Continuing along the coast east from Chicxulub Puerto , the road parallels the sea for 75 kilometers (46.6 miles) to Dzilam de Bravo. Along the way are several small villages, all tuned in to life on the sea. The largest of these villages is Telchac Puerto, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Progreso .
On the main road into town, Libros y Sueños (Calle 23 between Calles 30 and 32, tel. 991/917-4125, www.l-y-s.net , US$24 s, US$28–40 d) offers basic and clean rooms, all with ceiling fans, two blocks from the ocean. First floor rooms are little stuffy—ask for one upstairs to catch the evening breeze. The hotel also has an extensive English-language bookstore (hence the name) in case you’re in need of something for the beach.
Across the street, Hotel Principe Negro (Calle 23 between Calles 30 and 32, US$25–35 s/d with fan, US$45 s/d with a/c) has clean rooms with cable TV and small refrigerators. There also is an inviting pool if you tire of the ocean. Discounts are available during the low season and for extended stays.
Hotel Reef Yucatán (Carretera Progreso-Telchac Puerto Km. 32, tel. 999/941-9494, www.reefyucatan.com , US$101 pp s, US$83 pp d) is an all-inclusive resort just outside of Telchac Puerto. Rooms are absolutely charmless—picture white tile floors, a bed, a TV, dark brown furnishings, and not much more. The main restaurant also feels more like a school cafeteria than a resort with its plastic chairs, fluorescent lights, and lines of people. All that said, the beach is one of the finest on this coast—wide, clean, and overlooking the emerald ocean—and just about everything is included: meals, snacks, alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, nightly shows, tennis courts, and a gym. There are also two well-kempt pools and a kids club. If you don’t want to stay the night but do want some R&R on the beach, the Reef Club offers a day pass (US$47 men, US$42 women, US$26–28 children). The day pass is good 9 a.m.–3 p.m. and includes breakfast, lunch, open bar, and use of all the amenities.
Restaurante Miramar (Calle 19 at Calle 99, no phone, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, US$5–15) is a big, basic eatery with plastic tables, a palapa roof and a menu full of—what else?—seafood. Pulpo en su tinta (octopus cooked in its ink) is sure to be fresh, and the large ceviche platter could feed a hungry basketball team. The restaurant actually has a large, decent section of beach, which you are free to use if you order something.
Having your own car is by far the easiest and surest way to see this lonely stretch of coast. From Mérida , take Highway 261 north toward the coast; as you approach Progreso, follow signs east (or right) to Telchac Puerto. Otherwise, buses theoretically leave Progreso at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily and cost US$1.75 (one hour). Ask at the run-down bus stop at the corner of Calles 82 and 29.