In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we share news of the loss of a much-loved member of our Royal Resorts family.

 

Tyrone Ukaegbo Magaña

Originally from Dallas, Tyrone Ukaegbo joined Royal Resorts in 2003 and worked hard over the years to become one of the leading sales executives. At the time of his passing he was an Assistant Manager at Grand Residences. A gentle soul, Tyrone will be remembered for his intelligence, kindness and compassion. Everyone loved and respected him and he will be greatly missed.

 

Some of Tyrone’s workmates added their own tributes:

 

Words cannot express how sorry we are for the loss of Tyrone. God must have needed another angel.

Tyrone was loved and respected by all his coworkers and all the owners at Grand Residences. He has left us too soon. Tyrone will be greatly missed, may he rest in peace.

Catherine Duda

 

Tyrone, thank you for your friendship, your charisma, generosity, intelligence and joy. Rest in peace. I am going to miss you.

Claudia Ramirez

 

For me he wasn’t just a great man but a mighty heart, he was my friend. May he rest in peace.

Marcela Azcorra Trejo

 

Because when I needed you, you were there, you listened to me, you advised me, you protected me, you shared, you encouraged me, you believed in me, you accepted me, you fulfilled me, we had fun together, always wise and always generous, you went ahead in everything and again went ahead. Wait for me there in Valhalla so we can have some Guinness together and cry with laughter turning to see all the stupid things we did here… you will always be my soul brother.

Alejandro “Patrick” García

 

Tyrone was a friend before anything else; I had the fortune to work with him for many years, I have known him since he started working at Royal Resorts, always with the best attitude and a great personality, we shared many great moments and he will live forever in my memory. We lost an incredible person and for sure we are all going to miss him.

Gerardo Flores

 

Tye, you were and will always be a part of the Royal Resorts family; you will always be in my heart.

Rosalía Cantú

 

Ty, you won’t be able to read this but fortunately it is something I was able to tell you myself.

 

Thank you for your friendship and your love for my family and me.

You are one of the greatest people that I have ever known, so generous, always ready to help others. 

I can’t remember a single moment when I didn’t have a good time with you (unless it was when we were roomies and your snores kept me awake!) 

Thank you for your unstinting support when I was at my lowest ebb, financially and emotionally. I’m going to miss you so much. I’ll miss all those moments when we laughed so much that we cried, and I know that we will meet again for one more laugh!

Jorge López

 

Tyrone will be greatly missed. He was not only a great asset to Royal Resorts, but a wonderful friend, human being, son and brother.  He seemed tough on the outside but he had one of the warmest hearts I’ve ever known. Always willing to help, always being positive, and he made everyone around him laugh with the funniest jokes.  We will keep him in our hearts forever.

Paola Shouse

 

All of us at Royal Resorts will treasure our memories of Tyrone. We are sure that you will want to join us in sending your thoughts and prayers to his family and friends during this difficult time.

 

 

 

, ,

No change in the Club Service Fee for 2021

We have some great news from your home away from home. There will be no change to your annual Club Service Fee for 2021. This applies for Fractional and Points contracts. This decision was made at the Advisory Council meeting at the resort on the basis of a recommendation by Royal Resorts Management and unanimously approved by your Advisory Council representatives.

The Grand Residences Advisory Council meeting report and financial statement will be published in the Owners Area of www.grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com (owner log in required) in the weeks to come.

, ,

Grand Residences has a New Chef

We are sure that you will want to join us in welcoming our new chef to the Grand Residences team, Hector Rentería. Rafael Borbolla left in September to take up a position as Executive Chef in a large all-inclusive resort and we wish him every success in his future career. Chef Rentería joins us as Executive Chef.

Originally from Michoacán, Chef Rentería has Bachelor’s degrees in Gastronomic Management and Food & Beverages from Universidad de Norteamérica and the Instituto Culinario de México, respectively.

He has worked for luxury hotels in Mexico, Doha and United States and was the chef heading up teams for the opening of restaurants in new resorts in Dominican Republic, Montenegro and Serbia. He moved to the Mexican Caribbean in 2015 and has been an Executive Chef since 2018.

We are sure that you will love Chef Hector’s cuisine and creativity and will enjoy meeting him in the weekly cooking classes. Stay posted for an interview with Chef Rentería in the December edition of this newsletter.

, ,

Enjoy Even More Great Dining with the All-in Grand package

If you opt for the All-in Grand package on your Grand Residences vacation in order to enjoy all-inclusive gourmet dining then you’ll love the new, expanded version of the package with more dining choices. In addition to meals and drinks at El Faro Grill, Flor de Canela and Heaven Beach Bar, Room Service and more at Grand Residences, you can now dine at Captain’s Cove, El Conquistador, Hacienda Sisal and restaurants at The Royal Cancun, The Royal Sands and The Royal Haciendas.

If you are in the mood for Italian food, La Trattoria at The Royal Cancun fits the bill and Captain’s Cove is an all-time favorite for fresh seafood and sunset Happy Hour. Book a table for dinner at Los Murales and sample the new menu or try Kinoko, the Asian restaurant, which opened this summer at The Royal Haciendas.

The All-in Grand package now includes:

In Cancun
• Captain’s Cove
• El Conquistador, The Royal Islander
• Hacienda Sisal
• La Trattoria, The Royal Cancun
• La Palapa, The Royal Cancun
• La Veranda, Char Hut, Sand Dollar and Sidelines Bar at The Royal Sands

Riviera Maya
The Royal Haciendas
• Los Murales
• Kinoko
• La Palapa del Sol
• Sol Grill & Luna Grill
• La Rotonda Bar

The All-in Grand dining package is optional for Grand Residences owners and members. For more information and rates contact your Concierge. Reservations are required for El Conquistador, Captain’s Cove, Hacienda Sisal, La Trattoria, Los Murales and Kinoko.

, ,

Seasonal Treats in Store

Will you be joining us at Grand Residences for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year? There are tempting festive menus in store for you as always, starting off with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This year the chef has created a set menu featuring roast turkey and all the trimmings or tender prime rib, Autumn salad, sweet corn soup and a dessert bursting with rich fall flavors. Delicious dishes for an evening with family and friends as we give thanks for the important things in our lives.

For those owners and members who will be joining us for Christmas, the Noche Buena or Christmas Eve dinner menu also includes a selection of exquisite dishes. Warm turkey salad and raviolis filled with veal, duck, nuts and dried fruit are followed by Beef Tournedos Rossini or Biscayan-style sea bass and a sumptuous fruits of the forest mousse with ruby red chocolate.

New Year’s Eve dinner is foie gras with grilled peaches and spiced Brioche followed by a celebration of seafood with an Asian-Caribbean fusion salad of scallops, sea bass, caviar and coconut. Main courses are fresh lobster or a short rib bourguignon and lobster Thermidor medley. A heavenly hazelnut praline cake with chocolate mousse filling and a hint of Baileys is the perfect ending to your meal.

Sit down with the family and enjoy the New Year’s Day Brunch. The menu includes seasonal fruit, smoked salmon, fruits de mer, roast pork, chilaquiles, waffles, nut tart, eclairs and much more.

For more information, prices and reservations, contact your Concierge. A Thanksgiving menu is also available through Room Service if you prefer to dine in your unit.

,

News for Grand Residences Golfers

If you like to include a round of golf or two in your Grand Residences vacation, check out the latest news about the Royal Golf program. Grand Residences owners, members and guests are entitled to special rates for play at these courses in the Cancún area and the Riviera Maya and there are weekly tournaments too.

Puerto Cancun
Designed by Tom Weiskopf, Cancún’s newest course stretches for 7,241 yards between the bay and Puerto Cancun marina. Holes 15 and 16 overlook the beach and Hole 18 is the most challenging. Marina Town Center mall is nearby.

Iberostar Cancun
Located in the Cancun Hotel Zone, Iberostar Cancun is a 6,734-yard par 72 course between El Rey archaeological site and Nichupte Lagoon. The most challenging hole is the 14th hole par three.

El Camaleón Mayakoba
Designed by Greg Norman, this 7,024-yard par 72 Riviera Maya course has a jungle and mangrove setting with cenotes, canals, rock outcrops and beach views. It hosts the annual Mayakoba Golf Classic PGA Tournament; in 2020 the dates are November 30 to December 6 and it will be played without course spectators.

Gran Coyote
Designed by Nick Price, Gran Coyote (formerly Grand Coral) is located behind The Royal Haciendas in CoraSol, Riviera Maya. This 7,050-yard course has challenging bunkers and water features. Hole 7 is the most difficult one to play.

Iberostar Playa Paraíso
Designed by P.B. Dye, this Riviera Maya 6,800-yard par 72 championship course has features including a river of rocks and a replica of Chichén Itzá’s famous El Castillo pyramid. The 18th hole par 5 is the most challenging.

Tournament Days
We hope that you will join us for the weekly tournaments at these courses: Monday at Gran Coyote; Wednesday at Iberostar Playa Paraíso, Thursday at Iberostar Cancun; Friday at Puerto Cancun (at least 12 players) and Sunday after 12 p.m. at El Camaleón (at least eight players).

Booking Tee Times
Your Concierge will help you to book tee times (reservations one day before), ask for information about transportation to the courses.

, ,

Discover the Natural Riches of Puerto Morelos

With the Mesoamerican Reef offshore, white beaches stretching for miles and a jungle and wetland reserve on your doorstep, Grand Residences is in the perfect spot for reconnecting with nature in the Puerto Morelos area. The Ruta de los Cenotes is home to deer, spider monkeys and a wealth of bird species and as you enjoy a refreshing dip in a limestone sinkhole, explore jungle trails or fly through the trees on a zip line, you’ll see iridescent blue morph butterflies, orchids and much more.

Beach Walks
Start your day in paradise with a stroll along the beach at dawn. Watch pelicans, gulls and terns diving into the sea in search of fish and frigate birds on high ready to swoop down and steal their catch. Busy along the shoreline foraging for food are smaller birds such as turnstones, sandpipers and plovers known collectively in Spanish as playeritos. And as it is still turtle season, you may see the tiny tracks of baby turtles in the sand heading towards the waves.

Puerto Morelos Reef
Dive right in and marvel at the reef that you can see just offshore. Part of the Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second longest, Puerto Morelos Reef is rich in marine life, ranging from colorful fish dwelling in the coral gardens to sea turtles and eagle rays.

Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden
Did you know that Puerto Morelos’ Yaaxche-Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden is the second largest botanical garden in Mexico? Not only that, in addition to showcasing the trees and plants native to the Yucatán Peninsula, it is a nature reserve protecting 65 hectares of jungle and marshland rich in wildlife.

Although the entrance to the botanical garden is next to busy Highway 307, birdsong and the sigh of the breeze in the trees soon replace the distant hum of traffic. As you walk along paths through the forest you may spot orange and yellow orioles, great kiskadees, green jays and woodpeckers. The park is also home to families of spider monkeys, grey fox, coatimundis or tejon and the shy agouti, a rodent the size of a terrier.

Follow the trail to the herb garden where you’ll see familiar plants such as basil, rue, chamomile and spearmint growing with native species traditionally used by the Maya as remedies for ailments ranging from the common cold or fever to stomach bugs and arthritis.

In a jungle clearing there is a rustic exhibition about chicle, the original natural ingredient for chewing gum that is actually the milky white sap or resin from the chicozapote, a native forest tree found throughout southeast Mexico. You can identify chicozapote trees in the park and along jungle trails on the Ruta de los Cenotes by the crisscross scars on their bark, a sign that they were once tapped by chicleros, bands of chicle harvesters.

The Botanical Garden is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Take eco-friendly bug spray with you.

Exploring the Ruta de Los Cenotes
The jungle bordering the Ruta de los Cenotes is even richer in wildlife and opportunities for adventure. Take the road to the west of Highway 307 to the village of Central Vallarta and the small town of Leona Vicario. Along the route you’ll see many wooden signs marking the turn off for cenotes deep in the forest. Formed over millions of years by the erosion of the limestone, these natural wells or sinkholes have crystal-clear waters that look turquoise or emerald, depending on the light, stalactites and stalagmites. Some are open and others are hidden in caves. They include Cenote Las Mojarras, Zapote, Siete Bocas, Boca de Puma, La Noria, Kin-Ha and Verde Lucero and many of them have zip lines and nature trails in the vicinity of the cenote.

The Xenotes Oasis Maya trip offered by Experiencias Xcaret gives you the chance to explore four very different cenotes in one day and includes swimming, snorkeling, zip lining and time for kayaking.

For a day of jungle adventures, Selvatica Park also fits the bill. Fly through the jungle canopy on a series of thrilling zip line circuits, then swim in a cenote. ATV jungle tours are also available.

Bird watching
If you are interested in wildlife, how about an early morning Puerto Morelos birding trip? Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide you’ll walk along jungle trails alive with the sounds of birdsong. Woodpeckers, hawks, flocks of parrots and Yucatan jays, trogons and keel-billed toucans make an appearance. You’ll hear the distinctive call of the pygmy owl and the raucous rattle-like sound of the chachalaca, a bird the size of a large hen.

Look out for the flashes of color that are the tanagers, orioles, hummingbirds and the Yucatán’s own bird of paradise, the turquoise-browed motmot, which nests in the walls of cenotes.

The forest is also home to spider monkeys, brocket and white tail deer, peccary, margay, ocelot, puma and the elusive jaguar that park wardens occasionally see at night drinking water from cenotes.

Ask your Concierge to help you arrange nature tours and jungle adventures in the Puerto Morelos area.

, ,

Meet Puerto’s Bird Man: Luis Ku

One man knows the forest trails of the Ruta de los Cenotes like the back of his hand and that is Luis Ku, a famous birding guide who lives in Puerto Morelos.

Originally from Temax, a small village in Yucatán, Luis explains that his love of nature dates back to his youth. “Our village was surrounded by ranches and forest and there were many species of birds.” He explains, “I was always interested in nature and the wild creatures and plants I saw around me. I would go looking for them, right up until I went away to university in Merida.”

Luis studied Administration and then moved to Cancun in search of work. He spent 17 years managing the Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden and it was there that he rediscovered his love for nature, learning more about birdlife. He says, “I noticed that the park was a magnet for ornithologists and I would talk to them, learning about the species they were searching for. They invited me to go birding with them. Little by little, I began to give guided tours on request to the Ruta de Los Cenotes, Rio Lagartos, Sian Ka’an and further afield. Eventually, I had so many birdwatcher clients that it became impossible to keep both jobs so I left the Botanical Garden.”

Mexico is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and more than half the country’s 1,080 bird species are found right here in the Yucatán Peninsula (550). They include tropical birds such as the keel-billed toucan and temperate species from cooler climates and there are many endemic species, found nowhere else on the planet. Such riches give it great, hitherto untapped, potential as a birding destination for the world’s 80 million birdwatchers. Luis explains that there are a number of great birding zones within easy travel distances of Cancun, including the Ruta de los Cenotes, Coba, Cozumel, Sian Ka’an and Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserves. Further afield, the archaeological sites of Kohunlich in southern Quintana Roo and Calakmul in Campeche are also worth a visit, along with reserves in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.

Luis says, “The Ruta de los Cenotes offers three to five days of fantastic birdwatching, visiting different cenotes such as Boca del Puma, Siete Bocas, La Noria and Kin-Ha and exploring trails through the jungle. Between 250 and 300 bird species have been registered in the area and they are most active early in the morning. Birders can catch a glimpse of keel-billed toucans and collared aracaris, chachalacas, several varieties of trogon, turquoise-browed motmots, flycatchers, colorful tanagers and hummingbirds. He says, “The motmot nests near cenotes, there are pygmy and black and white owls and I know one ramón or breadnut tree that attracts up to 12 toucans to feed at dawn.”

A visit to Sian Ka’an Reserve offers the chance to see jungle dwelling birds such as wood creepers, trogons, black-faced ant thrush and tinamou and wetland species such as herons, jacana and wood storks.

While the incredible sight of thousands of flamingos at Rio Lagartos is the highlight of a visit, Luis explains that bird watching begins along the route through Quintana Roo and Yucatan to the reserve with sightings of hawks such as peregrine and laughing falcons, short-tailed hawk and American kestrel. “It’s an open area with scattered trees, perfect territory for birds of prey.” He adds, “The wetlands of Rio Lagartos are also a haven for endemics such as the Mexican sheartail hummingbird and the Yucatan wren and it is a major area for migratory birds escaping the winter chill of the US and Canada. Migrations actually start in July and August for some species and reach their peak in September and October and the birds leave in March and April. Migratory species include white pelicans, ducks, waders, birds of prey and songbirds.”

Coba and Punta Laguna attract birdwatchers eager for a sighting of the spotted rail and ruddy crake that live in the reed beds surrounding the lagoons and nocturnal birds such as the endemic Yucatan poorwill and the Yucatan nightjar.

Cozumel has its own endemic Cozumel wren and warbler and a shimmering green hummingbird called the Cozumel Emerald.

When asked about his most memorable experience, Luis says, “There have been many, for example in the jungles of the south you see tropical birds such as the endemic ocellated turkey, great curassow, crested caracara, ornate hawk eagle and the largest of them all, the king vulture, but smaller birds such as the white-collared and red capped manakins are also spectacular.

He says, “The thrill of birding in the Yucatan is walking the trails, visiting reserves and seeing a variety of birds every day. It isn’t like Costa Rica where bird watchers are very often confined to a hide waiting for an individual species to appear.”

So the next time you visit the Ruta de los Cenotes keep a lookout for birds and you may even spot Luis Ku with his camera. You can also see his beautiful photos of Yucatan’s birds on Facebook.

Your Concierge can help you arrange unforgettable day trips in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan.

,

Back on the Maya Trail

After months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, archaeological sites in Quintana Roo and Yucatán are open.

The first sites to open in Quintana Roo in mid-September were Tulum, Coba, Muyil and San Gervasio. Sites in southern Quintana Roo including Kohunlich, Dzibanche, Oxtankah and Chacchoben opened in October. In the Yucatan, Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Uxmal, Dzibilchaltun, Mayapan and Kinich Kakmo in Izamal are all now admitting visitors.

New guidelines are in place for visiting the sites, for example masks are mandatory, social distancing is respected and there are limits on the number of visitors admitted per day, at Chichen Itza it is 3,000 and groups are limited to a maximum of 10 people. The evening shows at Chichen Itza and Uxmal are suspended until further notice.

With their ancient grandeur, air of mystery and jungle settings rich in nature, the Yucatan’s archaeological sites invite a moment of reflection. Breathe in the fresh air, close your eyes, listen to the sounds of nature and soak up the energy.

For more information on trips to the area’s archaeological sites contact your Concierge.

, ,

Cocktail Time

Unwind with a Caribbean cocktail to get you in the mood for your next Grand Residences visit. Here’s a drink to ask for poolside or at Heaven Beach Bar.

Mango Tango
¾ oz white rum
½ oz grenadine
2oz fresh strawberries
3oz ice
¾ oz white rum
½oz sugar syrup
2oz tinned mango
3oz ice

Blend the rum, grenadine and strawberries with ice and then the rum, mango and sugar syrup separately and then pour them into a glass in turns to achieve the swirl effect.

, ,

Grand Recipes

This month we are sharing a traditional recipe from the Yucatecan kitchen, a classic dish that you must try on vacation and that is served at lunchtime in El Faro Grill. Sopa de Lima is a light chicken and vegetable broth that is perfumed with lima, a variety of aromatic sweet lime used in the area.

This recipe makes a large amount of soup so you may need to reduce quantities proportionally.

10 oz. sliced green pepper
7 ½ oz. of sliced red pepper
7 oz. sliced onion
9 ½ oz. sliced celery
5 ½ oz. of lima
7 oz. chopped tomato
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt & pepper
2 oz. chicken stock powder
½ oz. chopped garlic
2 oz. mixed vegetable oil (20-80)
7 1/2 oz. chopped carrot
1 gallon chicken stock

Heat 2 oz of cooking oil, add onion and garlic and fry lightly, stirring from time to time to prevent burning. Add carrot, celery, tomato and bay leaves. Pour in chicken broth, lima juice and slices. Season to taste with chicken stock powder, salt and pepper. Finally, add the sliced green and red pepper and bring to the boil and then simmer.
 Add cooked, shredded chicken breast and crispy fried tortilla strips before serving.

Fresh limas are available in markets and supermarkets in the Mexican Caribbean and the Yucatan and are sometimes stocked by Latin American grocery stores in the United States.

, ,

The Travel Gallery

Some of you still cannot be with us right now but we can bring the beauty of the Mexican Caribbean and the Yucatan to you. Here’s our monthly gallery showcasing some of the region’s many natural and historical attractions. How many have you visited? Which ones would you like to explore on future visits to Grand Residences?

Xcacel
A track through the jungle and a palm grove leads to the pristine crescent-shaped beach of Xcacel, a hidden secret. Designated a protected area and turtle sanctuary by the Quintana Roo government, Xcacel-Xcacelito is one of the world’s most important nesting areas for the green turtle.

Aktun Chen
The Aktun Chen cave system lies in the jungle just south of Akumal. There are spotlights in the galleries to show the turquoise waters of cenotes and the delicate beauty of the stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones sculpted by water and calcite over millions of years.

Mahahual
The gateway to the Gran Costa Maya in southern Quintana Roo, Mahahual is a traditional Mexican Caribbean fishing community that is also a cruise ship port of call. Relax on palm-lined beaches, go snorkeling and if you are a diver book a trip to Banco Chinchorro, a spectacular atoll rich in marine life.

Valladolid
An easy one-and-a-half hour drive from Cancun, the colonial town of Valladolid is the perfect spot to spend the day learning about the history and traditions of the Yucatan. Stroll through the center visiting colonial churches and admiring restored casonas or houses. Shop for crafts and sample the local cuisine, visit cenotes, museums and even a distillery making a tequila-like liquor from agave azul.

Your Concierge can help you arrange trips to all these places.

, ,

Beach Reads

Here are some of the books we are reading right now if you are looking for something for the beach. Why not write to us and let us know what’s on your bookshelf or Kindle right now?

The Salt Path
Raynor Winn
Ray and her husband Moth met as teenagers and fell in love. They raised two children and renovated a rundown farmhouse in mid-Wales. They were living their dream when disaster struck. An investment opportunity with a friend went sour and they were sucked up in the ensuing court case, eventually losing their house. Worse news followed when Moth was diagnosed with an incurable disease.

With no jobs and faced with the prospect of homelessness, and mortality, they decided to put their beloved house behind them and walk the coast path from Somerset to the tip of Cornwall in southwest England. The Salt Path is the story of their adventures.

Funny, sad, moving and packed with evocative descriptions of dramatic cliffs and bays, the characters they meet on the way and the challenges of the ever-changing British weather, this is a story of hope. Walking seemed to help Moth and he grew stronger, even though the couple were wild camping and exposed to the elements.

Wherever you are, when you put this book down it makes you want to put on your walking boots and head for the trail.

Ray Winn has just had her second book published. The Wild Silence continues her story with Moth.

If you run out of books remember that you have a neighborhood bookstore right on the main square in Puerto Morelos. Alma Libre stocks new and secondhand books and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

, ,

Stay Connected with Grand Residences

Check the Grand Residences and Royal Resorts Facebook pages for photos and updates from your home away from home, recipes, wellness tips, activity and tour ideas in the Mexican Caribbean and much more.

Watch your friends from the Activities team and Kids Club give keep fit, dance and craft classes via Facebook Live. If you miss them don’t worry, you can watch the videos later.

Check the Grand Residences Instagram page for more pictures from paradise.

, ,

Beware of suspicious offers from online companies

It is Royal Resorts policy to alert members of scams attempted by companies or individuals operating online. Several members have reported being contacted by a company called 118 International Realty.

Other members have reported emails and dubious phone calls from a company called Commodity Consultants International Ltd.; one of the representatives they have mentioned is a woman called Amira B. Williams.

A company called Blue Marlin Realty or Blue Marlin Realtors operating out of Chicago has also contacted some members. The name of the Qingjan Realty Group Pte Ltd and of a broker called Victor Santiago also appears in the documents that the member received.

Another member recently reported a phone call she received from a woman identifying herself as a federal prosecutor in Mexico City. This person claimed to be investigating a case against Royal Resorts but her questions were suspicious and alerted the member to a possible scam. We recommend that you watch out for calls of this nature. An official federal prosecutor would not carry out an investigation in such a manner.

In June, several members reported receiving unsolicited calls and emails about title changes from an individual called Marco Deleon operating out of Las Vegas and a company called Administración Hotelera Corporativa Columbus SA de CA. This individual claimed to represent CIT but is not associated with Royal Resorts, CIT or Interval Servicing in any way.

Other members also contacted us about calls from a marketing company agent operating out of Cancun who offered them special stay rates at The Royal Sands and The Royal Caribbean. This is not a Royal Resorts promotion and neither the company nor its agent has any business relationship with us. The fact that this individual mentioned The Royal Caribbean, which is closed and currently under renovation, should be a warning sign not to proceed.

In summary, Members have reported suspicious calls and emails from all of these companies:

• Commodity Consultants International Ltd.
• 118 International Realty
• Blue Marlin Realty or Blue Marlin Realtors
• Administración Hotelera Corporativa Columbus SA de CV
• Network Realty
• Network Real Estate
• Atlantic Realty
• New York Escrow Services
• Black Diamond
• Realty Alliance
• The Brokerage Group
• 123propertyserviceslic
• Realty Consultants
• Safran Group
• Zicasso

Atlantic Realty and Realty Alliance operate out of Boston. The Brokerage Group, Network Real Estate, Black Diamond Group and New York Escrow Services have New York addresses. Zicasso is a Mexican firm supposedly with a parent company in Mountain View, California.

Royal Resorts has no business relationship with any of the aforementioned companies or their representatives. The Legal department has contacted them with a cease and desist notice.

We recommend that you do not engage with these companies or their representatives. Do not submit the membership information requested, and above all, never send money if they mention a processing fee.

When such companies contact you via email or phone to offer unsolicited broker, resale, title change, exchange or rental services and ask for cash in advance to cover “administrative fees”, “processing fees,” “commissions”, “guarantees” or “deposits” it is generally a good indication that they may not be genuine and if you pay it is very possible that you will not hear from them again.

Protecting your personal information
Royal Resorts has a rigorous privacy policy and is in full compliance with privacy laws. Our members’ personal information is confidential and we do everything possible to protect it. We do not sell and have never sold personal information to third parties.

Always follow these steps if you receive a suspicious email or phone call:
• Check the source of the email if the company or individual claims to be associated with Royal Resorts. All Royal Resorts communications are sent from an official royalresorts.com email address, if this is not the case, then the email is not from Royal Resorts.
• Disregard the email or phone call if money is requested in advance for resale or other timeshare-related services.
• Do not supply personal data or the contact details of friends if referrals are requested.
• Do an online background check on the company to see if it is legitimate.
• Ask Royal Resorts if you are in any doubt, we are here to help you.
• Above all, do not send any money.
• If you receive an unsolicited call about title changes, contact Royal Resorts or Interval Servicing. Title changes must always be handled through Interval Servicing, your membership services company.

Cyber crime is on the rise and hackers and scammers appear to be more active than ever during the global pandemic. Take care when using the Internet. We recommend that you avoid disclosing your personal information on forums, blogs and other open media venues and participation in online referral schemes that ask you to send the names and details of friends. When you provide your contact information to others in order to rent, sell or lend your unit please ensure that it will be protected.

, ,

Cancun flight news

Here’s the latest Cancun flight news for January 2020. Starting February 16, Vacation Express will be offering a new flight from Kansas City to Cancun on Sundays. The flight will operate until April 5 and will move to Saturday on May 23 until August 1, 2020.
For Canadian travelers to Cancun, Sunwing is offering a new weekly flight from Hamilton and Air Canada has increased its Vancouver service from four to seven flights a week and has a weekly flight from Quebec City.
Starting March 10, Frontier Airlines will offer a new daily flight from Newark.
Viva Aerobus is now offering charter flights to Havana three times a week.
On March 7, Southwest Airlines will inaugurate a new Houston-Cozumel route with two flights day (new route subject to government approval).
[Source: Sipse, Riviera Maya News, Caribbean Journal]

, ,

CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN EVENTS

Artober Fest, Cancun, October 4 – November 3

A series of events featuring music, dance, art, film and cuisine in Cancun during October. Artober will culminate with representation of Day of the Dead traditions.

11th Cozumel Bird Festival, October 11 – 13

17th Annual Sea Turtle Festival, Xcacel, Akumal and Tulum, October 18-20

The 2019 sea turtle nesting season draws to a close with this annual festival held in Xcacel, Akumal and Tulum.

Fiesta de Santo Cristo Negro, Sitilpech, Izamal, October 18

A procession of local gremios or guilds carries the statue of Christ from the parish church of Sitilpech through the streets of Izamal to the sanctuary where it will remain for 27 days before being returned to the church. This traditional fiesta is celebrated with processions, masses, fireworks and a vaqueria.

Festival de las Animas, Merida, October 24 – October 31

This Festival celebrates Hanal Pixan, the Mayan Dia de Muertos traditions with altar exhibits in the main square, photography exhibitions, conferences, music, dances, the Pib Food Festival and the Paseo de las Animas (Procession of Souls) from the City cemetery through the streets to San Juan Park on October 31.

Festival de Vida y Muerte, Xcaret Park, October 29 – 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. Dia de Muertos is known as Hanal Pixan in the Yucatan.

Triathlon Xel Ha, November 16 – 17

This annual event draws triathletes from all over Mexico and overseas.

Mayakoba Golf Classic PGA tournament, November 11-17, 2019

A field of the world’s leading golfers competes for the OHL Classic trophy at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mayakoba.

Xoc Ch’ich Bird Watching Marathon 2019, Valladolid, November 23 & 24

The year-long Toh Bird Festival draws to a close with the Bird watching marathon in the Valladolid area. Teams see who can clock up the most bird species sightings over two days in this fun event.

Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Izamal, December 8

Thousands of pilgrims join processions to honor the Virgin Mary. There are masses and the traditional fair or vaquería with dances, food stalls and more.

, , ,

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.

, ,

Coming soon, new family multiuse room

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

, ,

Puerto Morelos facelift underway

Puerto Morelos is getting a facelift. Work is still underway in the center of town and around the square to move all the cables underground, replace street lighting and paving. When it is complete, the square will have wider pavements and gardens and additional seating areas for taking in the spectacular ocean views and enjoying the balmy Mexican Caribbean evenings and the ambiance of this traditional community.

Work is also progressing in the Colonia on the other side of Highway 307 with water and sewage system improvements, the installation of traffic lights, street signs and stamped concrete for the pavements and streets.

, ,

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.

 

, ,

Every Picture Tells a Story

This month we have included some of our favorite pictures of Puerto Morelos, and the Riviera Maya to banish the winter blues that you may be feeling.

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

, ,

What’s on your 2017 Sightseeing List?

Have you thought about what you would like to do during your next vacation? How about a spot of sightseeing and visits to places you have never seen before? The Yucatan Peninsula has countless natural wonders and historical sites awaiting discovery and your Concierge will arrange unforgettable tours for you. Here are some ideas to get you started.

The Mystery of Coba

The whisper of the wind in the trees, the flash as a colorful bird takes flight and a glimpse of ancient temples, the Mayan city of Coba has an air of mystery that appeals to the adventurer in all of us.
One of the largest Mayan cities discovered to date, Coba is at the same time one of the least studied. A regional capital and trade center, it reached its peak during the Mayan Classic period, A.D. 250-900 and was still inhabited at the time of the Spanish Conquest. After its decline, the jungle engulfed the abandoned temples and palaces and archaeologists estimate that only around 10 per cent of the buildings have been released from its grip.
The most famous building at Coba is Nohoch Mul, a 42-meter-high pyramid that is the tallest in the northern Yucatán. Other buildings of note are the Coba group, the oldest at the site, La Iglesia, another 24-meter-high pyramid crowned by a temple, the Ball Court, Las Pinturas, Xaibe or the Crossroads Pyramid and the Macanxoc group which has nine circular altars and eight stelae.
Coba is also famous for the sacbes or Mayan causeways that radiate from the heart of the city. To date, 45 of these roads have been detected, including the longest sacbe in the Maya World, which links the city with Yaxuna, near Chichen Itza, a distance of 101 kilometers.
As you stroll or cycle along the jungle paths between the clusters of buildings at Coba, keep a look out for wildlife such as parrots, agouti, (shy, deer-like foragers that are the size of a large terrier), families of coatimundis (agile dog-like animals related to the raccoon that have distinctive white snouts and long tails) and shimmering blue morph butterflies.
Don’t stop there, if you have already visited Tulum or Chichen Itza, why not plan a trip to Ek Balam or Uxmal and the Puuc Route sites (like Chichen Itza, Uxmal has World Heritage status) in the state of Yucatan. You could even organize a private tour and venture south to Kohunlich, Oxtankah and Dzibanche in southern Quintana Roo and Calakmul in southern Campeche, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Explore the Underwater World

There’s a whole new world below the surface! Take the plunge and discover the underwater world of the Caribbean and come face to face with the countless colorful creatures that inhabit the reefs. 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.
Start your underwater odyssey on the Puerto Morelos Reef, one of the most pristine parts of the Mesoamerican Reef, and then explore other reefs in the area such as those offshore from Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Paamul and Akumal. Take the ferry from Playa del Carmen to the island of Cozumel, a world-famous scuba paradise with magnificent reefs offering dive sites for snorkelers and novice, intermediate and expert divers.
Spend some time admiring the sunken statues in Cancun’s Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA), the largest of its kind in the world.
Other underwater highlights not to be missed during the year are encounters with sea turtles or the gentle giants of the deep, the whale sharks and manta rays that gather during the summer to feed on plankton in the warm waters to the east of Holbox, Contoy and Isla Mujeres. From January to March, experienced divers can also swim with sailfish, the ocean’s fastest predators.

Time Travel

Plan a day or two-day trip to one of the Yucatan’s colonial towns or cities for a glimpse of history and rich traditions.
Heading the list is Merida, state capital of the Yucatan. Merida is proudly celebrating its 475th anniversary this year and is the 2017 Cultural Capital of the Americas, the first city to achieve this distinction twice. And with good reason, there’s so much to see and do in Merida, history, traditions, a tempting dining scene, museums and art galleries and a different cultural event somewhere in the city every night.
Start your Merida tour in the main square, which is dominated by the 16th-century Cathedral, Casa de Montejo, the home of the founding father Francisco de Montejo, City Hall and Government House. Then explore the surrounding streets. The colonial barrios or neighborhoods clustered around the main square constitute the second largest historic city center in Mexico.
Stroll along Calle 60, which will take you through leafy squares past more colonial churches, the University of the Yucatan, one of the oldest in the Americas, and the belle époque Peon Contreras Theater. Heading north along Calle 60, you’ll eventually make your way to Paseo Montejo, Merida’s famous boulevard. Inspired by the Champs Elysees, it is lined with mansions built at the height of the henequen boom in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Leaving Merida behind, the smaller towns of Valladolid and Izamal, both classed as Pueblos Magicos (Magical Towns) by the Mexican Tourism Board, also have 16th-century churches, sprawling former monasteries or conventos and restored mansions to captivate visitors.
South of Merida, the Ruta de Conventos or Convent Route is a chain of traditional Mayan villages each one with its own colonial church of monastery to visit. They include Acanceh, Mani and Oxtankah and many visitors combine this circuit with a visit to a hacienda, Loltun Caves, Uxmal and the archaeological sites along the Puuc Route.
Further afield, a one-and-a-half-hour-drive from Merida the colonial port of Campeche is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its impressive fortresses were built to protect the local population from pirate attacks.
In central Quintana Roo, the district capital Felipe Carrillo Puerto and the Mayan villages of Tihosuco, Tepich, Saban and Sacalaca are full of history. Tihosuco is the site of the Caste War Museum and can be visited as part of one of the Maya Ka’an eco and community tours.

La Vie en Rose

Take an eco trip to see the flamingos in the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve. Not only will you be treated to a vision in pink, as you watch thousands of flamingos feeding in the coastal lagoons or taking flight, you’ll also see herons, kingfishers, crocodiles, raccoons and more.
Don’t stop there, plan a visit to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve south of Tulum, it’s one of the largest reserves in Mexico and a wonderland of jungle, wetlands, beaches and coral reefs teeming with wildlife. Other area reserves to visit if you are interested in nature include the island bird sanctuary of Contoy, the coastal lagoons and wetlands of Celestun (west coast of Yucatan), Yum Balam (accessible from Holbox) and the jungle biosphere reserve of Calakmul in southern Campeche.
Nearer home, 10 to 15 minutes north of Coba, is the community-run reserve of Punta Laguna. This pristine area of jungle on the shores of a lagoon is home to spider and howler monkeys, toucans, parrots and turquoise-browed motmots. Ocelots, pumas and jaguars are also said to roam in the remoter parts of the reserve.

Something New

Discover Bacalar, the spectacular Lagoon of Seven Colors, go bird watching or kayaking in Sian Ka’an or visit one of the Mayan communities in Maya Ka’an. Arrange a private tour to the historic city of Valladolid and combine it with a look at some of the area’s most spectacular cenotes. Swim with the whale sharks in the summer; visit the island of Holbox or even sign up for Mexican cooking class. The Mexican Caribbean and the Yucatan are full of things to do, so start exploring.

Contact your Concierge for help with tour planning.

, ,

Puerto Morelos Celebrates its First Anniversary as a Municipality

Puerto Morelos celebrated its first year as Mexico’s youngest municipality on January 6. A ceremony in the main square was followed by a Dia de Reyes (Kings Day) fiesta with music, the cutting of the traditional rosca de reyes cake and surprises for children.

The iconic leaning lighthouse of Puerto Morelos currently features on Mexican national lottery tickets and as part of the one-year anniversary celebrations the grand draw was held in the port on January 8.

, ,

Puerto Morelos starts 2017 with Beach Cleaning campaign

The Puerto Morelos municipal government launched its regular beach cleaning campaign and in the first days of January had already removed five tons of garbage and seaweed from the shoreline. An additional beach cleaning day took place at the end of the month.

The goal of the authorities is to attain the prized international Blue Flag clean beach certification for Puerto’s beautiful beaches this year.