If 100+ degree days in Merida have you wanting to make a beeline to the beach, you’re not alone. Luckily, Progreso, Merida’s closest seaside destination, is only about an hour bus ride away. Due to its popularity, taking the bus from Merida to Progreso is as easy as putting all the dressing options on your tacos instead of having to choose just one.
I traveled from Merida to Progreso by bus in June 2021 and will share my experience here. My goal is to help your trip run as smoothly as possible.
Ready to get started?
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Does ADO Operate in Progreso?
If you’ve spent time in Mexico, this is likely your first question. ADO is Mexico’s largest bus company (and a fantastic one at that).
ADO does not operate buses on the route from Merida to Progreso. However, it’s so easy to take the bus to Progreso that I’m sure you won’t miss ADO (except, perhaps, for its nicer seats and stronger AC).
Autoprogreso: The Merida to Progreso Bus
So, if ADO doesn’t operate buses to Progreso, than who does?
This bus company has its own terminal in downtown Merida, less than a 5-minute walk (1.5 blocks) from the main square. It’s a pretty spectacular sight, for its entrance is wedged between tightly packed shops and restaurants. Needless to say, I was certain that Google Maps led me wrong until I arrived at the entrance.
Speaking of Google Maps, simply type “Autoprogreso” into the app and it’ll take you right where you need to go.
Merida to Progreso Bus Schedule
I’ll cover more details shortly about how to buy your ticket to Progreso. However, you’re probably itching to know what the bus schedule looks like.
The bus from Merida to Progreso runs all day with 15 to 20-minute intervals between departures. So, there’s really no need to “time” a bus departure. Just show up when you arrive and know that you won’t have to wait more than 20 minutes EXCEPT…
On Sundays the bus only runs every hour.
Autoprogreso buses start running bewteen Merida and Progreso early in the morning and end late in the evening. Below is the bus schedule valid as of June 2021:
|First Bus Departure||6:00 am||6:00am|
|Last Bus Departure||9:00 pm||9:30 pm|
In Merida, I saw a sign saying that the Autoprogreso bus station opens at 5:40 am. I didn’t see an opening time for the bus station in Progreso, but given that the first bus also departs at 6:00 am, I think it’s safe to say that it, too, would open around 5:40am.
Autoprogreso Bus Station in Merida
In case you don’t have Google Maps, this is the address for Autoprogreso in Merida:
Calle 62, #524, Merida Centro
And if you know Merida like a champ, the bus station is located on the portion of Calle 62 between Calle 65 and 67.
Buying Your Ticket to Progreso
When you’re facing the Autoprogreso entrance with your back to the street, enter through the far left side (there’s also an open parking lot and another pedestrian entrance on the far right side, but these won’t get you to the ticketing area).
It’ll be pretty obvious what to do from there—just head towards the back where you’ll find a ticket booth labeled “TAQUILLAS.”
It’s pretty much impossible for wires to get crossed with the ticking agent if you don’t speak Spanish, for they only run buses for the Merida to Progreso route.
Feel free to book a one-way or round-trip ticket. The price is the same whether you buy one ticket at a time or both of them together.
Merida to Progreso Bus Ticket Price
As of April 2022, the bus ride from Merida to Progreso is 23 pesos one-way and 46 pesos round-trip.
*If* you decide to buy your round-trip ticket on the spot, keep it safe. They have a large sign in Spanish at the ticket desk warning people that wet or damaged tickets won’t be accepted. You’re looking at just over a $1 USD loss per person, but hey, that’s a taco you’d be out!
Another important point to make is that Autoprogreso runs on an open ticket policy. Therefore, your one-way or round-trip ticket is good for any time within the same day of your purchase.
As with so many things in Mexico, you can only purchase a bus ticket with Autoprogreso in cash. So, if you’re in Merida and need to take out money, you’ll be within walking distance to plenty of ATMs and exchange houses. If you’re in Progreso, there’s an ATM directly at the Autoprogreso bus terminal.
Autoprogreso Amenities at the Merida Station
I was impressed by both of Autoprogreso’s bus stations. In Merida, the station has an open-air design, with a cover over the narrow walkaway entrance and the waiting area.
There’s a little store inside the bus station to pick up snacks and they even have a small cafe with homemade breakfast and lunch items. If you want more options, simply step outside the bus station and you’ll literally be in the heart of the downtown historical center of Merida.
You don’t need to pass through any security checks to get into the bus station, so it’s easy to come and go as you wait for your bus.
Restrooms are at the back of the station, and in July 2021, the cost was 5 pesos to use them.
There’s a waiting area with a nice amount of seats at the Merida station. Although many buses often park at the station, only one bus ever runs at a time, and all buses go to Progreso.
Therefore, don’t worry about lining up anywhere—everyone in the waiting area is going on the same route as you. The driver will call everyone to board the bus a few minutes before departure.
Autoprogreso Bus Amenities
I won’t beat around the bush here—Autoprogreso’s buses aren’t lookers, especially if you’ve taken ADO buses in the past.
They’re much older than ADO buses, they don’t have a uniform appearance since they’re painted with different advertisements, and they don’t feel as clean. The buses I took were far from downright dirty, though.
But on the plus side, some nice features that Autoprogreso has include:
- Air conditioning (not as strong as you may like, but it’s better than nothing!)
- Bucket seats that recline some
- Large windows with curtains
There’s no restroom on board, but the trip is quick, and both the Merida and Progreso bus stations have bathrooms.
The Bus Ride from Merida to Progreso
Merida is the capital of Mexico’s Yucatán State, and it has very little traffic compared to other cities. Nonetheless, my bus spent about 30 minutes of the one-hour ride from Merida to Progreso hanging out in Merida’s traffic. My return to Merida was a bit quicker, at about a 50-minute ride.
There’s no doubt about it—taking a taxi or driving from Merida to Progreso is quicker than taking the bus. My bus made numerous stops in Merida to let people on, and we looped around downtown Progreso dropping people off before ending the route at Progreso’s bus station.
Personally, I enjoyed having a little tour of Progreso!
If you’re super eager to get off the bus once you’re in Progreso, you can hop off at essentially any stop; the bus station is well located beside the tourist spots, but the downtown is small, so everything is within walking distance.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though—let’s go back to the drive from Merida for a moment. Once you leave Merida, you’ll drive along a quiet road with brush and trees on either side. You’ll be going fast, but you might get a glimpse of an iguana or a colorful bird. During my trip, this tree was in blossom:
Arriving in Progreso
Horray, you’ve made it to Progreso!
I recommend staying on the bus until it parks at the bus station. It’ll take about 5 – 10 minutes to do so once you enter Progreso since your bus will let people off at various stops.
Once you arrive at the bus station, you’ll pass through a touristy area with vendors. Simply follow the sign that says “Playa” (Beach), and that’ll take you out onto the main road. From there, head left and you’ll hit the water after a few blocks, or take a right and you’ll arrive at the main plaza in a few blocks (which, during my visit, didn’t have a lot going on).
After spending many months in the Yucatan’s more famous beach areas (Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, etc.) I admittedly had low expectations for Progreso. However, I was impressed by how well developed it is for tourism—brand new maps and signs explaining places of interest line the streets.
There were a lot of nice restaurants overlooking the water, and tons of little tiki huts along the beach for dining with your toes in the sand.
As a little bonus, here are some answers to questions I had before heading to Progreso. Hopefully, they help you!
How long should I spend in Progreso?
You can easily visit Progreso as a half day trip from Merida. Since the buses between Merida and Progreso depart every 15 – 20 minutes Monday – Saturday (every hour on Sundays), it’s an easy one-hour journey each way. Progreso itself is small, and the beach is the main attraction.
Should I spend the night in Progreso?
You could, and based on all the bistro lights strung around town it looks like things likely come even more to life at night. I was ready to return to Merida after spending a half day in Progreso, but there are a number of hotels you can stay at if you want.
What’s there to do in Progreso?
Aside from enjoying the beach, you can walk along the Muelle de Chocolate (Chocolate Pier), visit a (touristy) market, take a look at the lighthouse, visit the main square, and visit the Callejón del Amor (Love Alley). You can also book a day trip within your day trip to visit the pink salt flats, flamingos, a cenote (sinkhole), and the Xcambo Ruins.
Is the water in Progreso safe to swim in?
Yes! The beaches in Progreso are clean and the water is often calm to swim in. Depending on the time of year and tides, you’ll encounter some seaweed and seashells that might poke your feet, but that’s part of what makes Progreso so charming.
Is Progreso safe?
I traveled to Progreso as a solo female and felt very safe. I can’t comment on what the situation is like at night, as I only visited during the day. If you’re not accustomed to people coming up to you trying to sell you food at their restaurant, tourist knick-knacks, tours, etc. then you might feel a little uncomfortable. However, just say a firm “Gracias” (Thank you) and they’ll leave you alone.
Happy Bus Travels!
I hope this guide has given you a better idea of what to expect when taking the bus from Merida to Progreso. If you still have lingering questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.
P.S.- Are you planning on taking a bus to Uxmal? It’s not impossible, but it can be a challenge. Check out my post on Taking the Bus from Merida to Uxmal for step-by-step instructions.
Also, I put together a review on the Las Coloradas and Río Lagartos tour, if you’re thinking about taking a trip there from Merida.
Laura has been wandering the globe for over a decade. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.