Merida Mexico Beaches: After living in Merida for 18 months, we explored the city and all the Merida Beaches which are within an easy driving distance, or accessible by public transport, from Merida, Yucatán’s capital city.
Yucatán state has more than 200 miles of beaches. From beach front property, to public beaches busy with local families, to tiny beach villages off the tourist trail. Warm water and sand offer a little something for every preference.
In this article we’ll help you discover some of the best Merida Mexico beaches. Popular choices include: Progresso, Celestun, Chicxulub, Chelem, Sisal, San Benito, Uaymitún, San Crisanto as well as others like Telchac puerto, San Miguel, San Bruno, Cocal Josefina and some tiny lesser visited locations.
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The quick List Of Merida Mexico Beaches
This is a quick roundup of the Merida Beaches within 90 minutes of Merida. More details on our top picks are below.
Progreso – Closest Beach To Merida. 40 minutes north of Merida. Popular with locals. Cruise port.
Celestun – Quiet beach town. Flamingos in the reserve behind the beach. Great seafood at restaurants right on the sand.
Chicxulub – Higher end residential beachfront strip, with beach clubs and more expensive rent than other areas nearby. The more sophisticated beach destination just a few miles east of Progreso
Chelem – A long residential beach where expats and locals live, but cheaper than Chicxulub. But day trippers can access the beach too. Just west of Progreso.
Sisal – A small, undeveloped beach far west of Progreso – but there is no road between the two. So access is direct from Merida.
San Benito – A tranquil beach area, far enough east from Progreso to escape the crowds and development, but close enough to be within a short drive.
Uaymitún – The most expensive residential beach strip on the coast. This is the next zone east of Chicxulub. Plenty of high end apartments to rent. (pronounced “Why-mee-toon”.
San Crisanto – Tiny beach village 40km east of Progreso. Your own transport is essential. Great lobster during the season.
Merida Mexico Beaches – Details
Merida is an inland city. So there are no Merida beaches, but there are number of beaches within an hour or less from Merida Mexico.
The closest and most convenient option for Merida Beaches is Progreso. The sand is white, but the water is green and often has quite a lot of seaweed – though that fluctuates. Progreso gets very windy, which can be a good thing in the summer, in winter it can make it too cold to swim (unless you are a hardy northerner!)
Progreso is the local cruise port and has a quite touristy beach. But this also means there are lots of food options, convenience stores for beer etc.
The most obvious of things to do in progreso is rent a palapa (big thatched open sided Gazebo) on the beach. You can rent a palapa for the whole day for 100 pesos (for 4 to 6 people total), and you can bring your own drinks in a cooler. Or, you can walk over to the convenience store to get a beer, or pay one of the waiters to get you drinks or food.
The Palapas close down at 6pm, so it’s 100 peso whether you turn up in the morning or at 5pm. Some owners will ask for 200 pesos if you are a gringo. Walk east away from the pier to find a place with the regular price.
There are very few other things to do in Progreso Mexico other than eating, drinking and beach.
NOTE: As Progreso is a cruise port, on cruise ship days the beach area near the pier can get very busy and you are more likely to get overcharged for things. Carnival cruises docks year round on tuesdays and thursdays. Other ships dock on different days during the peak winter season – search google for the up to date port schedule.
Where to eat in Progreso
There are a lot of mid price places along the beach mostly doing edible food. But if you want great seafood and drinks at an amazing price, eat where the locals eat:
Yum Ixpu – Traditional Mayan seafood restaurant. Every thing from whole fried fish (pescado frito) for about 100 pesos, to octopus ceviche. Beers for 25 pesos. Yum Ixpu On Facebook. Calle 31 No. 207. This is off the beach, but worth the quick walk. Opens 10.30am to 6pm. If you arrive after 2pm on the weekend, you will likely have to line up for a table.
Getting to Progreso
A cheap and easy aircon bus runs from the “auto progreso” bus station in central Merida, about every 10 to 15 minutes all day, slightly less frequently in the evening. A return ticket is less than 40 pesos. The trip takes 1 hour from central Merida – less when there is no traffic. Or about 40 minutes if you hail it from north of central – but you may not get a seat.
Clesetun Mexico (Merida Beaches)
Our favourite of the Merida beaches is sadly the furthest away. Most people travel to Celestun to visit the celestun biosphere reserve and see the thousands of flamingos that feed there.
But, the beach itself is the cleanest of the Merida Beaches options, with perfect white sand, and sunset facing. The restaurants and bars are right on the sand, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a drink and listen to the waves. It’s far less busy than progreso.
Pampanos is our choice for seafood – The Prawn Spaghetti with butter has the biggest prawns (depending on season) we’ve seen almost anywhere in the world (sourced very locally).
Getting to Celestun Mexico
Merida to Celestun buses leave from the Noreste Bus Station – typically every hour on the hour during the day, but this can vary. A one way ticket is about 120 pesos.
The bus takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. So completing the entire trip, seeing the Celestun flamingos and enjoying the beach and lunch is pretty hard to do all in one day unless you are in a rush – though it is possible if you leave early and low tide happens to fit perfectly with your timings.
Otherwise, staying overnight at the beach in a Celestun hotel is actually very pleasant as the beach is one of the best in Yucatan, and there are plenty of food options.
Overnight accommodation: Celestun Mexico Hotels
There really are not a lot of hotel options in Celestun that are bookable online easily. Here are some of our top picks:
Celestun Mexico Luxury Hotels: Xixim Unique Mayan Hotel – Luxury out of town beach front property, north of the biosphere.
Celestun Mexico Budget Hotels: Hotel San Julio – Simple lodgings right on the beach (as in, you can walk out of your room 10 seconds onto the sand) a couple of minutes walk from the town of Celestun.
Higher end residential beachfront strip, with beach clubs and more expensive rent than other areas nearby. The more sophisticated beach destination just a few miles east of Progreso
Get There: Take a bus from Merida to Progreso, then either uber to Chicxulub or take a collectivo from the small bus station outside the main bus station just to the west.
Chelem (Merida Beaches)
A long residential beach where expats and locals live, but cheaper than Chicxulub. But day trippers can access the beach too. Just west of Progreso.
Get There: Like with Chicxulub, take a bus from Merida to Progreso, then either uber to Chelem or take a collectivo (minibus) from the small bus station outside the main bus station just to the west – but your minibus will be heading the opposite direction from Chicxulub.
Sisal is the smallest and typically quietest of the Merida beaches, with long stretches of empty sand, but with very limited restaurant options. It’s closer to Merida than Celestun but involves two buses with no aircon to get there.
If you have the time, go to Celestun instead. If you are desperate to have a more local experience and avoid Progreso, then Sisal can be a nice daytrip for quiet beach combing.
We ate at Muelle de Sisal the food was very average, but ok.
Getting to Sisal
Take a collectivo from the “Terminal de Taxis Hunucma” on Calle 64 – runs frequently (When they fill the bus), perhaps every 20 minutes. Then change collectivo in Hunucma, and walk out of the bus station to the bus stop on calle 28 opposite the Farmacia Yza Hunucma.
Total cost is about 40 pesos each way, total.
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