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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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Grand Residences welcomes new chef Guido de la Mora

We have some Grand Residences dining news for you this month. Chef Yann Cozic has decided to return to France to pursue his dream of opening a bistro in his hometown Le Mans. Chef Cozic has been with us since the beginning at Grand Residences and presided over the opening of our three restaurants. We are sad to see him go and we are sure that you will want to join us in wishing him bon voyage and every success for the future.

We want to introduce you to your new chef Guido de la Mora. We are excited to welcome him to the Grand Residences family and are sure that he will delight you with his sublime flavors and attention to detail.

Originally from Toluca, State of Mexico, Chef de la Mora studied a degree in Ethnomusicology at the National School of Music before deciding to concentrate on his first passion: cuisine. He studied a two-year Diploma in Culinary Arts at the University of the State of Mexico and followed that with master class courses in vanguard cuisine and molecular cuisine at Michelin star restaurants in Spain, and in Mexican and Thai cuisine.

Chef de la Mora’s career has taken him all over the world and he has worked at top restaurants and luxury hotels in Barcelona, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Curaçao, Miami, Kuwait, Qatar and the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Additionally, he has travelled to France, India, Thailand and Philippines to study different cuisines and to California for wines.

He is a senior member of the Emirates Culinary Guild (Dubai) and a member of Les Toques Blanches Association. He was the runner up in the Dish of the Riviera Maya competition in Cancun and the Cornella Gastronomic Contest in Spain. He has also been a judge and exhibitor in cooking competitions held at universities in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Bridgetown, Barbados.

Stay posted for an interview with Chef Guido de la Mora in the next edition of this newsletter.

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Turtle Season 2018

Our turtle guardians report that there are currently 22 nests in the Grand Residences corral, 15 contain eggs laid by green turtles and seven by loggerhead turtles. To date, 432 baby turtles have been released.

It is a slow nesting season in Cancun too; there are 125 nests in the corrals at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander with 15,141 eggs. The first 973 baby turtles of the season have already been freed.

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Viva Mexico! Independence Day 2018

If you are staying with us this month, we hope that you’ll join us on September 15, the eve of Mexican Independence to raise your glass in a toast to celebrate this beautiful country and its people.

Dine on tasty traditional Independence Night dishes. Sip premium tequila, a margarita or ask the sommelier to recommend a Mexican wine, there are some excellent ones to try. Listen to Mexican melodies and end the evening with the El Grito, the rallying cry “Viva Mexico.” 

Festive Mexican dishes to try this month

Here are some Mexican dishes that feature on Independence Night menus throughout the country and that you’ll want to try this month.

Chiles en Nogada

On the menu at Flor de Canela this month, Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce) is the Independence Day dish par excellence.

Chiles en Nogada dates from 1821 and was created by the nuns of Santa Monica Convent in Puebla for a banquet to honor General Agustín de Iturbide who was visiting the city after signing the Treaty of Córdoba, the agreement that gave Mexico its Independence from Spain. The recipe is based on Poblano chilies that are stuffed with a tasty mix of ground pork and beef, assorted dried fruit, spices, garlic and onion. The chilies are topped with a creamy walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, coriander and parsley, the colors of the Mexican flag, red, white and green.

Pozole

Mexico’s most famous traditional broth is another Independence night favorite. Choose between pozole rojo, verde or blanco with pork or chicken and hominy. The rojo or red variety is flavored with dried guajillo or ancho chilies and comes from Jalisco. The state of Guerrero is famous for verde or green pozole, made with jalapeño and poblano chilies, green tomatillos and coriander, and also for blanco or white pozole, which is the simple broth with meat and hominy.

Once your bowl of broth is served, you help yourself to the classic pozole garnishes: sliced radishes and lettuce, chopped onion, coriander, dried oregano, tostadas and chili.

Tacos

Be sure to dine on tacos this month. On Taco Tuesday in Flor de Canela you can choose your favorite ingredients from a mouthwatering selection that includes tender beef, pastor-style pork, cochinita pibil, chicken, fish, shrimp, cheese and vegetable fillings. Drizzle your tacos with chili sauce – check the heat factor with your waiter – and add a generous helping of guacamole and you are ready to tuck in.

Tamales

Tamales date from pre-Hispanic times and are dumplings made from masa or corn dough and stuffed with shredded chicken, pork, beef, mole, cheese and chili slices or even fruit and honey. The dumplings are then wrapped in banana or palm leaves or corn husks and are steamed or baked. The leaf wrapping and cooking method used varies from region to region. In the Yucatán, tamales are served with a chilmole tomato sauce.

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September Spa Relaxation

After the stress of summer in the city you’ll be looking forward to a well-earned break at Grand Residences. Check into the Spa for some luxury pampering and your favourite massage. After a delightfully fragrant herbal facial and a body wrap to cleanse and tone your skin and ease away your cares, you’ll be relaxed and ready to enjoy your Mexican Caribbean vacation.

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Every picture tells a story

This month we celebrate the beauty of the Yucatan, its landscapes and wildlife, ancient temples and colonial masterpieces, colorful traditional fiestas and vibrant folk culture.

If you have a picture of a special place in the Yucatan, Puerto Morelos and Grand Residences 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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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 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.

If you would like to make a referral, click here or call +52 (998) 881-0100 ext. 65846.

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Mayan masterpieces

Triangles of light and shadow spread down the side of the ancient Pyramid of Kukulcan as the sun sets over Chichen Itza. A giant serpent appears to be descending from the heavens. It is the fall Equinox and the god Kukulcan is returning to earth. This is the spectacle that visitors to the Mayan metropolis of Chichen Itza in eastern Yucatan will witness on September 22 as they explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, everywhere you go in the Yucatan and southeast Mexico Mayan masterpieces await in ancient cities, large and small. Why not explore some of them on your next visit?

Yucatan

Uxmal

An hour’s drive south of Mérida, Uxmal is one of the loveliest ancient cities in the Maya World. During the Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900), it was a regional capital, controlling southwest Yucatán and a chain of smaller cities referred to as the Puuc Route: Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labná.

Apart from location, these sites share a unique architectural and artistic style called Puuc. In recognition of their outstanding cultural worth, UNESCO declared them a World Heritage area in 1996.

Highlights at Uxmal are the Magician’s Pyramid, the Nuns’ Quadrangle, a gracious courtyard surrounded by four palace-like buildings with magnificent friezes and the impressive Palace of the Governor on a mound and platform overlooking the site. Other buildings of note are the Temple of the Birds, the Great Pyramid, The House of the Turtles and El Palomar.

 

Puuc Route

Thirty minutes south of Uxmal, Kabah is the second largest site in the Puuc hills and was one of its vassals. It is famous for the Codz Poop, or the Palace of the Masks, a name that does justice to its magnificent façade consisting of 250 masks depicting Chaac, the Mayan rain god.

Seven kilometers south of Kabah is Sayil, which means “place of the ants” in Maya. The principal building on site is the three-tiered Palace, a long building containing 94 chambers, porticos, columns, Chaac masks and sculptures of the descending or diving god, also seen in Tulum on the Caribbean coast.

The smallest of the Puuc Route sites, Xlapak is best known for the Palace, a tiny but richly carved building in a forest clearing.

Ten kilometers to the east of Sayil, Labna is famous for its huge arch, which was the gateway between the ceremonial plaza and a courtyard surrounded by palaces in ancient times. The arch has an open work roof comb and its finely carved façade features Chaac masks, Mayan huts, nobles and geometric motifs.

 

Mayapan

Located 30 miles south of Merida, Mayapan was the last capital of the Maya in the Yucatan. Founded around A.D. 1250 during the post-Classic period of Mayan civilization, it was abandoned in 1450. Several of Mayapan’s most important buildings show similarities to those at Chichen Itza, leading archaeologists to speculate that it was settled by Maya from Chichen, which was abandoned around 1250.

 

Ek Balam

A 20-minute drive to the north of Valladolid is the ancient city of Ek Balam, which means “black jaguar or star jaguar” in Maya. The city flourished between A.D. 250-1200 and its crowning glory is the façade on the upper level of the Acropolis, the principal building, which features the magnificent stucco figure of an ancient lord thought to be the first ruler of the city. The figure’s ornate feathered headdress resembles wings and has led many people to refer to him as “el angel” or the angel.

Quintana Roo

Tulum

Crowning a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, Tulum is one of the Maya World’s most spectacular sites. “Tulum” means “wall” in Maya, a reference to the sturdy stone barrier that protects it on three sides, the fourth being the sea, but in ancient times the city was known as Zama or Dawn.

An inscription on a stela or standing stone found at the site reveals that Tulum was inhabited as far back as A.D. 564 although it reached its peak during the Post-Classic period (1250–1521) as a port on the sea and land trade routes.

The principal building at Tulum is a temple known as El Castillo; other important groupings are the Temple of the Descending God, Temple of the Frescos and the House of the Columns.

 

Coba

From Tulum on the Riviera Maya coast, head inland to the ancient city of Coba (25 miles/41 km from the coast), one of the Maya World’s largest archaeological sites.

Coba means “waters ruffled by the wind” in Maya and the pyramids and temples at this jungle site are clustered around four shallow lakes. The city reached its peak during the Mayan Classic period, A.D. 250-900, when it was an important trade center. Archaeologists believe that it may have had links with Tikal in Guatemala. The most recent discovery at the site is the identification of the ancient dynasty that dominated Coba and the names of 14 rulers through the study of hieroglyphic inscriptions carved on stelae and wall tablets.

The principal buildings or groups at Coba are Nohoch Mul, at 42 meters, the tallest pyramid in the northern Yucatán, the Cobá group, La Iglesia (another pyramid), Las Pinturas, the Ball Court, Xaibe and the Macanxoc group which has nine circular altars and eight stelae.

Cobá is also famous for the sacbes or Mayan roads that radiate from the heart of the city. The longest sacbe in the Maya World links the city with the site of Yaxuná, near Chichén Itzá and is 101 km long.

 

Kohunlich

The most famous archaeological site in southern Quintana Roo, 60 kilometers to the west of Chetumal via Highway 186, Kohunlich was first reported in 1912 by Raymond Merwin. The name “Kohunlich” is derived from the English words “cohune,” a native palm tree, and “ridge.”

Excavation work has revealed that the city was founded around 200 B.C. and reached its peak during the Classic period of Mayan history (A.D. 200 – 1000). Building work appears to have ceased around 1200.

Kohunlich is famous for the huge stucco masks that flank the staircase of the Temple of the Masks. Archaeologists believe that they depict the city’s rulers who chose to identify themselves with the sun god, Kinich Ahau, to legitimize their rule. Other important groups of buildings are the Acropolis, the Courtyard of the Stelae, the Palace of the King, Merwin Plaza and the elite residential areas known as the 27 Steps Complex and Pixa’an.

 

Dzibanche

Located in the jungle 81 kilometers northwest of Chetumal via Highway 186, Dzibanche is an ancient city that is still revealing its secrets. Discovered in 1927 by Thomas Gann, Dzibanche means “writing on wood” in Maya, a reference to the calendar inscriptions found on the carved lintel of zapote wood above the doorway to Temple VI.

Experts believe that Dzibanche was the largest and most important city in southern Quintana Roo in ancient times and may have been involved in a power struggle with other city-states in the region such as Calakmul in Campeche. The city reached its peak between A.D. 300 and 1200.

The most important groups of buildings are the Temple of the Lintels; the Gann Plaza, which is flanked by the Temples of the Cormorants, Captives and Toucans; Xibalba Plaza, the site of the Temple of the Owl and the North and South Palaces.

An outlying district of the city, Kinichna (“House of the Sun” in Maya) is located about two kilometers north of Dzibanche and is dominated by a temple called the Acropolis

 

Campeche

Calakmul

Deep in the jungle of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in southern Campeche, close to the Guatemalan border, the ancient city of Calakmul was a major Maya power in the Classic period of Maya history. Its rulers had a bitter rivalry with the city of Tikal and were at war with it for almost a century. The study of hieroglyphic inscriptions carved on Calakmul’s many stelae or standing stones has revealed events including battles, victories, alliances and successions.

Climb the twin pyramids for panoramic views of the forest with the Danta Pyramid at the Guatemalan site of El Mirador visible in the distance.

The huge site of Calakmul is also famous for the jade masks found in the tombs of ancient rulers buried deep in temples and palaces.

Calakmul is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the surrounding jungle is a haven for wildlife, including spider and howler monkeys, deer, jaguar and puma, ocellated turkey, toucans and the rare king vulture.

Due to its remote location, guided tours are the best way to explore Calakmul.

 

Chiapas

Palenque

Nestled in the forest-shrouded foothills of the northern mountains of Chiapas, the white city of Palenque is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the Maya World.

A major power during the Classic period of Maya history, it reached its peak during the reign of its most famous ruler Pakal (AD 615-683) and his heir Chan B’ahlum. Carved wall panels, bas-reliefs, masks and memorial tablets have provided archaeologists with a wealth of information about their deeds, the city’s history and the Maya universe.

In 1952, archaeologists working at the site announced a major discovery, the tomb of Pakal deep in the heart of the Temple of Inscriptions. The carved lid of the sarcophagus can still be viewed today in the burial chamber. In 1994, another amazing find made the headlines, the tomb of a woman with a burial mask and a hoard of jade covered in cinnabar dust in Temple XIII, next to the Temple of Inscriptions. The Red Queen as she is known is thought to be Tz’ak-b’u Ajaw, the wife of Pakal.

Other important buildings in Palenque include the Palace with its distinctive tower and a courtyard with tablets depicting captive rulers, the Temple of the Cross, Temple of the Foliated Cross, Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Skull and Temple of the Count.

Jungle paths take visitors through the archaeological site and the trees echo with the cries of howler monkeys and the squawks of parrots.

Flights are available to Palenque and to Villahermosa from Cancun. The nearby village of Palenque is a good base for exploring the area and sites of interest such as Agua Azul and Misol Ha waterfalls and the archaeological sites of Yaxchilan and Bonampak in the Lacandon Jungle.

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Cancun Airport News

Cancun International Airport continues to grow with the planned construction of a fifth terminal as part of its development project for the next six years. Building is slated to begin in 2019. The new facility would enable the airport to handle an additional nine million passengers each year.

In more airline news, Frontier Airlines has announced a new flight to Cancun from Raleigh, North Carolina, starting mid-November and operating on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

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Train travel may be coming to the Maya World

Mexican President elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently announced a number of national development projects, including the Tren Maya, a railway that would link parts of southeast Mexico and enable tourists to discover some of the Maya World’s most important archaeological sites.

The proposed route includes Cancun and Tulum and continues south to Bacalar before turning westward to Xpujil, the stopping off point for Calakmul, Becan, Chicanna and other archaeological sites in southern Campeche. It would then continue west to Palenque in Chiapas and complete the circuit passing through Tabasco and Campeche to Merida and Valladolid, Yucatan. In the Yucatan it would follow a pre-existing rail route from Palenque to Valladolid.

A Tren Maya project linking Merida with Cancun and Playa del Carmen had been discussed by the previous administration but the new proposal is much larger and would spread the economic benefits of tourism to areas that have been off the beaten track to all but a few visitors.

The railway would carry passengers and cargo and the definitive route and financing are still under discussion. If it goes ahead, the project would take about four years to complete.

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Seaweed Update

It is natural for seaweed to wash up on the beach from season to season, after storms and in the summer heat. However, this summer large quantities of two species of seaweed known as Gulfweed or Sargassum (Sargassum natans and Sargassum fluitans) are coming ashore from time to time in the Riviera Maya, Cancun and other parts of the Mexican Caribbean. These landings occur periodically, the amount of seaweed varies and not all beaches are affected.

Similar landings are occurring in the Caribbean islands and along the Gulf coast of the United States, including Florida.

Based on the recommendations of marine scientists, the authorities are now implementing a second phase of the program to prevent the sargassum from coming ashore by installing barriers in the sea. The first barrier has already been installed in the Punta Nizuc area and will be followed by additional barriers in Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Mahahual and Puerto Morelos.

The barriers are anchored to the seabed but float on the surface of the water perpendicular to the coast. Each one is 30 meters long and they can be connected to form a chain two kilometers long. They will be located in areas where sargassum landings are the most frequent, taking into account the circulation of ocean currents and wind direction. They do not trap the sargassum but are designed to deflect it so that the currents move it away from the shoreline. The authorities expect that the amount of seaweed reaching the coast will be significantly reduced.

The barriers will not impede the movement of marine creatures nor trap them. Similarly, they will not affect coral reefs or the sea grass beds and they can be dismantled at the end of the season.

Specially equipped vessels will also be used in the future to collect patches of seaweed before they make landfall.

Beach cleaning brigades dispose of the seaweed that comes ashore on public beaches and hotels and resorts have their own cleaning programs.

In September and October, water temperatures begin to fall with the approach of cooler weather and periodic cold fronts (nortes) and the amount of sargassum is expected to decline.

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EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

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.

Equinox at Chichen Itza, September 22

The light and shadow serpent that appears on the Pyramid of Kukulcan in the Great Plaza at Chichen Itza as the sun goes down on the Equinox, September 22, is also visible the day before and the day after (cloud cover permitting).

Merida Restaurant Week, Merida, September 24-30

300 of the city’s restaurants are participating in this annual event offering set menus for a special rate.

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida

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

10th Bird Festival, Cozumel, October 12- 14

Bird watching tours, conferences, environmental education workshops and the 2nd National Meeting of Coordinators of the CONABIO Urban Bird Program

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.

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 5 -11, 2018

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

10th Xel-Ha Triathlon, Xel-Ha, November 17-18

Over 2,000 triathletes are expected to compete in this year’s Xel-Ha Triathlon. The money raised from this event is donated to Flora, Fauna y Cultura de Mexico, A.C. to support conservation projects.

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, Playa del Carmen, November 29 – December 1, 2018

Playa Mamitas in Playa del Carmen will be the venue for one of the year’s most popular events, the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. The festival program has yet to be announced.

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Meet the team

Meet your new Guest Relations Manager, Julio César Escandón. Julio takes over from Alberto Monzón who has left Grand Residences to pursue new career opportunities.

Many of you already know Julio. He has been with Grand Residences for two years now as one of the Butlers and his hospitality and outstanding service have earned him the most guest mentions on TripAdvisor this year. Julio’s friendliness, dedication and attention to detail will be an asset for this key post in our Resort Management team.

Julio will be on call to assist you and your guests during your stay at Grand Residences and will also be coordinating the Butler department.

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Turtle season 2018

How are the turtles doing this summer? It’s a slow season so far with 10 turtles coming ashore to lay eggs on the beach in front of the resort to date, and the eggs in two nests set to hatch in the next few days.

The number of nests at the three Royal Resorts in Cancun where turtles come ashore is also lower than 2017 and stands at 60 nests as of July 24. All are green turtle nests with the exception of six containing eggs laid by loggerhead turtles and one with hawksbill turtle eggs.

Turtle nesting is cyclical; a busy turtle season like 2017 is invariably followed by a slower year. This seems to be the case in the Mexican Caribbean so far this summer with the numbers of nesting turtles reported at different locations along the coast being lower than last year.

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What’s on the menu?

Chef Yann Cozic has been adding more delicious dishes to the El Faro lunch and dinner menus for your Grand Residences gourmet dining experience. So be sure to pay a visit during your stay, you’ll find something for everyone and all his recipes are incredibly tasty.

For lunch, appetizer choices include tuna sashimi, ceviche and Mediterranean burrata cheese to spinach, apple and goat cheese or niçoise salad and a classic Mexican trio of soups: lime, tortilla and corn and huitlacoche mushroom. Order a burger, a cochinita pibil or grilled beef baguette, serrano ham, mozzarella, pear and rocket tartine or avocado toast brioche.

Heartier lunch options range from grilled rib-eye and BBQ ribs to chicken stroganoff, seafood pasta, catch of the day, mussels mariniere and Chef Yann’s famous wok stir fries.

For dinner choose from starters such as a classic Mediterranean fritto misto of shrimp, squid and vegetables, beef carpaccio, shrimp salad or asparagus in orange mousseline sauce. Salads include caprese, goat cheese, beet and green apple and tuna tataki with mango. There’s clam chowder, French onion soup and a delicate Oriental cream of carrot and coconut, shrimp and scallops with a hint of ginger and lemongrass.

Main courses range from steak Diane, Rib-eye and New York, chicken supreme and duck breast in red wine sauce to tender, slow-cooked spring lamb. Seafood options include sautéed shrimp, grilled salmon and freshly caught grouper.

And there are more new dishes to sample at Flor de Canela as Chef Yann and his team take you on a culinary journey through Mexico. Discover the flavors of Michoacan, Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz and Yucatan at our signature Mexican restaurant and don’t miss Taco Tuesday.

Buen provecho, Bon appetit, enjoy!

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Kitchen excellence, top marks in Distintivo H inspections

For the second year running, the Grand Residences restaurant team has achieved a 100% score in the Distintivo H inspections of the kitchens and food storage facilities.

Distintivo H is a seal of approval awarded by the Mexican Tourism Board and the Ministry of Health for excellence in food preparation and kitchen hygiene.

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Summer fun

The Activity Center has a fun program of sports, games and classes lined up for adults and teens this summer. You can find details on TV by tuning into the Royal Channel; check the Activity Center notice boards or ask your Concierge.

Start the day at 8 a.m. with yoga, pilates or fine tune your game in the tennis clinic held three times a week. Practice your Spanish, learn new dance steps or take part in the stretching class at 9 a.m. Go for a walk along the beach or the bike trip (reservations required) at 10 a.m. and on Friday there is a table tennis tournament. At 11 a.m. on different days of the week you can join zumba, aqua fitness and bracelet making sessions, a salsa class and even a basic survival skills workshop on the beach.

For more pool fun at noon take part in the aqua fitness class or water polo and there’s a total body exercise class in the Activity Center on Thursday. Don’t miss poolside bingo at 1 p.m. and activities at 2 p.m. during the week range from towel origami, darts matches and a paper plane challenge to movie and music quizzes.

Head for the beach at 3 p.m. for a game of soccer or volleyball. You’ll have more fun in the Activity Center with DJ classes and karaoke and there’s pool volleyball and family bingo. Later in the afternoon you can play card games, table football and tennis and compete in a Just Dance tournament.

Sign up for a cooking or cocktail class, indulge your creative side with pottery painting and don’t miss movie night. It’s afternoon tea time on the lobby terrace at 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (reservations required) and we hope you’ll join us on Monday at 5 p.m. for the Manager’s Cocktail.

What about the children? There’s a non-stop program of activities for them too. With so many games, sports, arts and crafts to keep them busy and entertained in the Kids Club they’ll never want to leave.

Activities are subject to change without prior notice.

 

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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

Holbox

Five hundred miles of coast, endless white sands bathed by turquoise waters and rimmed by emerald green jungle. The beaches of Quintana Roo, the Mexican Caribbean, are some of the world’s favorites. They range from perfect palm-lined bays and tiny rocky coves to breezy beaches facing the open ocean. Holbox, Playa Norte, Playa Delfines, our own Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Cozumel, Xcacel, Tulum, Majahual…this month’s photo gallery takes you on a beach-hopping safari along our spectacular shoreline. How many of these beaches have you visited? Why not send us pictures of your favorite beaches?

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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Amazing encounters with nature

This summer renew your bond with nature with an amazing encounter with some of the Yucatan’s wild creatures, seasonal visitors and year-round residents. Here are two unforgettable experiences to get you started.

 

Gentle giants

First up, it’s whale shark season and your chance to swim and snorkel side by side with the world’s largest fish. Lone ocean wanderers crossing the tropical seas in search of food, these gentle giants gather in the waters of the Mexican Caribbean from mid-May to mid-September to feast on the plankton that blooms in the summer heat.

Scientists believe that the whale shark feeding grounds off the coast of Holbox and Cabo Catoche and to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres attract what is the largest aggregation or gathering of whale sharks in the world. In addition to plankton, they have discovered that the sharks are partial to fish roe. The bonito or little tunny, a member of the tuna family, lays its eggs in area waters in the summer. Similar findings have been made in Belize where the whale sharks gather to eat snapper eggs in the springtime.

Guided eco trips are available to see the whale sharks and the thrill of watching these immense creatures filter feeding on the water surface is indescribable. You may be daunted at first by their immensity but as you swim alongside them with your guide, at a distance of at least five meters, you’ll see how peaceful they are.

More ocean giants, graceful manta rays, also gather to sup on the plankton and you may see them leaping from the water in flight. Dolphins and sea turtles can also be spotted during your boat ride to the whale shark feeding grounds.

 

Pretty in pink

Did you know that the Yucatan is home to the largest breeding colony of wild Caribbean flamingos in the world? More than 37,000 of these birds live in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve on the Gulf coast. They fan out from the reserve feeding in the wetlands and lagoons along the shoreline, flying as far as Holbox, Cozumel and Sian Ka’an. There are also flamingo colonies in Celestun Biosphere Reserve and Los Petenes Reserve in Campeche.

Boat trips are available from the fishing village of Rio Lagartos. Local fishermen trained as eco guides take you through the mangroves, lagoons and the strange landscape of the salt flats to see the flamingos, and other birds such as herons, egrets, spoonbills, skimmers and pelicans that feed in the shallows. Besides flamingos, the reserve is home to 394 species of birds, in addition to crocodiles, jaguars, deer, peccary and other creatures.

When you see the ribbon of pink on the horizon or a flock of flamingos coming in to land you’ll be struck by the dazzling shade of their salmon plumage, much brighter than their Andean and African cousins. This is due to their diet of minute brine shrimp or artemia found only in the Yucatan wetlands.

If you want to go further afield, plan a trip to Celestun Biosphere Reserve on the west coast of the peninsula. The mangrove forest is even taller and denser here and your boat will take you past flamingos stepping out in single file through the water. Look through the trees and you’ll spot emerald green pygmy kingfishers, secretive tiger herons and hawks.

Biologists working in the Ria Lagartos Reserve announced earlier this year that they had counted a record 21,960 nests. In total, the population of flamingos in the Yucatan Peninsula is estimated at around 90,000 birds.

During the spring and summer, the flamingos are busy feeding their chicks. The best time to see them year-round is at sunrise and sunset.

Ask your Concierge for more nature trip recommendations.

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Seaweed landings

It is natural for seaweed to wash up on the beach from season to season, after storms and in the summer heat. However, this summer larger quantities of two species of seaweed known as Gulfweed or Sargassum (Sargassum natans and Sargassum fluitans) are coming ashore from time to time in the Riviera Maya, Cancun and other parts of the Mexican Caribbean. These landings occur periodically, the amount of seaweed varies and not all beaches are affected.

Similar landings are occurring in the Caribbean islands and along the Gulf coast of the United States.

The word Sargassum comes from the Portuguese word sargaço, which means “little grapes,” a reference to the air-filled bladders that enables it to float on the surface and move with the currents. Unlike other algae that are rooted in the seabed or attached to rocks or corals, pelagic or free floating sargassum grows and reproduces as it drifts through the water.

Pelagic Sargassum is historically associated with the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean where vast beds of it are a habitat for marine life such as microscopic plants, shrimp, crabs, sea horses, baby fish and turtles.

Sometimes ocean currents transport lines or patches of this seaweed to areas beyond the Sargasso Sea. However, biologists believe that the Sargassum affecting the Caribbean islands and the coast of Quintana Roo may have a different source, an area off the coast of northern Brazil, thousands of kilometers away. The causes of the seaweed proliferation or bloom have been attributed to rising sea temperatures due to global warming and excessive nutrients in the water flowing into the sea from the Amazon River and its many tributaries. The appearance of drifting mats of sargassum where they were previously very rare may also be linked to variations in currents and wind patterns.

Beach cleaning

A statewide campaign is underway to track the movement of patches of drifting sargassum and to collect and dispose of the seaweed when it comes ashore on public beaches in different parts of the Mexican Caribbean. The Mexican government has pledged additional funds for beach cleaning during the summer. Many hotels and resorts have their own cleaning programs and there are volunteer beach cleaning initiatives too.

In Puerto Morelos, the local authorities are now using a boat to collect the seaweed before it reaches the shallows while brigades dispose of patches that have already come ashore.

   At Grand Residences, a mechanized beach sweeper operates twice a day. If needed, the resort’s team of gardeners is on call to offer additional support.

   Seaweed washes up on the beach naturally and is an important habitat for marine life. The presence of seaweed does not mean that beaches are polluted.

Showering after swimming is recommended and swimsuits should be rinsed out after use. Seaweed will not sting you. However, microscopic creatures or insects may be trapped in the weed and can occasionally irritate the skin, hence the recommendation to rinse off after sea bathing.

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Merida’s history by night

Are you planning a visit to Merida, the historic state capital of the Yucatan? If you are, don’t miss the video mapping projections in the main square. First up is Casa de Montejo, the residence of the Montejo family, the founders of Merida, where A Meeting of Two Worlds: Dialogue of a Conquistador is screened on Wednesday evening at 8:30 p.m. This tells the story of the Conquest of the Yucatan by Francisco de Montejo “El Adelantado” and the fate of the Maya. The projection is narrated by a guide and is followed by a jarana folk dance performance.

The imposing San Ildefonso Cathedral is the backdrop for the next video mapping on Friday at 8:30 p.m. Sacred Stones tells the story of the founding of Merida amidst the ruins of a much earlier Maya city called T’ho and the construction of churches, convents and mansions during the Colonial period.

There is another video mapping projection at the Monumento a la Patria on Paseo Montejo. All three video mapping events are free of charge.

Also on Friday and Saturday evenings is Noche de Leyendas, a walking tour to watch street theater that makes the history of the colonial city come alive. The tour starts outside Peon Contreras Theater at 9 p.m. Tickets must be purchased two hours before the show begins.

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EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

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.

10th Bird Festival, Cozumel, October 12- 14
Bird watching tours, conferences, environmental education workshops and the 2nd National Meeting of Coordinators of the CONABIO Urban Bird Program

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 5 -11, 2018
A field of players that includes some of the PGA’s leading young players and former champions gathers for the OHL Classic at El Camaleón Golf Club in Mayakoba.

10th Xel-Ha Triathlon, Xel-Ha, November 17-18
Over 2,000 triathletes are expected to compete in this year’s Xel-Ha Triathlon. The money raised from this event is donated to Flora, Fauna y Cultura de Mexico, A.C. to support conservation projects.

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, Playa del Carmen, November 29 – December 1, 2018
Playa Mamitas in Playa del Carmen will be the venue for one of the year’s most popular events, the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. The festival program has yet to be announced.

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

 

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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.