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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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Meet the team

Meet your new Guest Relations Manager, Julio César Escandón. Julio takes over from Alberto Monzón who has left Grand Residences to pursue new career opportunities.

Many of you already know Julio. He has been with Grand Residences for two years now as one of the Butlers and his hospitality and outstanding service have earned him the most guest mentions on TripAdvisor this year. Julio’s friendliness, dedication and attention to detail will be an asset for this key post in our Resort Management team.

Julio will be on call to assist you and your guests during your stay at Grand Residences and will also be coordinating the Butler department.

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Turtle season 2018

How are the turtles doing this summer? It’s a slow season so far with 10 turtles coming ashore to lay eggs on the beach in front of the resort to date, and the eggs in two nests set to hatch in the next few days.

The number of nests at the three Royal Resorts in Cancun where turtles come ashore is also lower than 2017 and stands at 60 nests as of July 24. All are green turtle nests with the exception of six containing eggs laid by loggerhead turtles and one with hawksbill turtle eggs.

Turtle nesting is cyclical; a busy turtle season like 2017 is invariably followed by a slower year. This seems to be the case in the Mexican Caribbean so far this summer with the numbers of nesting turtles reported at different locations along the coast being lower than last year.

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What’s on the menu?

Chef Yann Cozic has been adding more delicious dishes to the El Faro lunch and dinner menus for your Grand Residences gourmet dining experience. So be sure to pay a visit during your stay, you’ll find something for everyone and all his recipes are incredibly tasty.

For lunch, appetizer choices include tuna sashimi, ceviche and Mediterranean burrata cheese to spinach, apple and goat cheese or niçoise salad and a classic Mexican trio of soups: lime, tortilla and corn and huitlacoche mushroom. Order a burger, a cochinita pibil or grilled beef baguette, serrano ham, mozzarella, pear and rocket tartine or avocado toast brioche.

Heartier lunch options range from grilled rib-eye and BBQ ribs to chicken stroganoff, seafood pasta, catch of the day, mussels mariniere and Chef Yann’s famous wok stir fries.

For dinner choose from starters such as a classic Mediterranean fritto misto of shrimp, squid and vegetables, beef carpaccio, shrimp salad or asparagus in orange mousseline sauce. Salads include caprese, goat cheese, beet and green apple and tuna tataki with mango. There’s clam chowder, French onion soup and a delicate Oriental cream of carrot and coconut, shrimp and scallops with a hint of ginger and lemongrass.

Main courses range from steak Diane, Rib-eye and New York, chicken supreme and duck breast in red wine sauce to tender, slow-cooked spring lamb. Seafood options include sautéed shrimp, grilled salmon and freshly caught grouper.

And there are more new dishes to sample at Flor de Canela as Chef Yann and his team take you on a culinary journey through Mexico. Discover the flavors of Michoacan, Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz and Yucatan at our signature Mexican restaurant and don’t miss Taco Tuesday.

Buen provecho, Bon appetit, enjoy!

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Kitchen excellence, top marks in Distintivo H inspections

For the second year running, the Grand Residences restaurant team has achieved a 100% score in the Distintivo H inspections of the kitchens and food storage facilities.

Distintivo H is a seal of approval awarded by the Mexican Tourism Board and the Ministry of Health for excellence in food preparation and kitchen hygiene.

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Summer fun

The Activity Center has a fun program of sports, games and classes lined up for adults and teens this summer. You can find details on TV by tuning into the Royal Channel; check the Activity Center notice boards or ask your Concierge.

Start the day at 8 a.m. with yoga, pilates or fine tune your game in the tennis clinic held three times a week. Practice your Spanish, learn new dance steps or take part in the stretching class at 9 a.m. Go for a walk along the beach or the bike trip (reservations required) at 10 a.m. and on Friday there is a table tennis tournament. At 11 a.m. on different days of the week you can join zumba, aqua fitness and bracelet making sessions, a salsa class and even a basic survival skills workshop on the beach.

For more pool fun at noon take part in the aqua fitness class or water polo and there’s a total body exercise class in the Activity Center on Thursday. Don’t miss poolside bingo at 1 p.m. and activities at 2 p.m. during the week range from towel origami, darts matches and a paper plane challenge to movie and music quizzes.

Head for the beach at 3 p.m. for a game of soccer or volleyball. You’ll have more fun in the Activity Center with DJ classes and karaoke and there’s pool volleyball and family bingo. Later in the afternoon you can play card games, table football and tennis and compete in a Just Dance tournament.

Sign up for a cooking or cocktail class, indulge your creative side with pottery painting and don’t miss movie night. It’s afternoon tea time on the lobby terrace at 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (reservations required) and we hope you’ll join us on Monday at 5 p.m. for the Manager’s Cocktail.

What about the children? There’s a non-stop program of activities for them too. With so many games, sports, arts and crafts to keep them busy and entertained in the Kids Club they’ll never want to leave.

Activities are subject to change without prior notice.

 

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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, you will receive 2% of the net purchase price of their Fraction in Royal Resorts Rewards that you can apply towards your annual Club Service fees, use to pay your club bill on your next vacation or make a donation to Royal Resorts Foundation charitable causes.

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.

SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT GRAND RESIDENCES

If you would like to make a referral

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

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Every picture tells a story

Holbox

Five hundred miles of coast, endless white sands bathed by turquoise waters and rimmed by emerald green jungle. The beaches of Quintana Roo, the Mexican Caribbean, are some of the world’s favorites. They range from perfect palm-lined bays and tiny rocky coves to breezy beaches facing the open ocean. Holbox, Playa Norte, Playa Delfines, our own Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Cozumel, Xcacel, Tulum, Majahual…this month’s photo gallery takes you on a beach-hopping safari along our spectacular shoreline. How many of these beaches have you visited? Why not send us pictures of your favorite beaches?

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, drop us a line. Send us your pictures to memories@royalresorts.com.  A selection of the photos we receive will be published in this newsletter.

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Amazing encounters with nature

This summer renew your bond with nature with an amazing encounter with some of the Yucatan’s wild creatures, seasonal visitors and year-round residents. Here are two unforgettable experiences to get you started.

 

Gentle giants

First up, it’s whale shark season and your chance to swim and snorkel side by side with the world’s largest fish. Lone ocean wanderers crossing the tropical seas in search of food, these gentle giants gather in the waters of the Mexican Caribbean from mid-May to mid-September to feast on the plankton that blooms in the summer heat.

Scientists believe that the whale shark feeding grounds off the coast of Holbox and Cabo Catoche and to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres attract what is the largest aggregation or gathering of whale sharks in the world. In addition to plankton, they have discovered that the sharks are partial to fish roe. The bonito or little tunny, a member of the tuna family, lays its eggs in area waters in the summer. Similar findings have been made in Belize where the whale sharks gather to eat snapper eggs in the springtime.

Guided eco trips are available to see the whale sharks and the thrill of watching these immense creatures filter feeding on the water surface is indescribable. You may be daunted at first by their immensity but as you swim alongside them with your guide, at a distance of at least five meters, you’ll see how peaceful they are.

More ocean giants, graceful manta rays, also gather to sup on the plankton and you may see them leaping from the water in flight. Dolphins and sea turtles can also be spotted during your boat ride to the whale shark feeding grounds.

 

Pretty in pink

Did you know that the Yucatan is home to the largest breeding colony of wild Caribbean flamingos in the world? More than 37,000 of these birds live in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve on the Gulf coast. They fan out from the reserve feeding in the wetlands and lagoons along the shoreline, flying as far as Holbox, Cozumel and Sian Ka’an. There are also flamingo colonies in Celestun Biosphere Reserve and Los Petenes Reserve in Campeche.

Boat trips are available from the fishing village of Rio Lagartos. Local fishermen trained as eco guides take you through the mangroves, lagoons and the strange landscape of the salt flats to see the flamingos, and other birds such as herons, egrets, spoonbills, skimmers and pelicans that feed in the shallows. Besides flamingos, the reserve is home to 394 species of birds, in addition to crocodiles, jaguars, deer, peccary and other creatures.

When you see the ribbon of pink on the horizon or a flock of flamingos coming in to land you’ll be struck by the dazzling shade of their salmon plumage, much brighter than their Andean and African cousins. This is due to their diet of minute brine shrimp or artemia found only in the Yucatan wetlands.

If you want to go further afield, plan a trip to Celestun Biosphere Reserve on the west coast of the peninsula. The mangrove forest is even taller and denser here and your boat will take you past flamingos stepping out in single file through the water. Look through the trees and you’ll spot emerald green pygmy kingfishers, secretive tiger herons and hawks.

Biologists working in the Ria Lagartos Reserve announced earlier this year that they had counted a record 21,960 nests. In total, the population of flamingos in the Yucatan Peninsula is estimated at around 90,000 birds.

During the spring and summer, the flamingos are busy feeding their chicks. The best time to see them year-round is at sunrise and sunset.

Ask your Concierge for more nature trip recommendations.

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Seaweed landings

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 larger 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.

The word Sargassum comes from the Portuguese word sargaço, which means “little grapes,” a reference to the air-filled bladders that enables it 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 grows and reproduces as it drifts through the water.

Pelagic Sargassum is historically associated with the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean where vast beds 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 Sargassum affecting the Caribbean islands and the coast of Quintana Roo may have a different source, an area off the coast of northern Brazil, thousands of kilometers away. The causes of the seaweed proliferation or bloom have been attributed to rising sea temperatures due to global warming and excessive nutrients in the water flowing into the sea from the Amazon River and its many tributaries. The appearance of drifting mats of sargassum where they were previously very rare may also be linked to variations in currents and wind patterns.

Beach cleaning

A statewide campaign is underway to track the movement of patches of drifting sargassum and to collect and dispose of the seaweed when it comes ashore on public beaches in different parts of the Mexican Caribbean. The Mexican government has pledged additional funds for beach cleaning during the summer. Many hotels and resorts have their own cleaning programs and there are volunteer beach cleaning initiatives too.

In Puerto Morelos, the local authorities are now using a boat to collect the seaweed before it reaches the shallows while brigades dispose of patches that have already come ashore.

   At Grand Residences, a mechanized beach sweeper operates twice a day. If needed, the resort’s team of gardeners is on call to offer additional support.

   Seaweed washes up on the beach naturally and is an important habitat for marine life. The presence of seaweed does not mean that beaches are polluted.

Showering after swimming is recommended and swimsuits should be rinsed out 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.

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Merida’s history by night

Are you planning a visit to Merida, the historic state capital of the Yucatan? If you are, don’t miss the video mapping projections in the main square. First up is Casa de Montejo, the residence of the Montejo family, the founders of Merida, where A Meeting of Two Worlds: Dialogue of a Conquistador is screened on Wednesday evening at 8:30 p.m. This tells the story of the Conquest of the Yucatan by Francisco de Montejo “El Adelantado” and the fate of the Maya. The projection is narrated by a guide and is followed by a jarana folk dance performance.

The imposing San Ildefonso Cathedral is the backdrop for the next video mapping on Friday at 8:30 p.m. Sacred Stones tells the story of the founding of Merida amidst the ruins of a much earlier Maya city called T’ho and the construction of churches, convents and mansions during the Colonial period.

There is another video mapping projection at the Monumento a la Patria on Paseo Montejo. All three video mapping events are free of charge.

Also on Friday and Saturday evenings is Noche de Leyendas, a walking tour to watch street theater that makes the history of the colonial city come alive. The tour starts outside Peon Contreras Theater at 9 p.m. Tickets must be purchased two hours before the show begins.

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EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

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.

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida
The patron saint of Merida is honored with masses, pilgrimages, processions and traditional dances.

10th Bird Festival, Cozumel, October 12- 14
Bird watching tours, conferences, environmental education workshops and the 2nd National Meeting of Coordinators of the CONABIO Urban Bird Program

6th Cancun International Festival of Music, Cancun, October 18 to 27
More than 300 musicians of 12 nationalities will take to the stage during the festival. Different musical genres and venues.

7th Festival of Maya Culture (FIC Maya), Merida, October 19 – 28
This year’s FIC Maya Festival showcases the Maya of today, the descendants of the ancient temple builders. Scattered across Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco and Chiapas in southeast Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, parts of El Salvador and Honduras, they speak 31 different languages and keep faith with many ancient beliefs and customs. Learn about their traditions, farming, cuisine, their art, textiles, timeless rituals, music, dance and festivals. The program will feature seminars and round tables, concerts, film, theater, dance performances and more.

This year, the Mexican state of honor is Aguascalientes, also famous for its textiles and embroidery. The guest country is India, another nation rich in traditions that is home to ancient cultures dating back thousands of years.

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. At this time of year, Mexicans believe that the souls of the departed come back to the world of the living for a short time. They welcome their loved ones with altars laden with flowers, food, treasured possessions and other offerings, and with candlelit vigils, masses and serenades.

The Festival program features processions, altars, traditional cuisine, art exhibits, music, dance, theater, children’s events and a visit to the colorful Mexican cemetery. Each year, a different Mexican state is invited to participate in the Festival and showcase its Day of the Dead traditions and this year it is the turn of Zacatecas. Located in the northern uplands, Zacatecas is a state rich in history.

OHL Classic at Mayakoba, PGA golf in the Riviera Maya, November 5 -11, 2018
A field of players that includes some of the PGA’s leading young players and former champions gathers for the OHL Classic at El Camaleón Golf Club in Mayakoba.

10th Xel-Ha Triathlon, Xel-Ha, November 17-18
Over 2,000 triathletes are expected to compete in this year’s Xel-Ha Triathlon. The money raised from this event is donated to Flora, Fauna y Cultura de Mexico, A.C. to support conservation projects.

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, Playa del Carmen, November 29 – December 1, 2018
Playa Mamitas in Playa del Carmen will be the venue for one of the year’s most popular events, the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. The festival program has yet to be announced.

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

 

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New ways to earn Royal Resorts Rewards

We have some exciting news for you about the Royal Resorts Rewards loyalty program: it now offers you even more ways to earn Rewards.

As of June 27, you can earn Rewards when you book eligible stays and products through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center, either by contacting the Call Center or online at www.royalreservations.com or www.royalresorts.com (applicable for new reservations only). That’s not all; we have added a new way for you to use the Rewards in your account. You can now redeem them to pay for additional nights and other products booked through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center.

Earning Rewards

  • You’ll now earn Rewards whenever you book eligible stays and products through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center (Call Center and the Royal Reservations and Royal Resorts websites) NEW
  • Earn Rewards during your vacation at participating* Grand Residences and Royal Resorts restaurants and facilities
  • By purchasing Life Extension products or Skymed memberships
  • By participating in the Friends & Family referral program

Redeeming Rewards

  • You can now use the Rewards in your account to pay for eligible stays and other products booked through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center*. Enjoy even more vacation time in your home away from home NEW
  • 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 stays and other products booked through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center.

Want to enjoy additional vacation time at Royal Resorts this year, book through the Royal Resorts Reservation Center and start earning Rewards. Visit www.royalresortsrewards.com for more information.

If you haven’t enrolled in the Royal Resorts Rewards program, JOIN TODAY by visiting www.royalresortsrewards.com

Royal Resorts Rewards Customer Service
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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Catch of the Day

During your next Grand Residences vacation be sure to order the catch of the day cooked with flair by our award-winning chef Yann Cozic and his team. Sample the tempting fresh seafood dishes on the menu at our trio of restaurants El Faro, Flor de Canela and Heaven Grill and don’t miss the Seafood Night theme buffet on Thursday night.

From Caribbean lobster to Galician-style grilled octopus, shrimp in curry sauce or cooked with ginger and lemon grass, tuna tagine and Mediterranean fish recipes, our fruits de mer are all delicious and supremely fresh. There’s grilled salmon and grouper fillet with butter and almond sauce, mussel casserole and if you crave seafood pasta the chef will be happy to oblige.

Try the ceviche, a classic in Mexico and Peru, and the zesty flavors of aguachile, shrimp and cucumber marinated in lime juice, a recipe from Mexico’s Pacific coast. For a lunchtime snack, munch on Baja California-style fish or shrimp tacos at Heaven Grill as you take in the incredible beach views.

Much of the seafood prepared in the Grand Residences kitchens is sourced locally from Puerto Morelos fishermen or from Mexico’s Pacific ports and further afield.

These classic Mexican recipes are a must when dining in Puerto Morelos seafood restaurants: tikinxic or Mayan-style grilled fish, fish fillet al mojo de ajo, which is fish fillet sautéed in garlic butter, and pescado a la veracruzana, fish stewed in a tasty tomato, olive and caper sauce. You can even order a whole fried fish – the boquinete or hogfish is delicious – accompanied with tortillas, salsa and a salad garnish and make your own tacos.

Buen provecho!

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Water sports summer

Cast off this summer and enjoy days of watery fun on the waves or beneath them as you explore the Mesoamerican Reef. Your Grand Residences Concierges can help you arrange snorkeling and diving trips, kayaking, fishing, catamaran cruises and other water sports adventures.

Spend the afternoon snorkeling the reefs in the Puerto Morelos National Marine Park. When you are ready to go further afield to explore more of the coral kingdom there are trips to Akumal, Isla Mujeres and the island of Cozumel, world-famous for reef diving.

Would you like to go fishing? Charters are available from the nearby marina for a morning or a full day out on the waves.

You won’t want to miss the weekly Grand Residences sunset catamaran cruise, just ask the Concierge to book your seat. Or how about planning a longer yacht excursion along the Riviera Maya coast or from Cancun across the bay to Isla Mujeres? The possibilities are endless.

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Every picture tells a story

From the sea turtles that nest on Riviera Maya beaches each summer to flamingos, jaguars, monkeys and even tapirs, the Yucatan Peninsula is rich in wildlife. Its jungles and wetlands are a haven for species large and small. You may have seen some of the wild creatures in this month’s selection of photos. Why not tell us about your sighting, we would love to hear from you.

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, drop us a line. Send us your pictures to memories@royalresorts.com. A selection of the photos we receive will be published in this newsletter.

 

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Summer sightseeing in the Mexican Caribbean

If you are planning to visit your Grand Residences home away from home with the family this summer, you’ll want to combine your resort relaxation with day trips to some of the Riviera Maya and Yucatan’s many natural treasures. Here are some of the options for unforgettable summer adventures.

Plain sailing

When the summer heat sizzles and the sea is mirror calm conditions are perfect for a day of sailing in the Caribbean and if you would like to plan a boat trip with family and friends there are several exciting adventures to choose from.

Go in search of nature and plan a trip to the island of Contoy, the palm-fringed island of Caribbean legend and lore and an important bird sanctuary for over 150 species, including pelicans, frigate birds, cormorants, roseate spoonbills, ibis and herons.

Contoy is a two and a half hour boat trip north of Cancun and the shades of turquoise and blue water that you’ll pass through en route are breathtaking. Spend the day watching the birds, relaxing on the beach or snorkeling and swimming with rays and other fish in the sheltered bay.

Eco cruises are available to Contoy during the week, ask your Concierge for information.

Charter a luxury yacht and set sail from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. You can stop for a spot of snorkeling on the way and after exploring Isla, sit down for a seafood lunch at one of the restaurants along the waterfront.

If you want to extend your voyage, why not sail along the Cancun shoreline and through the Nichupte Lagoon before heading for Isla Mujeres?

 

Face to face with the Whale sharks

For a once-in-a-lifetime nature experience this summer, board a boat for a trip to see the whale sharks, the world’s largest fish and gentle giants.

From mid-May to mid-September, whale sharks gather in large numbers to feed on plankton in the waters to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres and also off Holbox Island and Cabo Catoche. Your eco trip will take you out to the whale shark feeding grounds where you can watch them swim placidly by as they filter feed and even swim with them. You may also be lucky enough to see giant manta rays leaping from the water, sea turtles and pods of dolphins too.

 

A day at the Riviera Maya’s parks

If you are vacationing with your family, then a day at one of the Riviera Maya’s parks is a must and one that everyone will enjoy.

Heading the list is world-famous Xcaret Park just south of Playa del Carmen. A day here is as much about fun in the water as it is about you and your children discovering the country’s rich traditions and wildlife.

After a day snorkeling, swimming in underground rivers and visiting attractions like the aquarium, aviary, butterfly pavilion and craft museum, among others, you must stay on for the Xcaret evening show. This gala performance takes you on a journey through Mexican history, from the days of the ancient Maya and Aztecs to the arrival of the Spaniards, the 19th century seen through the eyes of a newly independent nation and Mexican Revolution in 1910, to this day. See folk dances from all over the country and all the sights and sounds of a Mexican fiesta, complete with a mariachi band.

If you want to spend the day in the water, then head to Xel-Ha Park. This chain of turquoise inlets, lagoons and cenotes is a snorkeling paradise offering face to face encounters with a variety of colorful reef fish. And although you’ll want to dive into the clear water over and over again in search of new species, there are other fun activities on offer.

Follow the paths through the forest to the park’s cenotes, smaller inlets and caves. Leap off the cliff of courage into the water and then drift across the lagoon on a giant inner tube. You can also try your hand at zip lining, swim in a cenote or swim with dolphins (additional charge) and don’t miss Xel-Ha’s latest attraction, the viewing tower that is actually a giant water slide.

Or how about a day of jungle adventures? Enjoy the thrills of zip lining, snorkeling in cenotes, kayaks, abseiling, nature walks or ATV drives through the forest at the Riviera Maya’s many adventure parks. They include Selvatica, Xplor, Aktun Chen and the Jungla Maya tour.

 

Splash down in a Cenote

Diving into a jungle-rimmed pool filled with crystal-clear water that is so cool it is quite a shock after the heat is a favorite Riviera Maya activity. There are so many cenotes or sinkholes in the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan and if you ask a local, they all have their favorite cenote parks.

Some of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful cenotes are actually not far from Puerto Morelos, clustered along the Ruta de los Cenotes. There are more to explore in the Puerto Aventuras area and in Tulum.

Taking the family to Xenotes Oasis Maya gives you the chance to explore the jungle and spend the day at four different cenotes on the Ruta de los Cenotes. Swim, snorkel and rappel down a cliff wall. Go kayaking, float in an inner tube and splashdown in a cenote on a fun zip line. Venture into ancient caves and enjoy a guided walk along nature trails in the jungle.

Ask your Concierge for more summer sightseeing ideas.

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New Museum opens in Valladolid

The colonial town of Valladolid has a new museum to visit if you are interested in Mexican culture. El Museo de Ropa Etnica de Mexico or MUREM is a museum showcasing traditional clothing worn by Mexico’s indigenous groups in 12 different regions of the country.

Embroidered cotton huipiles or dresses for everyday wear share space with splendid ribbon bedecked ceremonial dresses. Whatever their use, they are works of art full of color and creativity, decorated with designs featuring flowers, birds and animals or stripes, crosses and geometric shapes, symbols of the natural world and their ancient beliefs.

There are brocaded blouses from Mayan communities in the highlands of Chiapas – each village has its own design – worn over black woolen skirts and tied with woven sashes. Other huipiles from Oaxaca, Yucatan and the central Mexican highlands still resemble the garments worn by women in pre-Hispanic times.

After the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century and the arrival of settlers from Spain, European fashions began to appear in Mexico, such as frills, lace, ribbons, shawls and fans. Many of Mexico’s most famous dresses show Spanish influence. They include lacy white dresses from Veracruz and colorful dresses worn in Campeche, Puebla and Jalisco.

Hats and headdresses, ribbons, traditional belts, shawls and jewelry complete the outfits and there is a collection of men’s clothing too. Other exhibits show contemporary items such as the masks worn by lucha libre wrestlers.

MUREM is located in the center of town on Calle 41, No. 195, between Calle 38 and Calle 40. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and there is a shop selling Mexican crafts.

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Good news for jaguar conservation in Mexico

At an international conference on jaguars and other tropical felines found in the Americas held in Cancun, June 8 -15, Mexico shared some important information about the country’s population of jaguars. The Second National Jaguar Census revealed that there are around 4,800 jaguars in Mexico, an increase of 20 percent over that reported in 2010.

The Census was coordinated by the Institute of Ecology in the National University of Mexico (UNAM) with the support of the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP) and the World Wildlife Fund-Fundacion Telmex Telcel Alliance. Twenty-five groups from 16 different academic institutions took part, installing 396 camera traps in 11 different sites throughout Mexico. The census locations were Montes Azules and La Sepultura Biosphere Reserves in (Chiapas), Sierra del Abra Tanchipa (San Luis Potosí), Los Chimalapas (Oaxaca), Laguna Om and El Edén Reserve (Quintana Roo), Nevado de Colima (Jalisco), Sahuaripa (Sonora), Meseta de Cacaxtla (Sinaloa), Sierra de Chilpancingo (Guerrero) and Punto Puuc (a point in the center of the Yucatan Peninsula where the states of Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo converge).

Located along jungle trails used by wildlife or near water sources, the camera traps detect motion and take photos of jaguars, pumas and other creatures that pass by. For 60 days, the census cameras took photos of 20 different species, including peccaries, deer, agouti and wild turkey, all important prey animals for jaguars and pumas.

The survey results reflect heightened efforts to protect the jaguar, the largest feline in the Americas. The creation of new reserves in Mexico, improved coordination and census techniques, reforestation and increased awareness about the dangers this magnificent creature faces from habitat loss and illegal hunting are helping but more work is needed to bring this big cat back from the brink of extinction.

The creation of biological corridors linking reserves where jaguars are known to roam can help, as can reforestation, the protection of important swathes of forest under threat from development and wildlife underpasses on highways. Biologists are also working with rural communities and ranchers that see jaguars, pumas and ocelots as a danger to their livestock.

The largest populations of jaguars are found in southeast Mexico, in the jungles of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Chiapas.

(Census information source: WWF)
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UPCOMING EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

July Sport Fishing Tournaments

Punta Allen 2018 Fishing Tournament, Punta Allen, Sian Ka’an, July 13-15

Copa Punta Herrero 2018, 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.

Whale Shark Festival Isla Mujeres, July 20-22

164th 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.

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida

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

6th Cancun International Festival of Music, Cancun, October 18 to 27

More than 300 musicians of 12 nationalities will take to the stage during the festival. Different musical genres and venues.

7th Festival of Maya Culture (FIC Maya), Merida, October 19 – 28

This year’s FIC Maya Festival showcases the Maya of today, the descendants of the ancient temple builders. Scattered across Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco and Chiapas in southeast Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, parts of El Salvador and Honduras, they speak 31 different languages and keep faith with many ancient beliefs and customs. Learn about their traditions, farming, cuisine, their art, textiles, timeless rituals, music, dance and festivals. The program will feature seminars and round tables, concerts, film, theater, dance performances and more.

This year, the Mexican state of honor is Aguascalientes, also famous for its textiles and embroidery. The guest country is India, another nation rich in traditions that is home to ancient cultures dating back thousands of years.

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. At this time of year, Mexicans believe that the souls of the departed come back to the world of the living for a short time. They welcome their loved ones with altars laden with flowers, food, treasured possessions and other offerings, and with candlelit vigils, masses and serenades.

The Festival program features processions, altars, traditional cuisine, art exhibits, music, dance, theater, children’s events and a visit to the colorful Mexican cemetery. Each year, a different Mexican state is invited to participate in the Festival and showcase its Day of the Dead traditions and this year it is the turn of Zacatecas. Located in the northern uplands, Zacatecas is a state rich in history.

OHL Classic at Mayakoba, PGA golf in the Riviera Maya, November _______

A field of players that includes some of the PGA’s leading young players and several former champions gathers for the OHL Classic at El Camaleón Golf Club in Mayakoba.

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

 

 

 

 

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Grand Residences welcomes its first turtle of 2018

Grand Residences has welcomed its first sea turtle of 2018. On May 10, a loggerhead turtle came ashore on the beach just to the south of Grand Residences. The resort security team watched over her as she laid 98 eggs. All along the Mexican Caribbean coast turtles are now beginning to nest and we hope that this loggerhead will be the first of many to emerge from the waves on our stretch of beach.

Our beach staff and security guards stack beach sun beds and chairs before the sun goes down and remove any garbage and seaweed that may have washed ashore. Removing potential obstacles will make it easier for the turtles to drag their huge bulk up the beach and dig their nests in the sand.

How can you help sea turtles?
• Alert the security staff if you spot a sea turtle coming ashore
• 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
• 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.

Helping sea turtles by reducing our reliance on plastic
Hundreds of thousands of marine creatures, including sea turtles, dolphins and sea birds, perish every year around the world as a result of injuries sustained from discarded fishing nets, packaging, bags and other plastic waste floating in our oceans. They become trapped or ingest plastics that they mistake for food. Plastic objects and tiny particles called micro plastics also build up in the bodies of fish and birds and are passed on up through the food chain.

From huge floating garbage islands to plastic found in the remotest parts of our oceans and in the depths, plastic is everywhere. The problem is growing and scientists estimate that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

We can all take steps towards a cleaner world. Whether it is recycling to switching to cloth shopping bags or reusable water bottles and asking the waiter not to bring your drink with a plastic straw every little helps.

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Grand Residences launches a Points-based membership

With the objective of honoring our commitment to complete the resort in the shortest time possible, we have continued our review of alternatives to achieve this goal. One of them is the configuration of Deluxe Suites for Phases 3 and 4, which we believe will have a higher demand among new buyers. On May 28, another new product was launched within Grand Residences by Royal Resorts®, a Points-based membership backed up by Grand Residences inventory and offering the benefits of the new Royal Resorts Signature Club Elite Membership.

Royal Resorts started selling Points-based memberships at The Royal Sands®, The Royal Cancun® and The Royal Haciendas® in January 2015 and they have proved very popular with guests visiting the resorts and existing Royal Resorts members because of the flexibility that points offer to tailor vacation time. We decided to introduce a Points-based product at Grand Residences.

New Points members will be able to buy a yearly allotment of points to use at Grand Residences based on availability. They will pay a yearly Club Service Fee based on the amount of points they own and will follow the same rules and regulations when staying at the resort.

The Points-based Memberships will not have the same benefits as a fractional membership. These are some of the differences:
• Points members will not have guaranteed use of a specific unit or season. They are able to request reservations based on availability.
• Points-based Memberships will not include residual rights.
• Points-based Memberships have duration of 40 years.
• Points-based memberships have a Signature Club Elite membership attached to them with different benefits to those of President’s Circle

The launch of the Points membership and the new Deluxe Suites configuration of phases 3 and 4 will not affect you when you stay at Grand Residences or your President’s Circle benefits.

In order to create a points-based product that is consistent with Royal Resorts Vacation Ownership products, it was necessary to adjust the current credit values for Grand Residences in the Signature Club. This adjustment will not affect your transactions within Grand Residences, as you will keep the same exchange power that you had before. This means that you will still be able to reserve the same types of unit, lengths of stay and seasons that you had access to before the adjustment was made. However, when you request a reservation to stay at other Royal Resorts Vacation Ownership resorts, your exchange power will appear to be reduced. In order to compensate for this, we have put a discount in points in place that will come into effect whenever you wish to make a reservation. This discount will improve your exchange power for reservations at our other Vacation Ownership properties.

We will provide additional details about this rule in the updated Guide to Use of your President’s Circle Membership, along with the new credit schedule and news about some more adjustments that we have made to the program to give you even more flexibility when planning your vacations.

For more information on the new Grand Residences points-based membership, please read the FAQs.

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Growing up at Grand Residences

Meet the Campbell family from Ontario, Kimberley and Neil, grandparents David and Marilyn and Isobel and Ailsa, two little girls who are growing up at Grand Residences. Isobel is six and Ailsa is two and this is the family’s fourth visit to their home away from home in the Mexican Caribbean. We caught up with Kimberley Campbell during their recent vacation.

“This is our time together as a family,” says Kimberley. “We are here with my parents and loving every minute of our stay. The weather has been very good this week, so there has been lots of beach and sea time for the girls. Ailsa is getting used to the waves, she wasn’t sure at first. “When the girls are not on the beach, they are at the Kids Club,” Kimberley adds. “They go every day and particularly love the arts and crafts, the piñata and the treasure hunt.

“My husband and father also went on an amazing early bird trip to Chichen Itza, leaving at 2 a.m.,” explains Kimberley. “They were there on their own in the archaeological site with their guide and took incredible pictures of the sunrise and of the ancient temples. Then they went to the colonial town of Valladolid and to a little visited cenote where again they were the only people.” Neil has this to say about his trip, “The whole Chichen Itza experience was a dream come true. I had that thought twenty years ago, only if I could take photos here without the crowds. And now that dream has been made possible by the fine concierges at the Grand Residences.”

“The girls are still too young for such a long trip but we did take them to Crococun this time, which they loved” Kimberley says, “We are also going snorkeling tomorrow on a glass-bottomed boat that will take us out to the Puerto Morelos Reef Park. They have been practicing with their masks in the pool. Still out on the water, Isobel was able to join us on the catamaran cruise this year. It was absolutely gorgeous, very calm and there was an incredible sunset.

“It is nice to talk to fellow guests.” Kimberley says, ”We meet returning families every year and Isobel now remembers the children and plays with them. She will enjoying seeing them again in the years to come.

“We love the cuisine at Grand Residences and our favorite this time has been French night at El Faro, it is amazing,” she adds. “All the employees have done such a good job to make our vacation special. They try their hardest.

“Royal Resorts has always been a great place for families, but I think that it is even more so at Grand Residences,” says Kimberley. “We are seeing a lot more members here enjoying time with their extended families. Family is huge here and all the employees make such an effort to make the children happy and welcome. You know the saying ‘happy children, happy parents.’ Isobel goes off to the Kids Club on her own now and we follow on a few minutes later. We know that she is safe and cared for.

“I would highly recommend Grand Residences for a family vacation,” Kimberley adds. “The staff try and do everything to meet your needs and make you feel at home. You have a luxury vacation experience here; the service sets it apart. This is really a top-class resort and the staff show that. We have stayed at a lot of resorts in different parts of Mexico and this is truly special.

“Isobel’s vacation countdown starts in December when the cold of the Canadian winter bites. She starts to say, “Mom, when are we going to Mexico?” First it is months then days!” Kimberley relates, “she gets out the iPad and starts showing Ailsa the photos from last year and tells her about what they are going to do on vacation. Ailsa told her day care teacher “I’m going to the beach.” The teacher asked me if she even knew what a beach is, I replied that I didn’t know if she remembered. After this vacation and so much time on the sand and in the waves, she will now!

“I think that my message to members of the Grand Residences community is that they should plan their luxury vacation at the resort if they haven’t already done so and explore Mexico,” Kimberley concludes. “The culture is amazing and the people are very friendly and welcoming wherever you go. This is a great place for a family vacation, probably one of the best places to bring a family.“

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Learn kitchen secrets from our master chef

Is cooking something you love to do or a chore you would rather get over with as soon as possible? During your next visit to Grand Residences sign up for a class with Chef Yann for some great tips that will make cooking easy and fun.

Learn how to make some of your favorite Mexican dishes, including a mean guacamole that will be a hit with your friends back home. Do you want inspiration and new ways of cooking vegetables? Need to make a showstopper dessert for a dinner party? Tap into Yann’s knowledge of the art of French patisserie to make the perfect meringue, tart tatin or heavenly macaroons.

During the most recent cooking class, Chef Yann showed students how to make classic Steak Diane with dauphinoise potatoes au gratin. Other recipes include Asian-style carrot soup with lemongrass and coconut milk and madeleines with chocolate sauce.

The Grand Residences Concierges can help you make a reservation for Chef Yann’s cooking class on Wednesdays.

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Flor de Canela dish of the month

Each month, Flor de Canela showcases a recipe from a different Mexican state. All are delicious and show the diversity of Mexican cuisine, no wonder UNESCO included it in the World Heritage list in the intangible culture category.

In June diners will be able to try Sopa Tarasca, a tasty soup from the state of Michoacan in western Mexico.

And on the subject of mouthwatering Mexican cuisine, don’t miss Taco Tuesday! An evening of tacos makes a tasty traditional supper.

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Every picture tells a story

This June, World Environment Month (June 5 is World Environment Day), we are celebrating the natural beauty of the Mexican Caribbean, its coral reefs, beaches and islands, jungles and wetlands teeming with life. We hope that our photo gallery inspires you to book an eco adventure to explore the state of Quintana Roo’s wild places and come face to face with some of its most famous creatures.

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 us your pictures. A selection of the photos we receive will be published in this newsletter.