking just before or after 9. Personally, I was happy ours did start earlier to avoid the heat of mid-afternoon at the ruins. Our tour group met on the right just before you get to the Cinco Soles store at the end of the cruise ship dock. Someone will be there with a sign, if not when you first pass, then hang around a few minutes in that area and someone should. Make sure you look for the sign that says "Dzibilchaltun and Mexican Buffet & Rodeo" (or something like that). There's a separate tour that just goes to the ruins. From there you'll pass through the store and out to a bus-filled parking lot for the ride down the longer pier in the world.

 

My daughter, who took me on this cruise, is absolutely gluten-free. Have you told your TA so she/he can provide that info to RCI in advance? That info goes to the dining room, which, if you aren't already aware, can accommodate gluten-free diets. Somehow daughter's restrictions did not get into the ship's computer, so after having to ask what was in something 2 evenings in a row we finally questioned our waiter. He disappeared for a couple of minutes, came back and said that had not been noted in the compouter, at which point the head waiter showed up with a menu, asked what daughter would like from the menu and went back to have the chef specially prepare the meal gluten-free just for her. From then on they bent over backwards to make sure daughter was taken care of. Every evening the headwaiter appeared with the next evening's menu so she could pre-select what she wanted, it would be prepared gluten-free, then ready and waiting for her the next night. The Asst. waiter delivered a plate with gluten free bread as soon as she sat down at the table. I was duly impressed! So be sure your dietary restrictions are known to your wait staff! As for eating elsewhere, if you aren't sure you'll just have to ask. Once you've been on a gluten free diet for a while, you sort of know what you can't eat just by looking - you have to avoid anything that has "modified food starch" which is used in gravies and soups, casseroles, etc. Instead of the Windjammer, you'll be more likely to find someone to ask what's in a dish in the Island Grill (walk through the Windjammer to the back of the ship.) My daughter found plenty to eat without even having to ask. Unfortunately, while you can drink the delicious coffee and tea in the Promenade Cafe, everything else they serve involves wheat. Back to the dining room, they served something that looked like little chocolate cakes one evening that was gluten free, which daughter declared delicious and asked for more. I, of course, had to pass because it had chocolate and sugar in it.

 

They also have at least one sugar free cake in the Windjammer and a sugar-free desert in the dining room. They didn't seem to know whether it was made with Equal or Splenda or some other sugar substitute, but I risked the sugar free cake a couple of times without a problem (aspartame allergy - it's a bummer!)

 

Enjoy yourself!! And eat hearty! Both of us did!

 

LindaMc

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