Yucatan Gulf Coast
From Celestun to Progreso to Isla Holbox, Yucatan's Gulf Coast, also known as The Emerald Coast or The Flamingo Coast, enjoys miles of undeveloped and virgin beachfront. This coast offers more variety and opportunities to budgets large and small, than the more expensive Caribbean coastline on the east side of the peninsula.
This entire coast is populated with wild Pink Flamingos that live, year-round in the lagoons and marshes that frame the beach coasts of the Yucatan Peninsula. You will find numerous small, traditional fishing villages. All have electricity, city water, telecommunications, health clinics, gas stations, restaurants and some simple lodging. Good highways allow for an easy drive to the coast's largest port – Progreso. In Progreso you’ll find movie theatres, great restaurants and bars, discos, clubs, hospitals, clinics, hotels, banks and shopping.
In comparison to the Caribbean coast, the Gulf coast of Yucatan has a more "original" feel. The Gulf coast is not geared towards tourism and does not have a touristy or glitzy attitude as is commonly found on the Caribbean coast. The towns along the Gulf coast have been here for years. The have their own unique personality, vibe and soul.
There is something here for everyone!
Progreso, located just 20-miles from Merida, is Southern Mexico’s busiest port. It’s 4-mile pier hums with activity 24-hours a day. Cruise ships dock here and their travelers may choose from a menu of day trips and adventures that include: The Mayan ruins of Uxmal, Xcambo or Dzibilchaltun, a visit to the fabulous markets and architecture of Merida, Cenote diving/swimming, tropical bird watching, sport fishing or just hanging out at the beach restaurants and bars that line Progreso’s Malecon (mile long beach walk).
From Progreso you can travel west to the villages of Chelem, Chuburna and Sisal. All are small beach towns that are populated, year-round, predominantly by fisherman families. But, they are also becoming popular expat retirement communities. People from all corners of the globe, including locals, maintain beach homes in these small pueblos. You can find homes here to fit any budget.
Continuing west around the Peninsula brings you to Celestun. Celestun is also a small, remote fishing village situated on the west coast of the peninsula near the Campeche – Yucatan state border. It is about a 90-minute drive from Merida, on a paved highway that passes through several small towns.
Celestun is known for its Flamingo Reserve, fresh water springs and estuary. There are several decent hotels and restaurants. There are also some beautiful stretches of beach. Celestun is located in an ecological reserve and building on the beach lots outside of the municipal zone can prove to be difficult.
Traveling east from Progreso you will arrive first in Chicxulub Puerto (which has grown together with Progreso – they seem like the same town). Continuing down the highway you will come to Uaymitun (there is a Flamingo observation tower located here). The road then takes you to San Benito, San Bruno, Telchac Puerto, San Crisanto, Chabihau, Santa Clara and Dzilam de Bravo. The beach road ends in Dzilam de Bravo.
The wealthy Yucatecos started building upscale beach homes in Chicxulub and Uaymitun years ago. There are some very beautiful and expensive beach homes up and down this coast. The last 5-years have witnessed substantial growth of beach homes all the way to Telchac Puerto and beyond.
Generally speaking, the stretch of beach beginning from the east side of Progreso to Telchac Puerto is the pricier beach, populated with many luxurious beach homes. Beach prices are generally higher on this stretch, compared to the beaches on the west side of Progreso.
(Note: Beach property is generally priced by the linear meter of beachfront. You will find this to be true in all parts of Yucatan. If you stumble upon a property being priced by the square meter, square foot or linear foot of beach front, you should be extra cautious about purchasing.)
The State of Yucatan recently enacted an environmental protection law “Decreto 801” designed to oversee construction and development on all beaches within the state. It is advisable to make certain that your beach property will fall within the parameters of this law if you are planning to build.
There is an especially deep and high and beautiful beach, located to the west of Chuburna Puerto that falls within the parameters of “Decreto 801”. There are several very nice lots here available for purchase. Please feel free to contact me for more information on these lots or with questions about any of the beach areas in Yucatan.
Mitchell Jay Keenan, CRS