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Cancun Airport News

In order to speed up passport control for passengers arriving at Cancun Airport, 40 kiosks have been installed in the Immigration Hall for automatic registration. Mexico City International Airport also has 40 and there are 20 at Los Cabos Airport.

The kiosks are for the use of Mexican passengers and international visitors arriving on flights from countries with a visa waiver for travel to Mexico. Utilizing biometric data such as fingerprints and passport information, they are expected to boost the capacity of each Immigration agent to process visitors by as much as four times.

In more Cancun Airport news, Southwest Airlines is now offering weekly flights from New Orleans to Cancun. Starting June 9, United will also be flying from New Orleans and San Antonio to Cancun on Saturdays.

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Grand Residences receives award at Mexico’s Tianguis Travel Show

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Mexico is now the sixth most visited country in the world

Welcoming 39.3 million visitors in 2017, 12 percent more than in 2016, Mexico has climbed two more places in the World’s Most Visited Countries listing and is now in position number 6. Since 2013, Mexico has climbed from number 15 to number 6, representing growth of more than 62 percent. The rankings are calculated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

The state of Quintana Roo welcomed 17 million visitors in 2017, accounting for 43.2 percent of the total for the country.

From its spectacular shorelines, breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife to ancient cultures, colonial cities and rich traditions, Mexico has endless tourist attractions and something for everyone.

In addition to its world-famous Caribbean and Pacific beaches, Mexico offers historical and cultural trips, visits to communities with timeless traditions, handicraft workshops and festivals; gastronomic tourism, ecotourism and adventure sports such as caving, mountaineering and hang gliding; sailing, fishing and diving, golf and spas, among others. The hospitality of the Mexican people is legendary and accommodation options range from ultra luxurious resorts to historic haciendas and thatched cabañas.

Endless discoveries await visitors to Mexico. In 2017, the Mexico Tourism Board launched a new marketing campaign called Mexico, A World of its Own that showcases the country’s diversity and reveals its landscapes, history, communities and colorful festivals, showing that there’s so much more to discover beyond its beautiful beaches.

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Grand Residences receives award at Mexico’s Tianguis Travel Show

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun® 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 […]

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Events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan

Here’s our monthly round up of upcoming events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and 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.

Sixth Festival of the Oceans, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos, May 13 – June 8
The program for the 6th Festival de los Oceanos includes concerts, photo exhibitions, conferences, beach cleaning in Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Contoy and a gastronomic contest pitting colleges against each other in creating recipes using lion fish. More information: www.festivaldelosoceanos.com.mx

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
One of the most popular events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan in May, the Travesia Sagrada Maya or Sacred Mayan Journey is the reenactment of an ancient Mayan 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 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.

Visit this blog during the year for more listings of events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan during the year.

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Royal Resorts App now available for Android and iOS

Need help planning your Cancun vacation? The Royal Resorts App is a great tool with lots of useful features to save you time and help you make the most of your Royal Resorts stay. It is now available for Android and there is an updated version for iOS users.

Use the Royal Resorts App before your trip
• Make special requests, ask for cribs, high chairs or mobility aids
• Check past, current and future reservations
• Preregister guests and save time at check-in, no more check-in and check-out lines!

Save time during your vacation, use the Royal Resorts App
• Book tables at your favorite Royal restaurants using the restaurant reservations tool NEW FEATURE
• Check the daily Activity Center and Kids Club programs to plan your vacation time NEW FEATURE
• Keep tabs on orders and vacation purchases
• Make payments to your account
• Check out from your resort
• Report incidents and send suggestions to Guest Services
• Retrieve your Member PIN if you have forgotten it

Download the Royal Resorts App today
The free Royal Resorts App is available from the App Store or Google Play.
Available for Royal Resorts members and guests to use.

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New Royal Resorts Laundry Valet Service Pilot Project

The Royal Resorts Housekeeping department is offering a new laundry service for the convenience of Royal Resorts members and guests. Currently a pilot project at The Royal Sands and The Royal Haciendas and being rolled out to The Royal Caribbean, The Royal Islander and The Royal Cancun in the coming weeks, the Royal Resorts laundry valet service will be available on request and will take care of a daily chore for vacationers.

You are on vacation and you really should be relaxing; the Laundry Valet will take care of the laundry for you so that you can spend more time on the beach. Just call ext. 167 to request the service, fill in the order form and the Laundry Valet will collect your laundry, wash it for you and return it to your room dried and folded the same day.

The laundry valet service fee will be charged to your room account. There is a 10 percent discount for Royal Resorts members. This service is not included in the REFINE All-Inclusive package. No dry cleaning service.

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Third Royal Resorts Foundation Race Reaches its Target

A big thank you goes out to all those who participated in the Third Royal Resorts Foundation Race in Cancun on February 18, 2018 as one of the 700 competitors or as donors, sponsors and volunteers. With your support, the Royal Resorts Foundation was able to reach the target and raise $341,500 pesos to build a kitchen at the Don Bosco Community Center for disadvantaged young people at risk.

The teenagers attending the Don Bosco Community Center will soon be eating nutritious meals in the kitchen that you helped build. With a healthy diet they will be better prepared for the future and to achieve higher grades in their studies.

The Don Bosco Community Center master plan and kitchen design are almost complete and building is set to begin soon. The Royal Resorts Foundation will keep you posted on progress on this blog and the Royal Resorts Foundation page.

For more information on the Royal Resorts Foundation visit www.royalresorts.com/foundation and like the Royal Resorts Foundation on Facebook

See you next year for the Fourth Royal Resorts Foundation Race!

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Head to Holbox, the Mexican Caribbean’s secret island treasure

A swathe of dazzling white sand lined with palm trees and thatched casitas before you, you might think that you are on the Caribbean coast in the Riviera Maya, yet Holbox, Quintana Roo’s fourth island is actually located off the north coast of the Yucatán in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a magical spot, a haven for nature lovers, fishermen and visitors who simply want to discover a different side of Mexico. Thomas More Travel has a day trip that will enable you to do just that.

The adventure starts in the Gulf coast port of Chiquila where you board the ferry or a water taxi to cross Yalahau Lagoon separating Holbox from the mainland. Keep a look out for dolphins swimming alongside the boat, cormorants and osprey diving for fish.

Holbox (which means “black hole” in Maya) is part of the Yum Balam Biosphere Reserve, an area of mangroves, marshes and tropical forest rich in wildlife. Flamingos, herons and egrets feed in the lagoon, crocodiles and manatees are sometimes sighted and jaguars, pumas and ocelots, peccary and deer still roam the jungle further inland.

Cenotes and Bird Island
First stop on the Thomas More Travel Holbox day trip is Cenote Yalahau or Ojo de Agua, an open cenote or pool in the mangroves that is also a natural spring with fresh water bubbling up from an underground river. There’s a wooden observation tower next to the cenote with spectacular views of Holbox, Yalahau Lagoon and the Yum Balam wetlands.

Once you have had your fill of swimming in the cool, crystal-clear waters of the cenote it’s on to Isla de los Pajaros or Bird Island. This sand bar is a feeding ground for flamingos, different species of herons, reddish egrets, white and brown pelicans and cormorants.

Holbox Village
The boats tie up on the Holbox waterfront where lunch is served at a restaurant overlooking the beach. With its sandy streets, wooden houses, colorful street art and hand-painted signs depicting whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays and flamingos, the rustic fishing village on Holbox has its own brand of Caribbean charm. Life has a slower pace and a stroll along the shell-strewn white beach to watch the fishermen unloading their catch, with pelicans and gulls waiting expectantly for scraps is not to be missed.

After lunch it’s time to board a golf cart to explore the 25-mile-long island. The first 30 minutes are guided and then you have 90 minutes to yourself. Start in the picturesque fishing village itself then drive along the island for breathtaking views of white-sand beaches, the Gulf of Mexico and the wetlands in the distance. When you have returned the golf cart, walk along the beach where boats rock gently at their moorings to enjoy a drink at one of the thatched bars. This is the perfect spot to watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico in a glorious blaze of pink, gold, orange and red.

A Holbox Getaway
It’s easy for visitors staying longer just to soak up the beauty of Holbox and do nothing but sunbathe and swim. A morning stroll along the beach, escaping to a hammock in the shade of a palm tree for an afternoon siesta and enjoying island hospitality and fresh seafood, including lobster pizza, tikinxic and grilled octopus for dinner are the order of the day. Yet, for those who want to explore further there are plenty of options.

Hand-painted wooden signs and murals celebrate Holbox’s most famous summer visitor, the whale shark, tiburón ballena or pez domino, the ocean’s largest fish. From mid-May to mid-September, these gentle giants gather in large numbers to feed on plankton in the waters off Holbox and Cabo Catoche, the headland where the waters of the Gulf of Mexico meet those of the Caribbean. Local fishermen from Holbox and Chiquila offer eco trips out to the whale shark feeding grounds where visitors will see these huge ocean travelers skimming the water surface for plankton. Graceful manta rays, dolphins and sea turtles can also be spotted.

Sea turtles nest on the beaches of Holbox during the summer and on moonless nights the breaking waves sometimes glow with bioluminescence emitted by microscopic plankton.

Fishermen from Holbox and Chiquila also offer bird watching trips in the area, crocodile spotting and fishing. Some arrange trips to Cenote Yalahau, the Isla de los Pajaros and Isla de la Pasion where birds also feed and nest and then around the tip of Holbox and along the north coast. They will anchor offshore and you can literally sit in the clear, calm shallows and bask in the sun.

Longer excursions are available to Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve in the neighboring state of Yucatan, home to thousands of flamingos and east along the coast to Cabo Catoche. From Cabo Catoche it is possible to navigate the lagoons and mangrove forests to reach Boca Iglesia. In this remote spot are the ruins of the first chapel built by Spanish conquistadores in Quintana Roo, one of the earliest churches in the Americas.

If you decide to rent a car and explore at your own pace or arrange a private trip with Thomas More Travel in order to spend longer on the island, Holbox is a two-hour drive from Cancún (via the toll highway at El Tintal and Kantunilkin) and a 30-minute ferry ride from Chiquila. There are parking lots in Chiquila where you can leave your car, they are not permitted on the island.

En route to Chiquila and Holbox, take time to call in at the villages en route: San Angel and Solferino, both members of a regional community ecotourism network.
In San Angel you can visit traditional medicine and embroidery workshops, go mountain biking in the jungle, kayaking and bird watching in a nearby lagoon. Solferino has an orchid nursery in the shade of a towering ceiba tree that is reputed to be over 700 years old. The owner raises fragrant orchids native to the Yucatan Peninsula and tells visitors the local legend about the ceiba. It is said to be the home of the dreaded Xtabay, the serpent woman that appears to men in the jungle and seduces them with her beauty so that they lose their way and their minds. A group of Solferino villagers also offer eco tours to a jungle camp with a rustic zip line circuit and an observation tower for panoramic views of the jungle. Guides take visitors on a kayak trip to El Corchal, a strange flooded forest in the middle of a lagoon in the savanna.

Booking your Holbox trip
For information about the Holbox day trip and private tours visit the Thomas More Travel tour desk during your stay or email tourdesk@royalresorts.com

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New Cancun attraction, Parque Maya opens

Cancun has a new fun park called Parque Maya combining adventure with a dash of Mayan history. Located just to the south of Captain’s Cove restaurant and opposite the Cancun Maya Museum, Parque Maya offers a zip lining circuit with five towers, a fun rope course over the lagoon and a lagoon cruise which takes park visitors through the mangrove forest in search of birds.

There is an interesting short film to introduce you to the Mayan culture and hanging bridges take you across a sacbe or Mayan path through the forest lined with the replicas of ancient temples, carved stelae and the statues of Mayan gods. Your guide will explain the workings of the Mayan calendar.

There are two Parque Maya options, the aforementioned activities and a longer four-in-one package which includes Parque Maya activities, a visit to the Cancun Maya Museum opposite Parque Maya for more ancient Mayan culture and exhibits of pottery, jewelry and figurines found at archaeological sites in the state of Quintana Roo and Yucatan and elsewhere in the Maya World and to the adjacent archaeological site of San Miguelito. It also includes admission to Ruinas El Rey, the largest of the archaeological sites in the Cancun area, and a ride on the Cancun Turibus.

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New vacation activity, ride the Cancun 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 Shopping Village 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 viewing pods for up to six people. The ride takes around 25 minutes and the wheel operates day and night.

La Isla Shopping Village is set to expand and the Cancun Big Wheel will eventually be moved to the second phase of the shopping center, which is currently under construction.

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Cancun Flight News

Here is the latest Cancun flight news for you. Sun Country Airlines will be offering direct flights to Cancun from Austin, Texas starting June 15. This new summer service will operate until August 2018 with three departures a week on Monday, Friday and Saturday.

American Airlines also announced in late March that it is expanding its direct flight service to Cancun from Dallas Fort Worth. It is also adding more flights to Los Cabos from Dallas and will be inaugurating a new route to the colonial city of Oaxaca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 19, 2018.

For those who would like to discover more of Mexico, on June 22, Mexican airline Interjet will begin daily flights between Houston and San Antonio, Texas to the city of Leon in the historic Bajio region. The international airport of Leon, Guanajuato is the starting point for trips to the twin colonial cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites and many other historic towns along the Ruta de la Independencia.

[Source: Novedades, American Airlines, Travel Pulse]

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