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Cruise Port Reviews: Progreso, Mexico

 

A taste of ancient history in the Yucatan: the Mayan City of Chichen Itza is must-see excursion while at Progreso.

by Kim & Johnnie Rhodes

Cruise Port Reviews: Progreso, Mexico

 

There are many excursions available on any given cruise vacation. But very few of them connect vacationers directly with ancient history.

Cruisers who are fortunate enough to stop in Progreso, Mexico should not miss Chichen Itza. Named one of the new “Wonders of the World”, Chichen Itza is a sprawling ancient Mayan city in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Chichen Itza boasts a large pyramid which is said to actually contain another pyramid inside. There are several other structures on the complex -- far too many to experience them all within the time constraints allowed on a cruise excursion. But don’t let that stop you from visiting…Chichen Itza will certainly go down as one of your most meaningful cruise excursions.

For our trip, we were loaded onto comfortable, air-conditioned buses, right at the cruise terminal. Before departing the cruise terminal we were provided with boxed lunches containing a very ample supply of food. I’m a big eater – even still, there was far more than I could eat in a sitting – I left the rest on my bus seat for the return trip home.

Cruise Port Reviews: Progreso, Mexico

Our tour guide, of Mayan descent, provided interesting information about both the Mayan culture and Chichen Itza, during our bus ride.

On our bus was a friendly Spanish/English speaking tour guide, of Mayan descent, who provided us with pertinent information during the ride over the bus’ PA system. The bus ride is fairly long – it took us a couple hours to arrive at Chichen Itza. But, as always, I found the ride very interesting, traveling across many miles of Mexican countryside, as well as passing through the city of Merida. I found the highways and other infrastructure to be in very good condition in this area, with much of it being of the same quality as American interstate highways.

Upon arrival, we made use of restroom facilities before beginning our adventure. Along the walkways of the grounds, many vendors are set up touting their goods. I found a vendor selling nice glass-covered Mayan calendars which I took interest in, until I heard his price. With a “no thanks,” I walked away, only to have him tap me on the shoulder a couple minutes down the walkway. His new offer was “half price,” which I accepted…what a deal!

Cruise Port Reviews: Progreso, Mexico

Numerous vendors are set up around the park, offering a multitude of items to visitors.

Chichen Itza

A main attraction at Chichen Itza is the El Castillo Pyramid.

Our tour guide from the bus remained on hand, describing in detail the many structures on the premises, including the awe-inspiring El Castillo pyramid. The tour was casual enough that I felt we could’ve left the group to explore on our own…except that I was enjoying the information provided by the guide too much to leave.

Chichen Itza

Above, The Great Ball Court. Below, The Temple of the Warriors
 

Chichen Itza

After a couple hours on site, it was time to load back up for the long trip back to the cruise terminal. During the bus ride, I finished off the rest of my lunch, enjoyed the scenery outside my window, and thought about the sights of the day. Admiring the workmanship so evident at Chichen Itza, I felt like it would be more at home in Greece or Egypt – this ancient city is world-class in every aspect. True, there are other Mayan ruins sites to visit in Mexico, but few are in the league of Chichen Itza.

Cruisers beware, an excursion to Chichen Itza will take most of the day and leave little time for much else on this stop. But if you can sacrifice the tee-shirt shopping for just one day, you'll take away an experience of a lifetime.

 

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