A week of fine dining at Grand Residences

Chef Rafael Borbolla has plenty of tempting treats in store for you on your next visit. Enjoy gourmet cuisine a la carte and the theme nights during the week.

Start your day in paradise with breakfast in El Faro and a selection of fresh fruit, divine pastries and hot dishes. Lunch is equally delicious whether you choose a salad, pasta or a sandwich. For dinner, order fresh seafood, prime steaks and Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

If you are craving Mexican cuisine, you won’t want to miss Flor de Canela. A selection of dishes from all over the country, live music and premium tequilas make for an unforgettable evening. And on Taco Tuesday you’ll learn everything you need to know about the art of eating tacos.

In the mood for lunch on the beach? We’ve got it covered at Heaven Grill. Snack on shrimp tacos, seafood ceviche or a burger while you sink your toes in the sand and soak up the view. You won’t want to leave.

There’s afternoon tea on the Lobby Bar terrace to enjoy too, with fresh baked scones, cakes and sandwiches. And don’t miss the theme nights during the week. They range from the poolside BBQ on Sunday to Italian Night and Caribbean Night. Ask your Concierge for the schedule on arrival.

Sometimes all that you want after a day of snorkeling or sightseeing is a relaxing supper in your residence and when that is the case, order from the Room Service menu. For something special to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or a friends get-together, call in advance to arrange a private dinner prepared by the chef.


Want to try Mexican wines? Ask the Sommelier

It’s been a good year for Mexican wines. Several of its leading wine producers from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California and Parras, Coahuila, triumphed at the prestigious Concours Mondial de Bruxelles wine festival in Aigle, Switzerland. They came home with 39 medals, important industry accolades for wineries such as El Cielo and Casa Madero. Mexican wine is winning more and more acclaim and the number of wineries is on the rise. If you would like to sample some during your vacation, ask our Sommelier to recommend pairings for your menu choices.


Fresh from the bakery

All the bread served in our restaurants is now baked on site in a new oven in the bakery, ensuring maximum freshness and taste.



Have a Spa summer

Start the day with a relaxing massage on the beach or your terrace and indulge with a luxury facial or body wrap.

If you do overdo it in the sun remember that the Spa has the perfect soothing after-sun remedy to bring relief to irritated red skin.


Every picture tells a story

This month we are celebrating our seascapes, whether that is the palette of turquoise, blue and aquamarine you see when you hop on a boat or below the surface when you witness the rainbow colors of life on the coral reef.

Be sure to follow Grand Residences on Instagram @grandresidences to see more pictures from your home in paradise.

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.



Island Hopping

Set sail this summer and visit Quintana Roo’s island treasures: Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Contoy and Holbox. They are all breathtakingly beautiful and have their own distinctive Caribbean charms.

Isla Mujeres

A 20-minute ferry ride across the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the bay from Cancun takes you to Isla Mujeres, “Isle of Women” in Spanish. Isla was so named by the Spanish explorer Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba who first spotted it in 1517 and the statues of women on the rocky southern headland. Like its larger cousin, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres was said to be a sacred place for the ancient Maya and a site of worship for Ixchel, the goddess of the moon and fertility.

Spend the day at picture-perfect Playa Norte, an idyllic palm-lined stretch of sand that often features in listings of the world’s best beaches. Snack on fresh seafood, shop for souvenirs and hire a golf cart or bike to explore the island. The views from Punta Sur are spectacular.

As an alternative, board a yacht or catamaran for a trip around the island, dropping anchor en route near coral reefs in the bay to go snorkeling. If you are a diver, you might want to book a dive trip, the coral reefs around Isla Mujeres are beautiful. Experienced divers might want to go to the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks,a remote spot in deeper waters to the east of the island. This cave was made famous by Mexican diver and filmmaker Ramon Bravo and Jacques Cousteau. Another unforgettable experience in the summer is to book a whale shark watching trip from Isla Mujeres. Your captain and crew will sail you to the whale shark feeding grounds where with an eco guide you will be able to swim and snorkel alongside these gentle giants as they sup on plankton and fish roe.

However you spend your day on Isla, you’ll want to return to Playa Norte or one of the wooden waterfront beach bars to watch the Caribbean sunset.


If you are a nature lover, an eco trip to Contoy offers the perfect combination of Caribbean sailing, a day on the beach and wildlife watching. A two-and-a-half-hour boat trip to the north of Cancun and Isla Mujeres, Contoy is a desert island and bird sanctuary.

Birds are everywhere: cormorants perch on the wooden pier, frigate birds and gulls circle overhead on the lookout to snatch fish from smaller birds, dainty terns swoop low over the waves, herons stalk the shallows and the mangroves echo with the raucous cries of nesting pelicans, brown boobies and egrets.

Flamingos and roseate spoonbills can often be spotted and during the winter months the island is a refuge for ducks, plovers, sandpipers and other shore birds that migrate south to escape the cold of northern latitudes.

During your voyage to Contoy, you may be lucky enough to spot dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays or even whale sharks in the summer months. Some boats stop for snorkeling at Ixlache Reef near the southern tip of the island or for a spot of fishing en route.


Sail to an island steeped in history and girdled by some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world, Cozumel. Ferries to Cozumel, Mexico’s largest inhabited island operate from Playa del Carmen to San Miguel during the day.

Spend the day exploring Cozumel’s coral kingdom. The reefs along the west coast and southern headland, including Palancar, Santa Rosa, Maracaibo, Colombia and Punta Sur are world-famous in scuba circles but the island offers plenty of spectacular snorkeling spots too. Start with snorkeling in Chankanaab Park and book trips to other shallow water reefs. Another attraction is El Cielo, a stretch of seabed off the north coast of the island that is inhabited by thousands of starfish.

In addition to its spectacular reefs, Cozumel offers lovely beaches, the wetlands and lagoons of Punta Sur Park and archaeological sites such as San Gervasio in the jungle. If you want to learn more about the island’s history, visit the Museum in San Miguel for a fascinating introduction to tales of Mayan goddesses and merchants and the arrival of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez in 1519.


The fourth in the Mexican Caribbean island quartet is peaceful Holbox, a place to leave your cares behind and renew your bond with nature. Hours spent rocking gently in a hammock or walking along the shoreline; fishing and birding trips, glorious sunsets, fresh seafood and the chance to see whale sharks, manta rays and sea turtles in the summer are its charms. Located off the Gulf coast of Quintana Roo, it is a half-hour ferry ride from the port of Chiquila.

Plan your island hopping adventures

Your concierge can help you plan your island hopping adventures in the Mexican Caribbean, charter luxury yachts and book whale shark trips.


Visit the Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden

Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden, also called the Yaaxche-Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden, celebrates its 37th anniversary this June and if you have never visited it, why not pencil in a visit on your next trip. With trails winding through 65 hectares of jungle and wetlands, it is the second largest botanical garden in Mexico and a haven for wildlife.

Learn about trees and plants native to the Yucatán Peninsula such as the ceiba, sacred tree of the Maya, caoba or mahogany and chicozapote. In a jungle clearing there is an exhibit about chicle, the white, latex-like resin tapped or harvested from the chicozapote tree that is the original raw ingredient for chewing gum. Walk through the herb garden, which is full of medicinal plants used by the Maya since ancient times. Jungle trails lead you to wooden observation towers offering panoramic views across the jungle and wetlands to the sea.

A visit to the Botanical Garden is a must for nature lovers. It is home to spider monkeys, coatimundi, deer, agouti, iguana, shimmering blue morph butterflies and a variety of birds. During a walk through the park, you will certainly hear the distinctive rattle call of chachalacas and you may spot Yucatan and green jays parrots, trogons, turquoise-browed motmots, pygmy owls, orioles, woodpeckers and hummingbirds.

The Botanical Garden is located just south of Puerto Morelos on Highway 307. It 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 a camera, binoculars and use eco-friendly insect repellent to ward off biting insects.


Seaweed Update

You may be wondering about seaweed and whether it is washing ashore on the beaches in the Riviera Maya. We are already seeing some sargassum landings this season, as we did in 2018. However, it is important to note that landings occur from time to time and that not all beaches are affected.
The authorities are monitoring satellite imagery to forecast when patches of seaweed may approach the coast. The Federal government has designated the Navy to coordinate the beach cleaning campaign.

What is Sargassum?

It is natural for seaweed to wash up on the beach from season to season, after storms and in the summer heat. However, in recent years we have been seeing larger quantities of two species of seaweed known as Gulfweed or Sargassum (Sargassum natans and Sargassum fluitans) coming ashore in the Riviera Maya, Cancun and other parts of the Mexican Caribbean. Similar landings occur in the Caribbean islands, West Africa and along the Gulf coast of the United States, including Florida.

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

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

Sometimes ocean currents transport lines or patches of this seaweed to areas beyond the Sargasso Sea. However, biologists believe that the sargasso that is affecting the Caribbean region and the coast of Quintana Roo has a different source, thousands of kilometers to the south. The seaweed is now flourishing in a second area off the coast of Brazil in the tropical Atlantic. Mats of it drift on ocean currents and are dispersed throughout the Caribbean.

Why has there been so much of it in recent years?

The causes of the seaweed proliferation or blooms have been attributed to climate change, which is triggering rising sea temperatures, and the presence of excessive nutrients in the water. Organic matter, fertilizers and other chemicals in runoff from the Amazon River and its many tributaries (and from coastal areas of other countries the seaweed passes on its journey north) provide the elements for the seaweed to thrive on.

What is being done to clean the beaches?

In the Mexican Caribbean, a campaign has begun to collect seaweed when it lands on public beaches. Brigades are working in Xcalak and Mahahual, Playa del Carmen and other areas. The Mexican government has designated the Mexican Navy to coordinate beach cleaning initiatives this year. The Quintana Roo State government divided the coast into nine sectors in which many hotels and resorts will have their own cleaning programs and will also work together with the authorities and there are volunteer beach cleaning initiatives too. In addition to beach cleaning brigades, floating barriers may be installed along certain stretches of coastline susceptible to sargassum landings in order to deflect it and reduce the amount coming ashore. Specially equipped boats will also collect the seaweed while at sea.
When seaweed accumulates in the shallows it begins to decompose, giving the water a brown tint and pungent odor. As it breaks down, it reduces the amount of oxygen in the water and blocks the sunlight that sea grass and coral reefs need for growth. This can weaken coral communities, making them more vulnerable to disease, and harm fish and other marine life.

Puerto Morelos

In Puerto Morelos, the local authorities, hotels, conservationists and biologists from the UNAM (National University of Mexico) research station joined forces and have emitted the Puerto Morelos Protocol on the best ways to collect seaweed and dispose of it.
Hotels to the north of town are studying the possibility of installing floating barriers and boats to clean up the seaweed before it reaches the coast.
Brigades of workers will remove seaweed that has already washed up and it will be transferred to a single landfill site, which must be covered with a geo-membrane to prevent salt and organic seepage contaminating the water table as the seaweed dries out.
Possible uses for the seaweed collected are also being studied. If properly processed, it can be used as a fertilizer, in the food, pharmaceutical, textile or construction industry or for biofuel. Some local companies are experimenting with making paper, cardboard and containers from seaweed. One Puerto Morelos ecologist has even built and donated houses for low-income families made with bricks containing compressed seaweed.

Grand Residences by Royal Resorts

At Grand Residences by Royal Resorts to the south of Puerto Morelos, a mechanized beach sweeper operates six hours a day if needed. The resort’s team of gardeners is also on call to offer additional support should it become necessary.

Turtle nesting season

It is turtle nesting season and the rules limit the use of heavy machinery on dry sand to prevent it from compacting or causing irreversible damage to turtle nests and eggs. Tractors can only be used on the shoreline where the waves break and during the morning, not in the evening.
All along the coast, turtle patrols are keeping an eye on adult turtles coming ashore to nest on beaches at times when there are seaweed landings. They will also watch over the hatchlings as they are born later in the season to ensure that they do not become entangled in it.

Seaweed fast facts

• Seaweed washes up on the beach naturally
• Seaweed is an important habitat for marine life
• The presence of seaweed does not mean that the beach is polluted
• You can still swim in the sea but with care. Avoid large patches of seaweed
• Showering after swimming is recommended
• Rinse out your swimsuit after use
• Seaweed will not sting you. However, microscopic creatures or insects may be trapped in the weed and can occasionally irritate the skin, hence the recommendation to rinse off after sea bathing

We hope that this information is useful. Further updates may be published during the summer on the blog at www.grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com

[Sources: Puerto Morelos Protocol]

Cancun flight news

Due to growing demand for the Mexican Caribbean in Europe, Lufthansa has announced that its thrice-weekly Frankfurt-Cancun flights will now available all year round instead of just in the winter season. From December, Air France will offer a daily flight from Paris to Cancun and will boost the number of seats by 30 percent.

In the United States, Delta Airlines will be adding a third daily flight from New York to Cancun, starting in January 2020 and Aeromexico is now flying from Minneapolis.

Mexican airline Interjet will soon be flying to Lima, Peru and Medellin in Colombia, and Aeromexico is inaugurating flights from Quito in Ecuador and Cali in Colombia.



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

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.

Whale Shark Festival Isla Mujeres, July 19-22

165th Anniversary of the Foundation of Holbox, Holbox, July 22

Folk ballet and live music in the main square, July 22 at 7 p.m.

Procession de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Isla Mujeres, August 2

A procession of boats to honor the statue of the Virgin.

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Izamal, August 15, Izamal

Masses, processions, traditional dances and music in Izamal, a historic town in the Yucatan famous for its colonial convent and surrounding buildings all painted in bright yellow with a white trim. Izamal shares the distinction of being one of the Yucatan’s twin Pueblos Magicos or “Magical” Towns with Valladolid, a name given to smaller Mexican communities that are rich in history and traditions or are the site of natural wonders.

169th Anniversary of the Settlement of Isla Mujeres, August 17

Isla Mujeres celebrates its anniversary in August, 169 years since the first settlers in the modern era founded the village of Dolores. Isla Fest events include processions, dance performances, live music and more.

Cruz de la Bahía, Isla Mujeres, August 17

Islanders take to their boats in a pilgrimage to honor the submerged cross in the bay between Isla Mujeres and Cancun

Mexican Independence, September 15 &16

Mexico celebrates the anniversary of its Independence from Spain with delicious food, music and colorful festivities the night of September 15 and processions on September 16.

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida

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

Festival de Vida y Muerte, Xcaret Park, October 30 – November 2

Hosted by Xcaret Park, the Festival of Life and Death Traditions showcases one of Mexico’s richest and most colorful customs, the Day of the Dead or Día de Muertos, which takes place on November 1 and 2.