A Maritime Route Between Yucatán and Cuba is in the Works

Investors and politicians in Yucatán and Cuba have expressed interest in creating a maritime route connecting the two regions, but challenges abound. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Discussions to establish a maritime connection between Yucatán and Cuba are underway, according to Cuban consul for the Yucatán Peninsula, Rasiel Calvo Morgolles.

The proposed route between Progreso in Yucatán and Mariel, Cuba, would transport tourists back and forth and cargo as soon as next year. 

While the Malecón seafront promenade is a must-visit, there’s more to Havana than just Old Town. Explore the Vedado neighborhood with its art deco mansions, or visit the sprawling Revolution Square dominated by Che Guevara’s portrait. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The port city of Mariel is located roughly 30 miles from Havana, the country’s capital and largest city.  

Mariel has around 45,000 people and is known for its beautiful beaches, colonial architecture, and rich history. 

The most direct sea route between Progreso and Mariel is 395 miles, meaning the trip would take just under 24 hours on a standard cruise ship. 

Progreso has experienced considerable growth over the past decade and has become one of the Peninsula’s main ports of call for cruise ships. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

“This is an extremely ambitious project that will require bilateral cooperation both at the public and private level but would be sure to prove greatly beneficial to both regions,” said Calvo Morgolles.

Despite having recovered some ground since the Pandemic, Cuba’s tourism industry has yet to return fully. According to Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism, the total number of visitors to the island over the past year has been roughly half that of 2020.

Havana is Cuba’s most visited tourist destination, known for its music, architecture, and antique automobiles. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Bilateral relations between Mexico and Cuba have been relatively positive over the past several years, though significant challenges remain. 

Earlier: New flight connects Yucatán to this underappreciated region of Cuba

For Example, Mexico’s deep economic and security ties with the United States limit its flexibility in engaging with Cuba on several fronts. 

That said, visiting Cuba remains a thorny issue for many who consider such an activity as a means of support for the totalitarian regime.

Over the past decades, Yucatán has also become home to at least a couple thousand Cuban nationals, mostly living in Mérida and Progreso.

Mérida has increasingly become the scene of protests held by Cuban nationals demanding an end to the corruption and excesses of the nation’s communist regime. 

Cuban protestors in Mérida Yucatán demand an end to the communist regime in the Caribbean island. Photo: Courtesy

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has repeatedly blamed the political unrest in his country on the United States and its continued trade embargo.

As a result of economic hardship, barges of Cuban migrants washing up on the shores of the Yucatán Peninsula have become a relatively common occurrence.

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.
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