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Puerto Morelos, Mexican Caribbean Fishing Capital in May

Fishermen from Cancun, Cozumel, the Riviera Maya and other parts of the Caribbean gather in Puerto Morelos this May to take part in one of the important annual tournaments in the Mexican Caribbean.

The fleet of boats heads out to the fishing grounds and each crew shares a common goal of landing the largest white and blue marlin, sailfish, swordfish and dorado.

Held the weekend May 4-6, the Don Andrés García Lavin Tournament is one of four fishing events in Quintana Roo to be endorsed by the Mexican Sport Fishing Federation; the others are in Cancun, Cozumel and Chetumal. The tournament winners will have the chance to go on to represent Mexico in the 2018 World Championship.

The catch and release policy is enforced as part of tournament regulations in order to conserve fish stocks.

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New ways to earn Royal Resorts Rewards

We have some exciting news for you about the Royal Resorts Rewards loyalty program: it now offers you even more ways to earn Rewards.

As of June 27, you can earn Rewards when you book eligible stays and products through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center, either by contacting the Call Center or online at www.royalreservations.com or www.royalresorts.com (applicable for new reservations only). That’s not all; we have added a new way for you to use the Rewards in your account. You can now redeem them to pay for additional nights and other products booked through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center.

Earning Rewards

  • You’ll now earn Rewards whenever you book eligible stays and products through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center (Call Center and the Royal Reservations and Royal Resorts websites) NEW
  • Earn Rewards during your vacation at participating* Grand Residences and Royal Resorts restaurants and facilities
  • By purchasing Life Extension products or Skymed memberships
  • By participating in the Friends & Family referral program

Redeeming Rewards

  • You can now use the Rewards in your account to pay for eligible stays and other products booked through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center*. Enjoy even more vacation time in your home away from home NEW
  • Pay your annual Club Service Fee
  • Pay the resort bill on your next vacation
  • Make a donation to the Royal Resorts Foundation

* Redeem Rewards by phone only to pay for stays and other products booked through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center.

Want to enjoy additional vacation time at Royal Resorts this year, book through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center and start earning Rewards. Visit www.royalresortsrewards.com for more information.

If you haven’t enrolled in the Royal Resorts Rewards program, JOIN TODAY by visiting www.royalresortsrewards.com

Royal Resorts Rewards Customer Service
Interval Servicing (ISCO)
Toll Free from US and Canada 1-877-736-4552
Toll free from Mexico 01-800-099-0486
All Other Countries +1 (954) 485-5400
rewardsprogram@royalresorts.com
RoyalResortsRewards.com

 

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Catch of the Day

During your next Grand Residences vacation be sure to order the catch of the day cooked with flair by our award-winning chef Yann Cozic and his team. Sample the tempting fresh seafood dishes on the menu at our trio of restaurants El Faro, Flor de Canela and Heaven Grill and don’t miss the Seafood Night theme buffet on Thursday night.

From Caribbean lobster to Galician-style grilled octopus, shrimp in curry sauce or cooked with ginger and lemon grass, tuna tagine and Mediterranean fish recipes, our fruits de mer are all delicious and supremely fresh. There’s grilled salmon and grouper fillet with butter and almond sauce, mussel casserole and if you crave seafood pasta the chef will be happy to oblige.

Try the ceviche, a classic in Mexico and Peru, and the zesty flavors of aguachile, shrimp and cucumber marinated in lime juice, a recipe from Mexico’s Pacific coast. For a lunchtime snack, munch on Baja California-style fish or shrimp tacos at Heaven Grill as you take in the incredible beach views.

Much of the seafood prepared in the Grand Residences kitchens is sourced locally from Puerto Morelos fishermen or from Mexico’s Pacific ports and further afield.

These classic Mexican recipes are a must when dining in Puerto Morelos seafood restaurants: tikinxic or Mayan-style grilled fish, fish fillet al mojo de ajo, which is fish fillet sautéed in garlic butter, and pescado a la veracruzana, fish stewed in a tasty tomato, olive and caper sauce. You can even order a whole fried fish – the boquinete or hogfish is delicious – accompanied with tortillas, salsa and a salad garnish and make your own tacos.

Buen provecho!

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Water sports summer

Cast off this summer and enjoy days of watery fun on the waves or beneath them as you explore the Mesoamerican Reef. Your Grand Residences Concierges can help you arrange snorkeling and diving trips, kayaking, fishing, catamaran cruises and other water sports adventures.

Spend the afternoon snorkeling the reefs in the Puerto Morelos National Marine Park. When you are ready to go further afield to explore more of the coral kingdom there are trips to Akumal, Isla Mujeres and the island of Cozumel, world-famous for reef diving.

Would you like to go fishing? Charters are available from the nearby marina for a morning or a full day out on the waves.

You won’t want to miss the weekly Grand Residences sunset catamaran cruise, just ask the Concierge to book your seat. Or how about planning a longer yacht excursion along the Riviera Maya coast or from Cancun across the bay to Isla Mujeres? The possibilities are endless.

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Spread the Word about Grand Residences

If you enjoy telling your friends, relatives and associates about Grand Residences and showing them photos of your home in paradise, why not help spread the word by participating in the Grand Residences Referral Program?

We want your referrals to discover the Grand Residences luxury vacation experience for themselves and we are willing to offer them, on your behalf, a special 3 night/4 day stay in a luxurious Junior Suite at Grand Residences at a greatly discounted rate, so that they can do just that.

To take advantage of this special offer the only requirement is that during their stay, your referred guests must attend a personalized resort preview of our Private Residence Club. We will show them our new vision of luxury living and what it would be like to have a beautiful home in paradise. If your referrals choose to become owners, you will receive 2% of the net purchase price of their Fraction in Royal Resorts Rewards that you can apply towards your annual Club Service fees, use to pay your club bill on your next vacation or make a donation to Royal Resorts Foundation charitable causes.

Start thinking about the people you know and that you think would be interested in the Grand Residences lifestyle. We would love to hear from you and look forward to showing your friends your beautiful resort home.

SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT GRAND RESIDENCES

If you would like to make a referral

Call +52(998) 881-0100 ext. 65846. or

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Every picture tells a story

From the sea turtles that nest on Riviera Maya beaches each summer to flamingos, jaguars, monkeys and even tapirs, the Yucatan Peninsula is rich in wildlife. Its jungles and wetlands are a haven for species large and small. You may have seen some of the wild creatures in this month’s selection of photos. Why not tell us about your sighting, we would love to hear from you.

If you have a picture of Grand Residences, Puerto Morelos or a special place in the Yucatan or a vacation story that you would like to share with us, drop us a line. Send us your pictures to memories@royalresorts.com. A selection of the photos we receive will be published in this newsletter.

 

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Summer sightseeing in the Mexican Caribbean

If you are planning to visit your Grand Residences home away from home with the family this summer, you’ll want to combine your resort relaxation with day trips to some of the Riviera Maya and Yucatan’s many natural treasures. Here are some of the options for unforgettable summer adventures.

Plain sailing

When the summer heat sizzles and the sea is mirror calm conditions are perfect for a day of sailing in the Caribbean and if you would like to plan a boat trip with family and friends there are several exciting adventures to choose from.

Go in search of nature and plan a trip to the island of Contoy, the palm-fringed island of Caribbean legend and lore and an important bird sanctuary for over 150 species, including pelicans, frigate birds, cormorants, roseate spoonbills, ibis and herons.

Contoy is a two and a half hour boat trip north of Cancun and the shades of turquoise and blue water that you’ll pass through en route are breathtaking. Spend the day watching the birds, relaxing on the beach or snorkeling and swimming with rays and other fish in the sheltered bay.

Eco cruises are available to Contoy during the week, ask your Concierge for information.

Charter a luxury yacht and set sail from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. You can stop for a spot of snorkeling on the way and after exploring Isla, sit down for a seafood lunch at one of the restaurants along the waterfront.

If you want to extend your voyage, why not sail along the Cancun shoreline and through the Nichupte Lagoon before heading for Isla Mujeres?

 

Face to face with the Whale sharks

For a once-in-a-lifetime nature experience this summer, board a boat for a trip to see the whale sharks, the world’s largest fish and gentle giants.

From mid-May to mid-September, whale sharks gather in large numbers to feed on plankton in the waters to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres and also off Holbox Island and Cabo Catoche. Your eco trip will take you out to the whale shark feeding grounds where you can watch them swim placidly by as they filter feed and even swim with them. You may also be lucky enough to see giant manta rays leaping from the water, sea turtles and pods of dolphins too.

 

A day at the Riviera Maya’s parks

If you are vacationing with your family, then a day at one of the Riviera Maya’s parks is a must and one that everyone will enjoy.

Heading the list is world-famous Xcaret Park just south of Playa del Carmen. A day here is as much about fun in the water as it is about you and your children discovering the country’s rich traditions and wildlife.

After a day snorkeling, swimming in underground rivers and visiting attractions like the aquarium, aviary, butterfly pavilion and craft museum, among others, you must stay on for the Xcaret evening show. This gala performance takes you on a journey through Mexican history, from the days of the ancient Maya and Aztecs to the arrival of the Spaniards, the 19th century seen through the eyes of a newly independent nation and Mexican Revolution in 1910, to this day. See folk dances from all over the country and all the sights and sounds of a Mexican fiesta, complete with a mariachi band.

If you want to spend the day in the water, then head to Xel-Ha Park. This chain of turquoise inlets, lagoons and cenotes is a snorkeling paradise offering face to face encounters with a variety of colorful reef fish. And although you’ll want to dive into the clear water over and over again in search of new species, there are other fun activities on offer.

Follow the paths through the forest to the park’s cenotes, smaller inlets and caves. Leap off the cliff of courage into the water and then drift across the lagoon on a giant inner tube. You can also try your hand at zip lining, swim in a cenote or swim with dolphins (additional charge) and don’t miss Xel-Ha’s latest attraction, the viewing tower that is actually a giant water slide.

Or how about a day of jungle adventures? Enjoy the thrills of zip lining, snorkeling in cenotes, kayaks, abseiling, nature walks or ATV drives through the forest at the Riviera Maya’s many adventure parks. They include Selvatica, Xplor, Aktun Chen and the Jungla Maya tour.

 

Splash down in a Cenote

Diving into a jungle-rimmed pool filled with crystal-clear water that is so cool it is quite a shock after the heat is a favorite Riviera Maya activity. There are so many cenotes or sinkholes in the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan and if you ask a local, they all have their favorite cenote parks.

Some of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful cenotes are actually not far from Puerto Morelos, clustered along the Ruta de los Cenotes. There are more to explore in the Puerto Aventuras area and in Tulum.

Taking the family to Xenotes Oasis Maya gives you the chance to explore the jungle and spend the day at four different cenotes on the Ruta de los Cenotes. Swim, snorkel and rappel down a cliff wall. Go kayaking, float in an inner tube and splashdown in a cenote on a fun zip line. Venture into ancient caves and enjoy a guided walk along nature trails in the jungle.

Ask your Concierge for more summer sightseeing ideas.

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New Museum opens in Valladolid

The colonial town of Valladolid has a new museum to visit if you are interested in Mexican culture. El Museo de Ropa Etnica de Mexico or MUREM is a museum showcasing traditional clothing worn by Mexico’s indigenous groups in 12 different regions of the country.

Embroidered cotton huipiles or dresses for everyday wear share space with splendid ribbon bedecked ceremonial dresses. Whatever their use, they are works of art full of color and creativity, decorated with designs featuring flowers, birds and animals or stripes, crosses and geometric shapes, symbols of the natural world and their ancient beliefs.

There are brocaded blouses from Mayan communities in the highlands of Chiapas – each village has its own design – worn over black woolen skirts and tied with woven sashes. Other huipiles from Oaxaca, Yucatan and the central Mexican highlands still resemble the garments worn by women in pre-Hispanic times.

After the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century and the arrival of settlers from Spain, European fashions began to appear in Mexico, such as frills, lace, ribbons, shawls and fans. Many of Mexico’s most famous dresses show Spanish influence. They include lacy white dresses from Veracruz and colorful dresses worn in Campeche, Puebla and Jalisco.

Hats and headdresses, ribbons, traditional belts, shawls and jewelry complete the outfits and there is a collection of men’s clothing too. Other exhibits show contemporary items such as the masks worn by lucha libre wrestlers.

MUREM is located in the center of town on Calle 41, No. 195, between Calle 38 and Calle 40. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and there is a shop selling Mexican crafts.

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Good news for jaguar conservation in Mexico

At an international conference on jaguars and other tropical felines found in the Americas held in Cancun, June 8 -15, Mexico shared some important information about the country’s population of jaguars. The Second National Jaguar Census revealed that there are around 4,800 jaguars in Mexico, an increase of 20 percent over that reported in 2010.

The Census was coordinated by the Institute of Ecology in the National University of Mexico (UNAM) with the support of the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP) and the World Wildlife Fund-Fundacion Telmex Telcel Alliance. Twenty-five groups from 16 different academic institutions took part, installing 396 camera traps in 11 different sites throughout Mexico. The census locations were Montes Azules and La Sepultura Biosphere Reserves in (Chiapas), Sierra del Abra Tanchipa (San Luis Potosí), Los Chimalapas (Oaxaca), Laguna Om and El Edén Reserve (Quintana Roo), Nevado de Colima (Jalisco), Sahuaripa (Sonora), Meseta de Cacaxtla (Sinaloa), Sierra de Chilpancingo (Guerrero) and Punto Puuc (a point in the center of the Yucatan Peninsula where the states of Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo converge).

Located along jungle trails used by wildlife or near water sources, the camera traps detect motion and take photos of jaguars, pumas and other creatures that pass by. For 60 days, the census cameras took photos of 20 different species, including peccaries, deer, agouti and wild turkey, all important prey animals for jaguars and pumas.

The survey results reflect heightened efforts to protect the jaguar, the largest feline in the Americas. The creation of new reserves in Mexico, improved coordination and census techniques, reforestation and increased awareness about the dangers this magnificent creature faces from habitat loss and illegal hunting are helping but more work is needed to bring this big cat back from the brink of extinction.

The creation of biological corridors linking reserves where jaguars are known to roam can help, as can reforestation, the protection of important swathes of forest under threat from development and wildlife underpasses on highways. Biologists are also working with rural communities and ranchers that see jaguars, pumas and ocelots as a danger to their livestock.

The largest populations of jaguars are found in southeast Mexico, in the jungles of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Chiapas.

(Census information source: WWF)
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UPCOMING EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

July Sport Fishing Tournaments

Punta Allen 2018 Fishing Tournament, Punta Allen, Sian Ka’an, July 13-15

Copa Punta Herrero 2018, Punta Herrero, Sian Ka’an, July 27-29

Feria del Carmen, Playa del Carmen, July 7 – 16

Masses, processions, music, a fair and more to honor Playa del Carmen’s patron saint.

La Diosa del Mar Women’s International Fishing Tournament, Puerto Morelos, July 13 & 14

Catch and release international fishing tournament.

Whale Shark Festival Isla Mujeres, July 20-22

164th Anniversary of the Foundation of Holbox, Holbox, July 22

Folk ballet and live music in the main square, July 22 at 7 p.m.

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Izamal, August 15, Izamal

Masses, processions, traditional dances and music in Izamal, a historic town in the Yucatan famous for its colonial convent and surrounding buildings all painted in bright yellow with a white trim. Izamal shares the distinction of being one of the Yucatan’s twin Pueblos Magicos or “Magical” Towns with Valladolid, a name given to smaller Mexican communities that are rich in history and traditions or are the site of natural wonders.

168th Anniversary of the Settlement of Isla Mujeres, August 17

Isla Mujeres celebrates its anniversary in August, 168 years since the first settlers in the modern era founded the village of Dolores. Isla Fest events include processions, dance performances, live music and more.

Mexican Independence, September 15 &16

Mexico celebrates the anniversary of its Independence from Spain with delicious food, music and colorful festivities the night of September 15 and processions on September 16.

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida

The patron saint of Merida is honored with masses, pilgrimages, processions and traditional dances.

6th Cancun International Festival of Music, Cancun, October 18 to 27

More than 300 musicians of 12 nationalities will take to the stage during the festival. Different musical genres and venues.

7th Festival of Maya Culture (FIC Maya), Merida, October 19 – 28

This year’s FIC Maya Festival showcases the Maya of today, the descendants of the ancient temple builders. Scattered across Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco and Chiapas in southeast Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, parts of El Salvador and Honduras, they speak 31 different languages and keep faith with many ancient beliefs and customs. Learn about their traditions, farming, cuisine, their art, textiles, timeless rituals, music, dance and festivals. The program will feature seminars and round tables, concerts, film, theater, dance performances and more.

This year, the Mexican state of honor is Aguascalientes, also famous for its textiles and embroidery. The guest country is India, another nation rich in traditions that is home to ancient cultures dating back thousands of years.

Festival de Vida y Muerte, Xcaret Park, October 30 – November 2

Hosted by Xcaret Park, the Festival of Life and Death Traditions showcases one of Mexico’s richest and most colorful customs, the Day of the Dead or Día de Muertos, which takes place on November 1 and 2. At this time of year, Mexicans believe that the souls of the departed come back to the world of the living for a short time. They welcome their loved ones with altars laden with flowers, food, treasured possessions and other offerings, and with candlelit vigils, masses and serenades.

The Festival program features processions, altars, traditional cuisine, art exhibits, music, dance, theater, children’s events and a visit to the colorful Mexican cemetery. Each year, a different Mexican state is invited to participate in the Festival and showcase its Day of the Dead traditions and this year it is the turn of Zacatecas. Located in the northern uplands, Zacatecas is a state rich in history.

OHL Classic at Mayakoba, PGA golf in the Riviera Maya, November _______

A field of players that includes some of the PGA’s leading young players and several former champions gathers for the OHL Classic at El Camaleón Golf Club in Mayakoba.

Visit the Royal Resorts blog at www.royalresorts.com for listings of more events during the year.

 

 

 

 

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Grand Residences welcomes its first turtle of 2018

Grand Residences has welcomed its first sea turtle of 2018. On May 10, a loggerhead turtle came ashore on the beach just to the south of Grand Residences. The resort security team watched over her as she laid 98 eggs. All along the Mexican Caribbean coast turtles are now beginning to nest and we hope that this loggerhead will be the first of many to emerge from the waves on our stretch of beach.

Our beach staff and security guards stack beach sun beds and chairs before the sun goes down and remove any garbage and seaweed that may have washed ashore. Removing potential obstacles will make it easier for the turtles to drag their huge bulk up the beach and dig their nests in the sand.

How can you help sea turtles?
• Alert the security staff if you spot a sea turtle coming ashore
• Be very quiet and keep still
• Watch from a distance of ten meters
• Do not attempt to touch the turtle or crowd her
• Do not shine a torch or use the light on your mobile phone
• Please, no flash photography
• No smoking
• Follow the instructions given by security staff at all times
• Help us to keep our beaches and sea clean
• When snorkeling or diving watch turtles from a distance, do not swim towards them and do not attempt to touch them
• Wear a t-shirt when snorkeling as protection from the sun instead of applying sun block. Sun products pollute the water and are harmful to marine life
• Turtles are protected by Mexican law and it is illegal to disturb, persecute and hunt them and consume their meat or eggs.

Mexican environmental agency regulations keep human contact with the turtle hatchlings to a minimum and the participation of hotel guests in turtle releases is no longer permitted.

Helping sea turtles by reducing our reliance on plastic
Hundreds of thousands of marine creatures, including sea turtles, dolphins and sea birds, perish every year around the world as a result of injuries sustained from discarded fishing nets, packaging, bags and other plastic waste floating in our oceans. They become trapped or ingest plastics that they mistake for food. Plastic objects and tiny particles called micro plastics also build up in the bodies of fish and birds and are passed on up through the food chain.

From huge floating garbage islands to plastic found in the remotest parts of our oceans and in the depths, plastic is everywhere. The problem is growing and scientists estimate that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

We can all take steps towards a cleaner world. Whether it is recycling to switching to cloth shopping bags or reusable water bottles and asking the waiter not to bring your drink with a plastic straw every little helps.

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Grand Residences launches a Points-based membership

With the objective of honoring our commitment to complete the resort in the shortest time possible, we have continued our review of alternatives to achieve this goal. One of them is the configuration of Deluxe Suites for Phases 3 and 4, which we believe will have a higher demand among new buyers. On May 28, another new product was launched within Grand Residences by Royal Resorts®, a Points-based membership backed up by Grand Residences inventory and offering the benefits of the new Royal Resorts Signature Club Elite Membership.

Royal Resorts started selling Points-based memberships at The Royal Sands®, The Royal Cancun® and The Royal Haciendas® in January 2015 and they have proved very popular with guests visiting the resorts and existing Royal Resorts members because of the flexibility that points offer to tailor vacation time. We decided to introduce a Points-based product at Grand Residences.

New Points members will be able to buy a yearly allotment of points to use at Grand Residences based on availability. They will pay a yearly Club Service Fee based on the amount of points they own and will follow the same rules and regulations when staying at the resort.

The Points-based Memberships will not have the same benefits as a fractional membership. These are some of the differences:
• Points members will not have guaranteed use of a specific unit or season. They are able to request reservations based on availability.
• Points-based Memberships will not include residual rights.
• Points-based Memberships have duration of 40 years.
• Points-based memberships have a Signature Club Elite membership attached to them with different benefits to those of President’s Circle

The launch of the Points membership and the new Deluxe Suites configuration of phases 3 and 4 will not affect you when you stay at Grand Residences or your President’s Circle benefits.

In order to create a points-based product that is consistent with Royal Resorts Vacation Ownership products, it was necessary to adjust the current credit values for Grand Residences in the Signature Club. This adjustment will not affect your transactions within Grand Residences, as you will keep the same exchange power that you had before. This means that you will still be able to reserve the same types of unit, lengths of stay and seasons that you had access to before the adjustment was made. However, when you request a reservation to stay at other Royal Resorts Vacation Ownership resorts, your exchange power will appear to be reduced. In order to compensate for this, we have put a discount in points in place that will come into effect whenever you wish to make a reservation. This discount will improve your exchange power for reservations at our other Vacation Ownership properties.

We will provide additional details about this rule in the updated Guide to Use of your President’s Circle Membership, along with the new credit schedule and news about some more adjustments that we have made to the program to give you even more flexibility when planning your vacations.

For more information on the new Grand Residences points-based membership, please read the FAQs.

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Growing up at Grand Residences

Meet the Campbell family from Ontario, Kimberley and Neil, grandparents David and Marilyn and Isobel and Ailsa, two little girls who are growing up at Grand Residences. Isobel is six and Ailsa is two and this is the family’s fourth visit to their home away from home in the Mexican Caribbean. We caught up with Kimberley Campbell during their recent vacation.

“This is our time together as a family,” says Kimberley. “We are here with my parents and loving every minute of our stay. The weather has been very good this week, so there has been lots of beach and sea time for the girls. Ailsa is getting used to the waves, she wasn’t sure at first. “When the girls are not on the beach, they are at the Kids Club,” Kimberley adds. “They go every day and particularly love the arts and crafts, the piñata and the treasure hunt.

“My husband and father also went on an amazing early bird trip to Chichen Itza, leaving at 2 a.m.,” explains Kimberley. “They were there on their own in the archaeological site with their guide and took incredible pictures of the sunrise and of the ancient temples. Then they went to the colonial town of Valladolid and to a little visited cenote where again they were the only people.” Neil has this to say about his trip, “The whole Chichen Itza experience was a dream come true. I had that thought twenty years ago, only if I could take photos here without the crowds. And now that dream has been made possible by the fine concierges at the Grand Residences.”

“The girls are still too young for such a long trip but we did take them to Crococun this time, which they loved” Kimberley says, “We are also going snorkeling tomorrow on a glass-bottomed boat that will take us out to the Puerto Morelos Reef Park. They have been practicing with their masks in the pool. Still out on the water, Isobel was able to join us on the catamaran cruise this year. It was absolutely gorgeous, very calm and there was an incredible sunset.

“It is nice to talk to fellow guests.” Kimberley says, ”We meet returning families every year and Isobel now remembers the children and plays with them. She will enjoying seeing them again in the years to come.

“We love the cuisine at Grand Residences and our favorite this time has been French night at El Faro, it is amazing,” she adds. “All the employees have done such a good job to make our vacation special. They try their hardest.

“Royal Resorts has always been a great place for families, but I think that it is even more so at Grand Residences,” says Kimberley. “We are seeing a lot more members here enjoying time with their extended families. Family is huge here and all the employees make such an effort to make the children happy and welcome. You know the saying ‘happy children, happy parents.’ Isobel goes off to the Kids Club on her own now and we follow on a few minutes later. We know that she is safe and cared for.

“I would highly recommend Grand Residences for a family vacation,” Kimberley adds. “The staff try and do everything to meet your needs and make you feel at home. You have a luxury vacation experience here; the service sets it apart. This is really a top-class resort and the staff show that. We have stayed at a lot of resorts in different parts of Mexico and this is truly special.

“Isobel’s vacation countdown starts in December when the cold of the Canadian winter bites. She starts to say, “Mom, when are we going to Mexico?” First it is months then days!” Kimberley relates, “she gets out the iPad and starts showing Ailsa the photos from last year and tells her about what they are going to do on vacation. Ailsa told her day care teacher “I’m going to the beach.” The teacher asked me if she even knew what a beach is, I replied that I didn’t know if she remembered. After this vacation and so much time on the sand and in the waves, she will now!

“I think that my message to members of the Grand Residences community is that they should plan their luxury vacation at the resort if they haven’t already done so and explore Mexico,” Kimberley concludes. “The culture is amazing and the people are very friendly and welcoming wherever you go. This is a great place for a family vacation, probably one of the best places to bring a family.“

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Learn kitchen secrets from our master chef

Is cooking something you love to do or a chore you would rather get over with as soon as possible? During your next visit to Grand Residences sign up for a class with Chef Yann for some great tips that will make cooking easy and fun.

Learn how to make some of your favorite Mexican dishes, including a mean guacamole that will be a hit with your friends back home. Do you want inspiration and new ways of cooking vegetables? Need to make a showstopper dessert for a dinner party? Tap into Yann’s knowledge of the art of French patisserie to make the perfect meringue, tart tatin or heavenly macaroons.

During the most recent cooking class, Chef Yann showed students how to make classic Steak Diane with dauphinoise potatoes au gratin. Other recipes include Asian-style carrot soup with lemongrass and coconut milk and madeleines with chocolate sauce.

The Grand Residences Concierges can help you make a reservation for Chef Yann’s cooking class on Wednesdays.

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Flor de Canela dish of the month

Each month, Flor de Canela showcases a recipe from a different Mexican state. All are delicious and show the diversity of Mexican cuisine, no wonder UNESCO included it in the World Heritage list in the intangible culture category.

In June diners will be able to try Sopa Tarasca, a tasty soup from the state of Michoacan in western Mexico.

And on the subject of mouthwatering Mexican cuisine, don’t miss Taco Tuesday! An evening of tacos makes a tasty traditional supper.

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Every picture tells a story

This June, World Environment Month (June 5 is World Environment Day), we are celebrating the natural beauty of the Mexican Caribbean, its coral reefs, beaches and islands, jungles and wetlands teeming with life. We hope that our photo gallery inspires you to book an eco adventure to explore the state of Quintana Roo’s wild places and come face to face with some of its most famous creatures.

If you have a picture of Grand Residences, Puerto Morelos or a special place in the Yucatan or a vacation story that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you. Send us your pictures. A selection of the photos we receive will be published in this newsletter.

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Exploring Sian Ka’an Reserve

Everywhere you look in Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve there is water rimmed with the emerald green of the forest in the distance; water that seems to stretch forever and lose itself in the sky. The sound of a thousand birdcalls is borne on the breeze and the expectation of coming face to face with rare wildlife mounts. The ancient Maya called this “the place where the sky is born” and Sian Ka’an is one Mexican Caribbean eco adventure you should not miss.

About Sian Ka’an
Protected by government decree since 1986 and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve protects 1.3 million acres in northern and central Quintana Roo. It is a patchwork of tropical forest, mangroves and seasonally flooded grasslands dotted with petenes (mounds covered with jungle clustered around a fresh water cenote and rich in wildlife); lagoons, cenotes and Caribbean beaches and a 110-kilometer-stretch of the Mesoamerican Reef.

Sian Ka’an is home to 103 different mammals including the jaguar, peccary, tapir, howler and spider monkeys, and the West Indian manatee. It has one of Mexico’s largest crocodile populations and is an important nesting area for sea turtles. It is also a haven for birds; over 330 resident and migratory species have been registered here in the jungle and wetlands.

Muyil, gateway to the wetlands
Many visitors start their Sian Ka’an adventures in Muyil, an archaeological site in the jungle that is a short walk from Muyil or Chunyaxche Lagoon. As you walk through the forest past the crumbling temples you may see woodpeckers, hawks and trogons. Look out for hummingbirds busy among the flowers in a clearing near one of the wooden observation towers en route to the lagoon.

Lagoon side, northern jacanas step daintily through the shallows and herons stand motionless on the wooden dock as you prepare to board your boat for the next stage of your journey. Many more herons, including the green, tiger and agami heron, ibis, roseate spoonbills and wood storks take to the wing before you during an exciting boat trip through the wetlands.

Once you cross Muyil Lagoon you enter a channel through the mangroves that was widened and dredged by the Maya in ancient times and used as a trade route between the Caribbean and inland cities. A small temple guards the waterway and after you have visited it your tour guide will give the signal for everyone to jump into the channel. The water is clear, shallow and you are wearing a life jacket. It’s time to lean back, close your eyes and just drift with the gentle current.

Many tours take you as far as Boca Paila, a white sand beach where the channel meets the turquoise sea. If you book your boat trip directly from the Muyil cooperative it may be possible to arrange extra time to venture deeper into the chain of lagoons running parallel to the coast and go in search of the elusive kuka or boat-billed heron and rare manatees.

Maya Ka’an, More ways of Exploring Sian Ka’an & the Maya Heartland
Another Sian Ka’an trip offered as part of the Maya Ka’an community tour collection will show you how the villagers of Muyil harvest the white sap of the chicozapote tree to make chicle, the natural gum that is the base for chewing gum.

Alternatively, choose one of the Maya Ka’an trips offered by the inhabitants of Punta Allen. On the shores of Asuncion Bay, the fishing village of Punta Allen is the largest community in the Sian Ka’an Reserve. The inhabitants earn their livelihood from the sustainable capture of lobster and from taking visitors on boat trips for birding, fishing and diving. As part of the Maya Ka’an tour collection, community operators are also offering nature walks, kayaking, bike trips, wildlife watching and fly fishing.

Book your Sian Ka’an trip today
Ask your Concierge to help you arrange your Sian Ka’an adventure, Maya Ka’an community visits or visits to Contoy Island, Rio Lagartos and other reserves in the area, summer whale shark swims, bird watching and more.

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Cancun flight news

Southwest Airlines will be inaugurating two new routes in June linking Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham with Cancun.

In other flight news, Iberia Airlines will soon be operating direct flights to Cancun from Madrid, Spain and Evelop will boost the number of flights it offers from Portugal and Spain.

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Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden turns 36

The Yaaxche-Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden in Puerto Morelos celebrates its thirty-sixth anniversary this June. With 65 hectares of jungle and wetlands, it is the second largest botanical garden in Mexico.

Trees and plants native to the Yucatán Peninsula grow in the garden, in addition to species from other tropical regions of the world. There is a herb garden full of plants that the Maya use for healing and an exhibit about chicle, the gum harvested from the chicozapote tree that grows throughout southeast Mexico and is the original raw ingredient for chewing gum.

A visit to the Botanical Garden is a must for nature lovers. It is home to spider monkeys, coatimundi, deer, agouti and a variety of bird species ranging from parrots and motmots to forest falcons, toucans and hummingbirds.

The Botanical Garden is located just south of Puerto Morelos on Highway 307. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Take a camera, binoculars and use eco-friendly insect repellent to ward off biting insects.

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Visitors continue flocking to Mexico in record-breaking numbers

According to figures released by the Mexico Tourism Board, the country welcomed 10.6 million international visitors in the period January – March 2018. The statistics show an increase of 12.6 percent when compared to the same period last year and are an indication that Mexico’s popularity as a destination continues to rise.

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Upcoming events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan

Here’s our round up of events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan during the coming months. We’ll be adding more during the summer.

July Sport Fishing Tournaments
Punta Allen 2018 Fishing Tournament, Punta Allen, Sian Ka’an, July 13-15
Copa Punta Herrero 2018, Punta Herrero, Sian Ka’an, July 27-29

Feria del Carmen, Playa del Carmen, July 7 – 16
Masses, processions, music, a fair and more to honor Playa del Carmen’s patron saint.

La Diosa del Mar Women’s International Fishing Tournament, Puerto Morelos, July 13 & 14
Catch and release international fishing tournament.

Whale Shark Festival Isla Mujeres, July 20-22

164th Anniversary of the Foundation of Holbox, Holbox, July 22
Folk ballet and live music in the main square, July 22 at 7 p.m.

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Izamal, August 15, Izamal
Masses, processions, traditional dances and music in Izamal, a historic town in the Yucatan famous for its colonial convent and surrounding buildings all painted in bright yellow with a white trim. Izamal shares the distinction of being one of the Yucatan’s twin Pueblos Magicos or “Magical” Towns with Valladolid, a name given to smaller Mexican communities that are rich in history and traditions or are the site of natural wonders.

168th Anniversary of the Settlement of Isla Mujeres, August 17
Isla Mujeres celebrates its anniversary in August, 168 years since the first settlers in the modern era founded the village of Dolores. Isla Fest events include processions, dance performances, live music and more.

Mexican Independence, September 15 & 16
Mexico celebrates the anniversary of its Independence from Spain with delicious food, music and colorful festivities the night of September 15 and processions on September 16.

Sixth Cancun International Festival of Music, Cancun, October 18 to 27
More than 300 musicians of 12 nationalities will take to the stage during the festival. Different musical genres and venues.

Festival de Vida y Muerte, Xcaret Park, October 30 – November 2
Hosted by Xcaret Park, the Festival of Life and Death Traditions showcases one of Mexico’s richest customs, the Day of the Dead or Día de Muertos, which takes place on November 1 and 2. At this time of year, Mexicans believe that the souls of the departed return to the world of the living for a short time. They welcome their loved ones with altars laden with flowers, food, treasured possessions and other offerings, and with candlelit vigils, masses and serenades.

The Xcaret Festival program features processions, altars, traditional cuisine, art exhibits, music, dance, theater, children’s events and a visit to the colorful Mexican cemetery. Each year, a different Mexican state is invited to participate in the Festival and showcase its Day of the Dead traditions and this year it is the turn of Zacatecas. Located in the northern uplands, Zacatecas is a state rich in history.

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Grand Residences receives award at Mexico’s Tianguis Travel Show

Grand Residences by Royal Resorts® received the Diversification of Mexican Tourist Products award for excellence in the Premium or Luxury category at the famous Mexican travel show, the Tianguis Turístico held in Mazatlan, Sinaloa in April.

Now in its forty-third year, the Tianguis showcases Mexico’s many destinations and the variety of adventures that await visitors and attracts tour operators and travel agents from all over the world. For decades it was held in Acapulco but it is now hosted by a different city or destination each year. Famous for its beaches and fishing, the 2018 host Mazatlan is known as the “Pearl of the Pacific.”

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Fun in Grand style

Take your children to the Kids Club; they will never want to leave! There’s non-stop fun in store for them this summer with a packed program of activities including pool and beach fun, sports, games, movies and crafts.

From face painting, pirate masks and piñatas to a treasure hunt, nature walks and even iguana watching, there’s never a dull moment. Your children will also enjoy the creative sessions; they can try their hand at water coloring, papier mâché, pencil case making and sand art for starters.

The Kids Club is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for children aged between four and 12 years.

Be sure to check the daily activity program for teens and adults too. The day starts with tennis, yoga or pilates at 8 a.m. Later in the day there are dance lessons, a bike tour (reservations required), zumba and aqua fitness classes. Beach volleyball, soccer, karaoke, bingo and a music quiz are some of the afternoon activities available and you can also ask your Concierge to book your seat for a cooking class with Chef Yann Cozic or a cocktail class with the Heaven Grill bar staff during the week.

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Something special for Mom

Treat Mom to some pampering fit for a queen at Grand Residences. Why not start the day with a leisurely breakfast and mimosas on the terrace from the room service menu? There are flowers in your residence but you can order her bouquets and floral arrangements from the resort store.

After breakfast, it’s time for some Spa relaxation with Mom’s favorite massage, facial or body wrap.

Enjoy lunch poolside at Heaven Grill and later invite her for afternoon coffee or cocktails on the lobby bar terrace.

Board the catamaran for a sunset cruise. Sip champagne on the deck and watch the shoreline slip by as the sun goes down.

As the breeze picks up and the violet clouds scudding across the darkening sky give way to the first stars, it’s time for a cocktail on the terrace before dinner.

There’s plenty on the menu at El Faro Grill and Flor de Canela to tempt the palate and the desserts are heavenly. For something really special, plan a surprise dinner on the beach. Enjoy a superb menu and watch the moon rise over the Caribbean. Ask your Concierge for reservations.

 

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Coming soon, new family multiuse room

The room where the morning yoga class takes place is being transformed into a multiuse room that will soon be available on request for owners to use for family reunions and special events.

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Turtle season begins in May

The beaches of the Mexican Caribbean are the stage for one of nature’s most incredible wonders, sea turtles coming ashore to nest on the same beaches that they were born on. All through the summer, huge female turtles will struggle ashore at the dead of night to dig their nests in the sand and lay their eggs. Forty-five to 60 days later, the eggs hatch and the baby turtles will scuttle towards the waves and a new life at sea.

The Mexican Caribbean is one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting areas and the season begins in May. Turtles emerge from the waves at night to lay their eggs on the Cancun shoreline, the beaches of Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Isla Mujeres, Contoy, Holbox, Cozumel, Sian Ka’an and southern Quintana Roo.

The first turtle nests of the year have already been reported in Puerto Morelos, Akumal and Xcacel and many more will follow them in the months to come.

The Grand Residences security staff are our dedicated turtle guardians and they are getting ready for their busy summer mission. All through the season, they will patrol the beach in front of the resort on the look out for our visitors from the sea. They watch over turtles as they lay their eggs and then carefully move the eggs to a nest in a protected turtle nursery where they monitor them until they hatch.

The guards will release the hatchlings when night has fallen and the seagulls and frigate birds that would prey on these tiny defenseless creatures have gone to roost.

Hopefully in 12 to 15 years time some of this season’s hatchlings will emerge from the waves and begin the long struggle up the beach to nest.

In 2017, the season tally at Grand Residences was 228 nests protected and 20,000 hatchlings released. We hope that our turtle guardians will be even busier this year.

Royal Resorts is a turtle conservation pioneer in Cancun and has been participating in the annual campaign to protect the species since 1985. Official record keeping began at 1998 and since then it has protected 7,995 turtle nests and released 741,042 baby turtles! In 2017, a record-breaking 1,063 nests were protected at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander in Cancun and 111,226 baby turtles were set free.

 

Follow the Turtle Season Rules

If you are due to visit Grand Residences or Royal Resorts during the summer, join us in protecting these beautiful creatures.

 

  • Alert the security staff
  • Be very quiet and keep still
  • Watch from a distance of ten meters
  • Do not attempt to touch the turtle or crowd her
  • Do not shine a torch or use the light on your mobile phone
  • Please, no flash photography
  • No smoking
  • Follow the instructions given by security staff at all times
  • Help us to keep our beaches and sea clean. Discarded straws, plastic bags, beer packaging, fishing lines and other garbage floating in the water are lethal to turtles and other marine life
  • When snorkeling or diving watch turtles from a distance, do not swim towards them and do not attempt to touch them
  • Wear a t-shirt when snorkeling as protection from the sun instead of applying sun block. Sun products pollute the water and are harmful to marine life
  • Turtles are protected by Mexican law and it is illegal to disturb, persecute and hunt them and consume their meat or eggs.

 

Mexican environmental agency regulations keep human contact with the turtle hatchlings to a minimum and the participation of hotel guests in turtle releases is no longer permitted.

 

Puerto Morelos turtle protection campaign

Turtles nest along three stretches of the Puerto Morelos shoreline, Punta Brava, Punta Caracol and Petempich. Located in the south, Punta Brava is the most important nesting area in Puerto Morelos. Loggerhead, green, hawksbill turtles and the occasional leatherback, the world’s largest sea turtle, come ashore

In 2017, 2,356 turtle nests were protected and more than 223,000 baby turtles released in the Puerto Morelos area. Employees from nine hotels, including Grand Residences, support government biologists, marines, students and conservation volunteers in this vital work.

The annual journey of the sea turtle is one of nature’s greatest wonders and Grand Residences and Royal Resorts are proud to do their part to protect this ancient, and sadly, endangered species.