Progreso is a center for both the fishing industry and the container industry. All containers arrive in Progreso and are distributed to Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo.
Progreso also is one of the newest ports for large cruise ships and an emerging balneario resort destination. Passengers disembark on a very long pier, the Terminal Remota opened in 1989 that juts out 6.5 km into the Gulf of Mexico. Passengers are taken to shore to visit Progreso, Mérida or the Maya civilization archaeological sites of Uxmal and Dzibilchaltun.
During the months of July and August the beaches fill with thousands of mostly local tourists, as it is traditional in these months for well-to-do residents of Mérida to leave the city and spend the summer in the cooler seaside environment.
Despite its coastal location and fairly humid climate (average humidity around 70–80%), Progreso has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh. There is little varitation in average temperatures though the winter months from December to March are noticeably more cool. Precipitation is scarce throughout the year but is more abundant from June to October. On average, there are 36 days with measureable rainfall.