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Every picture tells a story

Travel back in time on your next vacation and visit some of the Maya treasures that pepper the Yucatan landscape. Here’s our March gallery showcasing some of the most spectacular ancient sites to whet your interest. Remember, your Concierge can help you arrange trips to Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Tulum, Coba, Ek Balam and many other archaeological sites.

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

 

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The place of the turtles, a day in Akumal

Did you know that there’s a beach hideaway in the Riviera Maya that is actually called “the place of the turtles” in Maya? That’s right, Akumal (ak means turtle and lumal place in Maya) is a picture-perfect bay protected by a chain of coral reefs where green turtles can often be spotted swimming. They also venture into the bay to graze on sea grass beds and come ashore at night during the summer to lay their eggs on area beaches.

Akumal is a perennial family favorite; its sheltered waters and gentle surf are perfect for children. Spend the day on the palm-lined beach building sand castles with them – Mayan pyramids, mermaids, fish, dolphins and turtles are all popular subjects – and swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the bay.

Don a snorkel mask and flippers and head out towards the reef. You don’t have to go very far before you start to see a variety of colorful fish such as sergeant majors, butterfly fish and French grunts and you may even spot one of the turtles. Watching one swim by in the distance is a truly amazing experience.

Take a break from the beach to shop for Mexican crafts, textiles and jewelry in the stores and galleries clustered under the palm trees a short walk from the bay. You’ll find plenty of sea turtles carved from wood, modeled out of clay or as metal wall hangings and there are evocative pictures of Akumal and its turtles by local painters.

If you are feeling hungry, fresh seafood, shrimp tacos, tasty salads, sandwiches, homemade cakes and ice cream are all on the menu.

A short drive along the coast road to the north of Akumal beach is Half Moon Bay, a rocky cove where the reef comes closer to the shore. The snorkeling is good here too and the views just as beautiful. There’s a quirky tropical beach bar with swings, hammocks, thatched lookout towers and tables and benches made of tree trunks. Order a beer or margarita and enjoy the view. The water is so clear that you can sometimes see turtles coming up for air and spotted eagle rays and parrotfish swimming in the shallows.

Follow the coast road further north to the shores of Yalku, a turquoise-colored caleta or inlet of crystal-clear waters constantly replenished by cenotes and underground rivers, hence the refreshingly cool temperature.

A variety of colorful reef fish feed and breed among the mangrove roots and submerged rocks in the lagoon. You’ll be surrounded by inquisitive sergeant majors as soon as you enter the water. Start swimming and you’ll spot blue tangs, damselfish, angelfish, porkfish, parrotfish and barracuda, among others.

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 your Concierge

Your Concierge can help you arrange a day trip to Akumal. There is a small admission charge per person to the bay to fund conservation projects, including turtle protection. And why not stop off in Playa del Carmen for an early dinner and more shopping on the way back? You could also take your children to Playa Aquarium to see more of the colorful marine creatures that they saw earlier in the day in Akumal.

 

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Chichen Itza Equinox and the return of the feathered serpent

As the sun sets in the west and the shadows lengthen in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, a collective gasp of amazement goes up from thousands of people who gather at the foot of the Pyramid of Kukulcan on the spring equinox in March. They are witnessing an incredible sight, the mysterious shadow of a serpent rippling across the stone, the symbol of an ancient deity 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. 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 pyramid. The illusion is created of a gigantic serpent slithering down from the heavens and across the plaza in the direction of 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 time for spring planting and fall harvest 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.   The spring equinox officially falls on March 20 in 2019. 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.

 

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Guide to great fishing spots in the Mexican Caribbean

Calling all fishermen out there, mark your calendars. March is the start of the sport fishing season in the Mexican Caribbean.

The fastest predators in the sea, reaching speeds of over 68 miles an hour, sailfish and marlin move through area waters in the spring and summer in pursuit of huge shoals of migrating sardines, anchovies and mackerel. Snapper, dorado, bonito and wahoo are also plentiful and your captain and crew will take you right to where the fish are running.

Puerto Morelos and the Cozumel Channel

You don’t have to go far from Grand Residences to cast your line as some of the area’s best fishing grounds are right offshore from Puerto Morelos and south along the Riviera Maya coast. Marked by a line of indigo-colored water, an ocean trench called the Cozumel Channel runs between the coast and the island of Cozumel and is used by migrating big game fish.

East of Isla Mujeres

Fishermen also set sail from Cancun and Isla Mujeres heading for the Yucatan Channel, another ocean trench between Mexico and Cuba, which reaches depths of nearly 9,200 feet. Marlin, sailfish, shoals of tuna, manta rays, pods of dolphins and migrating whales are often spotted here.

Other boats head for the Arrowsmith Bank east of Punta Cancun, an underwater plateau rich in marine life.

Holbox

Just off the north coast of Quintana Roo in the Gulf of Mexico, the island of Holbox is another good place for fishing enthusiasts. After a day at sea, local fishermen are happy to sit on the beach at the end of the day and share stories of their lifelong quest for the biggest fish.

Costa Maya

Further south along the Costa Maya, the fishing villages of Mahahual and Xcalak also attract sport fishermen.

Fly fishing

Hidden in the mangroves, the shallow lagoons that stretch 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 Boca Paila area and Punta Allen in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Holbox and the Isla Blanca wetlands around Laguna Chacmochchuc to the north of Cancun are also good spots.

Catch and release

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.

Planning your fishing trip

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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Raising money for education, Fourth Royal Resorts Foundation Race in Cancun

A field of 748 runners and walkers of all ages took part in the Fourth Royal Resorts Foundation Race on Sunday, February 17 in Cancun Hotel Zone. They were running for a good cause, to raise money for education.

Royal Resorts Foundation joined forces for the 2019 race with Fundacion Lomas to raise money for scholarships enabling low-income students to study for a university degree.

   Race competitors included Royal Resorts employees, members and local runners who joined in to support the cause. They ran 3, 5 or 10 kilometers or did the 3-kilometer walk and there was a Fun Run for children.

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Xavage Adventure Park to open in May

A new attraction is coming to Cancun this May. The latest adventure park from Grupo Xcaret, Xavage offers visitors a day of thrills on land, water and in the air.

Built with an investment of more than 50 million dollars, this new park is located to the south of Cancun Airport in an area of old limestone quarries near Xoximilco. There are six different activities for park-goers to try, all named after different wild creatures and with varying degrees of difficulty, from soft to extreme adventures.

  • Barracuda – White water Rafting
  • Puma – Rock Crawler vehicle
  • Dragonfly – Fierce Jet Boat
  • Hawk – Zip line flight
  • Howler Monkey – Intense Rope Course
  • Crocodile – Ultimate Kayaking
  • Serpent: Tough Cubs adventure playground for children

Xavage is the seventh park by Grupo Xcaret and complements the activities offered in Xplor Park and the Xplor Fuego evening adventure. Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, Xavage also has shaded rest areas with hammocks, lockers and rest rooms, a restaurant and store.

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Cancun flight news

Quintana Roo state tourism officials announced that Cancun Airport will receive new flights from Turkey, Quebec and Russia this year. Additionally, Spanish airline Evelop is boosting the number of summer flights from Madrid to five a week on larger planes with 432 seats.

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New museums in Yucatan

Are you planning a trip to Merida or Valladolid on your next vacation? If so, here are two new museums you might want to visit.

First up in Merida is the Museum of Yucatecan Cuisine (Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca). This restaurant and museum is a tasty introduction to the flavors of the Yucatan and the history of regional cuisine, from the days of the ancient Maya to the coming of the Spaniards and the Caribbean and Middle Eastern recipes introduced by later settlers.

The museum is set around a beautiful old courtyard and has exhibits of recipe ingredients, herbs, spices and recados, which are the spice mixes mixed with Seville orange juice and stock, and traditional kitchen utensils. There is also a replica of a Mayan village with its thatched homes, cooking hearth and a pib or baking pit used to cook the classic Yucatecan dish cochinita pibil, marinated, slow-roasted pork.

The museum is located on Calle 62 No. 466 x 55 & 57 in Merida. There is Jarana folk dancing on Thursdays and live music on Fridays.

The colonial town of Valladolid also has a new museum, which is a must if you are interested in Mexico’s rich indigenous culture. The Mexican Ethnic Clothing Museum (Museo de Ropa Etnica de Mexico) or MUREM showcases traditional clothing worn by Mexico’s indigenous groups in 12 different regions of the country.

There are over 60 traditional outfits from Yucatan, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo and other parts of central Mexico, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Durango and Jalisco on display and more than 14 of the country’s indigenous groups are represented.

Embroidered huipiles for daily use stand next to colorful, ribbon-bedecked ceremonial tunics, a jaguar fighter mask and costume and the famous china poblana dress with frills and a full skirt.

Some garments date from the pre-Hispanic period and haven’t changed much in a thousand years, reflecting ancient beliefs and symbols of the natural world. Other dresses have a European design, lace and frills and were introduced during the Colonial period.

MUREM is located on Calle 41 in Valladolid and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

 

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CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN EVENTS

Here’s our monthly listing of upcoming festivals and events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan.

Carnival, March 1-6 (dates vary slightly according to location)

From Cozumel, Cancun and Playa del Carmen to Merida and Campeche, it’s Carnival season.

Cozumel                     February 27 – March 6
Cancun                       March 1 – 5
Isla Mujeres               March 1 – 5
Playa del Carmen      February 28 – March 5
Merida                        February 26 – March 6
Valladolid                  February 23 – March 6
Campeche                  February 25 – March 5

Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza, March 20

The famous light and shadow serpent of Kukulcan appears on El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza and descends from the heavens at sunset on the day of the Spring Equinox (March 20-22). It is also visible the day before and after, cloud cover permitting.
On the day of the Equinox the rising sun also appears through the doorway of the Temple of the Dolls in the ancient city of Dzibilchaltun to the north of Merida.

Holbox Fishing Tournament, Holbox, April 12-13

Easter Week, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Merida, Valladolid and elsewhere in Mexico, April 15 – 21

Masses, processions and reenactments of the Crucifixion, masses, floral carpets in the streets and more on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Anniversary of Cancun, Cancun April 20

Masses, processions, exhibitions and more in Downtown Cancun to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the founding of Cancun.

Copa Capitan Ferrat Fishing Tournament, Cancun, April 19 – 21

One of the most important fishing tournaments in the Mexican Caribbean.

Volando al Paraiso Hot Air Balloon Festival, Cancun, April 19-21

Pok Ta Pok Golf course in the Cancun Hotel Zone will be the site for this Hot Air Balloon Festival and there will also be kite flying, cuisine, music and more.

Fundadores 2019 International Riviera Maya Fishing Tournament, Playa del Carmen, April 26-28

This fishing tournament attracts fishermen from all over the state and the Caribbean. Competitors are asked to follow catch and release policy to help preserve fish stocks.

Challenge Cancun Triathlon, Cancun, April 28

1,500 top triathletes gather in Cancun for this international triathlon. The swimming course is in the bay between Cancun and Isla Mujeres; the bike race circuit is from Casa Blanca Sports Club in Bonampak Ave to The Royal Sands in the Hotel Zone (two laps) and the running event will take place on Bonampak Ave.

Don Andres Garcia Lavin Tournament, Puerto Morelos, May 3-5

Sport fishermen make their way to Puerto Morelos in early May for the town’s popular fishing tournament.
Other May tournaments take place on Isla Mujeres from May 17 to 19 and in Playa del Carmen from May 24 to 26

Travesía Sagrada Maya 2019, Xcaret and Cozumel, May 17-18

The Sacred Mayan Crossing is the reenactment of an ancient pilgrimage. Oarsmen set sail from the port of Pole (now Xcaret) in wooden canoes bound for the island of Cozumel where they will worship at the shrine of Ixchel, the Maya goddess of the moon and fertility.

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Grand Residences Advisory Council meeting report

The 2018 Grand Residences Advisory Council meeting report and financial statement is available online in the Owners Area of www.grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com (owner log in required). Owners may also request a printed copy from the Manager’s Office on their next visit to the resort.

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New Government Environmental Fee for all Hotel Guests in Puerto Morelos

Are you traveling to Grand Residences soon? If so, we would like to share information about a new municipal tax that was introduced in Puerto Morelos on January 1, 2019. As part of its work to protect the environment, the Puerto Morelos Municipal Government has begun charging an Environmental Sanitation Fee to all hotel and resort guests in the district.
This new initiative applies to Grand Residences owners and guests. In accordance with Puerto Morelos Municipal Finance Law, the Environmental Sanitation Fee that will be charged to your account at check out is as follows:

Room: $24.18 pesos per night
Suite $24.18 pesos per night
Villa (2 or 3-bedroom) $48.36 pesos per night

This fee is not covered by the annual Club Service Fees for Grand Residences owners or by All-Inclusive or European Plan room rates.

What will the taxes be used for?
The proceeds from this new Green Fee will be used to contribute to environmental protection and sanitation initiatives in Puerto Morelos, such as:

• Beach cleaning
• Water treatment
• Waste collection
• Reduction of carbon emissions with LED lighting
• Reef conservation
• Coastal wetland management
• Reforestation and other programs geared towards making Puerto Morelos a sustainable destination

Why is an Environmental Tax needed?

The white sand beaches and coral reefs of the Mexican Caribbean are world-famous; its jungles and wetlands are home to rare species of birds and animals. Yet visitor numbers and population growth are outpacing public services and placing pressure on area ecosystems. More action is needed to improve water treatment and waste management for the health of the environment. The new Green Fees charged by the Puerto Morelos Municipal Government will be used for such programs.
In the Riviera Maya, the Solidaridad Municipal Government began charging an Environmental Sanitation Fee to all hotel guests in Playa del Carmen and the surrounding area in the fall of 2017. The Cancun and Isla Mujeres municipal governments have also announced a similar eco tax for hotel guests to be implemented this year.
Worldwide, popular tourist destinations ranging from Barcelona to the Maldives have implemented similar green taxes.

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Dining treats to try in 2019

Your Grand Residences chefs have plenty of tempting dishes and theme nights in store for you on your next vacation. We do hope that you will dine in with us and enjoy your resort restaurants with family and friends.

Start the day with a hearty breakfast at El Faro Grill and enjoy a long, leisurely beachfront lunch at Heaven Grill.

Spend an evening or two sampling the a la carte dinner menu at El Faro Grill, prime steaks and seafood and be sure to pencil in some of the theme buffets. They include a BBQ, Italian, Argentinian, French and Seafood Night.

Are you in the mood for Mexican fare? Flor de Canela is the spot to sample some of the sophisticated flavors that have earned Mexican cuisine a World Heritage listing. And don’t miss Taco Tuesday, our popular theme night celebrating taco culture.

Ask your Concierge for more great Grand Residences dining ideas.

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Royal Resorts donates a Grand Residences Riviera Cancun stay to Naples Winter Wine Festival auction to help children in need

Royal Resorts has donated a stay at the exclusive Grand Residences Riviera Cancun for the Naples Winter Wine Festival online charity auction this January to help Florida children in need.

The lucky winning bidders will soon be heading to Grand Residences Riviera Cancun for their luxury getaway to enjoy the resort’s spectacular, secluded beach and acclaimed hospitality.

By donating the stay for the festival’s online auction, Royal Resorts and Grand Residences Riviera Cancun are supporting the Naples Children & Education Foundation. This charity has helped improve the lives of 275,000 underprivileged and at-risk children with early learning, healthcare, better nutrition, mental health initiatives, dental care, an after school program and eye care. Since the festival started in 2001, more than US$176 million has been raised to fund its childcare programs. #ItsAllForTheKids #NaplesWineFest

 

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Stay in touch with us online during the year

Check in with Grand Residences during the year by joining our social media community. Join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for photos, updates, videos and much more from your Mexican Caribbean home away from home.

 

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Every picture tells a story

Are the January blues getting to you as you drive to work in the rain and snow? Here are some photos of our Mexican Caribbean seascapes to get you in the mood for your next vacation. Cast your mind back to the shades of turquoise you love so much and to the rainbow-colored reef fish you see when you go snorkeling.

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

 

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Joining us in February, how about competing in the Fourth Royal Resorts Foundation Race 2019?

Are you a runner and due to travel to Grand Residences in February? If so, why not sign up for the Fourth Royal Resorts Foundation Race? It’s on Sunday February 17, 2019 (week 7) in Cancun and if you are on vacation around that time we hope that you’ll bring your friends and family to support a worthy cause. On this occasion we are supporting a scholarship program that helps low-income students to get a university education.

Take part in the 5 or 10-kilometer race or the three-kilometer walk and there’s a Fun Run for the kids too.

Race details

• The race takes place on February 17 at 7 a.m. Starting point: Captain’s Cove Restaurant to Westin Regina and back again.
• 3, 5 or 10 kilometers
•Age categories for men and women
Free (15-39 years) Master (40-49 years) Veteran (50 and over)
• Race Fee is $280 pesos per adult and $230 pesos per child and includes a souvenir t-shirt and finalist’s medal, race number, chip, water and an isotonic drink at the finish line
Prizes will be given to the first three places in each category in the 5 and 10 km races for men and women. The first three Royal Resorts employees to cross the finish in the 5 and 10 km races for men and women will also receive prizes.

Children’s Fun Run

Bring the kids! There is a race for them too!
• Children aged 4 to 7 years
500 meters
• Children aged 8 to 12 years
1 kilometer

This year’s cause

The Race goal this year is to raise $435,000 pesos for a program that provides college scholarships for low-income students so that they can get their university degree. This is the equivalent of 12 scholarships.
The Royal Resorts Foundation partner for this year’s race is Fundacion Lomas, a charity that seeks to make a college education in Mexico accessible for all and to address the shortfall in Quintana Roo where a 2014-15 study indicated that more than 70 percent of 18 to 23 year olds had not gone to university.
Education is essential for development and combating poverty and by helping address the educational imbalance with college grants, Fundacion Lomas and the Royal Resorts Foundation will be giving opportunities and the hope of a better future to young people.
To date, Fundacion Lomas has given 247 scholarships and its goal is to grant 35 scholarships a year to students at senior high, technical college and university level. Fifteen grants are available for college students who need to do work experience as part of their degree. Ten additional scholarships are part of the Cero Rezago Educativo (No child left behind) program to enable students to complete primary and secondary studies so that they can continue to middle and higher learning.

Register for the 2019 Race today

Email: contact@royalresortsfoundation.org
Invite your friends and family to take part!

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Royal Resorts joins Ciudad de la Alegria Kings Day children’s toy convoy

Royal Resorts volunteers joined the Ciudad de la Alegria community center’s Dia de Reyes convoy on January 6 to give a Kings Day surprise of toys, sandals and candy to hundreds of children in Mayan villages in Quintana Roo and Yucatan.

There were two routes and two convoys, one to communities in the Tulum-Coba area and the other following a route through northern Quintana Roo and Yucatan, which called at remote hamlets and villages in the Xcan-Tizimin area, accessible by single lane roads.

The children were greeted by the Three Kings and then lined up to receive toys, sandals and candies from the volunteers. There were piñatas to be broken, more candies to collect and some lucky children even took home bikes they won in a raffle.

Other volunteers distributed clothes and food and there were grocery boxes for elderly residents. One couple had even brought biscuits for the village dogs.

More than 2,900 toys and pairs of sandals were given out during the day. Many of the toys were donated by Royal Resorts members, guests and employees and we thank them for their help in spreading happiness to so many children.

Learn more about the Royal Resorts Foundation and its causes: study scholarships for children, the fight against cancer, physiotherapy for children, employee emergency relief in times of serious illness, support for community programs and conservation.

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Tips for places to visit in the Mexican Caribbean and the Yucatan

Looking for new adventures in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan for this year’s Grand Residences vacation? Here are five sightseeing ideas for you.

Beach Bliss

Of course the beach at Grand Residences is paradise but when the spirit of wanderlust takes hold, you can’t go wrong with a day of beach hopping in the Riviera Maya and beyond.
Head for Xpu-Ha and the perennial family favorite in the Riviera Maya, the palm-lined bay in Akumal. Visit Tulum or take a ferry to the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres and relax under the palms on beaches like Isla’s Playa Norte.

 

Jungle Adventures

If you have never experienced the thrill of zip lining or rappel, perhaps 2019 is the year that you’ll decide to try some of the Riviera Maya’s jungle adventures. Fly through the forest canopy on zip lining circuits at adventure parks like Selvatica and Xplor. Swim and snorkel in cenotes and underground rivers, rappel down cenote walls and explore the caves of Rio Secreto and Aktun Chen.
If you prefer your jungle adventures to be on the ground, how about a bird watching trip in a nature reserve or horseback riding? Both are offered in the Puerto Morelos area.

 

Mighty Uxmal

May this be the year that you travel further afield in the Maya World to visit the beautiful ancient Mayan city of Uxmal in southern Yucatan. Like Chichen Itza, Uxmal and a chain of smaller archaeological sites nearby, collectively known as the Puuc Route, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Uxmal is famous for the artistry of its stone carvings and for temples and palaces such as the Magician’s Pyramid, the Nuns’ Quadrangle, the Palace of the Governor, the Great Pyramid, the Temple of the Birds and the Dovecote. It is an hour’s drive south of Merida.
After your Uxmal visit, spend the day exploring the archaeological sites of Kabah, Sayil, Labna and Xlapak, then stop off for lunch in the colonial towns of Mani, Oxkutzcab or Ticul. There’s also a Chocolate Museum to visit at Hacienda Uxmal in Uxmal.

 

Holbox Hideaway

Located in the Gulf of Mexico, a short ferry ride from the port of Chiquila, the island of Holbox is a treasure. Tropical and relaxed, it is a place to slow down and reconnect with nature. Long walks on the beach, fishing and birding trips, glorious sunsets, fresh seafood and the chance to see the whale sharks, manta rays and sea turtles in the summer are its charms.

 

Bacalar, Lagoon of Seven Colors

Located in southern Quintana Roo, Bacalar, the Lagoon of Seven Colors, is definitely worth the drive. Seven colors, aquamarine, azure, turquoise and indigo, shimmer in the sun in this long lake set amidst the emerald green of the jungle and mangroves. There are boat trips and kayaks for hire in Bacalar village.
Built in 1729 to protect the village from marauding pirates, the colonial San Felipe Fort overlooking the lagoon is now the site of a Pirate Museum.

Ask your Concierge for more sightseeing ideas and for assistance in booking these and many more incredible travel adventures in the area.

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Cancun International Airport welcomes passenger number 25 million

On December 18, Cancun International Airport welcomed passenger number 24 million and one week later it broke its own record by greeting passenger number 25 million.

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Rescuing reefs with corals raised in a Puerto Morelos Marine Research Center

In 2018, marine biologists from the National Fisheries Institute Research Center in Puerto Morelos planted 4,000 corals on sick reefs in the Cancun-Isla Mujeres area and Puerto Morelos National Park.
The reefs chosen to receive new corals were suffering as a result of boat collisions, the impact of climate change or pollution. Planting new coral tissue in bleached areas of dead or dying coral gives them a new lease of life.
The biologists are using cloning techniques to propagate coral colonies in the Puerto Morelos nursery and they currently have around 15,000, with the goal of reaching 48,000 by next year.
Several years ago, Manchones and Cuevones Reefs in the bay between Isla Mujeres and Cancun were the first sites to receive coral transplants from the nursery and the coral cover has expanded considerably. As the reefs recover, populations of the fish and other marine life that make their home among the corals will also bounce back.

Source: Novedades

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Puerto Morelos Municipality is 3 years old

The Puerto Morelos municipality turned three on January 6 with a ceremony in the town square and in Leona Vicario.

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Events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan

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

Feria de la Candelaria, January 25 – February 10, Valladolid

This traditional fair is dedicated to the patron saint of Valladolid, the Virgen de la Candelaria. Events include livestock, craft, jewelry and food exhibitions, processions, concerts and dances.

Cozumel Carnival, February 2-13

Dating from 1876, Cozumel Carnival is the oldest Carnival in the Yucatan Peninsula and one of the oldest in Mexico.
Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, Merida, Campeche and Valladolid will also be holding their own Carnival celebrations; the dates may vary slightly in each location. The Cancun Carnival will be from March 1 to 5 and in Merida from February 26 to March 6.

Island Time Music Fest 2019, February 18 – 23

It is the tenth anniversary of this Isla Mujeres music festival featuring country, rock and R&B performers.

Isla Blanca Kite Festival, Feb 24 and 25

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Isla Blanca north of Punta Sam.

Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza, March 19-22

The famous light and shadow serpent of Kukulcan appears on El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza and descends from the heavens at sunset on the day of the Spring Equinox (March 20-22). It is also visible the day before and after, cloud cover permitting.
Elsewhere in the Yucatan, at dawn on the day of the Equinox the rising sun appears through the doorway of the Temple of the Dolls in the ancient city of Dzibilchaltun to the north of Merida.
The spring equinox officially falls on March 20 in 2019 but the largest gathering at Chichen Itza takes place on March 21, a national holiday in Mexico.

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Grand Residences turns five

Grand Residences is five years old this December. Wherever you are, join us in raising your glass in a toast to your home away from home. We hope to see you soon and we look forward to creating many more memories for you and your loved ones to treasure in the years to come.

The growing Grand Residences community

Our Grand Residences community keeps on growing. Every year you catch up on all the news with vacation friends around the pool and watch as your children or grandchildren play. You enjoy dinner together on the terrace or in the restaurants, forging friendships that will last a lifetime.

And the hosts that greet you with a smile every day are part of the Grand family too. From the Concierge and the Kids Club and Activities staff to the waiters and housekeepers that look after you during your stay, they all go that extra mile to make your vacation truly unforgettable.

More activities and dining options

From delicious menu selections and theme night buffets to sports and daily activities, there’s always something new to try at Grand Residences. And when you are ready to go exploring, your Concierge will help you arrange some unforgettable travel adventures to discover the Yucatan’s natural and historical wonders.

One of the world’s top luxury resorts

Your Grand Residences home is on the world stage, winning accolades for the luxury vacation experience it offers. One of the Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice 2018 Top Luxury Resorts in the World and in Mexico, Grand Residences also won Travel and Hospitality Awards recognition as the Best Luxury Hotel in Quintana Roo in 2018. Other recent awards include Loved by Guests 2018 Gold given by Hotels.com to resorts that receive outstanding ratings and the Expedia+VIP Access Best of 2017 award as one of the world’s top 500 hotels.

In the Medallia exit survey conducted by Leading Hotels of the World®, Grand Residences is rated No. 2 in Mexico and No. 66 in the world among the more than 400 luxury hotels and resorts in the collection. When analyzing the most recent report of social media scores achieved by Leading Hotels of the World properties, Grand Residences climbs to number 22 in the world.

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Grand Residences Advisory Council meeting report

The 2018 Grand Residences Advisory Council meeting report and financial statement and the resort operations budget proposed for 2019 will be available for review in the Owners Area of www.grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com (owner log in required) later this month. Owners will also be able to request a printed copy from the Manager’s Office on their next visit to the resort.

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A Grand Christmas

What’s in store at the Grand Residences restaurants this holiday season? There’s plenty of festive gourmet fare for you and your family with a special Christmas Eve five-course dinner, a New Year’s Eve dinner and gala celebration, and a magnificent New Year’s Day brunch.

On the menu are prime beef fillet, seafood and an array of dishes so tempting you’ll want to try them all! However, be sure to save some space for one of the heavenly chocolate desserts.

Contact your Concierge for more information and reservations.