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Spanish 101

by pickerelpearl Online Now Sep 12, 2006 at 8:01 AM

Buenas Dias....I will be vacationing in the Progreso/Uaymitun area for one month winter of 2007.....my question(s) Do I need to know Spanish fluently or will I be able to get by with certain phrases??...(am taking Spanish lesson once weekly until December) Secondly, will I need to rent a vehicle to travel for groceries etc. to and from Progreso-Merida-Uaymitun ?? I have been warned by others not to rent a car....Thirdly, are there adequate ATM machines in Progreso?? Gracias...Hasta pronto....La madre

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5 Answers
  • melosh's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Spanish 101

    by melosh Online Now Sep 13, 2006 at 10:30 AM

    Certainly you will be able to get by, but of course the more Spanish you understand and speak, the easier and more rewarding will be the experience. I would suggest that you purchase some phrase CDs or cassets for everyday listening to and memorizing inorder to have a basic phrase fluency. Do it everyday until you leave including when you are driving around or doing chores at home. Any set of phrase tapes will help. I have found the Pimsleur tapes the easiest to study and most logical, but some of the other types focus more on complete useful phrases. (There is a 6 CD set of Introductory Pimsleur Spanish for only about20.)

    You should not rent a car. You should not need a private car. Taxis are widely available and inexpensive especially if you are not trying to hire one from where lots of tourists are catching them. (example: The docks when the cruise boats arrive.) Most taxi rides are based upon an agreed price rather than a functioning meter. This means that it is best to know what a reasonable price is before you ask a driver. Expect to have to bargain down to the right price. Since you are staying for a month there is a good chance that you will find a driver you like who will be happy to get your regular business and give you fair prices without alot of bargaining.

    For longer trips then Merida-Progresso or to save money avail yourself of the frequent and relatively inexpensive buses. You are also likely to find cars or vans that carry multiple passengers but are not on any particular schedule. Because they tend to pack the vehicle they are not generally more comfortable then a regular bus. Their charges are closer to bus charges than to private taxi charges.

    If you really want a car for the day because you plan to have lots of stops and lots of packages hire the car and driver for the day. As with a usual taxi ride the cost will be negoitiable and depend on the number of hours you need for a day, the distance, the quality of the car and your ability to bargain. The best price will come from the small time "unofficial" taxi driver-owner. It should not cost you much more than renting a car for a day, paying for insurance and gas and driving yourself. It would be easier, safer and alot less stressful. Because of the rise in gas prices I find guessing what price you could get difficult but it might be about 5 hours for80 US. If someone asks for over150 walk away. You must bargain to get a doable price.

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  • Redlats's Profile Photo

    RE: Spanish 101

    by Redlats Online Now Sep 15, 2006 at 4:54 AM

    Another view: You will be able to get by not speaking Spanish fluently. Of course it is always best to learn the language, but for simple commerce (buying groceries, etc.) you will be able to get along with your phrases and sign language.

    Secondly - we used buses a lot. Only rented a car to get to some of the ruins. Also they are in the midst of building a large food store in Progreso. I'm not sure when it will be finished, but it might be by 2007. For a month holiday, we did one big grocery run into Merida - with another couple we rented a car and driver. It would have been cheaper to bus into Merida and arrange for someone to pick us up when we were done.

    Thirdly - I only remember one ATM in Progreso - downtown at that big bank which I cannot remember the name of - Banco-something-or-other. It worked for us. I think its upper limit for withdrawals was 4000 pesos (about400). We withdrew that upper limit a couple of times rather than lesser amounts more often because our bank in Canada charged5 or more for the transaction.

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  • Redlats's Profile Photo

    RE: RE: Spanish 101

    by Redlats Online Now Sep 16, 2006 at 4:52 AM

    I just found out from a friend of ours in Progreso that "Bodega Aurrera (Wal-Mart) in Progreso has opened and is a great place. Has just about everything you might want and great customer service!"

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  • Dave_in_Ont's Profile Photo

    RE: Spanish 101

    by Dave_in_Ont Online Now Oct 2, 2006 at 3:44 PM

    For a one month stay, a personal or rental car is not really necessary, as stated by others. That said, if you are in the Uaymitun area, bus or combi travel will be somewhat more sporadic than in the Progreso/Chicxulub areas.

    We have been wintering in the Progreso/Chicxulub are for the last 9 years, progressing from one month stays to a two month stay, and this past winter, for 3 months. We drove down from Canada, last winter, and it was a very good experience for us which we will repeat this coming winter. Driving in Mexico is not as hazardous as many might suggest.

    For doing some grocery shopping and visits to ruins and Merida, I wouldn't hesitate to rent a car if I were flying down.

    Attempting to communicate in Spanish is appreciated by the locals, and if they laugh, they are laughing with you, not at you.

    Progreso has ATM's at 3 banks that I have used and there are probably several more that I don't know of.

    Hope this helps.

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  • RE: Spanish 101

    by janny1946 Online Now Oct 11, 2006 at 11:38 AM

    I am also taking a Spanish course. We spent a month in the area last year and were able to get along without Spanish. However, knowing some of the necessary phrases can make life easier. Many of the restaurants in Merida and Progreso have menus in English or someone who can translate for you. We also rented a car and had no difficulty. The driving is not bad at all. You must buy a good map of Merida to be able to navigate in the city. The problem with getting a taxi is that you must have a phone or use someone else's. We used the car almost daily to go to Progreso or Merida for groceries, dinner, shopping or sightseeing.We are going again this year for 6 weeks.If you put the car rental on some credit cards, the collision, theft and damage is covered. Mine was with a gold Visa card.The only thing I had to purchase was liability insurance at7 US a day if you decline the other coverage. Also, be aware that most economy and compact cars are not automatic but standard. You will pay a high premium for automatic, if you can get one. I don't think I would have survived without a car. It certainly made getting around where and when you want so much easier.

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