Progreso

Most memorable experience...

Paul and his family also came to the area via Carnival and Progreso. Here is their take on the private tour we provided them.

I recently took my girlfriend and her children on a Carnival cruise. We were trying to plan some fun excursions while in Cozumel and Progreso. We looked through the cruise sponsored excursions, and nothing seemed to really jump out. Many of them had some positive reviews, but all of them also had their share of negative reviews. I happened to search Tripadvisor for things to do in the 2 ports, and that’s where I discovered Lawson’s. I knew that we were wanting to snorkel in Cozumel, and honestly I was way more excited about that originally. I thought we would do some amazing snorkeling in Cozumel, and it would be better to do some site seeing in Progreso, and so I clicked on “Things to Do,” and Lawson’s was number 1. Let me just say, it’s number 1 for a reason. While the snorkeling was fun... it didn’t touch our tour in Progreso.

I checked their website, and the photo of Cenote at Sotuta de Peon Hacienda blew me away. I sent an email to Ralf, and he asked what the 5 of us wanted to do while in Progreso. I said that we wanted to see some ruins and we 100% wanted to swim in a cenote. He was very upfront and honest, and told me that our scheduled time in port would not allow us to visit Cenote at Sotuta de Peon Hacienda, but he had some other ideas that would be perfect for us. I gave him free reign to plan our trip.

We left the port and boarded a bus down the 4 mile pier in Progreso. We were dropped off at the bus terminal (not the flea market thankfully), and were immediately greeted with someone holding a sign with my last name. Ralf introduced himself, and our tour guide David and our driver Roberto. And we were off. It was literally just 5 of us on the tour with them. It was OUR personal tour, just the 5 of us in a private van. David took us to a small village to walk around and have some local fruits and see what a typical village and market was like. We got to have some guaya and dragon fruit fresh at the market. The dragon fruit was an unreal neon pink, with small black seeds in the white flesh. We squeezed a little lime on it, dipped it in some chili salt, and enjoyed these local fruits.

After leaving the market, we went to our first planned stop, Mayan ruins. Most of the cruise lines go to Chichen Itza, but over 10,000 people visit that site a day, and no one is allowed to climb on the ruins. Next we passed signs for Dzibulchaltun, but we kept going. Then we saw signs for Uxmal, but again, we kept going. I had heard of these 3 sites during our trip planning, but hadn’t heard of our destination, Mayapan. David told us that it is a smaller, lesser known ruins, but well worth it. We arrived at the site to find a whirlwind of butterflies gathered around a puddle of water. As we walked up to them, they flew around us in a cyclone of yellow and white.

We then walked into the ruins, and had the entire site all to just ourselves. It was literally our ruins to explore. Seriously, there were only 6 people in the entire ruins! David told us about the culture and the temples, as iguanas ran and hid from us at every turn. When we got to the God Temple, David said that we could climb it if we liked. My girlfriend’s youngest son was already a quarter of the way up before he finished his sentence. I decided to join him, and the view was amazing! After spending a good 5-10 minutes on top, it was time to descend the frighteningly steep steps. There were definitely no building codes back then! As we left the site, David provided us some fresh mango to enjoy.

Next was the trip to the cenote. I don’t know the name of the cenote that we visited, nor the village that was nearby. If I ever went back to Progreso and could find that cenote, I could swim in it all day long. We met up with Charlie in the village, and he biked ahead of us with his snorkeling gear to the spot. There was a scuba diver at the cenote, and David apologized for us not having private access to the cenote, but we didn’t mind. The sun streamed down into the cave at just the right angle to illuminate the surface of the water. It was a good 40-50 feet (I think it was that far) from the surface to the water down below. We walked down a wooden staircase built into the wall of the sinkhole and got to a platform at the water’s edge. I didn’t even test the waters, I just dove in. There is about a 20 foot section that is open to the sky above, and then a good 100 foot radius going into and underneath the cave, though the roof of the cave is a good 40-50 feet above your head! As we were swimming, one of the locals jumped in from a landing on the wooden stairs, probably a good 20 foot drop. So we decided that we should participate as well. The 2 boys and myself each took turns jumping from the stone wall into the clear blue waters down below. Finally David said it was time to go. But as we started to leave the waters, the scuba diver’s headlamp started illuminating the water down below us, it was a pretty amazing site. We came up to dry off, and enjoyed some cucumber and jicama for a snack.

I mentioned Charlie because some of the other reviews talked about eating a home-cooked meal at his house. While we wanted to enjoy some local cooked food, we just didn’t have time with our time in port to do so. Maybe next time.

It was a sad 1.5 hour drive back to the pier, knowing that our amazing day in Progreso was over. I honestly couldn’t have conceived of a better way to spend our time in port. That night back on the cruise ship, our fellow table mates at dinner were jealous to hear of our extraordinary excursion, and were a little disappointed that they hadn’t done a little more research to be able to have a similar experience.

I can honestly say that our private excursion was about the same price as most of the other full day excursions offered by Carnival, but ours was just that... ours. It really was one of the best vacation highlights that I have experienced in my life, and I want to thank Ralf, Roberto, and especially David. If we are ever back in Progreso, there isn’t a moment’s hesitation that we won’t book another trip with Lawson’s. 100%. Absolutely.

Perfect.

Visited June 2015

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g668864-d7168699-r285189134-Lawson_s_Original_Yucatan_Excursions-Progreso_Yucatan_Peninsula.html#
— http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g668864-d7168699-r285189134-Lawson_s_Original_Yucatan_Excursions-Progreso_Yucatan_Peninsula.html#

Angel and Pedro... fantastic!

Natalie and her group came in on the Carnival cruise ship to Progreso. Another happy guest! 

I am so sorry that I am just now getting around to sending this email. But I wanted to let you know that our time with Angel & Pedro was fantastic! That was literally the best excursion I have ever been on and we made a ton of memories. Your guides are fantastic and very knowledgeable. The next time we are able to head that way we will definitely be checking out what new and exciting adventure we can go on with William Lawsons.
Thank you again for everything!
— email

"Victor Hugo is a great guide."

William and Co. visited Progreso on the Carnival cruise ship and had this to day about his tour with us:

Just wanted to let you know we really enjoyed our tour. Victor Hugo is a great guide, and very likeable. If we return, we’ll definitely request him! Your prices do seem a little steep, but the private tour is a good experience.
— email

Do it right, do it with Lawson's

Randy and his crew joined Angel and had a most spectacular time. Read Randy's review of his trip!

I’ve been visiting the Yucatan since the seventies, have met some wonderful people there, and I actually really feel at home when I’m down there. Recently I was talked into going on my first ever cruise and it included Progreso as a port of call. While some cruisers have expressed disappointment with Progreso excursions, If anyone ever goes there and says that they didn’t like it, well they didn’t do it right. They didn’t do it with William Lawson’s. From my first communication with Adriana, I knew we made the right choice. Rather than advise me of our tour itinerary, she asked me about our interests and they sculpted our excursion around our desires. Our group (2 couples) were interested in seeing some ruins and more importantly experiencing cenotes. But I didn’t want to stand in line to visit crowded tourist attraction type places. In Progreso we were greeted and introduced to Angel, our guide /driver. Our excursion included a visit to a rustic but beautiful old church in Tecoh, the Mayapan ruins, and a very special visit to a magnificent cenote hidden in the jungle that we had all to ourselves. All very wonderful experiences that we will cherish the memories of forever. Our guide was very professional and knowledgeable. But what Angel is most is passionate. Passionate and proud of his heritage and very enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge of it and Mayan culture with us, as well as his love for family and our environment. On the way to the cenote we picked up Charly “The Lifeguard”. Charly was to be our escort for the wet part of our cenote experience. After the cenote we unexpectedly stopped back at Charly’s for the best part of our excursion and the most memorable part of my vacation. We were greeted by Charly’s happy family and his “Mommy” welcomed us into her humble “kitchen” where she showed how she prepared meals and even let us help make the best tortillas ever. Then they served us a moderate yet spectacular meal that we I’ll never forget. I can’t express how touched we were by the love this family has for each other and showed us. I am so grateful to Angel for introducing us, and to Charley for sharing them. We were introduced to Angel as our guide but we adios’d him as un buen amigo.
Thanks to Lawson’s Original Yucatan Excursion’s
Randy West
aka “Scott”
— https://www.facebook.com/randy.west.581/activity/10204752056193265

Angel the best, Adriana very helpful

Mia brought her 18 (that's right, eighteen) friends and they enjoyed a private tour on their recent cruise stop at Progreso. Once again, Angel proved to live up to his name.

The magical hidden cenote near Mayapan

We thank you guys for an awesome experience . Angel was the best and so was Joseph and Jorge. We enjoyed our tour, they were very nice to us providing our needs even before we ask for it. The ruins were beautiful and the cenote was magical, the kids had a blast.
It was an experience that we will cherish forever and Angel and the guys made it all possible.
Please give our thanks again to Angel, he was the perfect guide very knowledgeable and very helpful, willing to do everything to make this a special experience for everyone. He even worries about my mother In law who has knee issues, he made sure she has somewhere to seat under the shade at the same time too, not missing out on what she could get from the tour.
We truly appreciate the guys, hopefully we’ll have a chance to go back someday soon. We will surely spread the word about William Lawson tours, highly recommended
— - email -

And Mia's lovely review on TripAdvisor:

“Our Progreso experience with the awesome Angel of William Lawson Tours”

5 of 5 stars

Reviewed September 2, 2014 NEW

Our 2014 family annual vacation for a group of 19 people, 8 teen agers, 8 adults in their mid 40s and three senior citizens 81 y.o, 72 and 71 year old was set for a cruise with Carnival Elation from New Orleans to Cozumel, Mexico and Progreso, Mexico.

The excursion choices for Cozumel was overwhelming because there’s just so much to choose from, but our family decided will do our own snorkeling adventure at Chankanaab National Park. It was a totally different story with the Progreso stop because there were very few choices for excursion and from the reviews they said Progreso is boring.

So I have decided to do some research and found all the good reviews for William Lawson private tours here on TripAdvisor. That was just the start. So I decided to research some more and decided will give them a try. I contacted William Lawson tours and started corresponding with Adriana (who had been so helpful right from the start in deciding what we should do in Progreso) We have decided to tour the Mayapan ruins and swim in a cenote.

August 26, 2014, we arrived in Progreso and got off the boat around 9:12 am , hop on a free shuttle bus to Auto Progreso terminal and there was Angel with my name boldly printed on a board, with his welcoming smile. I was so happy to have gotten him as a tour guide because I have read so many good reviews about him. We boarded our 15 seater van with Angel and our very friendly driver Joseph (they had two vans for our party of 19, the other driver was Jorge ) They have cold drinks, water, soda and native mexican flavored drinks for our 1 1/2 hour travel to the Mayapan ruins. Angel was sharing tons of information with us all throughout our travel, you can very well see his love of his culture and he is very knowledgeable too. We appreciated every little information he was able to share with us and we asked him the silliest questions too and he did not mind that at all.

The Mayapan ruins was more than what I imagined it would be, it was beautiful and serene. It was very peaceful there too (no vendors) it was just our party of 19 and three other tourists. Angel even set up a place for my mother in law to sit under the shades because her knee is bothering her and she can not walk far (That was very thoughtful of Angel) The kids and adults climbed every structure and took tons of photos. Angel was our personal photographer too (among his many talents). We explored the different structures and we also found some iguanas. It was very hot that day (felt like we are inside an oven) and we were all dripping with sweat and on our way back to the vans Joseph and Jorge has prepared some watermelons, bananas, frozen chocolate covered marshmallows and a whole lot of drinks for us thirsty tourist which was so nice after being exposed to the extreme heat.

On the way to the cenote, Angel stopped for some more fresh fruits (what a treat !) Next stop was the highlight of our trip. The cenote, was amazing, magical, breathtaking ...... awesome(from our kids mouths) !!! It was scary to look at, because it was a bottomless sinkhole after all, but as soon as the sun shone on the water, we were in love! and the steep descent did not bother me at all. The water was so refreshing and the kids explored to find hiding places in the cave. And to our surprise after the very refreshing swim, they had food prepared for us again (you are the best Angel !!) pumpkin seed dip for freshly made tortillas, chicharones and native chips. The mayan family that was taking care of the cenote prepared the meal, we were so grateful and appreciative of their hospitality. The kids had a blast, it was awesome food in a very beautiful setting, what more can we ask for. (They also provided life vests, and towels for all of us) I have to mention that the towels smelled lovely ... : )

On our way back to the port, the kids wanted to try authentic mexican tacos and burritos (can’t believe they want to eat some more ... teen agers LOL ) . Angel stopped at El Trompo, the food was really good (loved the beef taco)and nothing like the tacos we have here in the US just beware of the sauces, they are really spicy. Before we enter the port, Angel even bought custard apples for all of us that we devoured in few minutes (so good).

What can I say about Angel of William Lawson Tours ..... he is the best !!! He is not only very knowledgeable as a tour guide, he is kind, thoughtful and provides things even before we ask for it. I highly recommend him and the tour to everyone visiting Progreso. Hopefully we’ll get to visit again some day and explore more with William Lawson tours .

Visited August 2014
— http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150811-d256079-r226357947-Progreso-Merida_Yucatan_Peninsula.html#REVIEWS

Mr. Vallejos (aka Gener)... awesome tour!

Yvonne and her cruising group stopped in at Progreso and chose us to show them around. It was Mom's birthday so we made it special.

My family and I have returned safely to our home. I wanted to thank you for your assistance in booking our Uxmal tour. Mr. Vallejos was an amazing guide and so knowledgeable about the ancient stories of the Mayans. My family enjoyed hearing the stories of the Mayans and their culture, games and lifestyle. The kids and my brother in law were fascinated with the Cenote and enjoyed swimming there. My mother is grateful for the wonderful gift and beautiful flowers which made her feel so special. A special thanks to Mr. Vallejos for introducing us to his mom and the corn tortilla making process. We all enjoyed watching how they make tortillas and tasting them. On behalf of my family and I please accept our most sincerest gratitude for the awesome tour.

Regards,
Yvonne
— - email -

The Yaxcopoil Hacienda - photo R. Hollmann

Really enjoyed our trip...

The magical cenote you visit after seeing the Mayan ruins at Mayapan...

Lori and her family came to Progreso on Carnival and we showed them Mayapan and a beautiful cenote. Here's what they had to say:

This is Lori and I just wanted to let you know that we really enjoyed our trip with your company. Angel was a great guide and was very nice. We really enjoyed the mexican fruit that he shared and he was very informative.
— - email -

The best guide we have ever had...

Dan came in on Carnival to Progreso and chose our little company to help him see the sites and sights on a private tour. Here's what he had to say about his day:

I wanted to let you know that we had a great time, our guide Gener Vallejos was the best guide we have ever had, he went out of his way to show us and explain the ruins, the area and everyday life in that area. He took us by the village he grew up in, showed us his parents Tortilleria which was great! After the seeing all the sites we just never had a chance to grab anything to eat, his Mom made us food which he picked up on the way back to the ship. Words just can’t tell you how much we loved our time in Progresso and the great job Gener provided for us.
— - email -

Birds and more birds! An absolutely incredible experience!

From the Carnival ship, a pair of birders set out with our intrepid birding expert David, and this is what they had to say!

I want to thank you again for arranging my recent birding tour. I had an absolutely incredible experience. David’s expertise was exquisite. He found us over 60 species of bird during the 7 hours or so we had, despite the rainy and overcast weather. It was more than I could hope for. I would really love to post some sort of review or description of my experience on your website. David mentioned that ours was the first strictly birding tour that your company offered, so I hope my review will help other birders choose you for their tours. Is there any means of me providing such a review to you?

Thank you again and I will be sure to recommend you to my friends and family. I will likely be back again myself!

Best wishes,
Eric
— email -

Best ruins, best guide!

Another great review from some of our happy guests!

I have visited Chichen Itza, Tulum and Altun Ha. Uxmal was my favorite. Very relaxed feel to the place and gorgeous preservation work. We hired a private guide company (Lawsons Original Yucatan Excursions) and had a most wonderful time with them. From the person who handled my planning (Ralf) to our driver and guide (Angel), we were never disappointed. My husband has limited mobility and we also have a 13 year old child. We were never rushed and the boy was never bored. LOL Angel was friendly, flexible and knowledgeable. Our vehicle had a stocked cooler with sodas and water and Angel even stopped after our hot day to buy us some local handmade popsicles (very interesting flavors). When I go back, I will definitely hire them again!

Visited December 2013
— http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1575106-d153130-r187421942-Uxmal-Santa_Elena_Yucatan_Peninsula.html#REVIEWS