, ,

Cancun Flight News

Vacation Express has launched a seasonal weekly nonstop flight from Memphis to Cancun until August 3.

In other airline news, as part of its Cielito Limpio environmental campaign, Mexican airline Volaris is investing in cleaner technology to reduce emissions and supporting renewable energy initiatives and methane capture. It is also giving passengers on its flights the opportunity to purchase carbon credits to reduce their carbon footprint and help fund conservation projects in the country.

Source: Travel Weekly, Novedades

, ,

Amigos de Sian Ka’an launch Water is Life campaign

Cancun-based conservation NGO, Amigos de Sian Ka’an has launched a new campaign called Agua es Vida or Water is Life to raise awareness of the need for better water management and marine conservation. In order to do this, it has teamed up with famous diver, marine biologist and conservationist Ocean Ramsey, best known for her conservation work with sharks.
Their message is that we urgently need to protect our water sources and prevent pollution. Contaminated water flowing into the sea kills coral, fish and other marine creatures and can cause algae blooms that block the sunlight and smother the reefs. Toxins accumulate in the food chain and plastic waste kills millions of birds, turtles and other creatures every year. The extinction rate of marine life is five times greater than that of land creatures.
Here in the Yucatan Peninsula, the underground rivers and cenotes are the only source of fresh water and they are at risk. In cooperation with researchers from Austria, Amigos de Sian Ka’an has been able to map the intricate network of waterways deep in the limestone, trace the flow of water towards the coast and the areas where pollution is greatest.
The group is also working with the government and the tourism industry to develop a water management program, improve wastewater treatment and help Mayan communities with green technology to reduce contamination.

, ,

Gold Medal for Spirit Distilled in Valladolid

If you have driven to the colonial town of Valladolid on the toll road you may have noticed fields of blue agave, the plant that gave the world tequila, growing beside the highway as you turn off for the town center. The fields belong to the Mayapan Distillery, which uses artisanal techniques to produce a spirit that is similar to its famous cousin.
In May, the distillery received the gold medal of excellence for its Mayapan Blanco from DARDO (Destilados Artesanales de Origen), a Mexican association showcasing mescal, sotol, bacanora and other spirits distilled from the sap of the agave that do not have the official denomination as tequila.
This was the second year running that Mayapan has picked up an award; it was a bronze medalist in 2014.

, ,

More literary honors for US Chef based in Yucatan

David Sterling, a chef from the United States who lives in Merida has added the prestigious James Beard Foundation award for food writing to the Art of Eating prize for Best Food Book of the Year he won earlier this year for Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition (University of Texas Press).

The founder of Los Dos Cooking School in Merida, Sterling has studied Yucatecan cuisine and culture for many years.

The James Beard Foundation celebrates culinary culture and the way it enriches our lives. The annual James Beard awards honor outstanding cookbooks, food articles and TV shows, chefs and restaurants.

,

New shrimp fishery initiative to protect turtles

Globally, thousands of turtles die each year entangled in huge dragnets used by shrimp boats. Here in Mexico, the Fisheries Institute is taking an important step to prevent such fatalities by implementing new technology that excludes turtles, fish and species such as sea horses from shrimp nets.

In July, Fisheries Institute experts will begin training more than 7,000 fishermen throughout the country. Several key areas in the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula have been identified in which shrimping is an important activity and sea turtles are often spotted. They will be concentrating their efforts on Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo, including Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos.

Source: Novedades

, ,

Upcoming Events

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5420″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Sea Walls Festival: Murals for Oceans, Cozumel, July 17-26

Street art comes to Cozumel in a festival organized by the Municipal Government and Pangea Seed, an international organization seeking to transmit a message of marine conservation through murals. More than 25 artists will paint huge murals in the island capital San Miguel to celebrate the beauty of the oceans and their plight.
This event follows similar festivals in Holbox, Isla Mujeres and Cancun, all of which sport striking sea murals.[/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=”5419″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]8th Annual Whale Shark Festival, Isla Mujeres, July 18-24

Isla Mujeres honors the gentle whale shark with art, dance, music and a program of seminars. Visitors can also plan a boat trip out to the whale shark feeding grounds during their stay on the island.

[/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=”5421″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Vibes Reggae, Soul, Ska Festival, Playa del Carmen, July-24-26

Mellow summer rhythms come to Playa del Carmen this July with the participation of bands from Mexico and the Caribbean.
[/vc_column_text][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5422″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Latin Beat Summer, Cancun, July

Latin pop, electro beat, hip-hop, reggae, bachata, DJ events and more for Summer Break students in Cancun.

 

 

[/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=”5418″ 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 2

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 separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5425″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Xcaret Festival of Life & Death Traditions, Xcaret, October 30, 31, November 1 & 2

Hosted by Xcaret Park, the Festival of Life and Death Traditions showcases one of Mexico’s richest and most colorful customs, the Day of the Dead or Día de Muertos, which takes place on November 1 and 2. At this time of year, Mexicans believe that the souls of the departed 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.

[/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=”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=”1/1″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

, ,

Travel the World with President’s Circle

Your exclusive President’s Circle membership offers you endless possibilities when you wish to travel the world. All you have to decide is where you would like to go, look at a map and choose a spot and President’s Circle will do the rest.

 

President’s Circle Elite Destinations

Through Grand Residences’ affiliation with The Registry Collection®, the world leader in luxury vacation exchanges, you can use your Reciprocal Use Privileges to stay in exclusive upscale resorts, famous city hotels, charming boutique inns and even stately homes around the world. Visit www.theregistrycollection.com for inspiration.

You can also take advantage of special pricing and promotions for selected luxury cruises, yacht charters and hotel brands, golf getaways and adventure travel packages. And access to 600 VIP airport lounges around the world means that you can wait for that connecting flight in comfort.

 

Shop Online for Travel Services

Log in to your exclusive online shopping portal, the Signature Lifestyle Collection, to book hotels, cruises, vacation packages, spa and golf getaways, guided adventure trips and once in a lifetime travel experiences all over the globe. Not only do you have a best-value price guarantee, as a President’s Circle member you also receive 4.5 times more cash back than a Signature Club Silver member.

Are you dreaming of a fall vacation in Italy in a Renaissance villa and leisurely days spent exploring hill towns, art galleries, vineyards and markets or a hectic shopping and theater break in London or New York? Book a cruise to Alaska in search of orcas, eagles and grizzly bears, an adventure in the high Andes of Peru or a winter escape to the Caribbean or Mexico. From river cruises to white water rafting, wildlife safaris, escorted tours or unforgettable customized VIP experiences for the family, you have a world of options to choose from.

And don’t forget that you can also convert some of your President’s Circle Elite Credits into Signature Marketplace Credits and use them to book hotels, flights and packages in the Signature Marketplace.

 

Karma Exchange

As a President’s Circle member you can also use your exchange rights to travel to selected luxury resorts in southeast Asia belonging to the Karma Royal collection. This leading hospitality brand has properties in Bali, India (Goa, Jaipur and Shimla), Thailand (Phuket and Chiang Mai) and the Bavarian Alps in Germany.

You have exclusive exchange privileges to stay at the award-winning Karma Kandara Resort on Bali.

 

Ask your President’s Circle Concierge for more details and assistance in booking your world travel.

, ,

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.

, ,

Changes in the Royal Resorts Team

In the May edition of the newsletter we informed you that Mark Carney, OBE, had resigned from his position as Director of Sales & Marketing of Vacation Ownership as of May 1, 2015, a position that he held for many years. Mark’s career with us began in 1983, in the early days at The Royal Cancun and during construction at The Royal Mayan. He was appointed Marketing and Sales Director in 1989 and played a key role in the growth and success of Royal Resorts over the years.

Mark will continue to collaborate with us in the marketing of Grand Residences.  He still serves as the Honorary British Consul for Quintana Roo and the state of Yucatán and the representative of the British Chamber of Commerce for Southeast Mexico.

Many of you know Mark and we are sure that you will want to join us in wishing him well and every success for the future.

His responsibilities will be assumed by Dr. Simon C. Welch who has occupied the positions of Chief Marketing Officer and subsequently of Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Vacation Ownership. Simon has previously held positions as the President & Chief Operating Officer of Diamond Resorts International, President of Tesoro Resorts, LLC, and Executive Vice President for Shell Vacations, LLC. Simon has also served various terms on the Board of Directors of the American Resort Development Association.

, ,

Relax in Paradise

How about a massage to ease away the tension and start your Grand Residences vacation? The Spa offers a variety of luxury massages and treatments to soothe body and soul.

For the ultimate in relaxation, try one of the spa milk baths in your own residence.

, ,

Golf Getaways

El Camaleón, the Greg Norman-designed golf course at MayaKoba that is the home of the PGA Tour OHL Classic tournament in November, is now part of the Royal Resorts and Grand Residences Golf Program. It joins a collection of other prestigious golf courses in the area offering Royal Resorts members and guests special discounted green fees. The current list is as follows:

 

 

 

 

Cancun

  • Iberostar Cancun
  • Puerto Cancun
  • Playa Mujeres
  • Cancun Country Club

 

Riviera Maya

  • Iberostar Playa Paraíso
  • El Camaleón at Mayakoba

 

Sign up for a Golf Tournament

The golf courses participating in the Royal Resorts Golf program also offer a golf tournament during the week. This is a great way to test your skills on the fairways and make new golf friends. The schedule is as follows: Monday at Cancun Country Club, Tuesday at Playa Mujeres and El Camaleon at Mayakoba, Wednesday at Iberostar Cancun, Thursday at Iberostar Playa Paraíso, and Tuesday and Friday at Puerto Cancun.

For details of green fees and reservations, ask your Concierge for assistance.

, ,

Get on your Bike at Grand Residences

On your next vacation why not sign out a bike as part of your daily exercise routine. Enjoy the fresh air, stay in shape and see the sights of Puerto Morelos with your Activity Center guide.

The bike route will take you past the mangrove forest and your guide will tell you about the ecological importance of this fascinating plant and the flora and fauna of the wetlands. Then it’s on to the Puerto Morelos pier and a stop to cool off with an ice cream or fresh fruit. Learn about the history of our pueblito and the famous leaning lighthouse or faro and get a group photo on the dock.

On the way back to the resort, the guide will take you past the market and the craft shops and there’s time to stop if you would like to take a look.

The route is 8.7 kilometers and activity center staff will tell you how long it will take and how many calories you’ll burn off as you enjoy the ride. Bikes come with helmets, jackets, bottled water and a basket. This activity is not for children under the age of 12. Sign up at the Activity Center.

, ,

Christine and Robert Heister

Meet one couple from Northern California who have been Royal Resorts members since 2004. They first bought at The Royal Sands and then at The Royal Haciendas. Christine explains why they decided to choose Grand Residences to be their new home away from home in the Mexican Caribbean. “We purchased at Grand Residences because of Puerto Morelos – it’s a very peaceful small town on a beautiful beach,” she says. “We like that it is not too developed and that there aren’t so many visitors as in Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

“It still feels untouched and we love that about it,” she adds. “We enjoy the mellow ambiance and feel very safe and at home here. We went shopping at a local supermarket and had a blast, even though we don’t speak Spanish, we managed to find what we needed.

“Other factors that influenced our decision to become owners at Grand Residences are the integrity of the company, the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the accommodation and services offered and the location is just beautiful,” she explains. “This was our first vacation here and at the risk of sounding clichéd, I’ll say that your worries just seem to melt away here, you experience total relaxation and you feel as though you haven’t a care in the world!”

We asked Christine and her husband what impressed them the most during their recent vacation at Grand Residences and this is what they had to say. “The staff, everyone is so friendly and helpful and they all know your name. After two weeks they were part of the family. They really look after you here,” Christine adds. “Over the years we have visited most of the Riviera Maya’s attractions and we have been snorkeling, nowadays we just like to chill out and relax. However, we did do a “behind the scenes tour” of the resort, the catamaran cruise, cooking and cocktail classes, bingo and the bike tour twice this time and really enjoyed them.

“The resort is very clean and comfortable,” she continues. “Although it is very elegant and upscale, it is not at all pretentious or intimidating as some high-end resorts can be, we like this about Grand Residences. The units are spacious and comfortable for a vacation with friends or family and the terrace is perfect for open-air dining. We tend to do quite a lot of our own cooking on vacation and the kitchen had everything we needed.

Christine adds, “We like the flexibility of the fractional program, at present we have two weeks every other year which works for us at this time in our lives. Would we like more? Yes we would, perhaps in the future. Although we haven’t used our President’s Circle membership yet, I do think that the benefits it offers are fantastic.

“My message to Grand Residences owners who have not visited the resort yet is that they need to come down and experience it,” Christine concludes. “If not, they won’t know what they are missing. They will really enjoy the beautiful setting and the hospitality of the staff.”

, ,

Reef Encounters

 Photos courtesy of Dive Balam

 

As we celebrate the beauty of our oceans and our planet this month, it’s time to take the plunge and marvel at the reef that is just offshore. Part of the Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second longest, Puerto Morelos Reef is famous for its spectacular coral formations and rich marine life.

Local dive masters know all the best places in this protected National Marine Park for snorkeling and scuba adventures so dive right in.

You’ll see queen angelfish swimming by, shoals of blue tangs and porkfish and lone parrotfish feeding on the coral. Larger fish such as jacks, snappers, hogfish, grouper and barracuda gather above the corals, and keep a look out for sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks and octopus.

Then there are the smaller fish guarding territory among the corals, hiding in crevices or in the sea grass. Here are five species you are likely to spot during your underwater adventures in Puerto Morelos and elsewhere in the Mexican Caribbean:

 

Bluestriped grunt

Haemulon sciurus

Gathering in small schools, this grunt is common on reefs, sea grass beds and in the mangroves. It owes its name to the sounds it makes and is known to face rivals and push them with open mouths, either as a courtship display or to defend its territory.

 

Scrawled cowfish

Lactophyrs tricornis

Also known as the trunkfish, this strange little creature owes it name to two protruding spines above the eyes that resemble cow horns. It can usually be spotted in sea grass beds where it feeds on algae, tunicate worms and hermit crabs.

 

Porcupine fish

Diodon holocanthus

This fish hides on the reef during the day and hunts for crabs, sea urchins and snails at night. Covered in spines, it swells like a balloon by taking in water and changes color when it feels threatened, hence its other names: balloon or puffer fish.

 

Squirrelfish

Holocentrus adscensionis

This small and timid salmon pink fish with protruding eyes and spines is often spotted in crevices or under ledges on the reef during the day and ventures out at night to hunt for crabs and crustaceans.

 

Cocoa damselfish

Stegastes variabilis

This colorful little fish is fiercely territorial and will chase larger fish away from the nest where it lays its eggs.

, ,

Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden

If strolling along the beach is one of your favorite Grand Residences pastimes, why not try a change of scenery one day and go for a walk in the forest? The perfect spot is right on your doorstep. Celebrating its thirty-third anniversary this June, the Yaaxche-Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden is the second largest botanical garden in Mexico. In addition to showcasing the trees and plants native to the Yucatán Peninsula, it is a nature reserve protecting 65 hectares of jungle and marshland rich in wildlife.

A visit to this beautiful spot is a must for nature lovers and you’ll soon leave the noise of the highway behind as you walk along the trails through the forest. You’ll hear a variety of bird calls and may spot orange orioles, great kiskadees, woodpeckers, parrots and turquoise-browed motmots, among others. Flocks of Yucatan jays with their bright blue plumage, and the green jays that sport green, yellow and blue feathers, are also common.

The park is home to a troop of approximately 50 spider monkeys who forage for fruit in the treetops, coatimundis or tejon, peccary, deer, fox and the shy agouti or tepescuintle, a rodent the size of a small dog that feeds in the undergrowth. Other mammals are nocturnal and seldom spotted although wardens have seen puma tracks in the more remote areas of the park.

Since time immemorial, the jungle has been a source of healing plants for the Maya and they still use infusions, teas, poultices and salves made from leaves, bark, fruit and seeds that they gather today. In the herb garden you’ll see familiar plants such as basil, rue, chamomile and spearmint side by side with

native species traditionally used as remedies for ailments including fever, colds, migraines, stomach bugs and arthritis.

In a jungle clearing there is a rustic exhibition about chicle, the original natural ingredient for chewing gum that is actually the resin from the chicozapote, a native forest tree found throughout southeast Mexico. Used by the Maya for thousands of years, chicle is still harvested to this day. Bands of chicle harvesters or chicleros venture into the forest for months in search of chicozapote trees ripe for tapping. They extract the resin by making cuts in the bark with machetes and collect it as it trickles down the tree trunk. Collected in sacks, it is subsequently heated and molded into balls for commercial use. In the early 20th century, chicle was transported to Puerto Morelos and Cozumel and sold to foreign companies such as Chicle Adams.

Be sure to walk to the wooden observation towers for spectacular panoramic views of the forest and the wetlands stretching to Grand Residences and the Caribbean.

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. We recommend that you take your camera, binoculars and use eco-friendly insect repellent to ward off biting insects.

, ,

Cancun’s Miracle Dolphin

Some of Royal Resorts members who were on vacation at The Royal Sands on March 31 witnessed the arrival of a surprise visitor from the sea, a sick female dolphin that had swum into the shallows, possibly in pursuit of fish, and beached herself. We are pleased to report that this is a rescue story with a happy ending.

The dolphin was rescued and nursed back to health by the vets at Dolphin Discovery. After a month of intensive care, Maya, as her rescuers called the female dolphin, was released back into the wild on April 30 to the north of Isla Mujeres. Thanks to a microchip, her rescuers have been able to track her movements in the wild since then and the latest map from May 15 revealed that she has swum far to the south, following the course of the Mesoamerican Reef to the Gulf of Honduras.

 

The Rescue

When the dolphin was spotted on March 31 it was clearly in distress, The Royal Sands lifeguards, guests and employees from the neighboring hotel Casa Turquesa tried to keep it cool while help came. Knowing that dolphins will beach themselves when sick or dying, Royal Resorts staff alerted Zofemat and Profepa biologists to the presence of the animal and Dolphin Discovery, which is part of marine mammals rescue network.

Dolphin Discovery vets were quick to arrive on the scene and determined that the animal, a female estimated to be around 25 years old, was very ill. The government biologists and vets decided that the best course of action was to transport her to the Tortugranja Park on Isla Mujeres for treatment.

After an examination and ultrasound study, the dolphin was found to be suffering from a serious renal disorder, kidney stones and mouth wounds and was very underweight. In her weakened state she had been unable to keep up with the rest of the dolphin pod and had swum inshore. The initial prognosis was not very encouraging and vets thought she might not survive.

   Once a course of antibiotics was administered, Maya, the miracle dolphin began to show signs of improvement and to put on weight. Finally, after a month of round the clock care, her custodians decided that she had recovered enough to be released back into the wild so that she could go in search of her pod or find another group of dolphins to join. Female dolphins are much more likely to be accepted into a different dolphin family.

A microchip was implanted in Maya’s dorsal fin and she was fitted with a satellite transmitter, a “dolphin first” for Mexico. This will enable vets to identify and track her at sea for up to 60 days. In fact, the Dolphin Discovery team has been monitoring her course 14 times a day. Initially she headed far out to sea, possibly in search of other dolphins, and more recently she has been following the course of the Mesoamerican Reef south from the Mexican Caribbean into Belize and the Gulf of Honduras.

Sources: Royal Resorts staff, Novedades, Dolphin Discovery

, ,

Flight News

The latest flight update includes the news that Mexican airline Volaris will launch several routes in the Maya World in June, making travel between major cities and attractions in southeast Mexico and Central America much easier. The new routes are Guatemala City to Cancun, Villahermosa-Cancun and Tuxtla Gutierrez-Cancun. On July 2, it will also begin flying to the city of San Juan in Puerto Rico, an important hub in the Caribbean.

Also in July, TAM will start direct flights from Sao Paulo in Brazil to Cancun twice a week. Other new flights linking Latin American capitals with Cancun were announced by Avianca, which will now be operating three flights a week from Lima, Peru and Aerolineas Argentinas with a Cordoba-Cancun service scheduled to start in January and February 2016.

On October 15, Southwest Airlines will be flying from Houston to Cancun and the Sunwing travel company will launch a new direct service from Windsor, Ontario to Cancun on December 21.

, ,

New Jaguar Alliance

Biologists and conservationists working to protect the jaguar in the Yucatan Peninsula, a refuge for half of the 4,000 that still survive in Mexico, may soon see their efforts bolstered through a new alliance between the Federal Government and Panthera. Senators on Mexico’s Foreign Relations Committee have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Panthera, an organization dedicated to the conservation of wild cats worldwide, taking a significant step forward to boost jaguar protection.

Despite being the symbol of the natural and cultural heritage of Mexico, the range of the jaguar has been reduced by over 50%. The jaguar is currently in danger of extinction due to habitat destruction, poaching and declining populations of the creatures it preys on such as deer, peccary and agouti.

The Mexican government and Panthera will develop a work plan to complement existing jaguar conservation activities in the country, with Panthera pledging to implement those that are currently employed in 13 Latin American countries as part of its Jaguar Corridor Initiative (JCI).

A priority initiative is to confirm the current distribution of the jaguar, the areas of connectivity between populations within Mexico, and the trans-boundary jaguar populations of Guatemala and Belize.

Activities will also focus on developing environmentally sustainable and economically viable tools that help people who share these environments mitigate human-jaguar conflict, which is one of the main threats to the jaguar’s survival. The activities will be conducted through collaboration and recruitment of Mexican biologists who work in coordination with agencies such as the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), among others.

Panthera’s CEO Dr. Alan Rabinowitz said, “We are thrilled to join forces with the Senate and to contribute to the protection and conservation of the jaguar and the corridors between their populations in Mexico.”

Since 2008, Panthera has been involved in jaguar research projects south of the Sierra Madre Oriental, in Sinaloa, the Lacandon Forest in Chiapas and the Sonora-Jalisco corridor.

The creation of wildlife corridors linking biosphere reserves, parks and private reserves through which jaguars may move freely in search of their prey and that also help protect the gene pool and prevent inbreeding, has long been a goal of experts and conservation groups across the Yucatan Peninsula, and it is to be hoped that they will be able to join forces with Panthera in years to come.

, ,

Cirque du Soleil comes to Merida

Visitors to the Mexican Caribbean will have two different Cirque du Soleil shows to watch in late June and early July. “Joya,” is the name of the show at the Vidanta Theater in the Riviera Maya and from June 25 to July 12, the curtain rises at the Coliseo Yucatan stadium for “Corteo,” a show paying tribute to the tradition of Italian theater.

, ,

Upcoming Events

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5346″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Festival de Los Oceanos, Cancun and Playa del Carmen, June 6-14

For the third year running, Cancun and Playa del Carmen are gearing up for the Festival of the Oceans to celebrate the beauty of our fragile blue world and raise awareness about the urgent need to protect it.

The program features a sailboat regatta, art and photo exhibits, seminars given by marine biologists on the threats facing our seas, a beach cleaning day on the island of Contoy and a concert. There will also be an intercollegiate cooking contest at the Universidad del Caribe and Cancun Aquarium showcasing lionfish recipes created by the aspiring chefs.

Originally from the Indo-Pacific region, the lionfish is an exotic pest that has spread through the Caribbean, decimating fish stocks. The first lionfish are thought to have escaped from an aquarium in Florida after a hurricane and because they have no natural predators in the area, they have reached plague proportions. One of the ways to eradicate them is to encourage fishermen to hunt them and restaurants to put lionfish on the menu. Lionfish fillets are tasty and chefs and catering students are finding innovative ways to serve them.

The Festival organizers include Delphinus, the Cancun and Playa del Carmen Municipal authorities, CONANP, CANIRAC, Universidad del Caribe and Universidad Tec Milenio.

 

[/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=”5345″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]This annual cultural spring festival features live music, dance, art, theater and film.

This annual cultural spring festival features live music, dance, art, theater and film.

[/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=”5343″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]8th Annual Whale Shark Festival, Isla Mujeres, July 18-24

Isla Mujeres honors the gentle whale shark with art, dance, music and a program of seminars. Visitors can also plan a boat trip out to the whale shark feeding grounds during their stay on the island.

 

 

 

 [/vc_column_text][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5231″ 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=”5341″ 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 separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5339″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Xcaret Festival of Life & Death Traditions, Xcaret, October 30, 31, November 1 & 2

Hosted by Xcaret Park, the Festival of Life and Death Traditions showcases one of Mexico’s richest and most colorful customs, the Day of the Dead or Día de Muertos, which takes place on November 1 and 2. At this time of year, Mexicans believe that the souls of the departed 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.

[/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=”5338″ 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=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

, ,

Important news about Phase II at Grand Residences

We would like to share some information with you on the progress of development at Grand Residences.

We continue to see rising occupancy levels along with tremendous recognition for outstanding service achievements and awards including, but not limited to,

  • #1 Resort in the Yucatan Peninsula on TripAdvisor
  • #7 in the Traveler’s Choice Top Hotels in Mexico on TripAdvisor
  • # 8 in the Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Top Luxury Hotels in Mexico
  • Your Chef, Yann Cozic, voted Caribbean Journal’s 2014 “Caribbean Hotel Chef of the Year”
  • El Faro Grill recognized as one of the “Best Restaurants of the Year” 2014 by Caribbean Journal
  • Grand Residences Pool voted one of the “Caribbean’s Best Pools” by Caribbean Journal
  • 2014 Travel Weekly Silver Magellan Award recognizing the highest standards of excellence

Sales velocities of our Residences have dictated that Phase 2 buildings will unfortunately not be completed by December 15, 2015, for 2016 occupancy.

However, we are far along with a proposed plan that would have the entire resort completed by December 2017. This will include the Flor de Canela restaurant, the remaining accommodations and the expansion of existing facilities and services. We will keep you informed as to the progress of this plan.

Naturally, Grand Residences owners who purchased their unit in Phase 2 will be offered occupancy adjustments into Phase 1 and we will be contacting you to make the arrangements so that you may enjoy your vacation as planned.

We are more excited than ever about the future of Grand Residences and look forward to welcoming you home.

If you have further questions or would like assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

, ,

Improving your Rental Program

If you are not planning to travel to your home away from home this year and are thinking about renting some of your Grand Residences weeks or perhaps even the Jr. Suite portion of your unit, we hope that you will consider enrolling in the new and improved Grand Residences Elite Rentals program. We have taken the valuable feedback we have received from owners into account and streamlined the rental procedure, simplifying it to make it more user friendly.

The changes include:

  • Shorter and simpler rental forms
  • All the information you need to complete is now on one page
  • No restrictions as to the number of nights that may be enrolled
  • Same distribution percentage (60%) regardless of the enrollment date
  • Owners of 51 weeks who wish to enroll all their intervals in the rental program may now do so using a single form
  • For enrollments of a full fraction or a full interval, owners now have the option to deposit them for one year, multiple years, or in perpetuity.
  • New payment methods for rental proceeds are now available: Bank transfers in US Dollars and Mexican Pesos.

Grand Residences Elite Rentals

USA & Canada 1-888-813-4910 • From Mexico 001-855-211-4057 • Rest of the World 1-954-485-4780 • Fax 1-954-736-5520

Email: info@grandresidenceseliterentals.com 

Website: www.GrandResidencesEliteRentals.com

, ,

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.

[vc_separator color=”white”][dt_banner target_blank=”false” bg_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.46)” bg_opacity=”50″ text_color=”#ffffff” text_size=”normal” outer_padding=”5″ inner_padding=”10″ min_height=”50″ animation=”none” bg_image=”http://notesfromparadise.com/grandresidences/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/banner.png”]

SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT GRAND RESIDENCES

If you would like to make a referral

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

CLICK HERE

[/dt_banner]

 

 

, ,

Grand Residences in the News

 

Your Grand Residences home away from home has made the international headlines again with coverage in the New York Times, the Macaroni Kid Family Travel blog and Buen Viaje, a Mexican travel magazine.

The focus of the New York Times story was the green program at the resort, the gardens and the mangrove reforestation project. The Macaroni Kid showcased the resort as a family-friendly vacation spot, describing children’s activities, the kids club and tours suitable for all ages. The Buen Viaje article outlines the luxury vacation experience at Grand Residences, its affiliation with The Leading Hotels of the World and its Trip Advisor accolades: No. 1 Resort in the Riviera Maya and one of the Traveler’s Choice Top Luxury Hotels in Mexico 2014 (No. 7). Finally, the Grand Residences Spa is featured in the USA Today 10Best story on Maya-Centric Spa Treatments in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Click on the links to read the stories.

New York Times

Macaroni Kid

Buen Viaje
(print magazine in PDF format, in Spanish)

USA Today

, ,

Turtle Season Begins

Security guards at your Grand Residences home are preparing for a summer of sleepless nights and unending vigil as they watch over the sea turtles that come ashore to nest.

From May to September, one of nature’s greatest wonders takes place in the Mexican Caribbean. Female sea turtles emerge from the waves in the midnight hour to lay their eggs in the sand on the same beaches where they were born many years earlier. Forty-five to 60 days later the eggs hatch and the baby turtles race across the sand towards the waves.

Our guards patrol the beach in search of nesting turtles. When they find one, they watch over her as she digs her nest and deposits her eggs. They then transfer the eggs to a corral where they must dig another nest that is identical to the original. The species, date and time of nesting and number of eggs are duly recorded and another long wait begins until they hatch. Finally, owners and guests help guards release the hatchlings to start life at sea.

If you are due to visit Grand Residences this summer, join us in protecting these beautiful creatures.

 

Royal Turtles

Royal Resorts has been participating in the annual campaign to protect the endangered sea turtle since 1985. Record keeping began in 1998 and in 17 years the resorts, including Grand Residences, have protected 6,524 nests and released 548,756 baby turtles!

 

Do you know the Turtle Rules?

Follow the Turtle Rules when you see a nesting turtle on the beach or participate in the turtle releases later in the season:

* Alert the security staff

* Be very quiet and keep still

* Watch from a distance (five meters) and do not attempt to touch the turtle or crowd her

* Do not shine a torch in her direction or use your flash when taking pictures

* If you bring your children to help release the hatchlings, make sure that they follow instructions

  • Baby turtles are not playthings; they are fragile and must be handled with great care
  • No flash photography
  • No smoking
  • Keep our beaches and sea clean. Discarded plastic bags, beer packaging, fishing lines and other garbage floating in the water are lethal to turtles and other marine life.

Turtles are protected by Mexican law and it is illegal to persecute and hunt them and consume their meat or eggs.