In its role as the hub of Yucatán’s coastal communities, Progreso is something of a paradox.
The Parque San Felipe offers one of the most unspoiled and spectacular bird watching areas in the Yucatán - and much more. Formerly difficult to access, a local cooperative (Dzayachuleb) in the busy fishing village of Dzilam de Bravo has been recently established and now offers a wide range of boat tours into the preserve.
A small lagoon is one of the closest stops and allows incredible viewing of hundreds of flamingos. Herons, egrets and a myriad of other waterfowl also breed here.
Along the edges you may even see crocodiles! Early morning is best for viewing the flamingos, which may disperse to other feeding grounds later in the day.
Sometimes the most negative situations can motivate a person to achieve great things. Jessica Winkler is a true example of this: while living in Victoria, Canada, she was fascinated by the kitesurfers as they cavorted above the water. Her then-husband told her she wasn’t strong enough to do it herself. She went on to not only learn the sport, but she is now a top-ranking pro athlete (third in women’s world kite speed; first in women’s North America and the only Canadian; third in women’s Mexico freestyle; and first in women’s Yucatán freestyle); with several professional sponsorships. She is also the owner and operator of Kite Beach Yucatan, where you can take kitesurfing lessons at a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level.
Villa Azzurra: great B&B potential
Perched on a soft, peaceful beach on Yucatan's Gulf of Mexico coast, Villa Azzurra is the ultimate in peaceful beach living. This lovely 3-bedroom villa is just outside the fishing village of Telchac Puerto, 50 km. northeast of Yucatan's capital city of Merida. All three bedrooms have a view of the sea, with its layers of dazzling colors ranging from emerald green to azure.
Located 100 km. due north of Progreso at Lat./Long. 22.5 / -89.7 it is always a spectacular surprise to see the group of five atolls known as Alacranes Reef National Park rise up out of the Gulf of Mexico waters. You can snorkel around sunken boats and fish the reef, as well as visit the lighthouse and wander around the five atolls. With a touch of sadness you will note the lighthouse office building which is more than 100 years old is falling down due to the lack of support from those responsible for its upkeep. You’ll want to depart the coast at dawn and head for the anchor area at the reef; the trip takes about 3 – 4 hours by motorboat and about 10 – 12 hours under sail.
The Gulf coast of Yucatán is attractive to many because it is still relatively undeveloped.
Known as one of the most popular tourist resorts in the world, Cancún was nothing but a sleepy fishing village until 1974, when the Mexican government began its development. It has transformed into a 23-km. stretch of hotels, white sand beaches, restaurants, shopping, and night life. If you want lots of action, Cancún is the place to go. Although damaged in 1988 by Hurricane Gilbert, and again in 2005 by Hurricane Wilma, Cancún has recovered and is as popular as ever. There is a golf course and ferry terminal to Isla Mujeres, and more than 150 hotels to choose from. Millions of visitors go to Cancún every year!