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Grand Residences Best in Mexico and the World, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2018

Members of the TripAdvisor travel community have spoken and for the fourth year running Grand Residences is in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2018 Top 25 Hotels in Mexico. This time it picked up four different accolades given only to the best of the best in Mexico:

  • TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2018 Top 25 Hotels in Mexico

Grand Residences is No. 4

  • TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2018 Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Mexico

Grand Residences is No. 2

  • TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2018 Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Best Service

Grand Residences is No. 14

  • TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2018 Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Families

Grand Residences is No. 18

Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the World

That’s not all; Grand Residences is also in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2018 Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the World listing at No. 25.

What are people saying about Grand Residences?

“Perfect for young families”

“Excellent Service – Best Vacation – Will Return Again!”

“The Perfect Escape”

“HEAVENLY!!!!”

“True Paradise”

“First class all the way!”

“Grand Residences Grand”

“Best Resort Experience Ever!”

“Beautiful property, amazing staff!”

“BEST VACATION EVER”

“We felt like royalty the whole time”

“Excellent and beautiful resort, friendly wonderful staff that take care of your every need, attention to detail and always went above and beyond”

“We’ll be back as soon as possible!

Best Vacation Ever Taken! Highly Recommended!

“Trip of a Lifetime”

Three Royal Resorts in the Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Families

Three other resorts in the Royal Resorts collection also made the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2018 Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Families list. The Royal Haciendas comes in at No. 13, The Royal Sands at No. 19 and The Royal Cancun at No. 25.

Grand Residences and Royal Resorts are honored to be included in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2018 listings of Mexico’s Top Hotels. We strive for excellence in everything that we do and will continue to work to raise the bar on service and look for more ways to make the vacation experience outstanding for owners and guests.

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More Gourmet Dining: Taco Tuesday

Chef Yann and his team present a new theme night at Flor de Canela restaurant, Taco Tuesday. The taco, Mexico’s most famous finger food, takes center stage and who could believe that a freshly made tortilla with tasty fillings, salsa and guacamole could be so delicious?

Satisfy your craving for tacos. Choose from a spread of traditional fillings, help yourself to tortillas and salsas and make your own tacos. The Taco Tuesday buffet ranges from classics such as grilled arrachera or skirt steak, shrimp and fish to marinated pork al pastor, stewed pork rind and golden-fried chicken flautas or crispy tacos. The selection of guisados or dishes that are popular taco fillings also includes poblano chili pepper slices cooked in cream, picadillo or minced beef, chorizo with potato, slow-cooked beef barbacoa-style, mushrooms and ajillo-style spicy octopus.

Pile your plate with grilled spring onions, guacamole and refried beans and try some nopales or tender cooked cactus pads, they are delicious and very nutritious. Mexican-style rice, tortilla soup and charro-style stewed beans are also served as part of the buffet.

When you are ready to add the final touch to your tacos head for the classic accompaniments. Sprinkle chopped onion, radish and cilantro on simple beef tacos; fresh pineapple goes perfectly with tacos al pastor and shredded cabbage is served with fish and shrimp tacos.

You’ll want to add lashings of salsa. The sauces range from pico de gallo, green sauce with avocado and stewed tomato salsa to mayonnaise with chipotle pepper or garlic for seafood tacos. Ask your waiter to point out the mild salsas and the spicier recipes that pack more of a chili punch.

For true chili fans, xnipec is the local salsa to try. Made from habanero chili, the Yucatan’s fiery pepper, finely chopped onion and lime juice, xnipec may bring tears to your eyes. Its name in Maya means the nose of the dog (xni = nose, pec = dog), presumably because it might give the diner a wet nose like that of a dog.

Making your tacos

There is an art to making tacos! Take a warm tortilla from the basket – Mexicans will tell you never to take the top tortilla – and place it on your plate. Put a small spoonful of the filling of your choice in the center such as grilled steak or chorizo, add guacamole, salsa and a dash of lime juice and you are ready to go. Roll the tortilla up like a pancake and you have a taco. True connoisseurs will tell you to hold the taco with your index finger and thumb (no knives and forks) and lean over the plate to avoid being splashed as the juice drips out. After a couple of attempts you’ll have got the hang of taco making and we are sure that you will want to sample as many as possible.

A selection of Mexican desserts is the perfect finale to your taco feast and of course you’ll want to order Mexican beer, wine or tequila to accompany your meal.

Ask your Concierge for more information about Taco Tuesday and the other tempting theme nights during the week.

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Mexican Dish of the Month

When you dine at Flor de Canela restaurant ask your waiter about the dish of the month. The chef’s monthly special celebrates the diversity of Mexican cuisine, regional specialties and the rich traditions that led UNESCO to include it in the World Heritage list.

In February the Flor de Canela dish of the month is enchiladas. Try classic enchiladas suizas or vegetarian enchiladas in a smooth mole sauce made with Jamaica or hibiscus flowers, spices, chili and chocolate.

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Romantic Beach Dinners

February may be the month of love but love is in the air year round at Grand Residences. Celebrate a special occasion in style with a romantic dinner on the beach. Dining under the stars with the Caribbean as a backdrop is a magical experience.

As an alternative, you can also arrange for the chef to cook dinner for you in your suite. Dine by candlelight on the open-air terrace or in your elegant dining room.

Ask your Concierge for details, reservations required in advance for romantic beach dinners and the chef’s dinner and other catering options.

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A Grand Wedding, a Marriage made in Heaven

Is someone in your family planning to get married this year? Grand Residences is the perfect setting for a wedding in paradise, a marriage made in heaven.

The happy couple and their guests will love the elegant suites, gourmet cuisine, world-class amenities, unique refinements and the attentive service that is a hallmark of The Leading Hotels of the World®.

Soft white sand with the turquoise waters of the Caribbean in the background, the secluded beach is a romantic spot in which to exchange the vows of eternal love.

Whether the bride and groom have an intimate sunset ceremony on the beach in mind or a formal wedding bringing together family and friends for the occasion, the Grand Residences Wedding Experts will help them plan an unforgettable day.

After the ceremony, the celebrations may continue with a cocktail reception, a formal sit-down dinner in one of the restaurants or a party on the deck with a buffet and music for dancing. From the menu and décor to music and flowers, the Grand Residences Wedding Experts will work with the bride and groom every step of the way, taking care of all the details and making their dreams a reality.

Whatever the Occasion or Event

Have you considered hosting a special family occasion in your home away from home? Contact the Event Coordinator if you are thinking about a reunion, vow renewal, anniversary, engagement or graduation party or any other special event, including corporate events such as meetings and incentive trips.

For more information about event and wedding services please email lojeda@grandresidencesrivieracancun.com

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Grand Residences by Royal Resorts already tops in 2018

Grand Residences by Royal Resorts® has been named one of the Top Ten Beach Resorts to visit in 2018 by Caribbean Journal, coming in at No. 4 in the list. Calling your home away from home “a true jewel,” the article mentions that luxury at the resort goes beyond design and amenities and is a philosophy.
https://www.caribjournal.com/2017/12/30/best-beach-resorts/

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Chase the winter blues away at the Spa

Say good-bye to the winter blues, recharge and get ready to enjoy your vacation with a morning at the Grand Residences Spa. Choose from a selection of luxury treatments.

How about a relaxing massage on the beach, aromatherapy or a sport massage to soothe tense muscles? The massage collection also includes techniques harnessing the ancient wisdom of Native American cultures, the Far East and Hawaii. Choose a Hot Stones, Thai, Shiatsu or Lomi-Lomi massage for purification and energy balance.

Pamper your body with a fragrant facial or cleansing body wrap to leave your skin silky smooth.

For the ultimate in relaxation, ask about the Pampering in your Residence massages and luxury tub baths with milk, marine salts and grape essence.

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Get Ready for a Golf Day

Get out on the fairway for a day of golf during your next trip to the Mexican Caribbean.

As a Grand Residences owner you are entitled to special discounted green fees at these championship golf courses in the Cancun area and the Riviera Maya.

Cancun

  • Iberostar Cancun
  • Puerto Cancun
  • Playa Mujeres

 Riviera Maya

  • Iberostar Playa Paraíso
  • Grand Coral

 

Ask your Concierge for green fees and reservations and sign up for the Royal Day golf tournaments held at these golf courses during the week.

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Grand Residences Top 5 on Trivago in 2018

Grand Residences continues to reap accolades and has been named as the fifth best 5-star hotel in Mexico by Trivago website in its listing of the country’s finest hotels in 2018.

This follows the thumbs up that the resort received from members of the Trip Advisor online community in 2017 when it was voted into the Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Top 25 Hotels in Mexico, coming in at No. 2, and at No. 3 in the Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Best Service listing. This was the third year running that Grand Residences had featured in the Traveler’s Choice listings showcasing the best of the best in Mexico.

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Grand Residences Advisory Council

If you would like to contact the Grand Residences Advisory Council, you’ll find the names of your representatives and their contact emails published in the Owners Area on www.grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com (owner log in required). If you have a question for them you may also send an email to grandresidencesac@gmail.com

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Every Picture Tells a Story

This month we take you into the jungle to show you some of the colorful birds that inhabit the tropical forests of the Yucatan Peninsula. You may catch a glimpse of some of them when you visit Coba, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the cenotes along the Ruta de los Cenotes near Puerto Morelos.

If you have a picture of Grand Residences, Puerto Morelos or a special place in the Yucatan that you would like to share with us, we would love to see it.

Send 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 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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Days of Romance in the Riviera Maya

On your next trip to Grand Residences spend the day exploring with the one you love. A day on the beach, out on the water or discovering a city full of history can be a magical and unforgettable experience.

Riviera Maya Beach Hopping

Start the day at Grand Residences with a stroll along the beach at dawn. Listen to the waves, feel the cool sand between your toes and the first rays of the sun on your face. It’s another beautiful morning in paradise.

Pack a picnic basket, grab a bottle of wine and head off for a day of Riviera Maya beach hopping. There are so many lovely beaches to choose from along this stretch of shoreline with idyllic spots to be found in Maroma, Xpu-Ha, Akumal, Xcacel, Bahias de Punta Soliman and Tulum, among others.

On your way back, stop off in Playa del Carmen for a spot of shopping, a cocktail and dinner.

 

Set Sail

Take to the waves on board a chartered yacht with captain and crew. Set your course for a voyage along the Riviera Maya coast or from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. Spend the day snorkeling, swimming and taking in the views of sparkling, crystal-clear waters in shades of turquoise, azure and indigo.

Sign up for the weekly Grand Residences sunset cruise or arrange an evening in Cancun for a lobster dinner cruise on a Spanish galleon that sails through the Nichupte Lagoon.

 

Merida Serenade

Plan a getaway to the historic city of Merida, capital of the neighboring state of Yucatan. Spend the day exploring 16th-century churches and 19th-century mansions, visiting museums and galleries and shopping for arts and crafts.

As the shadows lengthen, the city springs to life after the sizzling heat of the day. Candles are lit in restaurants and waiters with menus greet passers by. There are restaurants and cuisines to suit every taste but when in Merida you should dine in a romantic courtyard filled with plants and listen to the trova melodies of a guitar-strumming trio as they serenade guests.

After your meal, walk to the main square or Plaza Grande where you’ll find more musicians and flower sellers carrying bunches of roses, lilies, gardenias or fragrant white flowers called mariposas. There’s a cultural event somewhere in Merida every night and on Monday it is the turn of the square with a traditional folk dance performance in front of City Hall.

Stroll around the square and watch the video mapping show that plays across the façade of the towering San Ildelfonso Cathedral, Mexico’s oldest cathedral, Casa de Montejo, the 16th-century home of the family that conquered the Yucatan, and Government House.

In the 19th century, local dignitaries would drive along the Merida streets in pony and trap and calesas or horse-drawn carriages still ply their trade in the evening. However, it is just as romantic to wander along Calle 60 past more colonial churches and leafy squares. En route, you’ll pass the Universidad de Yucatan, one of the oldest in the Americas, the neoclassical Peon Contreras Theater and Plaza Santa Lucia, site of a trova concert every Thursday.

Head north along Calle 60 for several more blocks and turn right on to Paseo de Montejo. This wide tree-lined boulevard was inspired by the Champs Élyseés and is the setting for the opulent mansions built during the henequen boom of the late 19th century and the first years of the 20th century. Standing silent now, these imposing town houses and chateaus are testimony to a time when Merida had more millionaires than New York.

As you stroll along Paseo de Montejo, stop for a coffee or ice cream at an open-air café or sip a cocktail under the stars in a romantic rooftop terrace bar.

Planning your trip

The Grand Residences Concierges will help you arrange yacht charters, day trips and longer excursions in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan.

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Mexico welcomed more than 39 million visitors in 2017

By the end of 2017, Mexico had welcomed 39, 547,000 international visitors, a record-breaking number that is likely to mean that the country will climb one place in the World’s Most Visited Countries to position No. 7.

The number of international visitors showed a 12.7 percent increase from 2016 and tourism revenue was also up by 8.9 percent.

The network of international flights to Mexico continued to expand in 2017 and was 10.2 percent up on 2016 with the number of seats on direct flights reaching 28 million. This includes seats on new direct routes and additional seats on existing routes where the number of flights increased or larger airplanes were introduced.

Closer to home, Cancun and Riviera Maya welcomed more than 915,000 tourists in December 2017 alone, 7.7 percent up on the same month in 2016. In 2017, 23.6 million passengers arrived at Cancun International Airport, a 10.2 percent increase over 2016. Finally, 4,103,787 cruise ship passengers visited the island of Cozumel in 2017, a record-breaking number, 11.37 percent up on 2016.

(Source: Mexican Tourism Board)
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World’s longest underwater cave found in the Riviera Maya

Cave divers belonging to the Gran Acuifero Maya (Great Maya Aquifer Project) expeditionary team that has been exploring the Sac Actun and Dos Ojos flooded cave systems near Tulum in the Riviera Maya for 10 months found a tunnel hidden deep in the limestone rock that links the two. At 215 miles long, the flooded cavern is now the world’s largest known underwater cave and will henceforth be called the Sac Actun system (Sac Actun means the white cave in Maya).

The leader of the dive team is Robert Schmittner who has been exploring the Sac Actun system for 14 years.

The divers believe that further exploration could show that this vast underground river system is connected with other flooded cave systems in the area.

Guillermo de Anda, the Mexican archaeologist and National Geographic explorer who heads up the Gran Acuifero Maya project revealed that during the exploration of Sac Actun the team had made some amazing discoveries that will help build up a picture of the early history of the Yucatan Peninsula. He referred to it as a vast archaeological site. To date, finds include the fossils of prehistoric animals, traces of the earliest human inhabitants and structures, bones, ceramics, offerings and cave paintings associated with the ancient Maya.

(Source: Gran Acuifero Maya)
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Upcoming Events In The Mexican Caribbean & Yucatan

Events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan

Here’s our regular round up of festivals and events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan in the next few months.

Cozumel Carnival, February 7-13

Dating from 1876, Cozumel Carnival is the oldest Carnival in the Yucatan Peninsula and one of the oldest in Mexico.

Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, Merida, Campeche and Valladolid will also be holding their own Carnival celebrations; the dates may vary slightly in each location, February 6-13.

Island Time Festival, Isla Mujeres, February 12-17

Nashville and Key West bring their music to the Mexican Caribbean, all for a good cause, to raise money for the Little Yellow School House for children with special needs. The Island Time Music and Fishing Festival has a packed program of concerts for 2018, check the line up of performers and tickets https://www.islandtimemusicfest.com

Isla Blanca Kite Festival, February 24 and 25

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Isla Blanca north of Punta Sam.

Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza, March 20-22

The famous light and shadow serpent of Kukulcan appears on El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza and descends from the heavens at sunset on the day of the Spring Equinox (March 20-22). It is also visible the day before and after, cloud cover permitting.

Elsewhere in the Yucatan, at dawn on the day of the Equinox the rising sun appears through the doorway of the Temple of the Dolls in the ancient city of Dzibilchaltun to the north of Merida.

The spring equinox officially falls on March 20 in 2018 but the largest gathering at Chichen Itza takes place on March 21, a national holiday in Mexico.

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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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Where to go in the Yucatan in 2018

Ek Balam

It’s never too early to start thinking about the places you would like to visit on your next visit to the Mexican Caribbean. This year, how about going somewhere new? There’s so much to see in the Yucatan Peninsula and the Grand Residences Concierges will help you plan some incredible travel adventures. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Ek Balam

Mayan Majesty

Visit some of the ancient cities that dot the Yucatan Peninsula and as you explore majestic temples, palaces and and pyramids, you’ll learn more about the Maya and their art, architecture and scientific achievements.

You may have been to Chichen Itza before but there is always something new to see as archaeologists continue to make discoveries during excavations in different parts of this huge UNESCO World Heritage Site. And don’t stop at Chichén Itza, how about a trip to Ek Balam, Coba or to Uxmal, the Yucatan’s other World Heritage Site, the most important archaeological site on the Puuc Route south of Merida?

If your Mayan discoveries look set to take you further afield, other major sites include Kohunlich and Dzibanche in southern Quintana Roo, Xpujil, Becan, Chicanna, Balamku and Calakmul in southern Campeche and Palenque in Chiapas.

 

Silent-Evolution-Jason-DeCaires-Taylor-underwater-sculpture

Explore the Underwater World

Dive right in this year and discover the underwater world of the Caribbean. Learn how to snorkel or dive during your vacation and you’ll soon be ready to explore the Mesoamerican Reef, the second longest reef system in the world, and come face to face with the countless colorful creatures that inhabit the corals.

Start your underwater odyssey on the Puerto Morelos Reef and then explore other area reefs in the Cancun- Isla Mujeres area, Playa del Carmen, Paamul and Akumal. Then venture to the island of Cozumel, one of the world’s most famous scuba destinations where magnificent reefs offer dive experiences for snorkelers and novice, intermediate and expert divers.

Try something different; mix your underwater adventures with art. Spend time admiring the sunken statues in Cancun’s iconic Underwater Sculpture Museum (MUSA). Corals, sponges and sea fans are fast colonizing the sculptures and they are becoming a refuge for reef fish and lobsters.

 

Whale Shark

Swim with the Ocean’s Giants

If you are traveling to Grand Residences this summer, sign up for an unforgettable eco experience, a boat trip to see the gentle giants of the deep, the whale sharks.

From mid-May to mid-September, whale sharks gather to feed on plankton blooms and fish roe in the waters to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres and also off Holbox Island and Cabo Catoche.

The trip takes you out to the whale shark feeding grounds where you will see the world’s largest fish wherever you turn and swim with them too. You may also spot giant manta rays, sea turtles and dolphins.

 

Valladolid Yucatán

Visit Yucatán’s Pueblos Mágicos

Journey back in time on your next vacation and visit Yucatan’s twin Pueblos Mágicos, (Magical Towns), Valladolid and Izamal. They are a window on the area’s colonial history, provincial life and area traditions.

The Mexico Tourism Board created the Pueblos Mágicos program to promote lesser known Mexican villages and towns that have their own charm and magic due to their handicrafts, cuisine, colorful fiestas, pre-Hispanic or colonial architecture or outstanding natural beauty. Valladolid and Izamal have something to offer in all these categories.

You can easily spend the whole day in Valladolid, the nearest of the two towns to Cancun and the Riviera Maya (a one and a half hour drive). Stroll through the main square dominated by the San Servacio Church and then make your way along Calzada de Los Frailes, a street lined with restored colonial houses, to the sprawling San Bernardino Church and Sisal Convent. At 10 a.m. you can join a guided tour of Casa de Los Venados, a restored colonial mansion that is not only a home but also a private museum with more than 3,000 pieces of Mexican folk art (admission charge is a donation to charity).

After having seen gorgeous Mexican textiles, ceramics and colorful wood carvings in Casa de Los Venados you’ll be ready to start shopping for your own Mexican collection. There are several craft stores in the main square and on Calzada de Los Frailes, along with a perfumery and a chocolate workshop. Call in at La Casona on Calzada de Los Frailes to see the shrine to La Candelaria, the patron saint of Valladolid; it’s a mosaic made from fragments of Talavera pottery.

Festooned with tropical creepers and ferns, the eerie Zaci Cenote is an impressive sinkhole a couple of blocks from the main square. There are many more of these mysterious natural wells to visit in the surrounding area, the most famous of which are Dzitnup and Samula.

As you leave Valladolid, call in at the Mayapan Distillery where the blue agave plant is harvested, cooked, crushed and the sugary sap distilled using traditional artisanal techniques to make a tequila-like spirit.

Izamal is the Yucatan’s very own “city of gold,” a reference to the yellow and white trim on the imposing 16th-century convent and colonial buildings clustered around the main square. Located 158 miles from Cancun, this peaceful little town is often called the “city of three cultures,” a reference to its ancient pyramids, Spanish heritage and the traditions of today’s Mayan inhabitants.

Founded in 1549 and completed in 1618, the San Antonio de Padua mission is home to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, the patron saint of the Yucatán. The fortress-like building is also said to have the largest closed atrium in Mexico and one of the largest in the world, with no fewer than 75 arches.

From the Convent, you can see Izamal’s other huge landmark, the Kinich Kakmo pyramid where the ancient Maya once worshipped the sun god. Standing 35 meters high, it is the third largest building in Mesoamerica in terms of volume. Indeed, over 20 major Mayan buildings have been found in and around Izamal, along with a network of sacbes or ceremonial roads, house mounds and tombs.

Explore the streets and squares of Izamal on foot. Don’t miss the Izamal Cultural Center, the Community Museum in Calle 31, the colonial churches of San Ildefonso, Los Remedios, Carmen and Santa Cruz and craft workshops in different neighborhoods. Watch local artisans at work as they produce embroidered cotton dresses, hammocks, wood carvings, henequen and seed jewelry and papier mâché butterflies and birds.

 

Sian Ka’an

Sian Ka’an

Plan a visit to Sian Ka’an, a vast biosphere reserve of jungle, wetlands, beaches and coral reefs that is home to a host of species of birds, mammals and marine life, many of them endangered. If you are a nature lover, Sian Ka’an is a must. Several different day trips are available, some taking you through the jungle and wetlands, others giving you the chance to meet some of the inhabitants of the area.

Protected by government decree since 1986, 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. However you are most likely to see birds on your trip: over 330 resident and migratory species have been registered here in the jungle and wetlands.

Sixteen varieties of heron nest in the mangroves along with roseate spoonbills, ibis, wood stork, cormorants, frigate birds and pelicans. Toucans, parrots, motmots, ocellated turkey, chachalaca and great curassow are some of the forest dwellers. The reserve also protects a tiny colony of the rare jabiru stork, the largest bird in the Americas.

Sian Ka’an means “where the sky is born in Maya” and the ancient Maya hunted, fished and traveled the wetlands. To date 23 archaeological sites have been registered in the reserve and Mayan communities are still clustered on the borders of the reserve.

Many Sian Ka’an trips begin in Muyil, an archaeological site in the jungle that is a short walk from Muyil Lagoon where visitors board an outboard motor for an exciting boat trip through the wetlands.

The boat enters a channel through the mangroves that was widened and dredged by the ancient Maya and used as a trade route between the Caribbean and inland cities. A small temple guards the waterway and after you have taken a look it is time for a swim. The water is clear, shallow and you literally drift along with the gentle current.

Another Muyil trip offered as part of the Maya Ka’an community tour collection shows you how the white sap of the chicozapote tree is tapped and cooked to make chicle, the natural gum that is the original raw material for chewing gum.

Another option is to visit the fishing village of Punta Allen on the shores of Bahia de la Asuncion, 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 birding, fishing and diving trips, nature walks, kayaking and bike excursions.

Booking your day trips
Your Concierge can help you plan unforgettable outings to all these and many more beautiful spots in the Yucatan and even further afield.

 

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Cancun Airport welcomes 22 million passengers and counting

With the addition of a fourth terminal in late 2017, the growth of Cancun Airport continues and in December it welcomed passenger No. 22 million. Passenger numbers for the year were 10.5 percent up on 2016 and this includes an 8.4 percent increase for international arrivals.

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Puerto Morelos receives environmental award

In late November in Cuernavaca, Puerto Morelos municipal government received the Local Government Responsibility for Biodiversity award from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives in recognition of its sea turtle conservation program and environmental education workshops in schools.

In the summer of 2017, City Hall staff, resort security guards and volunteers protected 2,124 green and loggerhead turtle nests along the Puerto Morelos shoreline.

From improving waste disposal and water management to new parks, reforestation, mangrove forest and wildlife protection, Puerto Morelos government is working to make the municipal district sustainable. Urban infrastructure will be improved, development will be regulated to protect the environment and a Climate Change Action Plan is also being created.

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Mexico on the World’s Must Visit list for 2018

The popularity of Cancun and the Riviera Maya as two of the world’s favorite beach playgrounds continues and a number of other Mexican cities have also made the 2018 Must Visit lists in leading international travel magazines and guides.

First up, Condé Nast Traveler recommends the vibrant city of Guadalajara and the low-key Pacific beach getaways of Sayulita, Puerto Escondido and Mazunte this year. Nat Geo Traveler showcases Oaxaca in its 2018 Best Trips list, Lonely Planet chooses Guanajuato and the LA Times goes for San Miguel de Allende, all three are colonial treasures and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Travel & Leisure also included Mexico City and Los Cabos in its 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018.

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Upcoming events in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan

Here’s our regular round up of festivals and events to look forward to in the Mexican Caribbean and the Yucatan in the next few months.

Anniversary of the Founding of Merida, January 6
On January 6, inhabitants of Merida, state capital of Yucatan observe the anniversary of the founding of the city in 1542 by Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo. The evening of January 5, a procession of city dwellers and local trova musicians makes its way to the main square to sing the traditional Mañanitas birthday serenade as a tribute to their hometown, followed by a fireworks display. The next morning there is a Mass in the Cathedral and a packed program of concerts, dance performances, art exhibits and more as part of Merida City Fest.

Merida City Fest, January 4-21
More than 150 dance and theatre performances, concerts, movies, art exhibitions and literary workshops to celebrate the 476th anniversary of Merida.

Feria de la Candelaria, January 22 – February 2, Valladolid
This traditional fair is dedicated to the patron saint of Valladolid, the Virgen de la Candelaria. Events include livestock, craft, jewelry and food exhibitions, processions, concerts and dances.

Cozumel Carnival, February 7-13
Dating from 1876, Cozumel Carnival is the oldest Carnival in the Yucatan Peninsula and one of the oldest in Mexico. Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Merida, Campeche and Valladolid will also be holding their own Carnival celebrations in early February.

Isla Blanca Kite Festival, Feb 24 and 25
A popular family event, the Isla Blanca Kite Festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Isla Blanca north of Punta Sam.

Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza, March 20-22
The famous light and shadow serpent of Kukulcan appears on El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza and descends from the heavens at sunset on the day of the Spring Equinox (March 20-22). It is also visible the day before and after, cloud cover permitting.

Elsewhere in the Yucatan, at dawn on the day of the Equinox the rising sun appears through the doorway of the Temple of the Dolls in the ancient city of Dzibilchaltun to the north of Merida.

The spring equinox officially falls on March 20 in 2018 but the largest gathering at Chichen Itza takes place on March 21, a national holiday in Mexico.

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Grand Residences App now available for Android too

We have some great news for you about the Grand Residences App! It is now available for Android and iOS. Download it from Google Play or the App Store and use it to make the most of your vacation time:

App Features

  • Make special requests prior to your arrival
  • Preregister guests staying with you
  • Look at resort activity schedules and plan your day
  • Check restaurant menus and make reservations
  • Review orders and vacation purchases
  • Check past and future reservations
  • Share trip reports and feedback with Resort Management
  • Pay your resort bill using your credit card

 

 

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Activities for the whole family in 2018

From tennis clinics to yoga, zumba, dance and Spanish classes, be sure to check the Activities program on your next visit to Grand Residences. There is something for everyone and non-stop daily fun.

Learn salsa and merengue dance steps, try your hand at archery and test your knowledge of music and movies with poolside quizzes. Take part in beach and pool volleyball games, the karaoke sing along and sign up for the weekly bike trip into Puerto Morelos.

Make your own towel figures, bracelets, pottery and join Chef Yann in the kitchen for a cookery class on Wednesday or a mixology class on Thursdays in Heaven Beach Bar.

Children’s activities

There are plenty of sports, games and arts and crafts in store for your children too at the Kids Club. They’ll have fun on the beach and in the pool, take part in treasure hunts, water polo, dance classes and even their own Olympics.

On beach walks they’ll learn about area ecosystems and how they can help to protect the planet and they’ll get to feed the iguanas that sun themselves on the resort grounds.

Art and craft workshops will have your busy little bees making everything from papier mâché figures and paper bunnies to bracelets, flowers and money boxes. There are movies, face painting sessions, toasted marshmallow brochettes, and of course, no vacation in paradise would be complete without a Mexican piñata to break open.

Check the Activity Center and Kids Club programs with your Concierge, on the TV or on the Grand Residences App. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance for the bike tour, cooking and cocktail classes, ask your Concierge.

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All aboard for the sunset cruise

One of the most popular complimentary events during the week at Grand Residences, the sunset cruise is the perfect start to a romantic evening in the Mexican Caribbean.

Cast off on a luxury vessel for a voyage along the Puerto Morelos shoreline. As you sip champagne and nibble hors d’oeuvres you’ll enjoy the ever changing colors of sea and sky and the sun going down in a blaze of glory. Ask the Concierge for details and the departure time (weather permitting). Children under the age of 10 are not permitted.

Your Concierge can help you plan more oceangoing adventures during your stay. Snorkeling, dive, fishing and yacht charters can all be arranged through the local marina.