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Sensational Snorkeling

If you enjoy snorkeling and identifying the many colorful tropical fish as they swim lazily by or hide among the corals, you have one of the best spots in the Mexican Caribbean right here on the doorstep! Protected by a National Marine Park, the Puerto Morelos Reef is rich in marine life and local dive guides will take you to all the best snorkeling locations. After a couple of days snorkeling in Puerto Morelos, you’ll be hooked and will want to explore other sites in the area.

An hour’s drive to the south, two Riviera Maya snorkeling parks Xel-Há and Yalkú make a perfect day out with the family.

 

Xel-Há

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 outcrops, multicolored parrotfish – one of the park’s symbols – nibble at the limestone and algae and angelfish and blue tangs glide regally by. There are graceful southern stingrays in an area near the north bank of the inlet.

Concrete structures known as reef balls have been submerged in different areas of the inlet to provide an additional habitat for fish and are already 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.

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.

Spend a day at Xel-Ha with the family. Apart from snorkeling, you can float down the waterways in oversized inner tubes, swim with dolphins, try snuba (a combination of snorkeling and diving) and sea trek your way across the seabed (additional charges). Leap into a pool from a cliff, explore caves and learn about Mayan culture, the tradition of bee keeping and local flora and fauna such as the manatee.

 

Yalku

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

Follow the coast road north from Akumal past Half Moon Bay to the shores of Yalku. As you explore the refreshingly cool and crystal-clear waters of the inlet you’ll see a variety of colorful reef fish that come inshore to feed or breed among the mangrove roots and submerged rocks. Sergeant majors and damselfish patrol the shoreline, queen angelfish cruise by and lone barracudas guard their territory. Listen and you will hear the sounds of parrotfish gnawing at the rock and look carefully and you may see the camouflaged peacock flounder emerge from the sand. This is a lovely spot, especially early in the morning before it fills up.

A local cooperative manages Yalku and charges a fee for admission. Life jackets are available and there are restrooms and a little open-air cafe.

Ask the Concierge to help you plan a trip to Xel-Há or Akumal and Yalkú.

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Sculpting Works of Art from Sand in Puerto Morelos

Venezuelan artist José Luis Gonzalez amazed Puerto Morelos visitors at Christmas with his beautiful Nativity scene created from sand. For Easter he did it again with a representation of the Last Supper, Moises and La Pièta, the masterpiece of Michelangelo.

This impressive exhibit took him 20 days to sculpt with the help of three assistants and it used nine tons of sand.

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Copa del Rey Polo Tournament

Puerto Morelos is gearing up for the annual Copa del Rey Polo Tournament at El Rey Polo & Country Club from April 23 to 26.

Located in the jungle along the Ruta de los Cenotes, 11 kilometers from the coast, El Rey Polo & Country Club is a magnificent setting for a fast-paced sport that is growing in popularity in the Mexican Caribbean. If you would like to attend the Copa del Rey tournament, visit the club or arrange riding or polo lessons ask the Concierge for assistance.

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Cancun wins Destination of the Year award

Cancun has won the Expedia Destination of the Year award in recognition of its popularity and its attractions. Jesus Almaguer, director of the Cancun Visitors & Convention Bureau accepted the trophy at the Tianguis Travel Fair in Acapulco as it was awarded for the destination with the most successful marketing campaign.

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Record numbers of international tourists to Mexico in 2014

The Mexican Tourism Board reported that the country welcomed 29,090,000 million visitors in 2014, an increase from the 2013 figures of 24 million. The positive trend is continuing in 2015 and Mexico has regained its top 10 position in the rankings of countries receiving the most international visitors.

Revenue from tourism also increased by 16.5 percent in 2014 according to the Bank of Mexico and that the principal destinations contributing to this rise were Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara and Mexico City.

In local news, Cancun Hotel Association statistics reveal that Cancun and Puerto Morelos welcomed 4,922,978 international visitors in 2014 and the Riviera Maya finished the year with an additional 3,297,000 tourists.

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Cancun Shopping News

Construction is now underway on the new Town Center mall in Puerto Cancun and the inauguration is expected to take place in late 2016. With views of the Caribbean and Puerto Cancun marina, the new shopping center will be the largest in the state of Quintana Roo. In addition to more than 100 stores – including international brands such as Brooks Brothers and Banana Republic, restaurants, cafes and other services, Town Center will also have a Cinepolis entertainment center with 16 movie theaters.

In other shopping news, the expansion of Luxury Avenue in Plaza Kukulcan continues. The latest addition due to open this summer is a Forever 21 store that will extend over two floors.

Fashion fans in search of bright bold colors and eclectic jewelry will always find plenty to choose from in the Concept Store showcasing some of Mexico and Latin America’s finest young designers.

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Moviegoers get ready for the Riviera Maya Film Festival

From April 23 to 29, movie lovers in Playa del Carmen will be treated to an extravaganza of cinema when the Riviera Maya Film Festival comes to town.

The 2015 program features 70 films, of which 53 are having their premiere in Mexico, workshops, seminars, master classes with actors and directors and more.

The films range from documentaries, shorts, experimental cinema and feature length films. They are from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, United States, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Russia, China, Japan, Iran and a host of other countries.

The Festival line up has several categories:

  • Plataforma Mexicana: A competition showcasing Mexican filmmaking talent with 14 films selected for 2015.
  • Galas: Special screenings with VIP guests from the film world. This year’s films are: Burying the Ex (2014, USA). Director: Joe Dante, Elvira, te daría mi vida pero la estoy usando (2014, Mexico). Director: Manolo Caro, Incompresa (2014, Italy / France). Director: Asia Argento, Knight of Cups (2015, USA). Director: Terrence Malick
  • Planetario: A selection of six films drawing attention to social, environmental, cultural, historical and political issues facing the world today.
  • General Public: A selection of 17 films from all over the world that will intrigue and delight the audience in different ways.
  • Panorama Autoral: A selection of 18 international films showing the many ways of telling stories, using language and different movie genres.
  • RivieraLab Presents: This is a showcase for documentaries, shorts and feature films that were featured as RivieraLAB projects in previous years of the festival and are now a reality.
  • Selection – RivieraLAB 2015: A selection of film projects in progress.
  • RivieraLAB Coproduction Forum 2015: Nine film projects in progress compete for a first prize of $200,000 pesos and a runner’s up prize of $100,000 pesos.
  • RivieraLAB Work in Progress 2015: Seven film projects at the post-production stage were selected from a field of 93 projects to compete for cash prizes or the Labodigital award for color correction and sound mixing.

From May 13, a selection of the most outstanding films will be screened in Puerto Morelos (May 13-17), Cancun (May 20-24), Isla Mujeres (May 28-30) and Tulum (June 4-6).

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More Scarlet Macaws raised in Xcaret are released in Veracruz

 

Twenty-eight scarlet macaws from the record-breaking macaw-breeding program in Xcaret Park were released in southern Veracruz after months of acclimatization to life in the jungle, bringing the number of birds introduced into the wild since 2012 to 142.

The 28 birds were set free in the Nanciyaga nature reserve in Los Tuxtlas where they will join a flock of 150 macaws now living free in the forests of this mountainous area.

The Xcaret birds were tagged and some also have chips so that biologists can track their movements. They are also working with area communities to convince villagers to protect the macaws and other wildlife rather than poaching them for the illegal species trade.

It is estimated that the population of wild scarlet macaws in Mexico now stands at around 450, including birds in the Lacandon region of Chiapas that fly across the Usumacinta River to neighboring Guatemala. With further releases planned for this program coordinated by Xcaret, UNAM and reserves in Veracruz and Chiapas, it is hoped that this figure will rise to 600 or more in the coming years and that the birds will begin to breed, slowly bringing this beautiful bird back from the brink of extinction.

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Jaguar Census for the Yucatan Peninsula

According to a census carried out in 2010, the estimated population of the jaguar, the largest feline in the Americas, stands at around 4,400 in Mexico, with at least 45 percent of them living in the Yucatan Peninsula. Yet biologists do not know what the real picture is and how this elusive creature is faring given the threats to its habitat from deforestation, development and farming. In order to obtain up to date information, a network of private and community reserves, parks and NGOs has joined forces to do another survey of the peninsula.
This new census is expected to begin this year and the participation of more reserves and organizations will boost the number of areas studied from four to 10, thus covering a larger territory. Census workers will share data and follow a standard protocol for monitoring the jaguar population. They will use camera traps, analyze tracks, scratch marks on trees, prey remains, droppings and other evidence, in addition to talking to villagers in areas where jaguars are believed to roam.
The results of this new census will be invaluable in identifying all the areas where jaguars are still found in the Yucatan Peninsula, including those zones where they are most at risk, and help map out their range and the size of the population with greater accuracy.
Male jaguars roam through a territory of up to 100 square kilometers and the females stay within a smaller area of between nine and 15 square kilometers. By being able to trace their movements, scientists can determine where biological corridors are needed to connect reserves and lobby for the protection of areas of forest critical to the survival of the jaguar and the creatures that it preys upon. They will be able to strengthen conservation initiatives in the Yucatan Peninsula and protect this magnificent animal, once held sacred by the Maya.

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Upcoming Events

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5059″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Cancun International Fishing Tournament 2014

April 24-26

Fishing tournament fever comes to Cancun with the Capitan Armando Ferrat International event.[/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=”4965″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]47th Regatta del Sol al Sol, Isla Mujeres

April 23-May 1

Yachts set sail from St Petersburg, Florida on April 24 bound for Isla Mujeres. Their arrival marks a week of island festivities including the Amigos Race.

 

[/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=”4971″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Puerto Morelos Fishing Tournaments, May

May is a month of fierce competition for fishermen in Puerto Morelos as they compete in two international fishing tournaments. First up is the César Martin Rosado Fishing Tournament on May 1-3. Later in the month, the Don Andrés García Lavin Tournament brings together even more competitors from all over the Mexican Caribbean and abroad, May 8-10.

 

[/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=”4932″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Sacred Mayan Crossing, Xcaret & Cozumel

May 21-23

Visitors to the Mexican Caribbean in May have the opportunity to witness the reenactment of an ancient Mayan pilgrimage to the sacred island of Cozumel to worship at the shrine of Ixchel, the goddess of the moon, fertility and childbirth. After months of arduous training, teams of trained oarsmen from Cancún, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and further afield set sail from Xcaret at dawn on May 22 in authentic wooden canoes on the Sacred Mayan Journey (Sagrada Travesía Maya). On May 23 the pilgrims make the return voyage to Xcaret.

 

 

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Grand Residences is a European Plan and NOT an All Inclusive Resort

All-Inclusive Resort

Some owners have raised concerns that Grand Residences may become an All-Inclusive resort and we would like to reassure you by stating categorically that this is not the case. Your Grand Residences home away from home is a Residence club affiliated with The Leading Hotels of the World® and operating under the European Plan mode of nightly room-only rates for rental guests. It is not an All-Inclusive property.

However, like many other luxury European Plan properties in the Riviera Maya and around the world, Grand Residences does offer several vacation packages such as the Grand Family Getaway package, the Grand Diamond Infinity package, the Perfect Proposal and an optional gourmet meal plan known as the Gourmet All-Inclusive package.

As its name implies, the Gourmet All-Inclusive package includes meals and beverages, along with accommodation, activities, access to the gym, kids and teens club services. Many prospective visitors to the Riviera Maya are searching for luxury gourmet vacation experiences and by offering this package to cater to demand, Grand Residences has been able to increase the percentage of units rented.

When marketing to people looking for an all-encompassing vacation, the term “All-Inclusive” is the usual keyword used in searches and therefore, to ensure search engine optimization, must be included in the wording for the resort to show up as an available choice. However, this does not mean that Grand Residences has become an All-Inclusive resort.

For owners who are interested in the unlimited dining offered by the Gourmet All-Inclusive package, a special Owner rate is available so that you can try it.

 

 

Perception About Rates

We would like to address the perception that rental rates for Grand Residences are less than the annual Club Service Fee (CSF) paid by owners. We assure you that this is not the case.

All rental rates are per room-night and change according to market demand and the time of year. Moreover, 2016 monthly rates are already available in the different online rental sites; average rates are between 6-15% higher than 2015.

The next table shows the minimum rates by room types and their comparison with the CSF:

 

One can see that Minimum rates for the Super Saver (room only) are between 96 and 221% higher than CSF in 2015 and the difference is even higher for 2016.

Grand Residences’ Development

The phased development of Grand Residences continues as planned and includes additional services for your home resort such as a second restaurant and a larger full-service Spa. We will continue to strive to provide the exclusive ambiance, impeccable service standards and hospitality that you love at Grand Residences despite the presence of more rental guests. In fact, we expect that many renters will eventually choose to become owners and return year after year to vacation here with family and friends when they discover all the additional lifestyle and leisure benefits they can enjoy through the President’s Circle membership.

We hope that you find this information useful and that it answers any questions that you may have about your Grand Residences home and the special packages offered. If you have comments, suggestions or would like further clarification please feel free to contact us.

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Seaweed on Area Beaches

Excessive amounts of seaweed have been washing up on the beaches of Puerto Morelos in recent weeks and owners have even complimented Grand Residences staff for their attempts to try and keep the beach clean. This phenomenon was first reported in the summer of 2014 along the Riviera Maya coast, Cancun and other areas of the Mexican Caribbean and has occurred again recently. It is expected to die down in the next couple of weeks.

Seaweed washing up on area beaches occurs naturally and varies from season to season and according to the weather. Storms and ocean currents dislodge and transport seaweed great distances depositing it on the shoreline. Warmer water temperatures in the summer can also cause excessive algae growth known as blooms. However, such huge amounts of seaweed washing up on the coast had not been seen before.

We contacted the National Autonomous University of Mexico Marine Research Field Station in Puerto Morelos to see if staff could spread some light on this and they gave us the following information. We would like to thank Marine Biologist Rosa Rodriguez for sharing it.

This phenomenon is not confined to the Quintana Roo coast, reports of huge amounts of seaweed coming ashore are occurring throughout the Caribbean. Marine biologists do not know yet whether this invasion is a one-off event and if so what caused it or whether it will prove to be cyclical.

Initially, marine biologists in the Mexican Caribbean thought that the seaweed was local and was proliferating due to an increase in nutrients in the water or that ocean currents were bringing it south from the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, they now believe it originates on the coast of South America.

Unfortunately, heavy machinery cannot be used to remove seaweed from the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean as diggers would also pick up too much sand thus causing erosion. The only solution at present is to continue to clean the beaches manually. The Puerto Morelos Marine Park authorities are investigating viable alternatives that would not contribute to coastal erosion or affect the marine creatures that live and feed on the seaweed.

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Grand Residences at the Cancun & Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival

For the second year running, Grand Residences and El Faro Grill participated in the Cancún-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival, March 12-15.

Our award-winning French chef Yann Cozic served up a sumptuous sampler selection of dishes at the Gourmet Tasting Village on March 14 and 15. There were two stands, one for El Faro Grill serving smoked salmon, blinis and sparkling wine, and a second one located in the French market area of the Gourmet Tasting Village representing Grand Residences. Foodies snacked on delicious charcuterie, pickled mushrooms, vichyssoise with smoked salmon and dainty macaroons for those with a sweet tooth.

Sponsored by Food & Wine Magazine, Gourmet Awards, Travel & Leisure and Air France among others, the Cancún & Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival has become one of the most popular events in the Mexican Caribbean calendar. This year’s festival line up featured conferences by leading chefs, wine and spirits tastings hosted by famous sommeliers, a sunset celebrity catamaran cruise, cooking classes, gala dinners, a gourmet tasting village and a beach party.

The Festival founder and president is David Amar, a longtime Royal Resorts member who has a passion for Mexico and its rich heritage.

 

 

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What’s new in the President’s Circle?

The latest benefit you and your family can enjoy as part of your President’s Circle membership is the Signature Marketplace, a groundbreaking new platform that gives you even more flexibility and more exciting ways to use your Elite Credits.

Visit the Signature Marketplace at www.rrsignatureclub.com/signaturemarketplace to look for flights, hotels and even vacation packages in different parts of the world. You can literally take care of your international travel needs here, whether it’s booking a flight or hotel for a business trip, planning a city break or a dream vacation. And if you are traveling to Grand Residences or Royal Resorts soon, you’ll also be able to use your Elite Credits to get more out of your stay such as romantic beach dinners, spa pampering and day trips.

In order to start shopping in the Signature Marketplace the first thing you need to do is convert your Elite Credits into Marketplace Credits by contacting marketplace@rrsignatureclub.com and filling out the appropriate form. Once your deposit is confirmed you are ready to use the Signature Marketplace.

   Log in to your President’s Circle account and click on the Signature Marketplace link to get started. Use the Accommodation, Air, Cars and Activities tabs to search for the travel services you are interested in. Be sure to check Current Promotions to see the special promotions available at Grand Residences and Royal Resorts.

When you are ready to book a hotel, flight or vacation package you can purchase it using the Marketplace Credits in your account. Your Credits work exactly like cash and if you don’t have enough to complete the transaction you can pay with your credit card or use a combination of both.

Visit www.rrsignatureclub.com/signaturemarketplace

 

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New President’s Circle Flexibility Benefit

The President’s Circle Flexibility program also offers you a new benefit. If you decide that you need more flexibility one year you can convert one of your weeks at Grand Residences into Elite Credits to plan a vacation in a different season, in a different size unit or for a longer or shorter duration, and take advantage of a new feature to give you even more choice. As a President’s Circle member and a Royal Resorts member at one of the other clubs you can now use your Elite Credits to reserve stays at Grand Residences and the other properties in the Royal Resorts collection.

 

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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 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

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Even more Dining Options

A meal at Grand Residences is always a delight whether you start the day out right with a hearty breakfast; sit down to a leisurely lunch at Heaven Beach Bar with family and friends; unwind with traditional afternoon tea on the terrace or enjoy a romantic dinner by candlelight in El Faro Grill with dishes prepared by chef Yann Cozic. And now there are even more tempting dining options for you to try during the week in addition to a la carte menus and in-room choices.

On Sunday, join us for a beachfront BBQ Night and tuck into a tasty Italian buffet on Monday evening. Wednesday night is Mexican Night and lovers of a fine steak will enjoy Prime Rib Night on Friday.

For more dining details ask your Concierge.

 

 

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Mayan Sunrise Springtime Spa Special

The Spa has a new treatment this month to herald the arrival of spring. The Mayan Sunrise package features an ancient ritual, massage technique and healing herbs used in the Yucatan Peninsula since time immemorial. It will restore your balance and harmony with nature.

It takes place on the beach and begins with a purification ceremony with the fragrance of copal incense and the sounds of a conch shell horn. A 60-minute Mayan massage follows and the final step in the therapy is to sip a delicious natural detox drink.

Therapy times: 8:30 or 9 a.m., cost US$148, duration of 90 minutes (approx.). Offer valid March 1-31, 2015. Information and appointments at the Spa.

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Lights out for Earth Hour

On March 28 at 8:30 p.m., Grand Residences will participate in Earth Hour, the global campaign organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature or World Wildlife Fund) to draw attention to the effects of climate change and the urgent need to protect the one thing that unites us all, the Planet.

Non-essential lights will be turned off around the resort at 8:30 p.m. for one hour and guests are invited to join in by dimming the lights in their suites and attending special Earth Hour events organized during the day.

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Meet Your Neighbors – Floriene Lieberman

From Kansas City, Floriene Lieberman has been a Royal Resorts member since the early 1980s. She and her late husband George first visited Cancun in 1982 as guests of friends who were staying at VCI, now The Royal Cancun. They enjoyed their vacation so much that they decided to become members at The Royal Mayan, which they bought preconstruction. Years later, they also bought preconstruction at The Royal Caribbean and then at The Royal Sands. Floriene says, “Our friends were so happy with The Royal Cancun and they said that the company had delivered on everything and that really gave us confidence. My husband was a land developer and knew about construction and he was very impressed with what he saw.”

When Floriene and her husband saw Grand Residences for the first time they fell in love with the property and decided to sell their five weeks to become owners. Floriene says, “Grand Residences is absolutely beautiful. We love Puerto Morelos, it reminds us of the Mexican Caribbean of old, as it used to be when we first visited in the early 1980s. It has a genuine flavor and is a peaceful, friendly community, it isn’t commercial as Cancun and Playa del Carmen have both become over the years.”

Floriene adds, “The amenities at Grand Residences are incredible and the residences themselves are beautiful. The ambiance is very elegant and the service is simply outstanding, in fact, the staff have become very dear friends. I would recommend it to anyone. I love the beach and I think that over the years my family and I must have taken every tour that exists! The colors of Mexico are breathtaking and I am a huge fan of the art. I still have a picture by local artist Renato Dorfman hanging in my house in Kansas City and one of the things I enjoy here is the turndown service and guessing which colorful little wooden animal or alebrije the evening gift will turn out to be.

“Grand Residences is a great spot to share with family, my daughter is here with me now and my granddaughter and her boyfriend are joining us. Over the years all my children and grandchildren have been to the Mexican Caribbean and they all love it.” On the topic of the staff, Floriene adds: “I have known some of the staff for years, for example, Jorge the Restaurant Manager. He started out at The Royal Caribbean and we followed him to The Royal Haciendas and now he is here. He used to make mango ceviche for me at The Royal Caribbean and he knows my tastes. Another special friend is Chak who I know from The Royal Sands. He came to see me this year on his day off and had breakfast with me. And of course Tyrone, Claudia, our Concierge, and Paola are all wonderful, caring and loving people. When my husband passed away last summer I asked my son to let them know and they all called me individually to give their sympathy, their voices full of emotion and breaking down in tears. That really touched me.

“My message to my fellow owners who haven’t visited their new home yet is that you will have the experience of a lifetime, you’ll be able to unwind in a beautiful ambiance and with loyal friends to look after you. You can really count on them. And to Royal Resorts members I would say come and spend a few hours here to see the beauty of the place and the warmth of the staff. You are missing a great opportunity.”

 

 

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Let’s Go Fishing

March heralds the start of the sport fishing season in the Mexican Caribbean and avid fishermen are preparing to go in search of the ‘big one,” a memory they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Marlin and sailfish move through area waters following huge shoals of migrating sardines, anchovies and mackerel. Snapper; dorado, bonito and wahoo are also plentiful and knowledgeable local fishermen will take you right to where the fish are running.

Puerto Morelos is one of the most popular spots in the Mexican Caribbean for sport fishing, just a short boat ride away from the rich fishing grounds along the deep ocean trench between the Riviera Maya coast and the island of Cozumel known as the Cozumel Channel.

Other good fishing grounds in the area lie to the east of Isla Mujeres, along the Arrowsmith Bank, around Contoy and Holbox islands and further south along the Costa Maya and accessible from the fishing villages of Mahahual and Xcalak.

The lagoons along the Quintana Roo coast offer a different challenge – they are rich in bonefish such as tarpon, permit and snook and attract fly fishermen from all over the world. There are fishing lodges in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the Isla Blanca wetlands north of Cancun are also a good spot.

Local marinas adhere to the catch and release policy to help conserve fish stocks and we urge you to join their campaign. The thrill of being out on the waves in pursuit of sleek marlin and sailfish should be enough and we hope that you will liberate any game fish you catch.

If you enjoy fishing and are planning a day out on the high seas or want to go bone fishing, the concierge will help you organize fishing trips and boat charters.

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Equinox at Chichen Itza, March 20-21

As the sun sets in the west and the shadows lengthen in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, a collective cry of wonder goes up from thousands of people who gather at the foot of the Pyramid of Kukulcan on March 20-21, the spring equinox. They are witnessing an amazing spectacle, the mysterious shadow of a serpent rippling across the stone, the symbol of an ancient god returning to earth.

Also known as El Castillo, the Pyramid of Kukulcan is a feat of ancient engineering and a solar clock, aligned to catch the rays of the setting sun on the days of the spring and fall equinoxes in March and September, respectively. Triangles of light and shadow form along the side of the north staircase and the figure of a snake appears, merging with the head of a stone snake at the foot of the building. The illusion is created of a gigantic serpent slithering down from the heavens and across the ground towards the Sacred Cenote.

The snake symbolizes Kukulcan (also known as Quetzalcoatl in central Mexico), the feathered serpent god, who returns to earth to give hope to his followers and heralds the spring planting and fall harvest seasons for the Maya.

Your Concierge can help you arrange a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza for the Equinox, or at any other time of the year. This year, the Spring Equinox falls on March 20 but it is traditionally observed on March 21 at Chichen Itza as it coincides with an official national holiday. The light and shadow snake is visible the day before and after the equinox, cloud cover permitting.

Chichen Itza is not the only Mayan ceremonial center in the Yucatán to have temples with solar, lunar or planetary alignments. The doorway of the Temple of the Seven Dolls at Dzibilchaltun (13 miles north of Mérida) makes a perfect frame for the rising sun on the day of the Equinox.

If you would prefer to explore Chichen Itza at your own pace, why not rent a car and stop off in the colonial city of Valladolid on the way? This peaceful pueblo magico is steeped in history and tradition. Start with the spectacular Zaci Cenote, stroll through the main square to the Cathedral and take a guided tour of Casa de Los Venados, a 17th-century restored mansion that is a private home and a museum with a collection of more than 3,000 pieces of Mexican folk art. Admission is a $60 peso donation for charity. Then walk along Calzada de Los Frailes, the street leading to San Bernardino Church and Sisal Convent. You’ll pass more restored mansions, craft shops, a workshop where cacao is transformed into chocolate using traditional techniques, and a perfumery.

To the north of Valladolid, a side trip to the Mayapan artisanal distillery gives you a glimpse of the world of the blue agave, the plant that gives us tequila. Native to the state of Jalisco, the plant is flourishing in the fields surrounding the distillery.

When the plants are seven years old they are harvested for their root stem or piña, which is then roasted. The sugary liquid crushed from the cooked piña is fermented, distilled and stored in wooden barrels until ready to be bottled as blanco, reposado or añejado varieties of Mayapan.

Mayapan is not the only spirit produced in Valladolid, the town is also famous for Xtabentun, the fragrant anise-flavored liqueur of the Yucatan, which is made from honey and a native flower.

 

 

 

 

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Flight News

Delta has announced that it will begin weekly flights to Cancun from Baltimore and Pittsburgh on June 6 to cover the summer peak season. It already has a new flight from Cincinnati set to begin in March. Bronson Airlines will also cover the New Orleans and Cincinnati to Cancun routes this year.

To satisfy increasing demand Brazilian carrier Tam Airlines will begin daily flights from Sao Paulo to Cancun in June.

In European flight news, Evelop Airline (code sharing with Iberia) will begin flying from Lisbon and Madrid in March.

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Two more Parks for the Riviera Maya

Xperiencias Xcaret announced that a huge free flight aviary is due to open this summer at Xcaret. This spectacular addition to the park’s list of attractions will be home to more than 70 species of birds native to southeast Mexico, including macaws, parrots, toucans and great curassow.

The Xoximilco Park just south of Cancun Airport is also being expanded with a second phase and visitors will already see some new additions such as a traditional white chapel dedicated to Niñopa, Baby Jesus, and El Mercado, an area of craft shops.

Xenses, Xperiencias Xcaret’s new park in the Riviera Maya created to celebrate and captivate the senses is planned for the winter.

 

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New Ferry Service Cozumel –Playa del Carmen

To cover increased demand, another company is now offering a ferry service from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen. Barcos Caribe has two new catamarans with capacity for 398 and 336 passengers respectively and will make the crossing at regular intervals during the day. The first ferry to depart Cozumel bound for Playa is at 5 a.m. and the company will also cater to late night passengers returning to the island with departures starting at 11 p.m. from Playa del Carmen.