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Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden turns 36

The Yaaxche-Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden in Puerto Morelos celebrates its thirty-sixth anniversary this June. With 65 hectares of jungle and wetlands, it is the second largest botanical garden in Mexico.

Trees and plants native to the Yucatán Peninsula grow in the garden, in addition to species from other tropical regions of the world. There is a herb garden full of plants that the Maya use for healing and an exhibit about chicle, the gum harvested from the chicozapote tree that grows throughout southeast Mexico and is the original raw ingredient for chewing gum.

A visit to the Botanical Garden is a must for nature lovers. It is home to spider monkeys, coatimundi, deer, agouti and a variety of bird species ranging from parrots and motmots to forest falcons, toucans and hummingbirds.

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

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Visitors continue flocking to Mexico in record-breaking numbers

According to figures released by the Mexico Tourism Board, the country welcomed 10.6 million international visitors in the period January – March 2018. The statistics show an increase of 12.6 percent when compared to the same period last year and are an indication that Mexico’s popularity as a destination continues to rise.

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Upcoming events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan

Here’s our round up of events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan during the coming months. We’ll be adding more during the summer.

July Sport Fishing Tournaments
Punta Allen 2018 Fishing Tournament, Punta Allen, Sian Ka’an, July 13-15
Copa Punta Herrero 2018, Punta Herrero, Sian Ka’an, July 27-29

Feria del Carmen, Playa del Carmen, July 7 – 16
Masses, processions, music, a fair and more to honor Playa del Carmen’s patron saint.

La Diosa del Mar Women’s International Fishing Tournament, Puerto Morelos, July 13 & 14
Catch and release international fishing tournament.

Whale Shark Festival Isla Mujeres, July 20-22

164th Anniversary of the Foundation of Holbox, Holbox, July 22
Folk ballet and live music in the main square, July 22 at 7 p.m.

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Izamal, August 15, Izamal
Masses, processions, traditional dances and music in Izamal, a historic town in the Yucatan famous for its colonial convent and surrounding buildings all painted in bright yellow with a white trim. Izamal shares the distinction of being one of the Yucatan’s twin Pueblos Magicos or “Magical” Towns with Valladolid, a name given to smaller Mexican communities that are rich in history and traditions or are the site of natural wonders.

168th Anniversary of the Settlement of Isla Mujeres, August 17
Isla Mujeres celebrates its anniversary in August, 168 years since the first settlers in the modern era founded the village of Dolores. Isla Fest events include processions, dance performances, live music and more.

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

Sixth Cancun International Festival of Music, Cancun, October 18 to 27
More than 300 musicians of 12 nationalities will take to the stage during the festival. Different musical genres and venues.

Festival de Vida y Muerte, Xcaret Park, October 30 – November 2
Hosted by Xcaret Park, the Festival of Life and Death Traditions showcases one of Mexico’s richest 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 return to the world of the living for a short time. They welcome their loved ones with altars laden with flowers, food, treasured possessions and other offerings, and with candlelit vigils, masses and serenades.

The Xcaret Festival program features processions, altars, traditional cuisine, art exhibits, music, dance, theater, children’s events and a visit to the colorful Mexican cemetery. Each year, a different Mexican state is invited to participate in the Festival and showcase its Day of the Dead traditions and this year it is the turn of Zacatecas. Located in the northern uplands, Zacatecas is a state rich in history.

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Grand Residences receives award at Mexico’s Tianguis Travel Show

Grand Residences by Royal Resorts® received the Diversification of Mexican Tourist Products award for excellence in the Premium or Luxury category at the famous Mexican travel show, the Tianguis Turístico held in Mazatlan, Sinaloa in April.

Now in its forty-third year, the Tianguis showcases Mexico’s many destinations and the variety of adventures that await visitors and attracts tour operators and travel agents from all over the world. For decades it was held in Acapulco but it is now hosted by a different city or destination each year. Famous for its beaches and fishing, the 2018 host Mazatlan is known as the “Pearl of the Pacific.”

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Fun in Grand style

Take your children to the Kids Club; they will never want to leave! There’s non-stop fun in store for them this summer with a packed program of activities including pool and beach fun, sports, games, movies and crafts.

From face painting, pirate masks and piñatas to a treasure hunt, nature walks and even iguana watching, there’s never a dull moment. Your children will also enjoy the creative sessions; they can try their hand at water coloring, papier mâché, pencil case making and sand art for starters.

The Kids Club is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for children aged between four and 12 years.

Be sure to check the daily activity program for teens and adults too. The day starts with tennis, yoga or pilates at 8 a.m. Later in the day there are dance lessons, a bike tour (reservations required), zumba and aqua fitness classes. Beach volleyball, soccer, karaoke, bingo and a music quiz are some of the afternoon activities available and you can also ask your Concierge to book your seat for a cooking class with Chef Yann Cozic or a cocktail class with the Heaven Grill bar staff during the week.

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Something special for Mom

Treat Mom to some pampering fit for a queen at Grand Residences. Why not start the day with a leisurely breakfast and mimosas on the terrace from the room service menu? There are flowers in your residence but you can order her bouquets and floral arrangements from the resort store.

After breakfast, it’s time for some Spa relaxation with Mom’s favorite massage, facial or body wrap.

Enjoy lunch poolside at Heaven Grill and later invite her for afternoon coffee or cocktails on the lobby bar terrace.

Board the catamaran for a sunset cruise. Sip champagne on the deck and watch the shoreline slip by as the sun goes down.

As the breeze picks up and the violet clouds scudding across the darkening sky give way to the first stars, it’s time for a cocktail on the terrace before dinner.

There’s plenty on the menu at El Faro Grill and Flor de Canela to tempt the palate and the desserts are heavenly. For something really special, plan a surprise dinner on the beach. Enjoy a superb menu and watch the moon rise over the Caribbean. Ask your Concierge for reservations.

 

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Coming soon, new family multiuse room

The room where the morning yoga class takes place is being transformed into a multiuse room that will soon be available on request for owners to use for family reunions and special events.

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Turtle season begins in May

The beaches of the Mexican Caribbean are the stage for one of nature’s most incredible wonders, sea turtles coming ashore to nest on the same beaches that they were born on. All through the summer, huge female turtles will struggle ashore at the dead of night to dig their nests in the sand and lay their eggs. Forty-five to 60 days later, the eggs hatch and the baby turtles will scuttle towards the waves and a new life at sea.

The Mexican Caribbean is one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting areas and the season begins in May. Turtles emerge from the waves at night to lay their eggs on the Cancun shoreline, the beaches of Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Isla Mujeres, Contoy, Holbox, Cozumel, Sian Ka’an and southern Quintana Roo.

The first turtle nests of the year have already been reported in Puerto Morelos, Akumal and Xcacel and many more will follow them in the months to come.

The Grand Residences security staff are our dedicated turtle guardians and they are getting ready for their busy summer mission. All through the season, they will patrol the beach in front of the resort on the look out for our visitors from the sea. They watch over turtles as they lay their eggs and then carefully move the eggs to a nest in a protected turtle nursery where they monitor them until they hatch.

The guards will release the hatchlings when night has fallen and the seagulls and frigate birds that would prey on these tiny defenseless creatures have gone to roost.

Hopefully in 12 to 15 years time some of this season’s hatchlings will emerge from the waves and begin the long struggle up the beach to nest.

In 2017, the season tally at Grand Residences was 228 nests protected and 20,000 hatchlings released. We hope that our turtle guardians will be even busier this year.

Royal Resorts is a turtle conservation pioneer in Cancun and has been participating in the annual campaign to protect the species since 1985. Official record keeping began at 1998 and since then it has protected 7,995 turtle nests and released 741,042 baby turtles! In 2017, a record-breaking 1,063 nests were protected at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander in Cancun and 111,226 baby turtles were set free.

 

Follow the Turtle Season Rules

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

 

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

 

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

 

Puerto Morelos turtle protection campaign

Turtles nest along three stretches of the Puerto Morelos shoreline, Punta Brava, Punta Caracol and Petempich. Located in the south, Punta Brava is the most important nesting area in Puerto Morelos. Loggerhead, green, hawksbill turtles and the occasional leatherback, the world’s largest sea turtle, come ashore

In 2017, 2,356 turtle nests were protected and more than 223,000 baby turtles released in the Puerto Morelos area. Employees from nine hotels, including Grand Residences, support government biologists, marines, students and conservation volunteers in this vital work.

The annual journey of the sea turtle is one of nature’s greatest wonders and Grand Residences and Royal Resorts are proud to do their part to protect this ancient, and sadly, endangered species.

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Every picture tells a story

This month we are celebrating the beauty of the Mesoamerican Reef, the second longest barrier reef system in the world. Its spectacular coral castles and columns are teeming communities, home to an endless variety of colorful marine life, including 400 species of reef fish. We hope that our photo gallery gets you in the mood to book your next snorkeling trip in Puerto Morelos National Marine Park or to explore other reefs in the Riviera Maya.

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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Travesia Sagrada Maya, the Sacred Mayan Journey to Cozumel

A chorus of conch horns and drumbeats, priests chanting, the smell of copal incense on the breeze as the first rays of the sun touch the shores of the bay in Xcaret transport you back in time to the days of the ancient Maya as you watch oarsmen receive the blessing of the gods. They board their canoes and embark on a perilous journey across the sea to the sacred island of Cozumel to worship at the shrine of the goddess Ixchel. On May 25 and 26, scenes from Mayan history are reenacted in the Travesia Sagrada Maya, the Sacred Mayan Journey, which takes place at Xcaret and Cozumel.

Xcaret Park is the location of the ancient port of Polé, once a Mayan trade center and the departure point for pilgrimages to Cozumel. At dawn on May 25, after the priests say a prayer for them, the canoes depart for Cozumel. As the pilgrims’ families bid farewell, a flock of scarlet macaws flies overhead in a salute to the rising sun. A fitting tribute as macaws and parrots were sacred birds in the Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures and were associated with the sun god.

The pilgrims make landfall on Cozumel at Chankanaab Park at around 1 p.m. and make their way to the shrine of Ixchel. The return voyage to the mainland is the following day and they are greeted in Polé with great jubilation.

A voyage of faith

After six months of arduous dawn training sessions, on May 25, more than 300 oarsmen from Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen will board a fleet of canoes in the sheltered inlet at Xcaret ready to embark on the 2018 Travesia Sagrada Maya or Sacred Mayan Journey. They follow the sea route taken by ancient Mayan pilgrims who traveled to the sacred island of Cozumel (Kuzamil) to worship at the shrine of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility, childbirth and the moon and tides. Depicted as an old woman or a beautiful young maiden, Ixchel was also the patron of fishing, painting and weaving.

This is the twelfth year of the Sacred Mayan Journey, which is the representation of a pre-Hispanic pilgrimage and rituals from the Late Post-Classic period of Mayan history (A.D. 1250-1519). From the backdrop of a Kii’wik or Mayan market and rituals in honor of Ixchel to the clothing, headdresses and face paint worn by the priests and priestesses, the nobility, dancers and oarsmen, everything has been carefully researched to make it as authentic as possible.

The Travesia Sagrada Maya originated as an initiative from the Experiencias Xcaret group to restore an ancient tradition and has been enthusiastically embraced by the people of the Mexican Caribbean.

If you would like to witness the Sacred Mayan Journey ask your Concierge for assistance in booking a trip to Xcaret.

 

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Return of the ocean giants: whale sharks

May heralds the return of the ocean giants to the Mexican Caribbean, the whale sharks that migrate to the waters around Holbox, Cabo Catoche and to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres during the summer months to feed on plankton.

An unforgettable summer adventure, see the whale sharks

If you are traveling to Grand Residences this summer and love the underwater world, plan your own once-in-a-lifetime encounter with nature, an unforgettable swim with the whale sharks. You may have seen these gentle giants in BBC wildlife programs but have you ever imagined coming face to face with one? Throughout the summer and up until mid-September, you have the opportunity to swim with the whale sharks in the Mexican Caribbean.

 

Whale sharks travel thousands of miles in search of food

The world’s largest fish, whale sharks are great ocean travelers, migrating thousands of miles through the tropics in search of the plankton that is their staple diet. They gather in the Mexican Caribbean from mid-May to mid-September, when soaring summer temperatures cause rapid plankton growth and massive blooms of the minute creatures. Biologists have also discovered that it isn’t only plankton that attracts the sharks, but also fish roe. Bonito (little tunny) spawning season is in the summer and whale sharks are partial to the eggs.

Hundreds of whale sharks feast on the nutritious plankton and fish roe broth floating in the waters of the northern Mexican Caribbean. Biologists believe that this is the largest whale shark gathering or aggregation in the world. Up to 400 of them have been counted on one day.

There are actually two whale shark feeding grounds: the area between the island of Holbox and Cabo Catoche, the headland where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean, and agua azul or “blue water,” the deeper waters to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres, a two-and-a-half-hour boat ride from Cancun. Due to the importance of this area for whale sharks and other marine species such as sailfish, marlin, manta rays, dolphins and sea turtles, the Mexican government declared it a marine biosphere reserve.

Gentle giants

Imagine watching as a creature the size of a bus looms out of the depths, approaches you and then swims placidly by, its gaping jaws open to scoop up the plankton and filter the water out through its gills. You’ll be amazed by the immensity of this gentle giant, its blue grey color and distinctive white spots and the remora fish hitching a ride to keep its skin free of parasites. With a final flick of the tail the whale shark disappears into the distance, leaving you with an incredible sensation of happiness and peace. It is an awe-inspiring sight and an emotional experience, one that wildlife watchers shouldn’t miss.

Domino fish

Local fishermen call whale sharks tiburón ballena or pez domino or “domino fish,” a reference to their distinctive stripes and dappled skin. Each fish has unique markings and taking photos of them is helping whale shark experts around the world to compile a catalog. Through the use of this international database for identification purposes and by tagging sharks they can now begin to map the movements of these enigmatic creatures during the year. For example, they have been able to track whale sharks during the year as they swim through the Gulf of Mexico, the Mexican Caribbean, Belize and the Bay Islands in Honduras. One female whale shark from the Gulf of Mexico population was tracked as far as Brazil.

In the Indo-Pacific region, whale sharks are spotted off the Mozambique coast, the Maldives, Seychelles, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Fiji and the Sea of Cortez off Baja California Sur in Mexico.

Eco trips to see the whale sharks

Guided eco trips to see the whale sharks are available from Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Holbox. With a small group of fellow nature lovers, you’ll board a boat bound for the whale shark feeding grounds. Suddenly fins are spotted in the distance and the huge blue grey fish glide past you, one after the other.

The first sighting of a whale shark leaves you speechless, with a lump in your throat and tears in your eyes at the majesty of the creature. As the next one approaches, your guide will tell two people in your group to prepare to jump into the water with him/her and swim alongside it, always keeping a distance. Everyone takes their turn to swim with these beautiful creatures, always following the whale shark season rules:

  • Keep a distance of at least five meters from the whale sharks
  • Do not attempt to touch whale sharks
  • Swim alongside whale sharks, never in front of them or near their tails
  • Only two people per boat plus a guide are allowed in the water at one time
  • The use of sun products and flash photography are prohibited

On the journey out to the whale shark area, keep a look out for dolphins and sea turtles. Giant manta rays also gather in the whale shark feeding grounds to eat plankton and sometimes leap out of the water in spectacular flight.

Whale shark island, Holbox

Another way to enjoy this amazing eco adventure is to plan an overnight trip to Holbox, the beautiful island on the north coast of Quintana Roo.

This is whale shark country and even the wooden signs and colorful murals lining the sandy streets show the famous pez domino. Go in search of whale sharks early in the morning and then feast on locally caught lobster and fish at one of the village restaurants. In the afternoon, take another boat trip to explore the Yalahau Lagoon, Isla de los Pajaros (Bird Island) and the Yalahau Cenote and you’ll still have time for sunset on the beach and to discover the laidback ambiance of the island.

 

Ask your Concierge

Swimming with whale sharks is an unforgettable experience and if you are interested in the natural world, you won’t want to miss it. Ask your Concierge for information on whale shark trips.

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Puerto Morelos, Mexican Caribbean Fishing Capital in May

Fishermen from Cancun, Cozumel, the Riviera Maya and other parts of the Caribbean gather in Puerto Morelos this May to take part in one of the important annual tournaments in the Mexican Caribbean.

The fleet of boats heads out to the fishing grounds and each crew shares a common goal of landing the largest white and blue marlin, sailfish, swordfish and dorado.

Held the weekend May 4-6, the Don Andrés García Lavin Tournament is one of four fishing events in Quintana Roo to be endorsed by the Mexican Sport Fishing Federation; the others are in Cancun, Cozumel and Chetumal. The tournament winners will have the chance to go on to represent Mexico in the 2018 World Championship.

The catch and release policy is enforced as part of tournament regulations in order to conserve fish stocks.

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Puerto Morelos receives Distintivo S award

In recognition of its work in turtle protection, conservation and towards achieving sustainable development, Puerto Morelos municipal district received the Distintivo S from the Mexican Tourism Board. The Puerto Morelos delegation received the award at the Tianguis Turistico Travel Show in Mazatlan in April.

 

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Puerto Morelos facelift underway

Puerto Morelos is getting a facelift. Work is still underway in the center of town and around the square to move all the cables underground, replace street lighting and paving. When it is complete, the square will have wider pavements and gardens and additional seating areas for taking in the spectacular ocean views and enjoying the balmy Mexican Caribbean evenings and the ambiance of this traditional community.

Work is also progressing in the Colonia on the other side of Highway 307 with water and sewage system improvements, the installation of traffic lights, street signs and stamped concrete for the pavements and streets.

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Cancun Flight News

Cancun Flight News

Southwest Airlines is now offering weekly flights from New Orleans to Cancun.

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UPCOMING EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

500 Years of Cozumel, May 2017-May 2018

Cozumel commemorates the 500th anniversary of the first encounters that Spanish explorers had with the Maya of Quintana Roo in 1517and 1518.

The Cozumel: 500 Years, the Meeting of Two Cultures festival began in 2017 and concludes in May 2018 with a series of events such as exhibitions, concerts, seminars and more.

 

Tulum Food, Spirits & Wine Festival, Tulum, May 21-27

Celebrating Mexican cuisine in Tulum. Gala dinners with three-course menus. Visit the Festival website at tulumfswf.com for more information.

 

Travesía Sagrada Maya, Xcaret and Cozumel, May 25-26

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.

 

Anniversary of the Foundation of Valladolid, May 28-29

The colonial town of Valladolid celebrates the anniversary of its founding in 1543 with masses, serenades, traditional dances and a candlelit procession to the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena.

 

Navy Day in Puerto Morelos, June 1

Puerto Morelos has a small naval base and on June 1, Navy Day, the whole town turns out to celebrate el Día de la Marina or Navy Day. Events include a boat procession and a swimming race. This is a great way to meet local people and join the party.

 

Commemorating La Chispa in Valladolid, June 4

The population of Valladolid turns out on the night of June 4 to witness the representation of a rebellion against injustice in 1910 that was the first spark or chispa of the Mexican Revolution.

More than 800 actors take part in La Chispa. Dressed in authentic turn-of-the-century garb, they play the parts of the rebels, ruling aristocrats, and the police and soldiers sent to arrest them.

After marches through the streets to the main square, the evening culminates with the trial and mock execution by firing squad of the leaders of the rebellion.

 

July Sport Fishing Tournaments

Punta Allen 2017 Fishing Tournament, Punta Allen, Sian Ka’an, July 13-15

Copa Punta Herrero 2017, Punta Herrero, Sian Ka’an, July 27-29

 

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

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

 

La Diosa del Mar Women’s International Fishing Tournament, Puerto Morelos, July 13 & 14

Catch and release international fishing tournament.

 

164rd Anniversary of the Foundation of Holbox, Holbox, July 22

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

 

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Izamal, August 15, Izamal

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

168th Anniversary of the Settlement of Isla Mujeres, August 17

Isla Mujeres celebrates its anniversary in August, 168 years since the first settlers in the modern era founded the village of Dolores. Isla Fest events include processions, dance performances, live music and more.

Mexican Independence, September 15 &16

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

 

 

Visit the Royal Resorts blog at  www.royalresorts.com for listings of more events during the year.

 

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Heaven Grill opens for dinner with more tempting dining choices

Gazing up at the star-studded sky and listening to the waves as you watch the moon rise over the Caribbean, a spectacular setting and gourmet cuisine are the makings of a memorable evening in the Mexican Caribbean. Now open for dinner, Heaven Grill is the perfect spot for dinner with friends. Open-air dining doesn’t get any better than this.

Order your favorite cocktail or a bottle of crisp white wine and the seafood starters such as fresh tuna tartare, salmon gravlax, calamari or gazpacho. For your main course, choose the catch of the day, Caribbean-style coconut shrimp, classic fish and chips or grilled swordfish. The lobster with buttery vanilla sauce and basmati rice pilaf is outstanding.

Meat lovers will be able to order one of Heaven’s popular prime Angus burgers and there are salads and pizzas too.

Heaven Grill has TV screens for sporting events and on Tuesday and Friday evening there is live jazz, blues and bossa nova music.

 

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Are you interested in serving on the Grand Residences Advisory Council?

The Advisory Council is comprised of five Owners that represent the Grand Residences Community. They meet at least once a year with representatives from DRM and the Resort Operating Company to review and make recommendations on Resort Operations at Grand Residences for the following year, policies, procedures and issues of interest to Owners.

The Advisory Council’s annual meeting will be held at Grand Residences. Any Owner that would like to be a part of the Grand Residences Advisory Council is cordially invited to send in their application before July 31, 2018.

Current members of the Grand Residences Advisory Council will review all the applications and will vote for a new member in a private election during the 2018 Advisory Council Meeting in October.

The next Advisory Council Meeting will be held in Grand Residences on October 18, 2018.

Advisory Council responsibilities

The duties of the Advisory Council consist of the review of financial statements for the current year’s operations at Grand Residences, all reports presented by Management relating to the maintenance and operation of the resort, the projected budgets for the operation of the following year and proposed Club Service Fees to be paid per interval based upon the reviewed budget for the resort. They also study maintenance and fixed assets programs, proposals for new services and amenities, cost-efficiency operating projects and guest satisfaction survey results among others.

In their capacity as representatives, Advisory Council members raise concerns voiced by Owners in relation to the operation of the resort and follow up on their queries with DRM and the Resort Management Company at the meeting and during the year.

Making your Application

If you love your resort home and are interested in standing as a candidate for the Advisory Council for Grand Residences by Royal Resorts®,

click here to read the eligibility requirements. If you would like to be considered for this important role, fill out the application form.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to stand for the Advisory Council, you must be over the age of 25 and be a Grand Residences Owner. You must be in good standing with all your obligations. You must own one or more Fractions at Grand Residences, the equivalent of five or more weeks in the Grand Residences Fractional Program, and at least one of the said fractions must have been purchased directly from DRM (resales and title changes are not accepted for this purpose). You must agree to abide by the Advisory Council Regulations.

It is important that you read the Advisory Council Rules in full as they include more information on the eligibility requirements for candidates and the restrictions that could render their application invalid.

Sending your application

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

 

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

 

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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 takes 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.

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Cooking Classes with Chef Yann

Watch a master chef at work and fine-tune your own culinary skills with Chef Yann Cozic’s cooking classes. Learn how to prepare shrimp and scallop ceviche, guacamole and classic lime soup from the Yucatán. Try your hand at coconut, lemon grass and shrimp soup from the Far East and a variety of other tempting dishes. Discover the secrets of perfect Parisian patisserie and pick up useful tips that will help you when cooking for family and friends. Reservations required, call the Concierge.

If you would like to learn more about Mexican cuisine, why not sign up for cooking classes at one of the cooking schools in the area. The best-known school in the Mexican Caribbean is The Little Mexican Cooking School in Puerto Morelos. Your Concierge will be able to assist you with reservations.

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Every Picture Tells a Story

This month we travel back in time and take you on a whirlwind tour of some of the Maya World’s most beautiful ancient cities, masterpieces of art and architecture.

Do you have a favorite archaeological site in the Yucatan or the Riviera Maya that you have visited? Write to us and let us know.

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

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Go Wild, Jungle Adventures in the Puerto Morelos Area

There’s much more to Puerto Morelos than beautiful beaches and the Mesoamerican Reef. Why not try a change of scenery one day and explore the forest? Here are four trip ideas for you and they are all on your doorstep.

Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden

Did you know that the second largest botanical garden in Mexico is right here on your doorstep in Puerto Morelos? Located beside Highway 307, just south of town the Yaaxche-Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden is a nature reserve protecting 65 hectares of jungle and marshland rich in wildlife. It is home to trees and plants native to the Yucatan Peninsula and the tropical forests of the Americas.

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 hummingbirds, orange orioles, great kiskadees, woodpeckers and parrots 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. A flash of turquoise and a soft whooping call means that the turquoise-browed motmot or toh bird is near. Keel-billed toucans can sometimes be seen on dead branches and in the early morning, the forest echoes with a sunrise serenade that reaches a crescendo with the cackles and rattle-like sounds of the chachalaca, a gregarious bird the size of a large hen.

The park is home to a troop of approximately 50 spider monkeys who forage for fruit in the treetops. You might be lucky enough to see coatimundis or tejon, peccary, deer, fox, squirrels 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.

Follow the trail to the herb garden where you’ll see familiar plants such as basil, rue, chamomile and spearmint growing with native species traditionally used by the Maya 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 the Caribbean. You’ll soon spot Grand Residences in the distance.

The Botanical Garden is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Exploring the Ruta de Los Cenotes

An alternative is to hop into a rental car and drive along the Ruta de los Cenotes, the road to the west of Highway 307 that goes through the forest to Leona Vicario. Along the route you’ll see many wooden signs marking the turn off for cenotes deep in the forest. These natural limestone wells or sinkholes have crystal-clear waters that look turquoise or emerald, depending on the light. Some are open and others are hidden in caves. The list includes Cenote Las Mojarras, Siete Bocas, Boca de Puma and Verde Lucero and several of them have rustic zip lines and nature trails in the vicinity of the cenote.

The Xenotes Oasis Maya trip offered by Experiencias Xcaret gives you the chance to explore four very different cenotes in one day and includes swimming, snorkeling, zip lining and kayak.

Zip lining at Selvatica

For a day of jungle adventures, Selvatica Park fits the bill. Fly through the jungle canopy on thrilling zip line circuits and then swim and snorkel in a cenote. Walk or ride along winding forest trails and you can even drive your own ATV.

Bird watching

The fourth option is an early morning Puerto Morelos birding trip available from Cancun-based travel agency Eco Colors. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide you’ll explore a jungle reserve to hear the dawn chorus. This clamor of birdsong includes the squawks of parrots and the distinctive call of the pygmy owl and the chachalacas.

Look out for flocks of parrots, Yucatan jays, trogons, tanagers, solitary keel-billed toucans, and the Yucatán’s own bird of paradise, the turquoise-browed motmot that makes its nest in the limestone walls of cenotes.

Departure is at 5 a.m. from your resort and you’ll be back at around 12 noon; snacks are included.

Organizing your trip

Ask the Concierge for information about these jungle adventures. If you are planning a trip into the forest, we recommend that you take your camera, binoculars and use eco-friendly insect repellent to ward off biting insects. You should never stray off the path, even in the Botanical Garden.

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Parque Maya opens in Cancun

Cancun has a new fun park combining adventure with a dash of history. Located just to the south of Captain’s Cove restaurant and opposite the Cancun Maya Museum, Parque Maya offers a zip lining circuit, rope bridge and a lagoon cruise. There is an interesting exhibit on the Maya culture and one of the ticket options available also includes admission to the Cancun Maya Museum and Ruinas El Rey, the largest of the archaeological sites in the Cancun area and a ride on the Cancun Turibus.

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Cancun now has its own Big Wheel

Cancun has joined a select group of cities around the world with their own big wheel for a birds’ eye view of the urban landscape. London, Paris and now Cancun. The brand new Cancun Big Wheel or Rueda de la Fortuna is located at La Isla Mall and takes its passengers 60 meters up in the air for stunning vistas of the Caribbean, Nichupte Lagoon and the Hotel Zone.

The big wheel is built with the latest Dutch technology and has 42 glass booths for up to six people. The ride takes around 25 minutes and the wheel operates day and night.

La Isla Mall is growing and the Cancun Wheel will eventually be moved to the second phase of the shopping center, which is currently under construction.

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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.

Camino de Las Flores, Merida, March 25 and April

For the third year running, Merida’s La Mejorada neighborhood will be transformed into an urban garden by the Camino de Las Flores, the path of the flowers. This colorful walkway of plants, flowers, hedges and shrubs and trees clipped into the shapes of native birds and animals will lead to La Mejorada Convent and the Museum of Popular Art.
Organizers have promised that this year’s garden display will be bigger and even more beautiful than previous years and will attract visitors throughout April.

Fundadores 2018 International Riviera Maya Fishing Tournament, Playa del Carmen, April 13-15

This 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.

Second Cozumel Emerald Hummingbird Festival, Cozumel, April 13 -14

Bird watchers will be gathering on the island of Cozumel in April to learn more about the Cozumel Emerald Hummingbird (Chlorostilbon forficatus), a beautiful little bird found nowhere else in the world. There will be seminars and birding trips and a Cozumel Birding App with information on the island’s resident and migrant species will be unveiled.
A second, larger Bird Festival is organized on the island in October.
Cozumel has several endemic species of birds and mammals, including a dwarf raccoon.

Anniversary of the Founding of Cancun, April 20

Cancun turns 48! The celebrations include masses, processions, exhibitions and more to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of Cancun.

Cancun International Capitan Armando Ferrat Fishing Tournament 2018, Cancun, April 20-22

This 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.

Regatta del Sol al Sol, Isla Mujeres, April 27 – May 6

The 50th year of this famous yacht race from the St. Petersburg Yacht Club in Florida to Isla Mujeres. The event also features parties for the yacht crews and islanders, excursions and a race around Isla Mujeres.

Fiestas de la Santa Cruz, Feria de El Cedral, Cozumel, April 26 – May 3

This traditional festival commemorates the day of the Santa Cruz and the arrival of the island’s 21 founding families in 1848, fleeing from the Caste War that broken out in the Yucatan Peninsula in 1847.

500 Years of Cozumel, May 2017-May 2018

Cozumel commemorates the 500th anniversary of the first encounters that Spanish explorers had with the Maya of Quintana Roo in 1517and 1518.
The Cozumel: 500 Years, the Meeting of Two Cultures festival began in 2017 and concludes in May 2018 with a series of events such as exhibitions, concerts, seminars and more.

Puerto Morelos Fishing Tournaments, late April – early May

Cesar Martin Rosado Tournament, Puerto Morelos, April 27-29

Don Andres Garcia Lavin Tournament, Puerto Morelos, May 4-6

Travesía Sagrada Maya, Xcaret and Cozumel, May 25-26

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.

Visit the Royal Resorts blog at www.royalresorts.com for listings of more events during the year.