If you’ve ever been to Cozumel, then you know that around the cruise port are tons of “Americanized” restaurants like Margaritaville and Hard Rock Cafe. While they might hit the spot for some, they leave plenty to be desired if your are looking for authentic Mexico.
Progreso, however, is the complete opposite. Once you step off the pier, you’ll see “real” Mexico. There are no high-rise hotels or touristy restaurants that are so common in Cozumel. If you’re looking for something to eat, then your options are only local-run restaurants.
When you exit the pier, you’re in the main tourist area of Progreso, known as “Boulevard Turistico Malecon”. Here you’ll find a large and wide sandy beach, vendors selling everything from trinkets to massages, and plenty of restaurants for you to choose from.
We’ve rounded up details on your options, all within walking distance of the port.
Eladio’s Bar & Restaurant
Located right as your exit the pier, you can’t miss Eladio’s. The place is pretty big and features open air seating, with the option to dine with your feet in the sand. The food features lots of seafood and fresh Mexican (not Tex-Mex) dishes. The bacon-wrapped shrimp seem to be a house favorite.
Like many other spots in Progreso, this is an open-air bar/restaurants right on the main boulevard and across from the beach. Los Henequenes serves all sorts of seafood, but most visitors seem enamored with the lobster. Expect to pay about $15 per person, but it is cheaper if you can spend pesos.
Le Saint Bonnet
Open air dining, a menu that is a mixture of Mexican and seafood? Yep, Le Saint Bonnet is similar to other nearby restaurants in that respect, but it does off an atmosphere that’s a little more upscale, without being stuffy. What is does have that’s a little different is breakfast. If you’re in the mood to eat something other than the ship’s buffet breakfast, then this is your spot.
Costa Diabla is a newer restaurant and bar in Progreso and it caters to those looking to have a good time. Expect big colorful cocktails, fun music, and even a karaoke stage. It’s definitely a place where you can get in a little bit of trouble (in a good way!) before heading back to the ship. It’s also a good place to get good Tex-Mex, including tacos, guacamole, and nachos.
What makes this restaurant one of the highest rated in the area? Maybe it’s the food, which offers up fresh seafood and tasty drinks. Maybe it’s the atmosphere, which includes shaded booths in the shadow of a replica Mayan temple. Or maybe it’s the fact that it has a pool running through the middle of the seating area for guests to cool off! No matter, this is the most unique restaurant in Progeso and a can’t miss.
According to TripAdvisor, this is the #1 rated restaurant in Progreso. It may be because it’s a welcome change from the seafood served everywhere else. At Milk Bar you will still find seafood, but they are well-known for their burgers and sandwiches. They are also the best place in town for vegans and vegetarians. Also, be sure to try a shake or a malt before you leave town.
If you’re looking for upscale dining, this is it. Waiters in clean white shirts, cloth napkins, and a beautiful atmosphere are all included. The menu has tons of seafood dishes, as you would expect from a place called Crabster. However, don’t overlook the desserts like Pecan Pie that look amazing. The view of the cruise pier and the Gulf isn’t so bad either!
Featured image: Jason Horne