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A wide, fast road (Hwy-261) connects Mérida with the Gulf coast to the north, first passing the ancient Maya complex of Dzibilchaltún, then arriving after 36km in the port of Progreso, on which meridanos descend en masse in summer. Due west of Mérida, the little village of Celestún offers a very different coastal experience from Progreso, being surrounded by a large nature reserve. In fact, most people hit the beach only after taking a boat tour around a long inlet that’s home to a massive flamingo colony.

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