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Royal Resorts Rewards now valid for five years

We have some great news for Royal Resorts Rewards members. Your Rewards are now valid for five years instead of three, giving you even more time to use them.

Remember that you can earn and redeem Royal Resorts Rewards in a number of ways during your vacation and even when you are back home:

Earning Rewards

  • Earn Rewards at participating* Grand Residences and Royal Resorts restaurants and participating facilities such as the Spa and Gourmet Market
  • For eligible stays and products booked through the Grand Residences and Royal Resorts Reservation Center (call center and websites)
  • By purchasing Life Extension products or Skymed memberships
  • By participating in the Friends & Family referral program

* Purchases must be charged to your room to earn Rewards. When you check out let Front Desk staff know which account to credit with the Rewards earned on each key card during your stay.

Redeeming Rewards

  • Pay your annual Club Service Fee
  • Pay the resort bill on your next vacation
  • Make a donation to the Royal Resorts Foundation
  • Redeem Rewards by phone only to pay for eligible stays and products booked through the Grand Residences and Royal Resorts Reservation Center

Your Guests can now earn Rewards too

Remember that now your guests can sign up for Royal Resorts Rewards too and earn Rewards during their vacation.

Get started

If you haven’t activated your Royal Resorts account yet, you can do so by visiting RoyalResortsRewards.com Log in with your Owner email/ID and PIN; or click

Join Here if you are a guest. Accept the Terms and Conditions and you are good to go.

 

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

 

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Supper on the Terrace

We are sure that you and your family and friends will enjoy many a magical moment at El Faro Grill, Flor de Canela or Heaven Grill, ordering the tempting dishes prepared by Chef Borbolla and his team. However, sometimes you just want a relaxing evening in your residence in front of the TV or on the terrace eating a casual supper that you have rustled up in your own gourmet kitchen. If this is the case, the new Room Service order list of meat and seafood that you can cook yourself is the perfect option.

How about an Angus filet mignon or lobster tail grilled to perfection on your range? Cook the catch of the day: a selection of the finest and freshest locally sourced fish. Or plan your own Mexican taco party with arrachera skirt steak, chicken breast and sautéed shrimp with lashings of salsa and guacamole on the side.

The meat and seafood comes from the same suppliers that we use for the restaurants and is top quality. Owners have a preferential rate. Just call Room Service to order:

  • Angus Filet mignon 280g/10oz
  • Angus New York 280g/10oz
  • Angus Rib-Eye 280g/10oz
  • Sterling Silver arrachera skirt steak 280g/10oz
  • Shrimp U15 160g (order of 6)
  • Catch of the day
  • Lobster tail 200g/8oz
  • Chicken breast 180g

If you are not in the mood to cook, Room Service has wide variety of delicious dishes for you to choose from and the waiter delivering your order will set the table for you.

And for a special occasion, talk to your Concierge and arrange for the Chef to cook a meal for you so that you can enjoy candlelight dining on your terrace.

 

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Easter activities for the kids

Are you staying with us over Easter? If so, the Kids Club has plenty of fun activities for the little ones. They’ll include Easter egg and basket painting and fun with the Easter bunny, all in preparation for the afternoon Easter egg hunt and piñata party.

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Sunset sailing

It’s all aboard for the sunset catamaran cruise. This is the perfect way to unwind and meet fellow Grand Residences owners while enjoying spectacular views of the Caribbean and the Puerto Morelos shoreline.

Sip champagne and munch hors d’oeuvres as you take in the Mexican Caribbean sunset and watch the heavens turn from rose, gold and orange to mauve, azure and the deepest blue as the first stars begin to twinkle.

Ask the Concierge for details and the departure time (weather permitting, children under the age of 12 not permitted).

 

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Every picture tells a story

This month we have included some of our favorite animal species found in the jungles and wetlands around Puerto Morelos.

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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On the Riviera Maya cenote trail, gateways to a hidden world

Have you ever gazed into the mysterious blue depths of a jungle cenote or sinkhole and plunged into the crystal-clear waters to escape the midday heat? If you haven’t, then why not go exploring on your next vacation? The limestone landscape of the Yucatan Peninsula is peppered with caves and natural wells in the forest called cenotes, which are gateways to a hidden world, a labyrinth of underground rivers. The ancient Maya venerated them as sacred places and they still have an air of mystery.

Join us on a journey to some of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful caves and cenotes.

For starters, what is a cenote?

The Yucatan Peninsula is a vast limestone shelf with no surface rivers. Rainwater seeps through fissures and fault lines in the rock and accumulates in aquifers and underground rivers, which are the only source of fresh water in the area.

The word “cenote” comes from the Mayan word d’zonot or ts’ono’ot which means “flooded cave,” “abyss” or “depths.” These sinkholes or natural wells are formed as rainwater reacts with the porous limestone to form carbonic acid, which dissolves, erodes and weakens the rock. Over millions of years, the fissures are enlarged and tunnels and caves are formed. Erosion is twofold, from rainwater on the surface and the underground rivers flowing through the rock. Eventually the rock becomes so unstable that huge slabs carve off and cave roofs collapse, leading to the creation of sinkholes.

Cenotes can be deep lakes or shallow pools and they may suddenly appear as a result of subsidence and a rock fall in a cave. There are several different types of sinkholes: open cenotes are those in which the ancient cave roof has collapsed completely. Partially open cenotes still have a section of the cave roof and there are still others that have a small opening in the roof through which sunlight and the roots of jungle trees filter in.

Sacred wells, gateway to the home of ancient gods

The number of these enigmatic wells scattered through the peninsula is unknown, in the state of Yucatan alone there are between 7,000 and 8,000 cenotes, many of which are associated with local legends. The Maya believed that cenotes were sacred places – they were the home of the rain god, Chaac, and the gateway to Xibalba, the Underworld. Even today, some communities believe that the aluxes or spirits haunt caves and cenotes and others tell of mythical creatures such as golden crocodiles.

Visiting cenotes is an unforgettable experience. Their cool, crystal-clear waters are inviting and quite a surprise after the steamy midday heat and as you swim or snorkel, look down into the depths and marvel at Mother Nature. You’ll see pillars and sculpted columns that look like the turrets and spires of a submerged city and in the distance the black holes of caves and tunnels leading into the unknown.

You’ll also catch a glimpse of some of the jungle creatures found around cenotes. Swallows, martins and butterflies dip for water; turquoise-browed motmots make their nests in the limestone rock and coatimundis, agoutis, spider monkeys and even deer may make an appearance.

Here’s a guide to some of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful cenotes.

Ruta de los Cenotes, Puerto Morelos area

Follow the Ruta de los Cenotes, the highway west from Puerto Morelos that leads through the jungle, bound for the village of Leona Vicario.

Wooden signs beside the road indicate turn offs for jungle trails leading to cenotes open to the public such as Las Mojarras where you can zip line, dive in from a tower or just enjoy the view.

The seven mouths that give the Siete Bocas cenote its name glow gently as the sunlight penetrates the turquoise depths. The strange rock formations in this cenote are incredible.

Next stop along the Ruta de los Cenotes is the mysterious pool of Boca de Puma. Located in a private jungle reserve, this cenote offers a variety of adventures ranging from snorkeling and zip lining to rock climbing, rappelling down a cliff wall and biking. There is also a chiclero camp where you can learn how the sap of the chicozapote tree was harvested in the area and used to make chewing gum.

A winding trail leads to Verde Lucero, an open cenote in a forest clearing where another rustic zip line provides hours of fun.

Xenotes Oasis Maya

The Xenotes Oasis Maya trip gives you the chance to explore four very different cenotes in one day, trying your hand at snorkeling, zip lining and kayak. The four cenotes are named in Maya after the four elements: K’áak or Fire, Há or Water, Lik’ or Wind and Lu’um or Earth. All are filled with crystal-clear water and strange rock formations, and each has its own charm.

Expert guides point out native flora and fauna as they escort you along jungle trails, explaining how cenotes are formed and their importance as sacred sites for the ancient Maya. They will also tell them about Mayan mythology, including the tale of the Aluxes, the guardian spirits of the forest and the milpa or cornfields.

Xenotes, Oasis Maya is for small groups of visitors and includes the use of snorkeling gear and a life jacket, lunch and transport.

Rio Secreto

Just south of Playa del Carmen, Rio Secreto is an incredible cave system with still clear pools that mirror columns, stalactites and stalagmites. Guided tours are available.

Cenotes in the Puerto Aventuras Area

A cluster of cenotes lies in the forest to the west of Highway 307 between Puerto Aventuras and Akumal. One mile south of Puerto Aventuras is the Kantun Chi eco-park with two caves and four cenotes (Kantun Chi, Sas Ka Leen Ha, Uchil Ha and Zacil Ha).

In a jungle clearing, Cenote Azul is another large cenote with several inlets for snorkeling. The water is so tempting that you may not be able to resist the urge to take a running jump!

Christened by divers, Taj Mahal is one of the most spectacular in the area; shafts of sunlight like an underwater laser show illuminate endless vistas stretching into the distance. Even more poetically named is Jardín del Edén or Garden of Eden, a large cenote rich in marine life and rimmed by exuberant vegetation that is ideal for an afternoon picnic.

Chi kin Ha is another popular shallow cenote in the area.

Nohoch Nah Chich

This incredible cenote is the mouth of one of the longest underground river systems in the world.

The Jungla Maya trip offered by Alltournative gives you the opportunity to participate in eight different activities in one day: swimming and snorkeling in Nohoch Nah Chiich and Yaxmuul cenotes, abseiling, zip lining, a 4×4 Unimog ride, biking and walking along forest trails and watching a Mayan priest perform a ritual venerating the ancient gods and nature itself.

Xotik-Ha

Opposite the exit for Xpu-Ha, this jungle park contains the Minotauro Cenote, a semi-open cenote with areas for swimming and snorkeling. There is also a rope bridge course and zip line fun.

Certified cave divers also explore the Minotauro system of cenotes and underground rivers on guided trips.

Aktun Chen

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

Aktun Chen park also has a zip lining circuit, nature trail and open cenotes for swimming.

Tulum area

The Tulum area is famous for having the world’s longest underground rivers discovered to date and they are still being explored. Divers and archaeologists have made amazing discoveries of Maya ceramics, fossils of prehistoric species and the bones of the earliest humans to settle the Yucatan Peninsula, 13,000 years ago.

For swimming and snorkeling, Zacil-Ha, Gran Cenote, Cenote Cristal, Cenote Aktun Ha or Carwash are popular spots and Dos Ojos Cenote Park.

Dos Ojos Cenote park is the site of two of the longest underground rivers in the world and some of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful cenotes or sinkholes. With a guide you’ll go snorkeling in several cenotes or sinkholes, try zip lining and enjoy a day in the jungle. The park is also the site of a Museum of Prehistory with exhibits of some of the artifacts and bones discovered by archaeologists and cave divers during explorations of area cenotes.

Yucatan’s cenote trail

Don’t stop with the Riviera Maya. Follow the cenote trail into Yucatan. There are a number of beautiful cenotes clustered in and around the colonial town of Valladolid such as Zaci, Dzitnup, Samula, Suytun and Hubiku. Ik-Kil is near Chichen Itza and there are more cenotes in the Cuzama and Tecoh areas.

Go caving with a visit to Balancanche near Chichen Itza and Loltun on the Puuc Route in southern Yucatan. Both contain offerings to the gods, evidence of ancient rituals performed by Mayan priests.

In southern Quintana Roo, Cenote Azul on the shores of Bacalar Lagoon is one of the deepest cenotes found to date.

Plan a cenote visit

Ask your Concierge for more recommendations and start planning your own cenote trail.

Many cenote parks have life jackets for you to wear when swimming and you must never venture outside the areas where swimming or snorkeling are permitted. Do not swim alone or go into tunnels. Always follow the instructions given by park staff.

If you are an experienced diver, cave diving courses are available if you would like to explore the flooded caves, cenotes and underground rivers of the Riviera Maya accompanied by an expert guide.

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New shopping mall to be built north of Puerto Morelos

Construction is underway on a new shopping mall north of Puerto Morelos not far from Cancun Airport. Grand Outlet Riviera Maya Mallentertainment will be the largest mall in the area and is expected to open in time for the winter season of 2020.

In addition to a selection of stores featuring some of the world’s leading brands, the plaza will have the concept of “mall entertainment” and will offer a variety of restaurants, an aquarium, an ice rink, go-kart track, manmade lakes for water sports, an auditorium with capacity for 7,500 people, a hot air balloon, and more.

Source: Novedades

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Cancun is 49 years old this April

Cancun is gearing up to celebrate its 49th anniversary on April 20 with a series of commemorative events organized by Pioneros de Cancun, the Cancun Pioneers Association.

Comprised of members of the founding families who moved here in the early 1970s to work in the construction of Mexico’s first master-planned tourist center, the group celebrates the occasion with masses, a procession, exhibitions, a picnic and a gala dinner.

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Amazing discoveries in Chichen Itza

Members of the Gran Acuifero Maya research expedition led by Mexican archaeologist Guillermo de Anda who are exploring the caves, cenotes and underground rivers of the Yucatan Peninsula recently made an amazing discovery in Chichen Itza.

They rediscovered a cave called Balamku (Cave of the Jaguar God in Maya) that was once a shrine used by Mayan priests over 1,000 years ago for rituals to honor the rain god. After crawling through a tunnel and worming their way through the tiniest of spaces, they found seven offerings of pottery, incense burners, grinding stones, jade and shells in chambers and galleries in the depths of the cave.

Located 2.7 kilometers to the east of the Pyramid of Kukulcan, Balamku had been discovered in 1966 by some local farmers and reported to archaeologist Victor Segovia who ordered the cave mouth to be sealed up again for reasons unknown.

Guillermo de Anda and Professor James Brady of California State University stated that the ceramics and other offerings constitute the largest discovery in the Chichen Itza area for decades and will help rewrite the history of Chichen Itza.

(Source: INAH)

 

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Cancun flight news

Vacation Express is adding a new weekly flight from Memphis to Cancun on Saturday, starting May 25 to July 27.

In other airline news, Air France is boosting the number of weekly flights on its Paris-Cancun route from five to seven. The airline’s recently codeshare with Virgin Atlantic, Delta and KLM is also likely to lead to more trans-Atlantic flight options for passengers later this year.

(Source: Caribbean Journal, Novedades)

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EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

Holbox Fishing Tournament, Holbox, April 12-13

Easter Week, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Merida, Valladolid and elsewhere in Mexico, April 15 – 21

Masses, processions and reenactments of the Crucifixion, masses, floral carpets in the streets and more on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.

49th Anniversary of the Founding of Cancun, Cancun April 20

Masses, processions, exhibitions and more in Downtown Cancun to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the founding of Cancun.

Copa Capitan Ferrat Fishing Tournament, Cancun, April 19 – 21

One of the most important fishing tournaments in the Mexican Caribbean.

Volando al Paraiso Hot Air Balloon Festival, Cancun, April 19-21

Pok Ta Pok Golf course in the Cancun Hotel Zone will be the site for this Hot Air Balloon Festival and there will also be kite flying, cuisine, music and more.

Fundadores 2019 International Riviera Maya Fishing Tournament, Playa del Carmen, April 26-28

This fishing 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.

Challenge Cancun Triathlon, Cancun, April 28

1,500 top triathletes gather in Cancun for this international triathlon. The swimming course is in the bay between Cancun and Isla Mujeres; the bike race circuit is from Casa Blanca Sports Club in Bonampak Ave to The Royal Sands in the Hotel Zone (two laps) and the running event will take place on Bonampak Ave.

Don Andres Garcia Lavin Tournament, Puerto Morelos, May 3-5

Sport fishermen make their way to Puerto Morelos in early May for the town’s popular fishing tournament.
Other May tournaments take place on Isla Mujeres from May 17 to 19 and in Playa del Carmen from May 24 to 26

Travesía Sagrada Maya 2019, Xcaret and Cozumel, May 17-18

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.

Riviera Maya Sport Fishing Tournament, Playa del Carmen, May 24 -26

Anniversary of the Foundation of Valladolid, May 28-29

The colonial town of Valladolid celebrates the anniversary of its founding in 1543 with masses, serenades, traditional dances and a candlelit procession to the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena.

Commemorating La Chispa in Valladolid, June 4

The population of Valladolid turns out on the night of June 4 to witness the representation of La Chispa, a rebellion against injustice in 1910 that was the first spark or chispa of the Mexican Revolution.
More than 800 actors take part in La Chispa. Dressed in authentic turn-of-the-century garb, they play the parts of the rebels, ruling aristocrats, and the police and soldiers sent to arrest them.

June Sport Fishing Tournaments

Cozumel, June 9
Dorado de Plata, Mahahual, June 7-9
Chuk Kay Tulum, June 14 – 15
Playa del Carmen, June 16
Copa Mahahual, June 21 – 23
La Dorada del Caribe Tournament for Women, Isla Mujeres, June 28-29

July Sport Fishing Tournaments

Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Playa del Carmen 2019, July 14
Punta Allen 2019 Fishing Tournament, Punta Allen, Sian Ka’an, July 19-21

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

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

La Diosa del Mar Women’s International Fishing Tournament, Puerto Morelos, July 12 & 13

Catch and release international fishing tournament.