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Seaweed Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Coming soon, new family multiuse room

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

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Stock up on Beach Books

Have you already run out of books for the beach? Call in at Alma Libre Bookstore on the main square in Puerto Morelos during the winter season to stock up on beach reads. Run by Canadian couple Rob and Joanne Birce, Alma Libre stocks an extensive selection of second-hand and new books ranging from thrillers and sci-fi to historical romance and the classics. You’ll also find travel guides and books on Mexican art, history, nature and traditions, maps, crafts and more. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. closed on Sunday and Monday.

 

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Cancun Flight News

Due to the growing popularity of Cancun and the Riviera Maya in the United Kingdom, British Airways will be adding two more direct flights from London Gatwick to Cancun in 2017, one in the spring and one in the summer.

As part of its expansion plans in the Caribbean, Southwest Airlines will start a daily non-stop Cancun service from Fort Lauderdale on June 4.

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Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, 31 years old

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the largest wildlife sanctuary in the Mexican Caribbean and one of the largest in Mexico, celebrated its 31st anniversary on January 24.

Sian Ka’an was founded by presidential decree in 1986 and a place in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list followed in 1987.

Covering 1.3 million acres of jungle and wetlands in northern and central Quintana Roo, Sian Ka’an is a huge reserve. It protects ecosystems ranging from tropical forest, seasonally flooded grasslands, marsh and mangroves to Caribbean beaches and a 110-kilometer-stretch of pristine coral reef.

Sian Ka’an is home to 103 different mammals including the jaguar, peccary, tapir, howler and spider monkeys, and the West Indian manatee. It has one of Mexico’s largest crocodile populations and is an important nesting area for sea turtles. There are also 330 resident and migratory species of bird in the jungle and wetlands.

Sixteen varieties of heron nest in the mangroves along with cormorants, frigate birds and pelicans. Flamingos are occasional visitors in the winter, feeding in the coastal lagoons. Toucans, parrots, motmots, ocellated turkey, chachalaca and great curassow are some of the forest dwellers. The reserve also has a large breeding population of ospreys and 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 Mayan hunted and fished in the area. Mayan merchants also used canals snaking through the wetlands from the Caribbean as portage routes for trading canoes laden with goods bound for inland cities. To date 23 archaeological sites have been registered in the reserve and Mayan communities are still clustered on the borders of the reserve.

Contact Thomas More Travel for tours of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and Maya Ka’an community tours to Muyil, Punta Allen and traditional Mayan villages in central Quintana Roo.

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UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE MEXICAN CARIBBEAN & YUCATAN

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

Cozumel Carnival, February 22-28

Dating from 1876, Cozumel Carnival is the oldest Carnival in the Yucatan Peninsula and one of the oldest in Mexico. The festivities begin on February 22 with the coronation of the Carnival King and Queen, there are parades on February 25, 26 and 28 and the event draws to close on March 1 with the traditional burning of the Juan Carnaval figure.
Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Merida, Campeche and Valladolid will also be holding their own Carnival celebrations in late February.

Isla Mujeres Carnival, February 26-29

 

Isla Blanca Kite Festival, Feb 25 and 26

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

Cancun & Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival, March 15-19

Leading chefs and sommeliers from Mexico and the United States gather in Cancun and the Riviera Maya for the annual Wine & Food Festival, March 15-19
The 2017 festival line up features events ranging from celebrity chef conferences, a homage to Mexico’s most famous street food, taco star with star chefs, wine and spirits tastings hosted by leading sommeliers, a cruise, gala dinners and more.
More information and tickets: wineandfoodfest.com

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 20-21). 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 2017 but the largest gathering at Chichen Itza takes place on March 21, a national holiday in Mexico.

Fundadores 2017 International Riviera Maya Fishing Tournament, Playa del Carmen, April

This tournament attracts fishermen from all over the state and the Caribbean. Competitors are asked to follow catch and release policy to help preserve fish stocks.

Cancun International Capitan Armando Ferrat Fishing Tournament 2017, Cancun, April

This tournament attracts fishermen from all over the state and the Caribbean. Competitors are asked to follow catch and release policy to help preserve fish stocks.

Anniversary of the Founding of Cancun, April 20

 

Regatta del Sol al Sol, Isla Mujeres, April 28 – May 5

The 48th year of this famous yacht race from the St. Petersburg Yacht Club in Florida to Isla Mujeres. The event also features parties for the yacht crews and islanders, excursions and a race around Isla Mujeres.

Puerto Morelos Fishing Tournaments

Cesar Martin Rosado Tournament, late April-early May
Don Andres Garcia Lavin Tournament, May

Travesía Sagrada Maya, Xcaret and Cozumel, May 26-27

The Sacred Mayan Crossing is the reenactment of an ancient pilgrimage. Oarsmen set sail from the port of Pole (now Xcaret) in wooden canoes bound for the island of Cozumel where they will worship at the shrine of Ixchel, the Maya goddess of the moon and fertility.

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

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Phase 2 units now open!

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Royal Resorts Foundation helps women get vital cancer screening

The Royal Resorts Foundation supports the fight against cancer and partners with Cancun-based NGO Grupo Desafio de Quintana Roo, A.C. to help women on a low income get vital cancer screening and treatment. In October, Cancer Awareness Month, the Foundation donated more than $150,000 pesos to pay for cancer tests for 400 women.

This was the second Royal Resorts Foundation donation this year. In May, Grupo Desafio was able to cover the costs of breast cancer studies for 293 women, including mammography screening, RX, mammary ultrasound testing and bilateral mammograms, as part of its Gift of Life for Women campaign.

Founded in 1999 by a group of women who have fought their own battle with cancer, Grupo Desafio started life as a support network for breast cancer patients. Its mission is now to help all those living with the disease, regardless of sex, age or type of cancer.

In addition to helping women from the poorest sectors of society with cancer screening and treatments, Grupo Desafio seeks to raise cancer awareness by giving seminars on the disease and the importance of early detection in local communities, the workplace, schools and colleges. It also offers self-help and counseling sessions for patients and their families.

For more Royal Resorts Foundation news and to make donations, please visit www.royalresortsfoundation.org

 

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Important news about Phases 3 & 4 of Grand Residences

Grand Residences

On Monday, September 19, at 12 p.m., a General Ordinary Meeting of the Owners of Grand Residences by Royal Resorts® was held at the Grand Residences resort to discuss and vote on the proposed reconfiguration of Phases 3 & 4 of the resort, in accordance with the call and Agenda sent to each of the Grand Residences Owners by certified mail.
The meeting was called to order and Fernando Lopez Ruiz was elected President of the Meeting; Rossana Mercedes Escalante Cisneros was voted Secretary of the Meeting; and Karen Bayerlein and Luis Enrique Mañueco Medellín were elected Vote Tellers by the majority of representatives who were eligible to vote on behalf of Owners or by Owners themselves who were in attendance. A quorum was declared and the Meeting was declared legally installed.
Present to answer questions on behalf of Desarrollos Riviera Morelos, S.A. de C.V. were Dr. Kemil A. Rizk, CEO of Desarrollos Riviera Morelos, S.A. de C.V.; Fernando Lopez Ruiz, Vice President of Finance & Administration – Chief Financial Officer; and Dr. Simon Crawford Welch, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer.
Dr. Kemil A. Rizk gave a presentation outlining the proposed reconfiguration of Phases 3 & 4 and discussed the following topics:

  1. The proposed reconfiguration of units in Phase 3 & 4 in terms of the size, location, architectural design, interior design, and exterior facades of Phases 3 & 4.
  2. The necessity of the proposed reconfiguration.
  3. The projected timeline for completion of the entire resort if the proposed reconfiguration were approved.
  4. The projected impact on the socioeconomic status of guests staying at Grand Residences if the proposed reconfiguration were approved.
  5. The proposed price points and Club Service Fees for Phases 3 & 4.
  6. The anticipated impact of the proposed reconfiguration on resort density and occupancy.
  7. The potential impact of the Leading Hotels of the World affiliation as a result of the proposed reconfiguration.
  8. The necessity of maintaining a robust rental program.
  9. The anticipated formation of an Advisory Board for Grand Residences consisting of Grand Residences Owners.
  10. The proposed adjustment to the limitations on resales for existing Grand Residences owners.

 

Fernando Lopez Ruiz gave a presentation outlining:

  1. The state of the fractional and Private Residence Club markets in general and the severe decline in market size since 2008
  2. The results of a consulting report commissioned by Desarrollos Riviera Morelos, S.A. de C.V., on the marketing and selling process for Grand Residences, and the necessity of the proposed reconfiguration given current day economic dynamics and climate.

 

During the presentation by Dr. Kemil A. Rizk and Fernando Lopez Ruiz, the attendants posed multiple questions and offered their comments both against and in favor of the proposal. A vote was then called. All votes were counted and verified by the Vote Tellers.
The result of the voting was “In favor of the proposed reconfiguration”: 75.07%; and “Against the proposed reconfiguration”: 7.78%. The balance of 17.15% represents the votes that were not present, represented, received or arrived by other means than Certified or Registered mail and were ineligible to be counted.
Given that the proposed reconfiguration was carried and approved with 75.07% of valid votes voting in favor, Desarrollos Riviera Morelos, S.A. de C.V. management will now move forward with securing the necessary financing and other arrangements to allow construction and completion of the resort.

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Phase 2 Construction Update

The construction team is in the final stretch preparing to deliver the Phase 2 units. The carpenters are putting the finishing touches to the cabinets, closets and doors throughout the units. The interior walls and the façades are also being given a last coat of paint.

The installation of kitchen appliances such as the fridge, oven and range, dishwasher and wine chiller, curtain rails and TV supports is underway and mirrors and shower doors are being fitted in the bathrooms. Furniture is also being moved into place.

Water and air-conditioning systems are being tested and the wiring for the phones is in process. Outside the units, the electronic locks are being installed and tested and the door number signs are in place.

The units will be ready for occupancy after November 1, 2016.

 

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Grand Residences in the News

Your home away from home has been in the news in recent months, featuring in the Caribbean Journal as the best-Kept Secret in the Mexican Caribbean http://www.caribjournal.com/2016/07/18/best-kept-secret-mexico/,

in the Columbus Dispatch and receiving a gold medal from Hoteles.com

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Trip Advisor Certificates of Excellence for Grand Residences and Royal Resorts

Grand Residences and all five Royal Resorts have been awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2016 for outstanding service. For Grand Residences, already rated No. 1 Resort in the Puerto Morelos Area, it is yet another accolade.

Trip Advisor gives the Certificate of Excellence to resorts, restaurants and other visitor attractions that consistently score outstanding reviews from travelers. Certificate of Excellence holders are the top performing 10 percent of all the establishments listed on Trip Advisor.

Earlier this year, Grand Residences made the Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Hotels in Mexico 2016 listing for the second year running, coming in at No. 16. In a new category of Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Best Service 2016, it came in at No. 9 and it was included in the Travelers’ Choice 2016 listing of the Top 25 Hotels for Families in Mexico.

Trip Advisor is the world’s largest online travel community with millions of members. www.tripadvisor.com

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Days and Nights of Fine Dining

Indulge in the art of fine dining at Grand Residences where your award-winning French chef Yann Cozic will tempt you with a spectacular array of starters, main courses and heavenly desserts. Savor the freshest seafood and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine at El Faro Grill or delicious Mexican dishes at Flor de Canela.
Start the day with freshly baked croissants, fruit or something heartier, enjoy a long lunch and unbeatable views at Heaven Beach Bar and unwind with traditional afternoon tea with scrumptious scones and cakes on the terrace at the Lobby Café. There’s live saxophone music poolside on Sundays, a jarocho quartet playing traditional music from Veracruz in Flor de Canela on Monday and Friday and the Cielito Lindo duo on Wednesdays.
Don’t miss the theme nights during the week, here’s the current line up.
Sunday
BBQ, live guitar music, 5-10:30 p.m.
Tuesday
Italian Night, live guitar music with the Jeriko duo, 5 to 10:30 p.m.
Thursday
Seafood Night, live guitar music with Jeriko, 5 to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday
Oriental Night, live music from a jazz trio, 5 – 10:30 p.m.
Afternoon Tea
Join us in the lobby for traditional afternoon tea, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 4 to 5 p.m.
Schedule is subject to change without prior notice, ask your Concierge.

Flor de Canela is currently closed for renovation and will reopen on November 1 with a new Mexican look.

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Chef’s Classes

During your next visit to Grand Residences why not sign up for a cooking class with Chef Yann? Learn the secrets of the French kitchen, the art of patisserie or watch him prepare one of your favorite Mexican dishes.

Recent cooking classes have featured recipes for Greek-style vegetables, carrot soup with a hint of lemongrass and coconut milk, French madeleine cakes in chocolate sauce, asparagus in mustard mousseline sauce and cream of chili poblano soup.

   Ask your Concierge for cooking class details.

 

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Grand Residences Participates in the Puerto Morelos Beach Cleaning Initiative

On September 10, Grand Residences team members took part in a beach cleaning day in Puerto Morelos organized by the Municipal government, Ocean Conservancy and the area’s hotels.

Volunteers collected 255 kilos of garbage on this occasion, separating plastics, glass, aluminum and other metals for recycling. They also removed organic refuse and two kilos of cigarette stubs, which are unsightly, a danger to wildlife and do not break down over time.

The event forms part of a global initiative to keep the world’s beaches and shorelines clean, Similar events took place in Cancun and Isla Blanca on September 11 and Playa del Carmen has scheduled its own beach cleaning day for October 22.

 

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Grand Residences Participates in Riviera Maya Reforestation Project

Planting trees all along the central division of Highway 307 from Cancun to Playa del Carmen might seem a tall order but it is happening thanks to a reforestation project spearheaded by Xcaret, in which a number of Riviera Maya hotels, including Grand Residences and Royal Resorts, are participating.

The project encompasses a 50-kilometer stretch of highway from Xoximilco Park just south of Cancun Airport to Xcaret Park. Some 22,000 native trees such as ceibas, the sacred tree of the Maya, cedar, ciricote and the pink-flowering maculis are being planted in the camellón or central division of the road. In addition to beautifying the highway and providing shade, this initiative will restore the habitat for wildlife, especially birds.

To date, Grand Residences has donated 224 ciricote and 20 akits trees from its on-site nursery.

Hotels can participate by donating trees, reforesting the area bordering the highway in front of their property and by caring for and watering the newly planted trees.

Xcaret has been working on reforestation projects in its parks and in Cancun and the Riviera Maya for 25 years now. The Xcaret nursery was founded in 1992 to propagate 30 native species of trees and shrubs and had an output of 8,000 saplings per year. It now raises more than 200 species of native and ornamental trees and shrubs and produces more than 200,000 plants a year.

The nursery supplies the trees and plants that keep Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xplor, Xenses and Xoximilco parks looking beautiful and have also been used to rescue green areas, parks, avenues and other public areas in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Tulum, Ciudad Chemuyil and the colonial town of Valladolid, in the neighboring state of Yucatan.

 

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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, we will apply 2% of the net purchase price of their Fraction towards your annual Club Service fees.

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

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

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SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT GRAND RESIDENCES

If you would like to make a referral

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

CLICK HERE

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Every Picture Tells a Story

This month we showcase fall in the Yucatán, warm yellows, scarlet bougainvillea and the orange of the flamboyant trees; tropical fish and birds in exotic colors like the parrot fish, the turquoise-browed motmot or the pink flamingo; the emerald green of the jungle and the endless turquoise and blues of the Caribbean.

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.