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Puerto Morelos Seaweed Update

Beach cleaning efforts in Puerto Morelos to remove the sargassum or seaweed washing ashore have been boosted since the beginning of August. More than 850 people are currently involved and the number is set to top 1,000 for the next 35 days.

Cleaning brigades are patrolling the stretch of shoreline from Bahia Petempich south to the village where seaweed has washed up in larger quantities; others are removing the weed floating in the shallows. Light tractors and beach rakers are being used on some of the beaches that are not sea turtle nesting sites.

Seaweed is still coming ashore along the Mexican Caribbean coast and the amounts vary from day to day and in different locations. We will keep you posted on the statewide beach cleaning initiative, research into the causes of the seaweed invasion affecting the entire Caribbean and possible solutions.

Visit www.royalresortsnews.com for additional updates.

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More Statues for the Cancun Underwater Museum of Art

Cancun’s iconic underwater museum is expanding once more. “Entendimiento” (The Understanding), a cluster of figures kneeling around the sacred fire is the latest group of sculptures to be submerged in the Cancun Underwater Museum of Art and it will soon be joined by two more art works: Zoe and Bendición (The Blessing), out of a waiting list of 16 that are ready for exhibition.

The work of artist Eliezer Amado Gil, Entendimiento is now on display underwater in Punta Nizuc, where visitors arriving on the wave runner jungle tour will be able to admire it.

The Cancun Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA) already has more than 500 sculptures for snorkelers and divers to admire and there is room for at least 846 more in the Manchones and Punta Nizuc galleries.

In addition to their message of art, the sculptures have become a habitat for fish, lobsters, corals, sponges and anemones and are slowly being transformed into living reefs.

If you would like to visit the Cancun Underwater Museum of Art during your next trip, ask your Concierge for details of snorkeling and scuba trips.

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Macaws bred in Xcaret now fly free in Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz

In the third liberation of its kind in the Nanciyaga Reserve in Los Tuxtlas, 29 scarlet macaws bred in Xcaret Park were released into the wild. This brings the total of macaws that have been reintroduced into the forests of southern Veracruz to 72.

Similar releases have taken place in northern Chiapas, near the ancient Mayan city of Palenque and the hope is that these colonies of macaws will begin to breed and help bring this beautiful bird back from the brink of extinction in Mexico.

Launched in 1993, the Xcaret macaw breeding program has been extremely successful. It is in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest number of chicks hatched in a single year; 175 birds were born in 2012.

Macaws mate for life and there are now more than 100 breeding pairs in the park and to date, over 1,000 birds have been raised from four original breeding pairs.

If you are planning a visit to Xcaret during your stay at Grand Residences and are interested in nature, don’t miss the park’s huge new aviary, now open to visitors. Not only will you see macaws or guacamayas, but no less than 50 species –a total of 1,000 birds– from the jungles and mountain cloud forests of southeast Mexico such as the great curassow, golden eagle, king vulture, keel-billed toucan, parrots and hummingbirds.

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Restoring Yucatan’s Colonial Heritage

The Government of Yucatan has announced that the second phase of the restoration project in the historic town center of Valladolid that will bring many of the facades of 16thand 17th century mansions back to life and illuminate the architecture of the imposing San Bernardino and Sisal monastery is almost complete. The Valladolid project joins the Izamal, City of Light and restoration of the village of Mani in the south as initiatives to preserve the state’s colonial heritage and boost tourism.

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Mayan Discoveries at Uxmal and Chichen Itza

A team of archaeologists working in the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Puuc Hills of southern Yucatan has discovered traces of 150 different species of medicinal plants in the vicinity of the Palace of the Governor, pointing to the existence of herb gardens when the city was inhabited.

The herbs were found to the east of the Palace of the Governor and lower down the manmade platform that it crowns. This was a residential area for the nobility and Archaeologist José Huchim Herrera, Director of the Uxmal Archaeological Site, stated that his team has also found evidence of cornfields, bean and squash plants cultivated to feed the elite.

A total of 321 species of plant, more than 200 of which have medicinal uses, have been found throughout the archaeological site. Some of the herbs are still used today in the Yucatan to cure stomach disorders, ulcers, fever, sores and even as a remedy to draw out the poison from snakebites and the team is working with a Mayan herbalist and a botanist to identify and register them all.

Using electromagnetic resistance technology, geophysics experts have found an underground river below the Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza, the Yucatan’s most famous Mayan city and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The hidden pool is in a chamber deep in the limestone, with 20 meters of rock between it and the pyramid’s foundations. Experts believe that it may have fed the other cenotes on the site, the Sacred Well and Xtoloc Cenote.

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Trusted Traveler Program set to Expand in Airports

Starting in 2016, the United States, Mexico and Canada plan to create a “trusted traveler” network that will allow eligible citizens to apply for fast track airport screening.

Under the agreement Mexican nationals who are registered for the Viajero Confiable program will be able to apply for the United States-Canada Nexus trusted traveler program.

Canadians who are members of Nexus will be able to apply for Viajero Confiable and if accepted will be eligible for expedited screening at international airports in Mexico.

Citizens of the United States may already apply for Nexus and Viajero Confiable status in Canada and Mexico though existing agreements between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the National Institute of Migration in Mexico and the Canadian Department of Public Safety.

(Source: Travel Weekly, Novedades)