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More Statues for the Cancun Underwater Museum of Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Restoring Yucatan’s Colonial Heritage

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

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Mayan Discoveries at Uxmal and Chichen Itza

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

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

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

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

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

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Trusted Traveler Program set to Expand in Airports

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

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

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

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

(Source: Travel Weekly, Novedades)

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Upcoming events

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5729″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Mexican Independence, September 15-16

From north to south, east to west, Mexico celebrates the anniversary of its Independence from Spain with delicious food, music and colorful festivities on September 15 and processions on September 16.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5588″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida

The patron saint of Merida is honored with masses, pilgrimages, processions and traditional dances.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5730″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]First International Theatre Festival, Playa del Carmen, October 5-11

Local drama groups join guest companies from other parts of Mexico and overseas in a celebration of the world of theatre.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5423″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Second Festival of Mexican Wine, Riviera Maya, October 15,16 & 17

Conferences and workshops, wine tastings, art, music, wine dinners and the vendimia or wine harvest evening.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5424″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]International Festival of Maya Culture, Merida, October 16-25

In October, Merida will be hosting FICMAYA, an international festival celebrating Maya culture and the arts.

The theme of the 2015 festival is Science reflected in the Architecture, Time and Landscape of the Mayab. It brings together researchers, artists and the representatives of Mayan communities from Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco and Chiapas, the Central American countries of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador and other countries. All share a love of Maya culture. This year, Quintana Roo is the guest state and Cuba the guest country, chosen for its strong ties to the Yucatán through history.

Details of the festival program will be revealed in July and will include academic seminars on aspects of the Maya culture and the latest discoveries made by researchers; theater, concerts, dance, art exhibitions and movies. A selection of events from the famous Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato will also be featured.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5731″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]10th Xcaret Festival of Life & Death Traditions, Xcaret, October 30, 31, November 1 & 2

Hosted by Xcaret Park, the 10th 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 are permitted to return to the world of the living for a short time and they welcome their loved ones back 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. The 2015 event will have the participation of Mayan communities from Quintana Roo and Yucatan, several award-winning groups of musicians from guest country Colombia and a gala concert by popular Mexican singer songwriter Julieta Vinegas.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5379″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]OHL Classic at Mayakoba PGA Golf Tournament, November 9-15

Some of the world’s top golfers, including legendary PGA champions and up and coming players will be gathering in the Riviera Maya this November for the OHL Golf Classic at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mayakoba.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5590″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Caribbean Culture Festival, November 11-16, Cancun, Chetumal, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen

The Caribbean Culture Festival is set to take place November 11-16 in multiple venues throughout the state. Cuba is the guest nation and 15 countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America have already confirmed their participation, including Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Venezuela. Events will include concerts, dance events, theater, film, art exhibitions and academic seminars on Caribbean history and culture.[/vc_column_text][dt_fancy_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5732″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Xel-Ha Triathlon, November 14-15

Professional and amateur triathletes will be participating in the Xel-Ha Triathlon this November. The Olympic event takes place on Saturday 14 and attracts the finest triathletes in Mexico. The scheduled Sunday activities are a Sprint Triathlon, a Children’s event and a Beginners Only Triathlon.

This is the second year that Xel-Há Park has been selected by the Mexican Triathlon Federation as the venue for the National Triathlon Championship 2015.

For more information visit www.triatlonxelha.com[/vc_column_text][dt_fancy_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5428″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, Playa del Carmen, November 26, 27 & 28

The line up for the 2015 Riviera Maya Jazz Festival includes Gino Vanelli in his second appearance at the event, Dweezil Zappa, son of the legendary Frank Zappa, the Zawinul Legacy Band founded by a former member of Weather Report, Dirty Loops and Mexican band Resorte, among others.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5591″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Danxica International Dance and Arts Festival, Cancun, December 2-6

Dance groups from the state, other parts of Mexico and abroad gather in Cancun for the Danxica Festival.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5735″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Cozumel Scuba Fest, Cozumel, December 8-13

For the fourth year running the island of Cozumel will be welcoming divers of all levels in December for the Cozumel Scuba Fest. Advanced divers with Advanced Open water certification will be able to follow a route comprising nine dives that will take them to reefs to the north of Cozumel, the wreck of the Xicotencatl, a ship sunk in 1999, and challenging southern reefs such as Palancar Caves, the Devil’s Throat and Maracaibo.

The JM Cousteau Route takes in some of the reefs made famous by Jacques Cousteau in the 1960s and particular favorites of his son Jean Michel Cousteau.

On the Yucatan Peninsula Diving Route advanced divers will venture into Xibalba, the mysterious underworld of the Maya and explore sacred caves, cenotes and a labyrinth of hidden waterways hollowed out of the limestone over millions of years. The route will take them to the Riviera Maya, site of the world’s longest underground rivers discovered to date, Valladolid to explore the cenotes of the eastern Yucatan and to Merida.

www.cozumelfest.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Cruise Store comes to the Signature Marketplace

We are please to unveil yet another President’s Circle membership benefit for you and your family to enjoy. The Signature Marketplace just got even better with the addition of a Cruise Store. President’s Circle members who love to sail the seven seas will find plenty of cruises from the world’s major cruise lines and a host of unforgettable destinations to choose from.

Log in to www.rrsignatureclub.com/marketplace and click on the Cruise Store to see the cruises on offer, all available at great rates. When you find a cruise you are interested in, and are ready to book it, you need to convert your Signature Credits into Marketplace Credits. Once this has been confirmed and your account replenished with Credits, you are ready to start shopping.

If you don’t have enough Credits to complete the transaction, you can pay with your credit card or use a combination of both.

Remember that you can also search the Signature Marketplace for hotels, flights, car rentals and tour packages around the world and book additional treats for your next Grand Residences or Royal Resorts vacation such as dinners, spa treatments and day trips.

www.rrsignatureclub.com

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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, we will apply 2% of the net purchase price of their Fraction towards your annual Club Service fees.

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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SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT GRAND RESIDENCES

If you would like to make a referral

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

CLICK HERE

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Grand Residences Turtles

Here’s the latest update from our turtle guardians at Grand Residences. By August 4 there were 61 nests in the turtle nursery and we are happy to report the first babies of the season, born on August 1.

At the Cancun resorts, we are also seeing a considerable increase in the number of nesting turtles this year when compared to the same period last year. As of July 29 there were 200 nests in the corral at The Royal Caribbean with 23,632 eggs and 133 nests at The Royal Sands with 15,839 eggs.

The first baby turtles at The Royal Sands have already been released to race down the beach towards the waves and we will keep you updated as more of the precious eggs hatch.

In other turtle news from the Mexican Caribbean, early indications in July pointed to a 20 percent rise in the number of nesting turtles (2,140 nests) in Cancun and Puerto Morelos when compared to 2014. In Cozumel, biologists and volunteers are already watching over 1,632 precious nests.

Visit www.royalresortsnews.com for more Grand Residences and Royal Resorts turtle news and if you are due to come down this month or in the fall you may be lucky enough to witness a turtle release. Ask your Concierge for more information.

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Grand Residences Awarded Distintivo H for Food Preparation

For the second year running, El Faro Grill and the restaurant kitchens have been awarded the Distintivo H for high standards of food preparation, storage and cleanliness. After the inspection, the resort’s score of 98.62 percent was announced.

The Distintivo H is the Mexican Tourism Board’s restaurant certification program and it recognizes excellence in food handling techniques, storage and kitchen hygiene standards.

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Summer at the Spa

After the heat, noise and bustle of summer in the city, you are likely to arrive at Grand Residences tense and feeling rather frazzled. Take a deep breath, you are home now and ready to slip into the slower pace of life in the Mexican Caribbean. To start your vacation with some much-needed pampering, we recommend a morning at the Spa. Choose your favorite massage from the menu and feel the tension melt away.

Combine your massage with a facial or body wrap, the Spa offers a variety of luxury treatments to soothe body and soul. If you would prefer to stay in your residence, try one of the spa milk baths for a fragrant, therapeutic and relaxing experience.

Ask your Concierge to help you book your Spa appointment.

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Don your Mask and Go Snorkeling

Taking the plunge is one way to beat the summer heat. Don your mask and flippers and go snorkeling along the Puerto Morelos Reef, part of the Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second longest barrier reef.

The reef formations in the Puerto Morelos Marine National Park are impressive, the marine life colorful and diverse, visibility is good and the water calm, all in all excellent snorkeling conditions.

The skipper of your boat and guide know all the best snorkeling spots in the marine park, where to see angel and parrot fish or the schools of blue tangs, pork fish and French grunts that congregate above the reef crest. They’ll take you to spots where sea turtles and rays are known to swim and to coral gardens where tiny fish such as damsel and butterfly fish make their homes.

If you do decide to go snorkeling, please do not apply sun cream and rinse before entering the sea. The chemicals in sun products, lotions, perfume and soap are harmful to marine life. To protect your skin from the sun, we recommend that you wear a white t-shirt over your swimsuit as an alternative.

Ask your Concierge about snorkeling trips.

 

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Tell the World about Grand Residences on Trip Advisor

If you have just returned from a well-earned break in your home away from home, we hope that you had a wonderful stay and we look forward to seeing you here again soon. Why not share your vacation experiences with the world by writing a review on www.tripadvisor.com

Staff monitor Trip Advisor constantly and your invaluable feedback is shared with Resort Operations, Guest Services and Restaurant Management to identify areas where improvement is needed.

 

tripadvisor-gr

 

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Every Picture Tells a Story

We thought you would like to see a selection of photos to remind you of the natural beauty and colors that make the Mexican Caribbean such an incredible destination.

 

Photos courtesy of Erika Sánchez Cruz.

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

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Meet The Neighbors – Angela and Nicholas Lau

Canadian owners and longtime Royal Resorts members Angela and Nicholas Lau had this to say about their Grand Residences home.

“This is our second home which we look forward to coming every year, and enjoying all the comforts of home and located directly in front of a beautiful beach with a private pool and hot tub.  The staff are exceedingly friendly and helpful and the service standards far exceeded any other places we have experienced, including Asia where the service standard is high.
“Our family enjoys the close proximity to many golf courses including the PGA course at Mayakoba and goes golfing almost every day.  We also enroll in tennis lessons at Grand Residences.  The tennis instructor here is world class and is at a very high level of instruction, significantly improving our daughter’s game in just a few weeks.
“Grand Residences is also conveniently located by the quaint fishing town of Puerto Morelos and we enjoy the fishing trips that the local private businesses offer, as well as purchasing fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables from the local grocery stores.  We like to support the small businesses in this town.
“Royal Resorts have done an excellent job in entertaining all its owners at Grand Residences, giving us many opportunities to meet each other with events such as group cocktail hour and Catamaran trips.  And through those, we have made friends with our neighbors at Grand Residences and other homeowners, and look forward to seeing these same owners every year.  It is very much the feel of a residential community, which we feel fortunate to be part of.”

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Searching for a City of Gold in the Yucatan, Izamal

If you like to go somewhere different each time you visit the Mexican Caribbean, how about a trip to Izamal, the Yucatan’s very own “city of gold?”  This peaceful little town famous for its bright yellow buildings is often called the “city of three cultures,” a reference to its pre-Hispanic and Spanish heritage and the traditions of today’s Mayan inhabitants. On August 15, it honors its patron saint Our Lady of Izamal with processions, masses, dances, a fair and the traditional vaquería.

 

Pueblo Mágico

Izamal is one of Yucatan’s two Pueblo Mágicos, a distinction it shares with Valladolid. The Mexico Tourism Board launched Pueblos Mágicos to promote communities with their own brand of magic and colorful traditions.

Izamal has been inhabited since the days of the ancient Maya, in fact the earliest traces of human occupation date back to the third century B.C., making the site older than Uxmal and Chichén Itzá. Izamal later became a sacred place, attracting Mayan pilgrims from all over the Yucatán, who worshipped Itzamná or Zamna, the chief god, inventor of writing, medicine and agriculture.

Over 20 major Mayan buildings have been found in and around Izamal, along with a network of sacbes or roads, house mounds and tombs. The Mayan sun god, Kinich Kakmo was also venerated here and the pyramid erected in his honor still dominates the skyline. Standing 35 meters high, it is the third largest building in Mesoamerica in terms of volume.

 

The Convent

After the Conquest, Spanish friars took advantage of Izamal’s religious importance by building a huge Franciscan mission on top of the Pap-Hol-Chac temple. The San Antonio de Padua mission was founded in 1549 and completed in 1618. Home to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, the patron saint of the Yucatán since 1648, it is one of Mexico’s ten most important shrines. The fortress-like building is also said to have the largest closed atrium in Mexico and one of the largest in the world, with no fewer than 75 arches!

Just outside the convent walls is a statue of Friar Diego de Landa, the Spanish missionary who oversaw its construction. He also undertook a dangerous journey to Guatemala to bring back a statue of Our Lady of Izamal. He is more famous, however, for the auto de fe in Maní in 1562 in which he ordered thousands of Mayan codices or books to be burned. In a later act of remorse he wrote an account of Mayan life at the time of the Conquest.

Wherever you turn in Izamal you’ll see cheerful yellow paint and a white trim, this tradition dates from the Colonial Period and started with the convent. Nowadays most of the historic houses, arches, churches and civic buildings sport the Izamal colors.

Explore the streets and squares surrounding the convent on foot or hire a horse-drawn carriage or victoria. Apart from the convent and the Mayan pyramids, other local landmarks include the Town Hall, the Community Museum in Calle 31, the colonial churches of San Ildefonso, Los Remedios, Carmen and Santa Cruz and a number of restored houses that now operate as restaurants or hotels.

If you are feeling hungry, the Kinch Kakmo restaurant in the shadow of the pyramid of the same name, is famous for its Yucatecan cuisine.

 

Craft Creations

You may be lucky enough to visit a craft workshop during your visit. Local artisans produce embroidered cotton dresses, hammocks, wood carvings, silver, henequen and seed jewelry and colorful papier mâché butterflies. There are several walking tours that will take you past workshops in different neighborhoods; ask for a map in the Tourist information booth in Izamal Town Hall on the square.

Folk art can also be purchased in the plaza, at several craft shops and galleries and at the Izamal Cultural Center. Funded by the Banamex Foundation and managed by a cooperative of enterprising young Izamaleños, the Cultural Center also has an exhibition of fine handicrafts from all over the country, an informative display on the history of henequen, a café and a mini spa.

As the sun goes down, spend some time people watching in the peaceful main square and stay on after dark for the La Luz de los Mayas Light & Sound Show staged at the Convent at 8:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

The landscape around Izamal is dotted with henequen haciendas and the fields of the sage-green plant that played such an important role in the Yucatecan economy in the late 19th century. Most are abandoned but small-scale cultivation still continues at Chichihú. Haciendas Tzalancab and San José Tecoh are open to the public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offer bird watching trails. Guides are available at the Tourist Information booth.

 

Getting to Izamal

If you would like to visit Izamal, why not ask your Concierge to arrange a private excursion for you? If you decide to rent a car and explore at your own pace, Izamal is 158 miles from Cancún and 43 miles from Mérida, take the turnoffs signposted on the toll road or Highway 180.

 

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Red Cross in Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos now has a small Red Cross Clinic at the service of residents and visitors alike. This will improve health care in the community and help reduce response times to emergencies.

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Beach Cleaning

In our May newsletter we reported on the unusual amounts of seaweed that are washing ashore on beaches throughout the Mexican Caribbean. This is still occurring and is not confined to the state of Quintana Roo. The Caribbean islands and the Gulf coast of the United States are having similar experiences.

Beach cleaning is being carried out on a daily basis in Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and other resort areas such as Akumal, Tulum and Mahahual. In the third week of July, the Federal Government authorized additional funds for Municipal governments to hire more people to clean the beaches and conservation groups, soldiers and people from all walks of life are also volunteering to help remove the seaweed that washes ashore.

As it is sea turtle nesting season seaweed is being removed manually on beaches where there are nests in situ. There are restrictions on heavy machinery that could damage nests and crush the eggs. Most of the hotels in Cancun participate in the turtle protection program and transport the eggs further up the beach to special enclosures or turtle nurseries, diggers are permitted during the morning and not at night when turtles are emerging to lay their eggs. In Puerto Morelos, diggers are also operating on beaches that are not turtle nesting sites.

Municipal authorities are working with local biologists on a cleaning and disposal plan for the seaweed. Once the salt has leached out it can be composted and used as a fertilizer. In Puerto Morelos, some of the seaweed removed from the beaches is being deposited in an old quarry and it will eventually be used in the parks and gardens. In other areas, the seaweed is being buried in the dunes and the soil formed will boost plant growth and help protect the shoreline from erosion.

Government officials are also in contact with experts from universities in the United States who are monitoring floating patches of seaweed and the ocean currents that transport them north through the Caribbean. As yet the origin of this year’s bloom is still unclear.

There are several theories about what is causing so much seaweed. Increasing sea temperatures due to climate change and excessive nutrients in the water from fertilizers and waste water may cause seaweed to proliferate. Other scientists believe that it may be one of the environmental impacts of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is important to note that the seaweed is completely harmless and it is also a haven for many creatures such as shells, tiny crabs, baby turtles and fish.

We will keep you posted on the seaweed and plans to clean the beaches.

 

Cancun seaweed

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Restoring the Puerto Morelos Wetlands

The State Government is preparing a project to restore the wetlands of Puerto Morelos. The first stage is an in-depth study of the ecosystem and its health, identifying problem areas. This analysis is likely to take between five to seven months and once complete will dictate the measures to be taken.

This period will be followed by the rescue period of five to seven years. Actions will include reforestation with mangrove plants and other wetland plants. Water channels may also be opened in areas of the wetland that are now completely dry or where there is little or no circulation. In other areas where roads are planned, alternative routes may have to be proposed.

Source: Novedades

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Cancun Maya Museum Hosts To’on Exhibition on the Maya of Today

The Cancun Maya Museum is hosting a seasonal exhibition of photos and videos on the Yucatan Maya of today, their lives, culture and traditions. Through videos, they tell their own stories, relate the history of their people, their beliefs and their legends.

Located opposite Captain’s Cove restaurant, the Cancun Maya Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Monday. Admission is $59 pesos per person, which includes the tour of the museum, seasonal exhibitions such as this one and a visit to the adjacent San Miguelito archaeological site.

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Cancun Airport Expansion

Good news for Cancun visitors, the renovation of Terminal 3 at Cancun International Airport will be completed this year and work will begin on a fourth terminal.

Terminal 4 is scheduled to be finished by 2017 and will boost the airport’s passenger handling capacity to 25 million people per year. In 2014, 17.4 million international and domestic passengers used the airport, a 9.35 percent increase on 2013.

In other airport news, the Mexican Immigration Institute has announced that it will be adding more personnel and booths to the Immigration Area at Cancun and Mexico City airports in order to speed up the entry process for arriving passengers. To date, no time frame has been given for this upgrade.

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Flight News

Mexican carrier Interjet is offering two new daily flights from Cancun to Havana and Miami. Avianca will start flying from Lima, Peru to Cancun on July 26. In October, Sun Country Airlines will begin flying from Fort Myers, Spirit will cover the Houston –Cancun route and on December 18, Delta will launch a Seattle-Cancun service. Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines will also be adding Cancun to their flight network in 2016.

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Blue Flag for Cancun’s Beaches

Six of Cancun’s beautiful white beaches received Blue Flag certification in early July in recognition of the cleanliness of the sand, the quality and transparency of the water and the facilities offered for beachgoers. The international blue flag is now flying at Playa Delfines, Playa Ballenas, Playa Marlin, Chac Mool, Las Perlas and Playa El Niño. Elsewhere in the state, a popular bathing spot in Bacalar and Playa Posada del Mar on Isla Mujeres were also awarded Blue Flag status.
In terms of Blue Flags Cancun is the undisputed leader in Mexico and more Mexican Caribbean beaches, including Puerto Morelos, are preparing for the rigorous inspection process in 2016.

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Tourist Numbers on the Rise

In the first quarter of the year, Cancun welcomed 1,624,270 visitors, 5.8 percent up on the same period in 2014.
The countries showing the most significant growth rates in terms of numbers of visitors were:

Argentina 15%
Brazil 9%
Mexico 8%
Colombia 7%
United States 4%
Canada 3%
United Kingdom 3%
Chile 1%
Costa Rica 1%

Tourism earnings also rose and overall, the state of Quintana Roo received 3,740,497 visitors, a 5.9 per cent rise on 2014. The Mexican Tourism Board is also reporting that 10,482,000 international visitors traveled to Mexico during the first three months of the year.
In other news, the American Society of Travel Agencies (ASTA) announced that Cancun is one of the top four travel destination for US tourists this year, along with London, Rome and Paris.

 

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Museum of Prehistory Opens in Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos Cenote in the district of Tulum will have a new attraction for visitors this month, the Museum of Prehistory. The Museum will have exhibits of fossils found during dives in the cenotes and underground rivers in the Tulum area and replicas of some of the most famous finds such as the Woman of Naharon, a skeleton of a woman who died more than 10,000 years ago and was one of the earliest inhabitants of the Yucatan Peninsula. There is also a history of three decades of dive and archaeological explorations in the area.

Admission: $50 pesos per person

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