About half a mile to the left from the roundabout leading into Progreso is La Ría, one of the coastal community’s most underrated attractions.
La Ría Progreso is run by a small community cooperative that offers a variety of recreational and educational activities at very reasonable prices.
Kayak rentals at La Ría Progreso cost 100 pesos per hour, while paddleboards cost 250. Fishing tours are considerably more expensive but can accommodate several people at a time.
Though rustic, the facilities are nice and feature a three-story lookout that offers a fantastic view of the area.
La Ría Progreso has bathrooms that patrons can use for free, as well as a small refreshment stand kiosk to purchase water, soft drinks, snacks, and sometimes coconuts fresh off the trees.
Entrance to the facilities is free and the cooperative offers fishing trips, birdwatching boat tours, as well as paddleboarding, and of course, kayak rentals.
Unless you are going full steam ahead, kayaking is extremely relaxing and not particularly strenuous. It is a great opportunity to get out into nature, enjoy the quiet and take in the Peninsula’s natural beauty.
Aside from single-person kayaks, La Ría Progreso also rents out double-sized versions for two passengers.
The kayaks are very stable, and even if you are completely new to the activity you are unlikely to have any trouble. That being said, if you bring along a phone or camera it’s a good idea to bring a plastic bag to help protect them from inevitable splashing.
For the most part, the water in the area is quite shallow and currents do not tend to be all that strong, though on occasion winds may pick up, making rowing a little challenging.
Kayaking through Progreso’s Ría is fairly easy. Just make sure to get a properly sized paddle, as not doing so will make traversing the water much more difficult than it need be.
When holding the paddle, both hands should be placed at the same distance on either side. If you don’t do this you will be going in circles.
The best way to find the right fit is to ask to try out two or three different paddles and see which one works best for you.
As there are several square miles of ría to explore, make sure to keep your wits about yourself to avoid getting disorientated and lost.
Depending on the tide, small sandy beaches sometimes emerge from the Ría’s small islands dominated by mangroves. These make for great spots to stop for a little breakfast and just sit and take in the beauty of the Ría and its wildlife.
As the ría is full of birds, quietly kayaking around is a great way to get up nice and close for photos that would not be possible on a motorized vessel.
The area is full of mangroves, which are extremely important to Yucatán’s ecosystem as they are the first line of defense against erosion and incoming storms and hurricanes.
I have been visiting La Ría Progreso for about 10 years now, and not once have I ever seen it crowded, which only adds to its charm.
La Ría Progreso is extremely enjoyable any time of year, but if you plan to go during the hottest months of the year, I would recommend getting there as soon as they open at 8 a.m.
Regardless of what time you go, it’s always a good idea to wear a hat, sunglasses as well as sunblock.