Beach reads

Have you already run out of books for the beach? If you are an avid reader and don’t want to carry your Kindle or tablet everywhere, visit Alma Libre Bookstore right here in Puerto Morelos to stock up on paperbacks.
Located on the main square, Alma Libre stocks an extensive selection of second-hand and new books ranging from thrillers and sci-fi to historical romance and the classics. You’ll also find travel guides and books on Mexican art, history, nature and traditions, maps, crafts and more. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


A romantic day out in the Riviera Maya

On your next trip to Grand Residences spend the day together exploring the area. How about some beach time, island hopping or a sunset cruise? Here are some ideas.

A new day in paradise
Start the day with a stroll along the beach at dawn. See the glory of a Caribbean sunrise, listen to the waves and watch the pelicans on their morning fly past. It’s a beautiful beginning to a new day in paradise.
Pack a bottle of bubbly and a picnic basket of freshly baked bread, cheese, prosciutto and other goodies from the Gourmet Market and head off for a day of Riviera Maya beach hopping. There are so many lovely beaches to choose from along this stretch of shoreline, with idyllic spots to be found in Puerto Morelos, Maroma, Xpu-Ha, Akumal, Xcacel, Bahias de Punta Soliman and Tulum, among others. Choose your favorite or visit several during the day.
On your way back, why not stop off in Playa del Carmen for a spot of shopping, a cocktail and a candlelit dinner on Quinta Avenida.

Island Sunsets
Make your way to Puerto Juarez and board the ferry across the bay to Isla Mujeres. Spend the morning on Playa Norte. Picture-perfect for its turquoise waters and palm groves, Playa Norte often finds its way into the world’s best beaches in online travel magazines.
After a lunch of fresh seafood, it’s time to explore the island. Hire a golf cart and drive to Punta Sur for incredible views of the Caribbean with Cancun Hotel Zone in the distance.
As an alternative, board a yacht for a cruise around the island and a spot of snorkeling along coral reefs in the bay. Keep a look out for sea turtles and even dolphins.
Back on the waterfront, make your way to one of Isla’s tropical palapa beach bars to order a drink, watch local fishermen unloading their catch and wait for the sunset. Playa Norte is one of the best places in the area to watch the sun go down.
If you prefer Cozumel, drive to Playa del Carmen and hop on the ferry to Mexico’s largest inhabited island. After a day of snorkeling, diving or exploring, make your way to one of the palm-lined beaches along the leeward coast for views of the sun setting over the mainland.
Go further afield to the island of Holbox just off the Gulf coast in northern Quintana Roo, another romantic spot with truly spectacular sunsets, long beaches and tropical ambiance.

Set sail on a sunset cruise
Enjoy a romantic Caribbean cruise under a star-filled sky and celebrate your love this February. Options include catamaran trips departing from Puerto Morelos, Cancun, Puerto Aventuras and Akumal in the Riviera Maya.
In Cancun, you can set sail on a yacht for a champagne dinner cruise across the bay to Isla Mujeres.
Board the famous Spanish galleon Columbus for a voyage across the Nichupte Lagoon in Cancun. Dine on charcoal-grilled lobster and sip a Caribbean cocktail as you listen to the soft melodies of a saxophone performer.

Book your trip today
Your Concierge can help you arrange unforgettable day trips, sunset cruises and yacht trips and longer excursions in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan.


Cancun celebrates its 50th birthday in 2020

Cancun celebrates its 50th birthday on April 20 with cultural, gastronomic and sporting events, concerts and more planned throughout the year. The program has yet to be unveiled by the Cancun City Government but the first news is that there will be 200 different activities.
Several commemorative Cancun50 souvenirs will be available during the year. They include a Cancun50 coin, a limited edition wine from the El Cielo vineyard in Baja California and a bottle of mezcal.


Cancun Airport news

The expansion of Cancun International Airport continues with the construction of a new taxiway for planes landing on runway 2 and the second phase of Terminal 4. When work on Terminal 4 is completed, its handling capacity will increase from 10 million to 14 million passengers. Terminal 2 and 3 will also be renovated this year.
In 2019, Cancun Airport welcomed 25,481,989 travelers, a 1.1 percent increase from 2018.
Cancun International is consolidating its position as an important regional hub with new flights already announced for this year. Starting February 16, Vacation Express will be offering a new Sunday flight from Kansas City to Cancun. The flight will operate until April 5 and will then move to Saturday on May 23 until August 1, 2020.
For Canadian travelers to Cancun, Sunwing is offering a new weekly flight from Hamilton and Air Canada has increased its Vancouver service from four to seven flights a week and has a weekly flight from Quebec City.
Starting March 10, Frontier Airlines will offer a new daily flight from Newark. Spirit Airlines will also start flying from Austin, Cleveland, Nashville, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in February and March.
In April, Mexican airline Interjet will begin offering a daily Cancun-Miami flight.
For European travelers, Spanish carrier Evelop Airlines is expanding its summer flights on the Madrid-Cancun route with 10,000 additional seats on Airbus 350 planes. It is also adding a flight from Madrid to Cozumel, available from July to September.
Mexican tourism authorities also reported that Tui is set to expand the number of flights it offers to Cancun from the United Kingdom and Germany to cover demand in the wake of the closure of Thomas Cook Airlines. To satisfy demand in the British market, British Airways may also offer an additional flight and Virgin Atlantic may return to Cancun.

[Source: Sipse, Riviera Maya News, Caribbean Journal, CPQT]


Running for a cause, 2020 Royal Resorts Foundation Race, April 25

Ready to run for a good cause, on your marks, get set, go! The 2020 Royal Resorts Foundation Race will take place on Saturday, April 25. Forming part of the Cancun 50 Year birthday celebrations, the race also has a different venue, the brand new Parque Cancun, located behind the schools and colleges on Bonampak Avenue, Downtown.

The 2020 Royal Resorts Foundation Race cause, a children’s playground in Parque Cancun
Parque Cancun is a new green space for local residents and visitors to enjoy and it will be inaugurated on April 20 as part of Cancun’s birthday celebrations. From the outset, Royal Resorts has been involved in the development of the park, sending gardeners to help in the landscaping. The Royal Resorts Foundation has decided to give more support to this community cause in 2020 and proceeds from the race will be donated to the park to fund a children’s playground.

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 Saturday, April 25 2020 at 7 a.m in Parque Cancun.
• 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 $300 pesos per adult and $250 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

Register for the 2020 Royal Resorts Foundation Race today
Email: contact@royalresortsfoundation.org
Invite your friends and family to take part!



Island Time Music Fest 2020, February 5 -8
It is the eleventh anniversary of this Isla Mujeres music festival featuring Nashville country, rock and R&B performers all in a good cause, raising money to help an island school The Little Yellow Schoolhouse and local special needs children.

Cozumel Carnival, February 19 – 26
More than 146 years of tradition come to the fore in February as islanders celebrate the Cozumel Carnival.
It is also Carnival time in Cancun, Merida, Isla Mujeres and Campeche. Dates may vary slightly.

Equinox, Chichen Itza & Dzibilchaltun, March 19-21
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 19-21). 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 19 in 2020 but the largest gathering at Chichen Itza takes place on March 21, a national holiday in Mexico.

50th anniversary of Cancun, April 20
Cancun is gearing up to celebrate its 50th birthday on April 20 and City Hall is planning a series of events – including sporting events and music festivals – over the next few months. More details coming soon.

Puerto Morelos Fishing Tournaments
Cesar Martin Rosado Tournament, late April-early May
Don Andres Garcia Lavin Tournament, May

Travesía Sagrada Maya, Xcaret and Cozumel, May
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.


Grand Residences six years old in December

Your home away from home celebrated its sixth birthday in December and your Grand Residences hosts wish you all the best for 2020. They are looking forward to seeing you this year and creating more unforgettable luxury vacation experiences for you, your family and friends.


2019 Advisory Council Meeting Report

The 2019 Advisory Council meeting report and financial statement will be published in the Owners Area of grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com (member log in required) this month and printed copies will be available on request from the Manager’s office at the resort.
The meeting report includes information on operations projects completed in 2019 and those planned for 2020, the resort’s 2019 financial performance, and the resort budget and Club Service Fees for 2020 that were approved by the Advisory Council.


Grand dining in 2020

This year, treat yourself to some tempting dining moments at Grand Residences. El Faro, Flor de Canela and Heaven Bar all have delicious new dishes on the menu for you to try. They include Chef Rafael Borbolla’s seafood dishes inspired by the bounty of the Pacific and paired with Caribbean, Mediterranean and Asian produce, herbs and spices.
Don’t miss the theme night buffets as a mouthwatering alternative to the a la carte menus. They are a celebration of the world’s most popular cuisines. From Taco Tuesday in Flor de Canela to Italian, Caribbean and International Night to the traditional Sunday evening BBQ, there is something for everyone. Ask your Concierge for the current schedule.
Enjoy dinner in Flor de Canela and discover vibrant flavors from all over Mexico. Ask your waiter about the Dish of the Month showcasing traditional recipes from different states.
There are vegetarian and vegan dishes and gluten-free pasta and the chef will prepare something different for guests with food allergies or special dietary needs.
Choose a new wine from the award-winning El Faro wine list to go with your meal. The Sommelier will recommend pairings for the dishes you have ordered and ask him about the selection of Mexican wines.
The Room Service menu is the perfect option for a relaxing movie night. And remember that if you like cooking you can prepare steaks and fresh seafood in your gourmet kitchen by ordering from the exclusive Protein Menu for Owners available through Room Service.
For fantastic tips and cooking secrets, sign up for a cooking class with Chef Borbolla during your stay. Learn how to prepare traditional Mexican recipes, classic guacamole, the perfect pasta and other dishes.
If you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary during your stay arrange a something special: a romantic candlelit Chef’s dinner on your terrace or the beach.
From fresh lobster and prime steaks to pastas and heavenly desserts, we hope that we have tempted your taste buds for a year of Grand dining.


Meet your Kids Club friends

Meet Teresa, one of your Kids Club friends. Originally from the state of San Luis Potosi, she studied childcare and a course in gym instruction before moving to the Mexican Caribbean to learn English and find work.
Her first job was in the Activity team at Royal Sunset but she soon transferred to the Kids Club. She worked in the Mayan Palace Kids Club for five years before starting a family. She opened her own gym but a health problem five years later led to her selling the business and returning to the hotel industry.
After a short spell at Vidanta, she joined Grand Residences and has been here for a year and a half.
She explains that the most popular Kids Club activities are face painting and the spa day, the water balloon battle, treasure hunt, pirate’s day, feeding the iguanas and t-shirt painting. “This summer we started to do theme days, for example a day with the chef making and decorating cookies and having a picnic,” adding. “Then there’s environment day with activities like recycling art, plants and a nature walk. Children have sporting fun with the mini Olympics, or dress up like buccaneers on Pirate’s day, Fiesta day is the piñata party and on Mexican day we do the girls’ hair in plaits with flowers, make bracelets and teach the children Mexican folk dances.
“Many of our art sessions involve recycled materials,” Teresa says, “for example, newspaper for papier mâché, plastics and aluminum foil and we are always looking for activities in which we can spread the environmental message. Friday is Fiesta Day and we have a party for the children who had birthdays during the week. There’s a cake, special decoration, piñata, candies, popcorn and a gift and we all sing Las Mañanitas and Happy birthday. We also have a weekly movie and pizza night and themed activities during the year, for example for Easter, Children’s Day, 4th of July, Mexican Independence, Halloween and Dia de Muertos and Christmas of course.
“I would like our owners and guests to know that we give a big welcome to their children and grandchildren. They are really going to enjoy themselves. They can relax in the knowledge that the little ones are having just as much fun as they are. In fact, they don’t want to leave the Kids Club at the end of their stay.
“We want the children to feel at home and it’s our job to create exceptional vacation moments for them. They start to tell us about themselves and their lives, making friends. Some children visit us two or three times during the year and they run in and give us a big hug and send us letters and drawings when they leave. It is immensely satisfying to know that we make them happy.
“Our goals are to keep innovating, adding new activities and games. We are also looking for a course to design activities for children with autism.
Teresa loves working at Grand Residences and enjoys the friendly work environment and the team spirit. She says, “It’s a great responsibility looking after children, I enjoy working with them, talking to them. You enter their world, their imagination, creativity and way of looking at things. I love it.”
She adds: “Here in the Kids Club we try and give the children a taste of Mexico, a look at our traditions. We play lottery with them and they learn Spanish words. We make dream catchers, piñatas and paper flowers and then we do the girls’ hair in traditional plaits and braids. We want them to take home a piece of Mexico and learn about a different culture too.”


Protecting the planet

At Grand Residences, we are doing what we can to reduce our environmental footprint and working towards a plastic-free planet. For example, we use biodegradable food containers instead of polystyrene and straws made from avocado seeds and bamboo. We only bring straws with drinks if guests expressly ask for one. And we are now serving reusable jugs of purified water on the pool deck, the lobby and in other areas around the resort to reduce our consumption of single use plastic bottles of water.
Our latest eco project is a guest towel campaign. We have placed signs in the bathrooms asking owners and guests to leave the towels hanging up if they would like to use them again and to put them on the floor if they would like new ones. We invite you to join us in protecting the planet. By not changing the towels on a daily basis we save water, electricity and reduce our use of laundry products and the chemicals they contain.
When you go on a beach walk why not help us by taking a biodegradable bag with you to pick up trash? It’s a start for making our world a cleaner place. If you return your bag with trash, we’ll give you a coupon for a free drink.
Another way you can help us protect the environment is not to apply sun cream or oil if you are going to swim or snorkel in the sea or in the cenotes. Wear a t-shirt instead. Sun products contain chemicals that are harmful to corals and marine life.


Caring for the community

In 2019, Grand Residences joined seven other hotels in giving a Puerto Morelos school a much-needed facelift. Staff painted buildings, classrooms, desks and chairs and made other improvements so that pupils and teachers can have a cleaner, brighter study environment.
The school they visited is the Primaria General Adolfo López Mateos on Rafael E. Melgar, opposite El Merkadito.
Grand Residences volunteers also join local beach and street cleaning campaigns. One week they clean the beach, the following week they take to the streets to pick up trash and trim grass and shrubs.


Get your daily views of paradise, check the webcam

Our webcam is now live for daily views of paradise and of your home away from home. Go to the Grand Residences by Royal Resorts website and click the webcam image to see our beautiful beach and pools and check the weather in Puerto Morelos.
We hope that a daily webcam visit will bring back happy memories and put you in the Mexican Caribbean vacation vibe as the countdown begins to your next Grand Residences trip!
You can also check the Grand Residences webcam on the Royal Resorts website http://services.royalresorts.com/webcam/Camaragr.jpg


Every picture tells a story

Start the year with a look at some of the places you love so much in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan. From beaches, coral reefs and cenotes to nature reserves, Mayan temples and the smiling faces of the Mexican people, here’s our January gallery.
Be sure to follow Grand Residences on Instagram @grandresidences to see more pictures from your home in paradise.
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.


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, you will receive 2% of the net purchase price of their Fraction in Royal Resorts Rewards that you can apply towards your annual Club Service fees, use to pay your club bill on your next vacation or make a donation to Royal Resorts Foundation charitable causes.
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.


A family day out

Enjoy an unforgettable family day out on your 2020 vacation. Here is a look at some of the options that await you in the Riviera Maya, the Cancun area and beyond.


Swim time
After days on the beach and in the Grand Residences pools it’s time to do some exploring and there’s one thing in the Mexican Caribbean that is popular with the whole family, snorkeling. If your children can swim they’ll soon be ready to put on a mask and flippers and go exploring. Shallow water reefs in the Cancun-Isla Mujeres area, Puerto Morelos and Akumal are great snorkeling spots offering sightings of angel fish, trunk fish, pork fish, sergeant majors and sea turtles.
Or take them to Xel-Ha Park for the day. This chain of turquoise inlets, lagoons and cenotes is a snorkeling paradise offering face to face encounters with a variety of colorful reef fish. And there are plenty of other fun activities on offer like zip lining, giant inner tubes for floating across the lagoon, leaping off a cliff into a cenote, nature walks and more. Families can also swim with dolphins, manatees and stingrays for an additional fee.
For a panoramic view of the park’s inlets and cenotes and the Riviera Maya coast, climb Xel-Ha’s latest attraction, a lookout tower that is also a huge water slide that your children will love.
On the outskirts of Cancun Hotel Zone, Ventura Park has also fun pools, water slides and rides that will keep your children happy all day.

A day at the park
Spending the day at the Riviera Maya’s parks is a top family vacation activity and one that everyone will enjoy.
Heading the list is world-famous Xcaret Park just south of Playa del Carmen.
Spending the day here is as much about fun in the water as it is about you and your children discovering the country’s rich traditions and wildlife.
Relax on the beach, take the children for a swim in one of the park’s underground rivers (life jackets mandatory) and go snorkeling. You can see more marine life on a visit to the aquarium or the turtle nursery. Manatees swim in the lagoons and there are dolphins too (additional fees for dolphin swims and encounters).
The huge walk-through jungle aviary is home to 90 species of birds from southeast Mexico, from hummingbirds to parrots, macaws and toucans. The park also has a butterfly pavilion and regional wildlife enclosures where you can watch spider monkeys, coatimundis, deer and jaguars.
The Children’s World area of Xcaret offers pools, water slides and cenotes for children under the age of 12 to swim in. As the little ones have fun in the water, their parents can relax in a shaded rest area.
Be sure to pace your children with an afternoon nap and treats like gelato so that they are ready to stay on for the unforgettable evening gala performance that showcases Mexican history, music, dance and song. It takes you from the days of ancient Mayan rulers and the ancient ball game, the coming of the Spaniards to the sights and sounds of a Mexican fiesta, complete with a mariachi band. Your children will soon be shouting “Viva Mexico” with the rest.
Younger children will enjoy Crococun, a small park located just to the north of Puerto Morelos. They’ll see crocodiles, spider monkeys, parrots and toucans and can stroke white-tailed deer and other tame creatures.
For a fun morning out, Xenses Park might appeal to older children. It is a world full of illusions and what you see is what you don’t. There are two circuits with 17 different attractions that take park goers into a fantastic realm where nothing is what it seems.
After a visit to Xenses, head to Playa del Carmen for lunch and more optical illusions at the 3D Museum of Wonders where you can literally walk into 3D drawings on the walls, floors and ceiling. Not tired yet? Take the children to L’Aquarium, Playa del Carmen’s huge new aquarium.

Jungle thrills
How about a day of jungle adventures? This is a fun choice for older children who will soon find their adventurous Indiana Jones spirit. They can fly through the jungle canopy on thrilling zip line circuits at Xplor Park, Selvatica or Aktun Chen, all in the Riviera Maya. South of Cancun, the new Xavage Park has an adventure playground for children with rope bridges, tunnels and zip lines. Other tours are a whole day of adventures: zip lining, abseiling down a cliff, kayaking, snorkeling in a cenote or sinkhole, biking and nature walks and ATV drives.
Taking the family to Xenotes Oasis Maya gives you the chance to explore the jungle and spend the day at four different cenotes on the Ruta de los Cenotes inland from Puerto Morelos.
If all the members of the family like horseback riding, there are several ranches offering rides through the jungle to a cenote where you can cool off with a swim.
If you want your children to learn about nature, how about a trip to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve? A trip from Muyil to the south of Tulum combines a visit to the archaeological site of Muyil with a fun boat ride across the lagoon into the mangroves where you’ll float-swim through a canal. There’s even time for the beach and of course you’ll see plenty of wildlife along the way. Other Sian Ka’an options include visits to Mayan communities where you’ll have the chance to meet local people and learn about their lives and traditions.

Discovering the world of the Maya
A day trip to the Yucatan’s famous archaeological sites is always an option if you have older children, and can combine it with time on the beach, cenote visits and promises of gelato. Tulum and Coba in the Riviera Maya are good sites to start with before heading to Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Always plan early trips to the archaeological sites so that you can beat the midday heat. If you do decide to go to Chichen Itza, the colonial town of Valladolid is a good stopping off point for a break and lunch and there are cenotes en route to Chichen where you can cool off.

Plan your family adventure
Your Concierge can help you plan a family adventure and book snorkeling trips and tickets to area parks.


Puerto Morelos municipal district celebrates its 4th anniversary

On January 6, the municipal district of Puerto Morelos celebrated its fourth anniversary. Although the story of this fishing town actually began 105 years ago when it exported chicle and tropical hardwoods, it only became an independent community in 2016. Home to 30,000 people, it welcomed one million visitors in 2019.


Puerto Morelos 2019 turtle season 2019

Biologists, conservationists and hotel security staff watched over 2,606 turtle nests in the Puerto Morelos area during the 2019 nesting season and released more than 106,000 hatchlings.
In Cancun, 11,654 nests were protected in 51 corrals (including three at Royal Resorts) and 1,150,474 baby turtles were released.
In Cozumel, 5,423 nests were protected and 337,497 baby turtles released at nesting sites on the island’s beaches.
The Quintana Roo Sea Turtle Protection Committee published the final tally of nests and hatchlings for the 2019 season, a total of 57,155 nests protected and 3,809,438 baby turtles released on different beaches along the Mexican Caribbean shoreline:
• Green turtle 51,790 nests and 3,468,001 hatchlings
• Loggerhead turtle 4,133 nests and 259,573 hatchlings
• Hawksbill turtle 1,231 nests and 81,864 hatchlings
• Leatherback turtle 1 nest
[Sources: Galu, Comité Estatal Quintana Roo para la Protección de la Tortuga Marina]

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Cancun flight news

Here’s the latest Cancun flight news for January 2020. Starting February 16, Vacation Express will be offering a new flight from Kansas City to Cancun on Sundays. The flight will operate until April 5 and will move to Saturday on May 23 until August 1, 2020.
For Canadian travelers to Cancun, Sunwing is offering a new weekly flight from Hamilton and Air Canada has increased its Vancouver service from four to seven flights a week and has a weekly flight from Quebec City.
Starting March 10, Frontier Airlines will offer a new daily flight from Newark.
Viva Aerobus is now offering charter flights to Havana three times a week.
On March 7, Southwest Airlines will inaugurate a new Houston-Cozumel route with two flights day (new route subject to government approval).
[Source: Sipse, Riviera Maya News, Caribbean Journal]


Riviera Maya beaches are looking beautiful

The beaches of Cancun, Riviera Maya and elsewhere in the Mexican Caribbean are looking beautiful. They are free of sargassum and have been for months. You can check on the Royal Resorts beaches every day by clicking on the webcams for the Cancun resorts, The Royal Haciendas and Grand Residences.
The authorities are planning for the spring and summer in the event that patches of sargassum approach the Mexican Caribbean shoreline. One of the six sargassum-collecting boats known as sargaceras commissioned by the Mexican Navy has already arrived in Cancun and will be deployed if needed.


Mayan discoveries

Archaeologists working for the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have made several major discoveries at three of the Yucatan’s archaeological sites: Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Kuluba.
At Uxmal, archaeologists discovered a hidden passageway under the Palacio del Gobernador dating from AD 670 to 770 and built in the Early Puuc architectural style. Together with the remains of arches and three stairways, this secret tunnel changes the history of the building and the site and may have been used to conceal ancient rulers in times of strife.
During recent excavations at Chichen Itza and using Lidar sensing technology, archaeologists discovered five clusters of buildings in the forest between Las Monjas and Templo del Serie Inicial in the area known as Chichen Viejo. Four of the groups appear to be residential areas but the fifth is a small pyramid 5 meters high
They also found and restored a stone table in the Casa de los Caracoles depicting bound captives surrounded by warriors.
Additional restoration in the Temple of the Warriors revealed a rare pyrite disc that was part of an offering dating from the Early Post-Classic period (AD 850 to 1200).
This follows news of Chichen Itza discoveries earlier in 2019 when the Gran Acuifero Maya exploration team led by Mexican archaeologist Guillermo de Anda was exploring a cave system near the ancient city. As they explored Balamku, the Cave of the Jaguar God, they found seven chambers filled with offerings of pottery, including incense burners in the form of the central Mexican rain god Tlaloc.
The final discovery of 2019 was at the archaeological site of Kuluba in the district of Tizimin, eastern Yucatan. This site is not open to the public yet as archaeologists are still exploring and restoring the buildings that emerge as they clear the undergrowth. During their work in the C Group of buildings, they discovered a palace to the east of the plaza that is 55 meters long and 6 meters high. From the artifacts recovered in the building, it appears to have had two phases of occupation: during the Late Classic period AD 600-900 and the Terminal Classic period AD 850-1050.
Archaeologists think that Kuluba may have been conquered by Chichen Itza in the Terminal Classic period.
[Source: INAH]



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

Anniversary of the Founding of Merida, January 5-6

On the evening of January 5 and on January 6, inhabitants of Merida, state capital of Yucatan celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the city in 1542 by Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo, 478 years in 2020. Observed with serenades to their beloved city by local guitar trios, a procession and mass, it marks the start of the month-long City Festival, a gala event featuring concerts, dance performances, art exhibits and more.

Merida Fest, January 5 – 26

Merida is called the cultural capital of the Yucatan and the Merida Fest in January is one of its most important events. The program features 130 events celebrating music, dance and art in 30 different venues with the participation of 650 artists.

Feria de la Candelaria, Valladolid, January 22 – February 2

This traditional fair is dedicated to the patron saint of Valladolid, the Virgen de la Candelaria. Events include an agricultural fair, processions, concerts and dances.

Cozumel Carnival, February 19 – 26

More than 146 years of tradition come to the fore in February as islanders celebrate the Cozumel Carnival.

Equinox, Chichen Itza & Dzibilchaltun, March 19-21

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 19-21). 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 19 in 2020 but the largest gathering at Chichen Itza takes place on March 21, a national holiday in Mexico.

50th anniversary of Cancun, April 20

Cancun is gearing up to celebrate its 50th birthday on April 20 and City Hall is planning a series of events – including sporting events and music festivals – over the next few months. More details coming soon.


Keeping your Resort home in tiptop order

As part of our resort-wide cleaning and maintenance projects carried out during Maintenance Week in September, for the safety of owners and guests, an anti-slip product was applied on the pool decks and around the private rooftop terrace pools.
As an additional safety measure, an anti-slip material was also applied in a one-meter perimeter around the lap, family and adult pools.


Mouthwatering menus: new lunch dishes to try at El Faro

Chef Rafael Borbolla is cooking up some delicious new dishes for the lunch menu at El Faro so be sure to call in on your next visit.
Starters range from baked zucchini carpaccio and bruschetta topped with burrata cheese and drizzled with balsamic vinegar to Costa Alegre-style tuna tostada, Nayarit-style mixed ceviche, tiradito and salmon tataki. As an alternative, order a freshly made salad with a hint of Mexico, the Mediterranean or the Far East or a traditional Mexican soup.
You’ll find your favorite Angus beef burger on the menu, a tasty chicken focaccia or a seaman’s baguette for the hearty appetite. Of course, when in Mexico, a plate of shrimp, beef or pastor-style salmon tacos for lunch is always a good choice and a vegetarian filling of spinach, porcini mushroom and poblano chili is also available.
Are you in the mood for pasta? The menu selection includes linguine tutto mare with shrimp, octopus and scallops in white wine sauce or Ligurian-style spaghetti with zucchini, tomatoes, pine nuts, rocket, asparagus, white wine and a sprinkling of Emilgrana padano cheese.
New tasty main course dishes range from chicken parmesan and grilled Rib-eye steak with sliced potatoes with a hint of truffle oil to arrachera molcajete, a mortar filled with grilled skirt steak, chorizo and panela cheese, nopales and spring onions, served with salsa borracha chili sauce and guacamole so that you can make your own tacos. Stuffed Portobello mushroom and Teppanyaki vegetable stir fry with yellow curry sauce and coconut milk are delicious options for a vegetarian lunch. Or you can order the catch of the day, fresh local grilled fish marinated in achiote and served with mashed plantain, black bean sauce, fried tortilla and avocado. Chef Rafael’s grilled shrimp and octopus is seasoned with Cajun spices and paprika, sweet potato chips and sweet corn. And be sure to try the Ensenada mussels cooked with chili, onion, garlic, white wine and a dash of cream and served with rustic bread.
Buen provecho!


Soothing, mind, body and soul, meet Arelli, our Spa Manager

Meet Arelli S.,our Spa Manager. Originally from Mexico City, Arelli studied English Language and Literature at the National University of Mexico. As a student she became interested in Spa therapies and holistic healing and took massage technique classes.

Her move to the Mexican Caribbean came 11 years ago and quite by accident. A strike at the university disrupted her study plans and she decided to visit relatives in Merida, Yucatan. During her trip she traveled to Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Playa del Carmen and fell in love with the Mexican Caribbean. She reminisces, “I liked Playa del Carmen and decided that one day I would like to live there. After I graduated, destiny brought me back to the Riviera Maya and a career in Spa Management.”

“I started as a Spa therapist in Riu Resorts before moving to Aventura Palace and then Secrets Maroma.” Arelli adds, “I then took time out to look after my baby girl. When she was old enough for me to go back to work, I started at Viceroy, Banyan Tree and then Fairmont as a Spa Supervisor; at Fairmont I also worked in Groups. After nine years working in the Spa world, I was more and more involved in administration and management and in September 2018, I joined Grand Residences.

“I have a team of five therapists to offer massages, facials, body wraps, manicures, make up and hair and I can also help out if needed. The fitness center attendant also reports to me,” Arelli explains.

Arelli’s recommendation for a morning at the Spa is to start with a 60 or 90-minute Hot Stone Massage for its therapeutic benefits. The heat emanating from the stones boosts circulation, calms, decongests and cleanses the body, giving you a profound feeling of wellbeing.

Follow it with the Timexpert Rights Facial from Germaine de Cappuccini, a product that will nourish and repair your skin, restoring vitality with visible results. The Vitamin C Body Wrap cleanses, revitalizes and relaxes your body, rolling back the signs of aging. She adds, “We use luxury spa products developed by two Spanish companies: Germaine de Cappuccini and Natura Bissé and Primavera oils and essences from Germany for our aromatherapy massage. They are the finest quality, certified as organic products and are made from pure plant ingredients, flowers, fruit and seeds from all over the world.”

“On your next visit to Grand Residences, you’ll find that we have added more therapies to the Spa collection,” says Arelli “These include a Milk and Melipona honey luxury bath experience. The Melipona is a tiny stingless bee that is native to the Yucatan and the Maya have been collecting its honey since ancient times for its therapeutic properties.”

Melipona honey moisturizes the skin, is a powerful antioxidant and is something of a super food, said to be more nutritious than the honey produced by European bees. The Maya use it to soothe scarred skin and in remedies to alleviate cataracts, colds and other ailments. To this day, beekeepers make offerings to Ah Mucen Caab, the ancient bee god, to ask for a good honey harvest.

Arelli continues, “We have more Villa Spa experiences and rituals for you to enjoy in the comfort of your residence. They include spa baths, a facial, body wrap and manicure and pedicure.”

The Spa is doing its bit to protect the environment by recycling and eliminating plastic. Arelli also explained that she always looks for natural products when choosing treatments to add to the Spa collection.

She says, “The size of the resort means that we can offer a more personalized Spa service attuned to the needs of each guest. We know that our repeat customers have favorite treatments and which massage, facial or body wrap they always ask for. We also look for ways of adding the wow factor to exceed their expectations.”

We asked Arelli why she thinks penciling in some vacation time for the Spa is so important and she had this to say: ”A visit to the Spa is all about setting aside some time for yourself for the pampering that you need and deserve to soothe your body, mind and soul. It is an intimate experience; you owe it to your body to say good-bye to stress, nourish your skin and restore your inner balance.”

Arelli Soriano

Arelli S. – Spa Manager