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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.

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Want to try Mexican wines? Ask the Sommelier

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

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Fresh from the bakery

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

 

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Have a Spa summer

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

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

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Every picture tells a story

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

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

If you have a picture of Grand Residences, Puerto Morelos or a special place in the Yucatan or a vacation story that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you. Send your pictures to memories@royalresorts.com. A selection of the photos we receive will be published in this newsletter.

 

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Island Hopping

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

Isla Mujeres

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

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

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

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

Contoy

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

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

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

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

Cozumel

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

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

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

Holbox

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

Plan your island hopping adventures

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

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Visit the Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden

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

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

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

The Botanical Garden is located just south of Puerto Morelos on Highway 307. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Take a camera, binoculars and use eco-friendly insect repellent to ward off biting insects.

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Seaweed Update

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

What is Sargassum?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is being done to clean the beaches?

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

Puerto Morelos

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

Grand Residences by Royal Resorts

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

Turtle nesting season

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

Seaweed fast facts

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

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

[Sources: Puerto Morelos Protocol]
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Cancun flight news

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

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

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

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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.

Commemorating La Chispa in Valladolid, June 4

The population of Valladolid turns out on the night of June 4 to witness the representation of La Chispa, a rebellion against injustice in 1910 that was the first spark or chispa of the Mexican Revolution.
More than 800 actors take part in La Chispa. Dressed in authentic turn-of-the-century garb, they play the parts of the rebels, ruling aristocrats, and the police and soldiers sent to arrest them.

June Sport Fishing Tournaments

Cozumel, June 9
Dorado de Plata, Mahahual, June 7-9
Chuk Kay Tulum, June 14 – 15
Playa del Carmen, June 16
Copa Mahahual, June 21 – 23
La Dorada del Caribe Tournament for Women, Isla Mujeres, June 28-29

July Sport Fishing Tournaments

Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Playa del Carmen 2019, July 14
Punta Allen 2019 Fishing Tournament, Punta Allen, Sian Ka’an, July 19-21

Feria del Carmen, Playa del Carmen, July 7 – 16

Masses, processions, music, a fair and more to honor Playa del Carmen’s patron saint.

La Diosa del Mar Women’s International Fishing Tournament, Puerto Morelos, July 12 & 13

Catch and release international fishing tournament.

Whale Shark Festival Isla Mujeres, July 19-22

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

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

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

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

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Izamal, August 15, Izamal

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

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

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

Cruz de la Bahía, Isla Mujeres, August 17

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

Mexican Independence, September 15 &16

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

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida

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

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

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

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Pampering after your morning workout

For those of you who like an early work out, tennis game or swim to start the day, you’ll love the new recovery station on the pool deck. Open from 7 to 9:30 a.m., it is stocked with fresh fruit, water, juice and granola bars to boost your energy as you rest after your exercise.

And after you have drunk your juice and munched on an apple or banana, why not check into the Spa for a relaxing massage to ease those tired muscles?

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Dining by starlight with someone special

Pamper Mom on her special day with a family dinner on the beach or on the terrace. Order the mouthwatering beach dinner menu with a bottle of bubbly or ask the Sommelier to recommend wines from the award-winning El Faro wine list and be sure to end your meal with a selection of desserts with chocolate and fruit.

As an alternative, you could ask the Chef to prepare a meal of his own inspiration for you to enjoy in your residence.

Additional charges apply for private catering.

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The arrival of our special summer visitors, the sea turtles

It’s that time of year again. May is the start of sea turtle nesting season in the Mexican Caribbean and at Grand Residences we are gearing up to welcome these ancient creatures as they emerge from the waves to lay their eggs.

Our security guards will be patrolling the beach during the summer nights on the look out for the female green and loggerhead turtles that come ashore to dig their nests.

Forty-five to 60 days later, the tiny baby turtles will chip their way out of the nests. They’ll face many dangers on their journey to adulthood, many falling prey to birds, fish, plastic pollution or becoming entrapped in industrial fishing nets. However, some will make it and in 12 to 15 years time they will return to the beaches they were born on to lay their own eggs.

Follow the Turtle Season Rules

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

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

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

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Are you interested in serving on the Advisory Council?

The Advisory Council is comprised of five Owners that represent the Grand Residences Community. They meet at least once a year with representatives from DRM and the Resort Operating Company to review and make recommendations on Resort Operations at Grand Residences for the following year, policies, procedures and issues of interest to Owners.
Any Owner that would like to be a part of the Grand Residences Advisory Council is cordially invited to send in their application before July 31, 2019.
The current members of the Grand Residences Advisory Council will review all the applications received and will vote for a new member in a private election during the 2019 Advisory Council Meeting on October 24.

Advisory Council responsibilities

The duties of the Advisory Council consist of the review of financial statements for the current year’s operations at Grand Residences, all reports presented by Management relating to the maintenance and operation of the resort, the projected budgets for the operation of the following year and proposed Club Service Fees to be paid per interval based upon the reviewed budget for the resort. They also study maintenance and fixed assets programs, proposals for new services and amenities, cost-efficiency operating projects and guest satisfaction survey results among others.
In their capacity as representatives, Advisory Council members raise concerns voiced by Owners in relation to the operation of the resort and follow up on their queries with DRM and the Resort Management Company at the meeting and during the year.

Making your Application

If you love your resort home and are interested in standing as a candidate for the Advisory Council for Grand Residences by Royal Resorts®, click here to read the eligibility requirements. If you would like to be considered for this important role, fill out the application form.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to stand for the Advisory Council, you must be over the age of 25 and be a Grand Residences Owner. You must be in good standing with all your obligations. You must own one or more Fractions at Grand Residences, the equivalent of five or more weeks in the Grand Residences Fractional Program, and at least one of the said fractions must have been purchased directly from DRM (resales and title changes are not accepted for this purpose). You must agree to abide by the Advisory Council Regulations.
It is important that you read the Advisory Council Rules in full as they include more information on the eligibility requirements for candidates and the restrictions that could render an application invalid.

Sending your application

Send your application form by email and attach a copy of your résumé and a cover letter stating why you would like to stand for the Grand Residences Advisory Council. Your résumé should include details of current and past employment, your educational background, community work and other relevant career information.
Applications must be received by July 31 to be considered for this year. Interested Owners should send their questions or application form and résumé to:

Gina Lopez
Tel: (954) 485-5400 Ext. 2503
Email: glopez@royalresorts.com