When your cruise ship arrives in Progreso, Mexico you are docked at the end of the longest pier in the world. It is 3 miles long. To get from the end of the pier and into the town of Progreso there are free but mandatory shuttles that take you from the cruise ships, down the pier and into town. You cannot walk. You must ride the shuttles. They are run by this company called AutoProgreso.
When our shuttle arrived in Progreso it pulled into a dirt parking lot surrounded by walls. As our bus parked three people who work for AutoProgreso stood outside the doors, blocked anyone from exiting and then boarded the bus and told us we could not get off. They needed to give us important information first. The “important information” consisted of a 15 minute detailed sales pitch for the various tours AutoProgreso offers in the port. So they have a captive audience to sell their tours. The cruise passengers cannot get into Progreso without riding their shuttles. It is a great business for AutoProgreso but it is terrible for the cruise passengers. We had already booked a private tour and our precious time in port was being eaten up by the hassle of the shuttle process and then the sales pitch. Due to all of this inconvenience we were late for our tour.
I appreciate the bus service. I have a recommendation. They should do the sales pitch while you are riding the shuttle from the cruise ship into the town of Progreso. That way they still get to try to sell to their captive audience but without adding delays to everyone’s schedules. They could even just play a recording. Much more efficient.
Upon finally being allowed to exit the shuttle bus we had to wade through a large flea market full of people trying to sell us stuff before we could exit the “bus station”. “Bus Station” is a very generous description. There are no facilities. No restrooms. Just people trying to get your money in a large dirt parking lot.
Also, be aware that the AutoProgreso shuttles drop people off at one of two different “bus stations” in Progreso. They do not visit both. They drop you off at one or the other. And there is no way to know which one you are going to ahead of time. It is not posted anywhere. In fact, you don’t have a choice. When you exit the cruise ship you are directed onto the only shuttle into town that is available. So this becomes an issue when you have already made arrangements for a private tour/excursion in port as we had done. When we exited the bus station we could not find our tour guide because he was at the OTHER bus station. We called each other and got things worked out and had an incredible day but this whole system is not very friendly for the cruise passengers and seems designed to confuse and disorient people so they will just give up and use the AutoProgreso tours. You have been warned.
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