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Grand Residences receives award at Mexico’s Tianguis Travel Show

Grand Residences by Royal Resorts® received the Diversification of Mexican Tourist Products award for excellence in the Premium or Luxury category at the famous Mexican travel show, the Tianguis Turístico held in Mazatlan, Sinaloa in April.

Now in its forty-third year, the Tianguis showcases Mexico’s many destinations and the variety of adventures that await visitors and attracts tour operators and travel agents from all over the world. For decades it was held in Acapulco but it is now hosted by a different city or destination each year. Famous for its beaches and fishing, the 2018 host Mazatlan is known as the “Pearl of the Pacific.”

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Fun in Grand style

Take your children to the Kids Club; they will never want to leave! There’s non-stop fun in store for them this summer with a packed program of activities including pool and beach fun, sports, games, movies and crafts.

From face painting, pirate masks and piñatas to a treasure hunt, nature walks and even iguana watching, there’s never a dull moment. Your children will also enjoy the creative sessions; they can try their hand at water coloring, papier mâché, pencil case making and sand art for starters.

The Kids Club is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for children aged between four and 12 years.

Be sure to check the daily activity program for teens and adults too. The day starts with tennis, yoga or pilates at 8 a.m. Later in the day there are dance lessons, a bike tour (reservations required), zumba and aqua fitness classes. Beach volleyball, soccer, karaoke, bingo and a music quiz are some of the afternoon activities available and you can also ask your Concierge to book your seat for a cooking class with Chef Yann Cozic or a cocktail class with the Heaven Grill bar staff during the week.

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Something special for Mom

Treat Mom to some pampering fit for a queen at Grand Residences. Why not start the day with a leisurely breakfast and mimosas on the terrace from the room service menu? There are flowers in your residence but you can order her bouquets and floral arrangements from the resort store.

After breakfast, it’s time for some Spa relaxation with Mom’s favorite massage, facial or body wrap.

Enjoy lunch poolside at Heaven Grill and later invite her for afternoon coffee or cocktails on the lobby bar terrace.

Board the catamaran for a sunset cruise. Sip champagne on the deck and watch the shoreline slip by as the sun goes down.

As the breeze picks up and the violet clouds scudding across the darkening sky give way to the first stars, it’s time for a cocktail on the terrace before dinner.

There’s plenty on the menu at El Faro Grill and Flor de Canela to tempt the palate and the desserts are heavenly. For something really special, plan a surprise dinner on the beach. Enjoy a superb menu and watch the moon rise over the Caribbean. Ask your Concierge for reservations.

 

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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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Turtle season begins in May

The beaches of the Mexican Caribbean are the stage for one of nature’s most incredible wonders, sea turtles coming ashore to nest on the same beaches that they were born on. All through the summer, huge female turtles will struggle ashore at the dead of night to dig their nests in the sand and lay their eggs. Forty-five to 60 days later, the eggs hatch and the baby turtles will scuttle towards the waves and a new life at sea.

The Mexican Caribbean is one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting areas and the season begins in May. Turtles emerge from the waves at night to lay their eggs on the Cancun shoreline, the beaches of Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Isla Mujeres, Contoy, Holbox, Cozumel, Sian Ka’an and southern Quintana Roo.

The first turtle nests of the year have already been reported in Puerto Morelos, Akumal and Xcacel and many more will follow them in the months to come.

The Grand Residences security staff are our dedicated turtle guardians and they are getting ready for their busy summer mission. All through the season, they will patrol the beach in front of the resort on the look out for our visitors from the sea. They watch over turtles as they lay their eggs and then carefully move the eggs to a nest in a protected turtle nursery where they monitor them until they hatch.

The guards will release the hatchlings when night has fallen and the seagulls and frigate birds that would prey on these tiny defenseless creatures have gone to roost.

Hopefully in 12 to 15 years time some of this season’s hatchlings will emerge from the waves and begin the long struggle up the beach to nest.

In 2017, the season tally at Grand Residences was 228 nests protected and 20,000 hatchlings released. We hope that our turtle guardians will be even busier this year.

Royal Resorts is a turtle conservation pioneer in Cancun and has been participating in the annual campaign to protect the species since 1985. Official record keeping began at 1998 and since then it has protected 7,995 turtle nests and released 741,042 baby turtles! In 2017, a record-breaking 1,063 nests were protected at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander in Cancun and 111,226 baby turtles were set free.

 

Follow the Turtle Season Rules

If you are due to visit Grand Residences or Royal Resorts during the summer, join us in protecting these beautiful creatures.

 

  • Alert the security staff
  • Be very quiet and keep still
  • Watch from a distance of ten meters
  • Do not attempt to touch the turtle or crowd her
  • Do not shine a torch or use the light on your mobile phone
  • Please, no flash photography
  • No smoking
  • Follow the instructions given by security staff at all times
  • Help us to keep our beaches and sea clean. Discarded straws, plastic bags, beer packaging, fishing lines and other garbage floating in the water are lethal to turtles and other marine life
  • When snorkeling or diving watch turtles from a distance, do not swim towards them and do not attempt to touch them
  • Wear a t-shirt when snorkeling as protection from the sun instead of applying sun block. Sun products pollute the water and are harmful to marine life
  • Turtles are protected by Mexican law and it is illegal to disturb, persecute and hunt them and consume their meat or eggs.

 

Mexican environmental agency regulations keep human contact with the turtle hatchlings to a minimum and the participation of hotel guests in turtle releases is no longer permitted.

 

Puerto Morelos turtle protection campaign

Turtles nest along three stretches of the Puerto Morelos shoreline, Punta Brava, Punta Caracol and Petempich. Located in the south, Punta Brava is the most important nesting area in Puerto Morelos. Loggerhead, green, hawksbill turtles and the occasional leatherback, the world’s largest sea turtle, come ashore

In 2017, 2,356 turtle nests were protected and more than 223,000 baby turtles released in the Puerto Morelos area. Employees from nine hotels, including Grand Residences, support government biologists, marines, students and conservation volunteers in this vital work.

The annual journey of the sea turtle is one of nature’s greatest wonders and Grand Residences and Royal Resorts are proud to do their part to protect this ancient, and sadly, endangered species.

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Every picture tells a story

This month we are celebrating the beauty of the Mesoamerican Reef, the second longest barrier reef system in the world. Its spectacular coral castles and columns are teeming communities, home to an endless variety of colorful marine life, including 400 species of reef fish. We hope that our photo gallery gets you in the mood to book your next snorkeling trip in Puerto Morelos National Marine Park or to explore other reefs in the Riviera Maya.

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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Travesia Sagrada Maya, the Sacred Mayan Journey to Cozumel

A chorus of conch horns and drumbeats, priests chanting, the smell of copal incense on the breeze as the first rays of the sun touch the shores of the bay in Xcaret transport you back in time to the days of the ancient Maya as you watch oarsmen receive the blessing of the gods. They board their canoes and embark on a perilous journey across the sea to the sacred island of Cozumel to worship at the shrine of the goddess Ixchel. On May 25 and 26, scenes from Mayan history are reenacted in the Travesia Sagrada Maya, the Sacred Mayan Journey, which takes place at Xcaret and Cozumel.

Xcaret Park is the location of the ancient port of Polé, once a Mayan trade center and the departure point for pilgrimages to Cozumel. At dawn on May 25, after the priests say a prayer for them, the canoes depart for Cozumel. As the pilgrims’ families bid farewell, a flock of scarlet macaws flies overhead in a salute to the rising sun. A fitting tribute as macaws and parrots were sacred birds in the Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures and were associated with the sun god.

The pilgrims make landfall on Cozumel at Chankanaab Park at around 1 p.m. and make their way to the shrine of Ixchel. The return voyage to the mainland is the following day and they are greeted in Polé with great jubilation.

A voyage of faith

After six months of arduous dawn training sessions, on May 25, more than 300 oarsmen from Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen will board a fleet of canoes in the sheltered inlet at Xcaret ready to embark on the 2018 Travesia Sagrada Maya or Sacred Mayan Journey. They follow the sea route taken by ancient Mayan pilgrims who traveled to the sacred island of Cozumel (Kuzamil) to worship at the shrine of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility, childbirth and the moon and tides. Depicted as an old woman or a beautiful young maiden, Ixchel was also the patron of fishing, painting and weaving.

This is the twelfth year of the Sacred Mayan Journey, which is the representation of a pre-Hispanic pilgrimage and rituals from the Late Post-Classic period of Mayan history (A.D. 1250-1519). From the backdrop of a Kii’wik or Mayan market and rituals in honor of Ixchel to the clothing, headdresses and face paint worn by the priests and priestesses, the nobility, dancers and oarsmen, everything has been carefully researched to make it as authentic as possible.

The Travesia Sagrada Maya originated as an initiative from the Experiencias Xcaret group to restore an ancient tradition and has been enthusiastically embraced by the people of the Mexican Caribbean.

If you would like to witness the Sacred Mayan Journey ask your Concierge for assistance in booking a trip to Xcaret.

 

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Return of the ocean giants: whale sharks

May heralds the return of the ocean giants to the Mexican Caribbean, the whale sharks that migrate to the waters around Holbox, Cabo Catoche and to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres during the summer months to feed on plankton.

An unforgettable summer adventure, see the whale sharks

If you are traveling to Grand Residences this summer and love the underwater world, plan your own once-in-a-lifetime encounter with nature, an unforgettable swim with the whale sharks. You may have seen these gentle giants in BBC wildlife programs but have you ever imagined coming face to face with one? Throughout the summer and up until mid-September, you have the opportunity to swim with the whale sharks in the Mexican Caribbean.

 

Whale sharks travel thousands of miles in search of food

The world’s largest fish, whale sharks are great ocean travelers, migrating thousands of miles through the tropics in search of the plankton that is their staple diet. They gather in the Mexican Caribbean from mid-May to mid-September, when soaring summer temperatures cause rapid plankton growth and massive blooms of the minute creatures. Biologists have also discovered that it isn’t only plankton that attracts the sharks, but also fish roe. Bonito (little tunny) spawning season is in the summer and whale sharks are partial to the eggs.

Hundreds of whale sharks feast on the nutritious plankton and fish roe broth floating in the waters of the northern Mexican Caribbean. Biologists believe that this is the largest whale shark gathering or aggregation in the world. Up to 400 of them have been counted on one day.

There are actually two whale shark feeding grounds: the area between the island of Holbox and Cabo Catoche, the headland where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean, and agua azul or “blue water,” the deeper waters to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres, a two-and-a-half-hour boat ride from Cancun. Due to the importance of this area for whale sharks and other marine species such as sailfish, marlin, manta rays, dolphins and sea turtles, the Mexican government declared it a marine biosphere reserve.

Gentle giants

Imagine watching as a creature the size of a bus looms out of the depths, approaches you and then swims placidly by, its gaping jaws open to scoop up the plankton and filter the water out through its gills. You’ll be amazed by the immensity of this gentle giant, its blue grey color and distinctive white spots and the remora fish hitching a ride to keep its skin free of parasites. With a final flick of the tail the whale shark disappears into the distance, leaving you with an incredible sensation of happiness and peace. It is an awe-inspiring sight and an emotional experience, one that wildlife watchers shouldn’t miss.

Domino fish

Local fishermen call whale sharks tiburón ballena or pez domino or “domino fish,” a reference to their distinctive stripes and dappled skin. Each fish has unique markings and taking photos of them is helping whale shark experts around the world to compile a catalog. Through the use of this international database for identification purposes and by tagging sharks they can now begin to map the movements of these enigmatic creatures during the year. For example, they have been able to track whale sharks during the year as they swim through the Gulf of Mexico, the Mexican Caribbean, Belize and the Bay Islands in Honduras. One female whale shark from the Gulf of Mexico population was tracked as far as Brazil.

In the Indo-Pacific region, whale sharks are spotted off the Mozambique coast, the Maldives, Seychelles, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Fiji and the Sea of Cortez off Baja California Sur in Mexico.

Eco trips to see the whale sharks

Guided eco trips to see the whale sharks are available from Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Holbox. With a small group of fellow nature lovers, you’ll board a boat bound for the whale shark feeding grounds. Suddenly fins are spotted in the distance and the huge blue grey fish glide past you, one after the other.

The first sighting of a whale shark leaves you speechless, with a lump in your throat and tears in your eyes at the majesty of the creature. As the next one approaches, your guide will tell two people in your group to prepare to jump into the water with him/her and swim alongside it, always keeping a distance. Everyone takes their turn to swim with these beautiful creatures, always following the whale shark season rules:

  • Keep a distance of at least five meters from the whale sharks
  • Do not attempt to touch whale sharks
  • Swim alongside whale sharks, never in front of them or near their tails
  • Only two people per boat plus a guide are allowed in the water at one time
  • The use of sun products and flash photography are prohibited

On the journey out to the whale shark area, keep a look out for dolphins and sea turtles. Giant manta rays also gather in the whale shark feeding grounds to eat plankton and sometimes leap out of the water in spectacular flight.

Whale shark island, Holbox

Another way to enjoy this amazing eco adventure is to plan an overnight trip to Holbox, the beautiful island on the north coast of Quintana Roo.

This is whale shark country and even the wooden signs and colorful murals lining the sandy streets show the famous pez domino. Go in search of whale sharks early in the morning and then feast on locally caught lobster and fish at one of the village restaurants. In the afternoon, take another boat trip to explore the Yalahau Lagoon, Isla de los Pajaros (Bird Island) and the Yalahau Cenote and you’ll still have time for sunset on the beach and to discover the laidback ambiance of the island.

 

Ask your Concierge

Swimming with whale sharks is an unforgettable experience and if you are interested in the natural world, you won’t want to miss it. Ask your Concierge for information on whale shark trips.

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Puerto Morelos, Mexican Caribbean Fishing Capital in May

Fishermen from Cancun, Cozumel, the Riviera Maya and other parts of the Caribbean gather in Puerto Morelos this May to take part in one of the important annual tournaments in the Mexican Caribbean.

The fleet of boats heads out to the fishing grounds and each crew shares a common goal of landing the largest white and blue marlin, sailfish, swordfish and dorado.

Held the weekend May 4-6, the Don Andrés García Lavin Tournament is one of four fishing events in Quintana Roo to be endorsed by the Mexican Sport Fishing Federation; the others are in Cancun, Cozumel and Chetumal. The tournament winners will have the chance to go on to represent Mexico in the 2018 World Championship.

The catch and release policy is enforced as part of tournament regulations in order to conserve fish stocks.

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Puerto Morelos receives Distintivo S award

In recognition of its work in turtle protection, conservation and towards achieving sustainable development, Puerto Morelos municipal district received the Distintivo S from the Mexican Tourism Board. The Puerto Morelos delegation received the award at the Tianguis Turistico Travel Show in Mazatlan in April.

 

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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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Cancun Flight News

Cancun Flight News

Southwest Airlines is now offering weekly flights from New Orleans to Cancun.

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UPCOMING EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

500 Years of Cozumel, May 2017-May 2018

Cozumel commemorates the 500th anniversary of the first encounters that Spanish explorers had with the Maya of Quintana Roo in 1517and 1518.

The Cozumel: 500 Years, the Meeting of Two Cultures festival began in 2017 and concludes in May 2018 with a series of events such as exhibitions, concerts, seminars and more.

 

Tulum Food, Spirits & Wine Festival, Tulum, May 21-27

Celebrating Mexican cuisine in Tulum. Gala dinners with three-course menus. Visit the Festival website at tulumfswf.com for more information.

 

Travesía Sagrada Maya, Xcaret and Cozumel, May 25-26

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.

 

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.

 

Navy Day in Puerto Morelos, June 1

Puerto Morelos has a small naval base and on June 1, Navy Day, the whole town turns out to celebrate el Día de la Marina or Navy Day. Events include a boat procession and a swimming race. This is a great way to meet local people and join the party.

 

Commemorating La Chispa in Valladolid, June 4

The population of Valladolid turns out on the night of June 4 to witness the representation of 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.

After marches through the streets to the main square, the evening culminates with the trial and mock execution by firing squad of the leaders of the rebellion.

 

July Sport Fishing Tournaments

Punta Allen 2017 Fishing Tournament, Punta Allen, Sian Ka’an, July 13-15

Copa Punta Herrero 2017, Punta Herrero, Sian Ka’an, July 27-29

 

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 13 & 14

Catch and release international fishing tournament.

 

164rd Anniversary of the Foundation of Holbox, Holbox, July 22

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

 

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.

168th Anniversary of the Settlement of Isla Mujeres, August 17

Isla Mujeres celebrates its anniversary in August, 168 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.

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.

 

 

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