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Dish of the month

Have you tried the Dish of the Month in Flor de Canela? Every month the Chef selects a different dish from all over Mexico to offer as a special. This month it is Pescado a la Talla, a tasty recipe from the Pacific coast of grilled fish in a guajillo chili marinade. Why not order it? And be sure to ask about the Dish of the Month on your next trip down. 

   Recipes previously showcased as Dish of the Month include the Tlayuda, a huge tostada from Oaxaca topped with steak, refried beans, Oaxaca cheese, lettuce, avocado and radishes; Queso Relleno, stuffed cheese from the Yucatan and 

Shrimp Huatape, a seafood, corn and herb broth from northern Veracruz and Tamaulipas.

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Argentinian Grill

The meat lovers among you will want to try the Argentinian Grill, one of the tempting theme nights in store during the week. 

   Start off with freshly made empanadas or turnovers with a meat, mushroom, caprese or Mediterranean filling. For your main course order succulent Wagyu beef grilled to perfection or the catch of the day: a whole fish. There are salads, vegetables and sauces and of course lashings of chimichurri.

   Desserts include Alfajores, the traditional Argentinian cookies, fruit tart, and Suspiro Limeño, the Peruvian take on dulce de leche.

    After the Argentinian Grill you’ll be ready to try the other delicious theme nights during the week. Ask your Concierge for details.

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Sweet delights, meet Pastry Chef Alicia

She was recruited by Secrets Maroma in the Riviera Maya and after her three-month trial period took advantage of the internal trainee program, choosing to work in Restaurants and learn her craft in the Bakery and Pastries section. After eight months as a Bakery Assistant, she was quickly promoted to Baker and a job as Pastry Chef soon followed. She learned how to work under pressure, studying new recipes, techniques and presentations as she prepared desserts, petit fours, ice creams, candies and pastries for all the restaurants and buffets, which ranged from French, Italian, Mexican to Asian.

Alicia says,” The Chef began to give me more responsibilities and appointed me as Supervisor. I was at the resort for six years before moving to Grand Residences. I have been here for four months as Head Baker and Pastry Chef and I love it.” She adds, “During my childhood in Palenque, I thought I might like to go into catering. My parents were bakers and I used to sell the warm bread in the neighborhood. I think a seed was planted back then and I am lucky enough to be pursuing my dreams.”

“This job is my greatest challenge so far and I am going to give it everything. I may not have all the theory yet, but I have the hands-on experience and organizational skills and I learn something new every day. I love French and Italian pastry making – I could say that they are my inspiration. I enjoy pairing classic recipes with tropical flavors and ingredients that Mexico has given the world, such as chocolate, chili and vanilla. I once created a glazed Caribbean dessert with all the flavors of a piña colada, rich in passion fruit, pineapple and coconut. It was a hit.”

The use of chocolate is a consummate art and Alicia was lucky enough to work with Alan Espinosa, a Mexican chef who is one of the world’s leading chocolatiers. She picked up techniques to strengthen the chocolate after crystallization and tempering to give it greater pliability for use in modeling figures. She explains, “I also love making special cakes, such as wedding, anniversary or birthday cakes. I channel my emotions and think about how happy I want to make the recipient and that inspires me, gives purpose to my research and spurs my creativity.”

Alicia is hard at work creating delectable desserts and cakes for you to try on your next visit. A new dessert menu will be launched this month in Flor de Canela. She is changing the room amenities – the cookies and chocolate petit fours left as delicious surprises in the suites, enhancing the presentation of the cakes and pastries served during afternoon tea and adding more flavors to the wedding cake collection. She has also changed all the desserts offered as part of the Seafood and International buffets. The International dessert table features sweets from France, Italy, Mexico and the Far East.

Her next project is to create a new dessert menu for El Faro Grill and the remaining theme nights.

In charge of a team of six in the bakery and dessert section, Alicia’s days are very busy and varied. She oversees the bakery inventory and purchasing, supply delivery and expiration dates. She keeps an eagle eye on kitchen hygiene, taste control and presentation in her section. She checks the dessert stations in the restaurants and ensures that they are kept constantly supplied with cakes and sweets. She compiles reports, registering which desserts are the most popular and which room amenities are requested the most. She develops new dessert menus with Executive Chef Borbolla. And then she finds the time to work on her own stunning creations!

She recommends that Grand Residences owners try the Corn Cake or Pastel de Elote. “We make it with tender young corn kernels so that it is really creamy and flavorful. And it is gluten-free,” she adds, “Another new one to try is our Chocolate Tart with a hint of guajillo chili pepper, there’s a Mexican artisanal chocolate cream with sesame nougat and we have an exquisite apple, mint and pomegranate dessert in the shape of a poblano chili as a tribute to our national dish, Chiles en Nogada. I invite you to try all our new desserts and cakes. Forget about your diet, you are on vacation! You’ll love the flavors, textures, presentation and the marriage of ingredients. We want every bite to be delightful, a memory to treasure.”

Alicia keeps up with the latest tendencies in the pâtisserie world and admires the creations of Chef Antonio Bachur and the Roca Brothers, saying, “Their desserts are incredible. Bachur makes everything from petit fours to gateaux and they are all spectacular.” She is quick to point out however, that it isn’t all about presentation; a dessert must taste as heavenly as it looks. Attention to flavor is all-important and she checks every stage of the dessert making process.

Finally, she hopes that during your vacation you will also try some of the traditional savory dishes that have earned Mexican cuisine its rightful place on the UNESCO World Heritage list, saying: “Try mole from Oaxaca or Puebla, chilies rellenos, antojitos or Mexican street food and even some of the many dishes we make using beans.”

Only 28 years old, Alicia is an engaging and creative spirit, happy to be part of a great team in Grand Residences and working to create a gourmet dining experience that exceeds your expectations.

 

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Every picture tells a story

This month we showcase five unforgettable experiences to enjoy during a Mexican Caribbean summer. Swim in crystal-clear cenotes in the depths of Riviera Maya caves.  Visit the islands of Isla Mujeres and Holbox. Climb the Nohoch Mul pyramid and gaze out over the jungle in Coba. Go for a sunset cruise and swim with the gentle giants, the whale sharks. 

   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.

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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. 

If you would like to make a referral, click here or  call +52 (998) 881-0100 ext. 65846.

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Mayan splendor: exploring southern Yucatan

If you plan to go exploring this summer, why not spend a couple of days in the Yucatan visiting the state capital Merida and then heading south in search of Mayan history. 

   In the Puuc Hills an hour’s drive south of the Yucatan capital, Uxmal is one of the loveliest ancient cities in the Maya World. During the Late Classic period of Maya history (AD 600-900), it was a regional capital, controlling the hills and a chain of smaller cities known as the Puuc Route: Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labna. 

Kabah

Kabah

Puuc-style architecture and art

Apart from location, these archaeological sites share a unique architectural and artistic style called Puuc. In recognition of their outstanding beauty and exquisite stone carvings, UNESCO declared them a World Heritage area in 1996.

    Most Puuc-style buildings are long and low and feature columns, arches and courtyards. The lower half of the walls are smooth and give way to elaborate carved friezes featuring masks depicting Chaac, the rain god, on the upper section. As water was scarce in the area, Chaac was especially revered. At Uxmal and other sites the Maya built chultunes or reservoirs to store precious summer rainfall.

Uxmal

Uxmal

The Pyramid of the Magician soars above the trees, dominating the Uxmal skyline. It calls forth visions of powerful priests and lords ascending the steps to the rooftop temple to chant prayers and burn copal or incense in honor of the gods. Legend has it that the pyramid was built by a dwarf in a night, archaeologists have ascertained, however, that it has five different building phases. Mayan rulers would often erect new temples on top of those of their ancestors, thus concentrating sacred power and legitimizing their own rule.

   Owing its name to the Spanish conquistadors, the Cuadrangulo de las Monjas or Nuns’ Quadrangle is a courtyard surrounded by four palace-like buildings with magnificent friezes. Each façade is different: a mosaic of fretwork adorned with two-headed serpents, Chaac masks, owls, jaguars, warriors, and even thatched huts.

   An arch leads visitors out on the courtyard towards the Ball Court and a short climb leads them to the Palace of the Governor, one of the Maya World’s greatest treasures and testimony to the genius of long lost artists. A mosaic of geometric designs and masks adorns the façade and the play of light and shadow across the stone creates the illusion of a huge snake undulating across the surface. Snakes were associated with fertility and water, as were turtles, and the façade of the nearby House of the Turtles features sculptures of these creatures.

   The Great Pyramid lies on a mound next to the Palace of the Governor; the presence of macaws and parrots on the temple frieze led archaeologists to believe that it was associated with the sun god. 

   Other buildings at Uxmal include El Palomar (Dovecote), really a series of nine roof crests, the Cemetery, the House of the Old Woman and the Temple of the Birds between the Pyramid of the Magician and Las Monjas.  

Coba

Labna

Puuc Route

Thirty minutes south of Uxmal, Kabah is the second largest site in the Puuc hills and was one of its vassals. It is famous for the Codz Poop, or the Palace of the Masks, a name that does justice to its magnificent façade consisting of 250 masks depicting Chaac, the Mayan rain god.

   Seven kilometers south of Kabah is Sayil, which means “place of the ants” in Maya. The principal building on site is the three-tiered Palace, a long building containing 94 chambers, porticos, columns, Chaac masks and sculptures of the descending or diving god, also seen in Tulum on the Caribbean coast.

   The smallest of the Puuc Route sites, Xlapak is best known for the Palace, a tiny but richly carved building in a forest clearing.

   Ten kilometers to the east of Sayil, Labna is famous for its huge arch, which was the gateway between the ceremonial plaza and a courtyard surrounded by palaces in ancient times. The arch has an open work roof comb and its finely carved façade features Chaac masks, Mayan huts, nobles and geometric motifs.

Ticul

Also in southern Yucatan

Southwest Yucatán offers much more than the Puuc Route. Using Mérida or Uxmal as their base, visitors can call in at Ticul, a pottery and shoe producing community or the bustling market town of Oxkutzcab, explore the caves at Loltún or Tecoh or the archaeological sites of Oxkintok and Chacmultun. There are old henequen haciendas to visit and historic villages along the Convent Route.

   The Convent Route is a string of 16th and 17th-century churches and convents in villages along Highway 18. The route starts at Acanceh, which also has a Mayan temple, and continues to Tecoh, Telchaquillo (take the short detour to visit Mayapán, the last ancient city of the Yucatecan Maya), Tekit, Mama, Teabo and Maní, site of a Franciscan convent with a small museum. 

 

Ask your Concierge

Your Concierge can help you plan trips to Merida and Uxmal.

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Face to face with the whale sharks

A reminder that if you are here this summer and are looking for nature adventures, you have the chance to face to face with the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, in an unforgettable encounter with true gentle giants.

    These beautiful creatures gather to feast on plankton and fish roe in the Mexican Caribbean during the summer months. See them on eco trips to the zona de afuera or blue waters to the east of Isla Mujeres and Contoy or off the coast of Holbox and Cabo Catoche. 

   Pelicans and frigate birds fly overhead as you sail past Contoy. Pods of playful dolphins often swim alongside boats and you may also spot turtles and giant manta rays feeding. 

Eco tips

Sun products are not permitted in the whale shark feeding areas so wear a t-shirt when in the water. Follow the orders of your eco guide at all times. Swim alongside the whale sharks at a distance and do not touch them.

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, they are available until mid-September.

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Puerto Morelos picks up a World Travel Award

Puerto Morelos district has picked up a World Travel Award as Mexico’s Leading Adventure Destination 2019 in the 26th annual World Travel Awards. 

   In the online poll to choose the winner, Puerto’s charms for the intrepid tourist outshone its competitors. Activities in the area include scuba diving on the Mesoamerican Reef, jungle canopy zip lining, snorkeling in cenotes and exploring caves, horse riding, ATVs circuits, cycling and bird watching, among others.

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Three Mexican cities in World’s Best 2019

In the Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual reader poll to find the Worlds’ best travel destinations, hotels and travel services, three Mexican cities make the top five in the World’s Best City category. San Miguel de Allende came in at number two, the national capital Mexico City at number four and Oaxaca at number five.  

   All three cities are rich in history and traditions and are full of colonial churches, museums, markets and cultural centers. Mexico City has a vibrant dining, shopping and arts scene.

 

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Cancun flight news

In good news for Canadian visitors, Air Canada is offering a new flight from Quebec City to Cancun for the winter season. It will be available from December 21 to April 11, 2020. Sunwing will also be adding a weekly flight from Waterloo International Airport in Ontario to Cancun starting December 18 to April 8, 2020.

(Source via Caribbean Journal)

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Mexico dialing changes

Starting August 3, there are changes to telephone dialing in Mexico. You no longer have to use 01, 044 or 045 when making long distance calls or calling a mobile phone from a landline. If you are calling locally you now dial the area code, such as 998 for Cancun, and then the phone number. For example, if you are in Cancun and wish to call Royal Resorts instead of dialing seven numbers (881-0100), you now dial ten (998 881-0100).

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CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN EVENTS

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.  

Xplor Bravest Race, Xplor Park, September 22

Competitors face a new course this year with more than 40 obstacles and challenges. 

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida

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

Restaurant Weeks, Merida, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, beginning of October

Fiesta de Santo Cristo Negro, Sitilpech, Izamal, October 18

A procession of local gremios or guilds carries the statue of Christ from the parish church of Sitilpech through the streets of Izamal to the sanctuary where it will remain for 27 days before being returned to the church. This traditional fiesta is celebrated with processions, masses, fireworks and a vaqueria.

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. Dia de Muertos is known as Hanal Pixan in the Yucatan.

Triathlon Xel Ha, November 16 – 17

This annual event draws triathletes from all over Mexico and overseas.

Mayakoba Golf Classic PGA tournament, November 11-17, 2019

A field of the world’s leading golfers competes for the OHL Classic trophy at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mayakoba.

Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Izamal, December 8

Thousands of pilgrims join processions to honor the Virgin Mary. There are masses and the traditional fair or vaquería with dances, food stalls and more.

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Land sale

Grand Residences would like to give you an update on the plot of land next to the resort. It has been sold and the new owner is a Canadian company, which has development plans for a luxury all-inclusive hotel on the site. 

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Important news about a new Timeshare scam

It is our policy to alert owners of possible scams attempted by companies or individuals operating online. On this occasion we would like to share reports received from several Grand Residences owners about a company called The Brokerage Group LLC, which called or emailed them about their units.

This company appears to be operating out of New York. According to the letter we have seen the owner or member is asked to complete and return a form with details of their vacation ownership. Once this is done, and if said membership is deemed qualified for resale, they will then receive an offer from the assigned broker, in this case someone called John Downey. 

Royal Resorts has no business relationship with The Brokerage Group LLC or its representatives. We recommend that you do not engage with it or its representatives. Do not submit the membership information requested, and above all, do not send money if they mention a processing fee.

When such companies contact you via email or phone to offer unsolicited broker, resale, exchange or rental services and ask for cash in advance to cover “administrative fees”, “processing fees,” “guarantees” or “deposits” it is generally a good indication that they may not be genuine and if you pay it is very possible that you will not hear from them again.

Protecting your personal information

Royal Resorts has a rigorous privacy policy and is in full compliance with privacy laws. Our members’ personal information is confidential and we do everything possible to protect it. We do not sell and have never sold personal information to third parties.

Always follow these steps if you receive a suspicious email or phone call:

  • Check the source of the email if the company or individual claims to be associated with Royal Resorts. All Royal Resorts communications are sent from an official royalresorts.com email address, if this is not the case, then the email is not from Royal Resorts.
    • Disregard the email or phone call if money is requested in advance for resale or other timeshare-related services.
    • Do not supply personal data or the contact details of friends if referrals are requested.
    • Do an online background check on the company to see if it is legitimate.
    • Ask Royal Resorts if you are in any doubt, we are here to help you.
    • Above all, do not send any money.

We recommend that you avoid disclosing your personal information on forums, blogs and other open media venues and participation in Internet referral schemes that ask you to send the names and details of friends. When you provide your information to others in order to rent, sell or lend your unit please ensure that your information will be protected.

 

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In the news

Grand Residences is in the news again. “The best family resort in Mexico,” is the headline of the latest article about your beach paradise, published online in Caribbean Journal. Here is the link to the story: https://www.caribjournal.com/2019/06/15/mexico-family-resort-best/?utm_source=Caribbean+Journal&utm_campaign=5022f80398-CJ_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ea4e1e4090-5022f80398-188958117

 

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Endless summer fun

Will you be joining us over the summer? If you are, you’ll want to spend your days on the beach or being pampered poolside, but when activity calls, there’s plenty to choose from.

    Start the day with a walk along the beach at sunrise. You’ll see the pelican dawn patrol and you may even spot turtle tracks in the sand. Follow up with a morning swim in the lap pool, a workout in the gym or a yoga session. 

    Challenge friends to a game of tennis or book a class with the tennis pro and after all that activity, be sure to cool off with water, juice and fresh fruit at the poolside recovery station 

    During the day, sign up for a snorkeling tour in Puerto Morelos National Park, take the guided bike trip into Puerto Morelos or play a round of golf on one of the local courses. If that sounds too energetic, check into the Spa for a massage or a herbal facial or body wrap.

     Whatever you decide to do, it is always a good idea to call in at the Activity Center or ask your Concierge about the social activities planned for the day. Options include yoga and aqua fitness, dance and Spanish classes, beach volleyball, art workshops and much more. 

    For more watery fun in Puerto Morelos, arrange a scuba tour, kayaking or fishing. And when you want to go to sightseeing, your Concierge will have plenty of recommendations for you in the Puerto Morelos area, the Riviera Maya and Yucatan.

   If you are traveling with children under the age of 12, there is plenty of fun in store for them at the Kids Club.  They’ll enjoy it so much they won’t want to leave.

    Finally, work up an appetite for dinner with the sunset catamaran cruise during the week. This is the perfect combination of a glorious sky, soft sea breeze and a glass of champagne. Call your Concierge for reservations

 

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Secrets of the Mexican kitchen

Watch Chef Rafael Borbolla at work and improve your kitchen skills with a cooking class. Learn how to prepare tikinxic, Mayan-style marinated fish, ceviche, or the perfect guacamole.  From spicing up your cooking with chilies to salsas and tasty casseroles, discover the secrets of Mexican cuisine. You’ll be inspired and ready to invite your friends and family over for Mexican Night! 

    Brush up on your knowledge of French and Italian cuisine, learn how to cook Ligurian shrimp pasta and great seafood recipes from Mexico and the Mediterranean. Reservations required, call the Concierge.

   If you would like to learn more about Mexican cuisine, why not sign up for a morning of in-depth cooking classes at one of the cooking schools in the Puerto Morelos-Cancun area. Your Concierge can help you with reservations.

 

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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 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.

If you would like to make a referral, click here or call +52 (998) 881-0100 ext. 65846.

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Every picture tells a story

This month we take you on a photographic tour of Merida, Yucatan’s beautiful capital. This gracious old city has the second largest historic center in Mexico and is packed with colonial churches, stately 19th-century mansions, museums and galleries. You’ll enjoy exploring it by day and by night there are concerts, folk dance shows and more. There is something different every day of the week.

   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.

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Take the family for a day of snorkeling

You may have already taken your children to the Puerto Morelos Reef for a morning of snorkeling. How about taking them further south to discover more underwater treasures?  Here are three great options for a snorkeling trip. 

   An hour to the south are two Riviera Maya snorkeling parks, Xel-Há and Yalkú and Chankanaab Park on the island of Cozumel is only a short boat trip from Playa del Carmen. They all make a perfect day out with the family.

Xel-Há

Spend a day at Xel-Ha Park with the family. A chain of turquoise inlets, lagoons and crystalline cenotes fed by underground springs and surrounded by emerald green forest and mangroves, Xel-Ha is one of Mexico’s wonders and a huge natural aquarium. 

    More than 90 species of fish of all shapes and sizes from the nearby reefs seek food and shade among the rocks rimming the caleta (inlet). You’ll find yourself surrounded by schools of fish such as sergeant majors that are just as curious about you as you are about them. Diminutive butterfly fish, damselfish, beaugregories and spotted drums hover around rock outcrops, multicolored parrotfish – one of the park’s symbols – nibble at the limestone and angelfish and blue tangs glide regally by. 

    Submerged concrete reef balls in different areas of the inlet provide an additional habitat for fish and are being colonized by corals and algae. The park also has a project to replenish fish populations in the lagoon and to raise the endangered Queen conch. 

    Venture further into the forest and swim in the cenotes or sinkholes where you’ll see different species of freshwater fish, butterflies and dragonflies.

   Walk across the floating bridge at the mouth of the inlet for a breathtaking view of the lagoons and the Caribbean. Watch the waves break and larger fish such as groupers, barracudas, red, mutton and yellow tail snappers and horse-eyed jacks as they swim under the bridge.

     Apart from hours of snorkeling there is much more aquatic fun to enjoy. Float down the “river” and into the lagoon on oversized inner tubes. Leap into a pool from the cliff of courage; try zip lining and test your balancing skills on a rope bridge. You can even go for a bike ride along a jungle trail. Explore caves and learn about Mayan culture, the tradition of bee keeping, the mangrove forest and local wildlife.  And be sure to climb the 30-meter-high lighthouse for panoramic views of the Riviera Maya coast before descending with a splash on the spiral water slide.

    Children’s World adventure playground is just the thing for younger children. They’ll have fun in the paddling pool and on the water slide; the rope climbs and swings, seesaws and a crocodile tunnel. They can meet the turtles and give rein to their inner artist with painting and drawing sessions. When they get tired there are hammocks in the shade for a family siesta.

    Xel-Ha has restaurants, bars, gift shops, rest rooms, showers and lockers. For an additional charge you can swim with dolphins, manatees or stingrays, try snuba (a combination of snorkeling and diving in a cenote) or sea trek your way across the seabed. Other optional activities include zip biking, a thrilling ride on a super fast jet boat or a massage at the spa.

Yalku

Located just to the north of Akumal, Yalkú is a smaller turquoise caleta that is another incredible snorkeling spot.

   Follow the coast road north from Akumal Bay past Half Moon Bay to the shores of Yalku lagoon and the park entrance. A local cooperative manages Yalku and charges a fee for admission. The use of life jackets is obligatory and there are changing rooms, showers and an open-air cafe.

     As you explore the cool, crystal-clear waters of this inlet you’ll soon have an impressive list of fish sightings. Sergeant majors, porkfish and butterfly fish patrol the shoreline; there are puffer and triggerfish, angelfish, shoals of blue tangs and jacks. Looming out of the shadows are solitary barracudas guarding their territory.  Listen carefully and you can actually hear the sounds of parrotfish gnawing at the rock and you may see the camouflaged peacock flounder emerge from the sand. 

    After snorkeling, sit on the rocks and take in the view. Yalku is a lovely spot, especially early in the morning before it fills up. 

   

Chankanaab Park, Cozumel

Visitors to Chankanaab Park on the island of Cozumel have the chance to explore Chankanaab Reef in the sheltered waters of the lagoon behind the reef crest.  As you swim through coral gardens festooned with sea fans, algae and sponges, you’ll have your own close encounters with queen and French angelfish, several species of parrotfish and shoals of blue tangs, sergeant majors, grunts and jacks. 

    Other Chankanaab attractions include a cenote or sinkhole connected to the Caribbean by an underground river, a botanical garden and dolphin swims. 

    If you would like to explore more of Cozumel’s underwater world but are not a diver, there are glass-bottomed boat trips and the Atlantis submarine, which takes you down to a depth of more than 100 feet to see the glory of the island’s reefs.  

    At a depth of 50 feet you’ll see a shipwreck, the Felipe Xicotencatl, now a home for myriad species of fish. Keep a look out for sea turtles and manta rays swimming by. Finally, the submarine will hover over the Wall, the drop off which plunges to a depth of 1,800 feet below you. 

 

Planning your trip

Ask the Concierge to help you plan a trip to Xel-Há, Yalkú and Chankanaab Park on Cozumel.  If you would like to book a ride on the Atlantis submarine, the following restrictions apply.  Passengers must be at least three feet in height and be able to manage seven steps backwards on their own into the vessel. Moms to be may take the tour up to the sixth month of their pregnancy. Visitors weighing more than 220 pounds should check seat availability and weather conditions beforehand.

 

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Puerto Morelos beach awarded Blue Flag status

The Ventana al Mar beach in Puerto Morelos has been awarded Blue Flag status, the first in the municipality to receive this international certification rating beach cleanliness, water quality and accessibility for all, among other factors.

     In other Puerto Morelos environmental news, two of its schools (Simon Bolivar Primary School afternoon session and Secundaria Técnica Número 10 Francisco Zarco) have been designated as Eco Schools. They received the Green Flag for their work in trash separation, recycling and planting student gardens with fruit trees, vegetables and herbs. 

    Eco Schools is a global model that teaches children to be agents of change and to protect the planet, they learn about the need for sustainability and social responsibility.  It is promoted by the Environmental Education Foundation, which has already certified 49,000 schools in 64 countries 

    In Puerto Morelos, 800 students and 55 teachers are participating in the program and it will be extended to other schools in the district. Two Cancun schools have also been designated as Eco Schools.

 

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Puerto Morelos installs seaweed barrier

A floating barrier has been installed in front of a two-kilometer-stretch of public beach between Av. Lopez Mateos and Pelicanos Restaurant to prevent seaweed being washed up on the coast. The authorities hope that it will deflect up to 65 percent of the sargasso, which will be collected by boat or using special belts to bring it ashore to designated collection points where disposal trucks will be waiting. 

     Fish and other marine creatures such as turtles can swim through or under the seaweed barrier and it is anchored carefully using a technique that will not damage the sea grass beds.  

    Beach sweepers and brigades of workers will collect the seaweed that makes it to the shoreline.

    Several hotels along a stretch of beach to the north of Puerto Morelos that is particularly susceptible to seaweed landings (less wave action and water circulation) are in the process of installing similar barriers.

 

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Cancun Airport News

For the fourth year running, Cancun is No. 1 in this summer’s top travel destinations from the United States in the Airline Reporting Corp national survey of flight sales.

     Cancun International Airport is on track to break another record this year by passing the 26 million mark in passenger arrivals. To date it has welcomed 11 million passengers and is showing 5.2 percent growth for the year as a whole.

 

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EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

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

 

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 19-21

A celebration of the world’s largest fish and summer visitor to the Mexican Caribbean.

 

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.

 

Tunich Craft Fair, Dzitya, July 29 – August 7

Located 15 minutes to the north of Merida, the village of Dzitya has been hosting a craft festival for 15 years now. Local wood and stone carvers exhibit their art, in addition to other Yucatecan crafts such as hammocks, embroidered textiles, ceramics, palm and henequen products. This year, folk artists from five guest states: Puebla, Veracruz, Michoacán, Querétaro and Guanajuato will join them.

    There will also be stalls selling honey, candies, drinks and traditional cuisine from the Yucatan and the guest states.

 

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

Ten days of 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.  

 

Xplor Bravest Race, Xplor Park, September 22

Competitors face a new course this year with more than 40 obstacles and challenges. 

 

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida

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

 

Fiesta de Santo Cristo Negro, Sitilpech, Izamal, October 18

A procession of local guilds carries the statue of Christ from the parish church of Sitilpech through the streets of Izamal to the sanctuary where it will remain for 27 days before being returned to the church. This traditional fiesta is celebrated with processions, masses, fireworks and a vaqueria.

 

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.

 

Triathlon Xel Ha, November 16 – 17

This annual event draws triathletes from all over Mexico and overseas.

 

Mayakoba Golf Classic PGA tournament, November 11-17, 2019

A field of the world’s leading golfers competes for the OHL Classic trophy at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mayakoba.

 

Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Izamal, December 8

Thousands of pilgrims join processions to honor the Virgin Mary. There are masses and the traditional fair or vaquería with dances, food stalls and more.

 

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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.