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Sea turtle nesting season 2018

How are the sea turtles doing this summer? It’s a slow sea turtle nesting season so far at Royal Resorts in Cancun with 60 turtles coming ashore to lay eggs on the beaches at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander as of July 24, 2018. All the nests in the turtle nurseries at the three resorts contain green turtle eggs with the exception of six loggerhead turtle nests and one hawksbill turtle nest. In total there are 7,476 eggs at present and none have hatched yet.

At Grand Residences Riviera Cancun® to the south of Puerto Morelos, 10 nests have been reported and the eggs in two nests are set to hatch in the next few days.

Sea turtle nesting is cyclical; a busy turtle season like 2017 is invariably followed by a slower year and last year saw record-breaking numbers of nests and baby turtles at Royal Resorts and in the Riviera Maya. This seems to be the case in the Mexican Caribbean so far this summer with the numbers of nesting turtles reported at different locations along the coast being lower than last year.

Turtle conservationists working at three nesting beaches on the island of Cozumel reported 290 nests as of the third week of July and there are more than 190 loggerhead and green turtle nests dotted along the Akumal shoreline in the Riviera Maya.

Remember the turtle season rules
Join us in protecting the sea turtles; follow the sea turtle nesting season rules:

• Alert resort security staff when you see a turtle on the beach at night
• Be very quiet and keep still. Loud noises, flashing lights and the movement of people startle nesting sea turtles and disrupt nesting, causing them to leave the beach without laying their eggs
• Watch from a distance of at least ten (33 feet) meters
• Do not attempt to touch the turtle or crowd her
• Do not shine a torch or use the light on your mobile phone
• Flash photography is strictly prohibited
• No smoking
• Follow the instructions given by security staff at all times
• 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 them, persecute or hunt them and consume their meat or eggs.
• Don’t use plastic straws and switch to reusable cloth bags for shopping. Plastic drinking straws and bags are a major source of ocean pollution and are harmful to marine life.

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Royal Resorts fine dining, an evening at El Conquistador

Offering tempting cuisine, sterling service and live guitar music in a softly lit setting, El Conquistador at The Royal Islander in the Cancun Hotel Zone is a perennial Royal Resorts fine dining favorite. People return year after year for an evening at this much-loved restaurant.

The menu features juicy steaks, fresh seafood and classic continental recipes, all cooked to perfection and beautifully presented by Chef Nelson Isidro and his team. For starters, how about the Wild Mushroom Crostini, Tuna Ceviche, Cured Salmon served with beets or an all-time favorite like Mussels Rockefeller or Seafood-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms?

The selection of salads includes El Conquistador Salad with a medley of lettuces, goat cheese, dried tomatoes, nuts and a red berry reduction or classic Caprese and Caesar Salad. If you are in the mood for soup, there’s Lobster Bisque, French Onion Soup or the Chef’s Soup of the Day to choose from.

Ready for your main course? How about one of the flambéed dishes prepared tableside that are the house specialty? They smell so delicious you’ll soon be impatiently waiting for the waiter to start serving! Steak Diane and El Conquistador Shrimp are true showstoppers, perfection in every bite.

If you are craving seafood there’s even more to choose from on the menu. Options include Caribbean Lobster, Seafood-stuffed Fish Fillet, Grilled Salmon and the bold flavors of the chef’s creation Coffee-coated Snapper flambéed in coffee liqueur.

If you enjoy a hearty dinner of tender, juicy steak, then El Conquistador is the ideal choice. The Beef Tournedos, Filet Mignon, New York, Rib-Eye, Rustic Ranch-style steak, Surf and Turf and Chateaubriand are all superbly flavored and grilled to perfection. They are served with potatoes, seasonal vegetables and bordelaise, béarnaise, mushroom or wine sauce. Other meat and poultry menu choices range from Pork Roulade and Chicken Escoffier to Grilled Lamb Steak or Rack of Lamb with mashed potatoes and mint jelly.

How about dessert and a specialty coffee as the perfect ending to your meal? Order the Flambéed Cherries Jubilee or Caribbean Bananas prepared tableside by your waiter, they are heavenly. Or opt for creamy cheesecake, seasonal fruit sorbet or Chocolate Thunder or Chocolate Fondant cake.

And while your attentive waiter brings you one delectable dish after another, you’ll be listening to master guitarist Jorge Durán. Jorge has been performing at El Conquistador for more than 20 years now and is a beloved member of the Royal Resorts family. His repertoire ranges from the classic Spanish guitar pieces Recuerdos de la Alhambra and Concierto de Aranjuez to traditional Mexican melodies like La Llorona and Ojos Negros and hits by The Beatles, Billy Joel and Sting, among others. He also plays his own compositions and if you have a favorite song, ask your waiter to give him your special request.

Whether you are enjoying dinner with family or friends or planning a romantic anniversary meal, El Conquistador is the perfect setting for your Royal Resorts fine dining experience.

 

Book your table at El Conquistador
You can use the Royal Resorts App to make reservations for El Conquistador and other Royal Resorts restaurants. Download it today, available for iOS and Android. Or call your Concierge or the Restaurant & Golf Reservations Center, ext. 165

El Conquistador is open daily from 5 to 10 p.m., closed on Saturdays. The dress code is casual-elegant: skirts, dresses, dress pants and tops, blouses or light sweaters for women. Men should wear shirts with collars and sleeves or polo shirts, dress pants, khaki pants or smart Bermuda shorts.

Visit the El Conquistador website at http://elconquistadorcancun.com to browse the menu and start planning your next unforgettable El Conquistador evening.

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Royal Resorts Spa summer, indulge with a luxury Babor facial

The Royal Resorts Spa at The Royal Sands and The Royal Haciendas is now offering a selection of facials and body wraps from the Babor® line of luxury skincare products. Babor® is a German company that is a world leader in skin care and research. It uses only the purest natural ingredients in its products […]

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Royal Resorts Spa summer, indulge with a luxury Babor facial

The Royal Resorts Spa at The Royal Sands and The Royal Haciendas is now offering a selection of facials and body wraps from the Babor® line of luxury skincare products.

Babor® is a German company that is a world leader in skin care and research. It uses only the purest natural ingredients in its products and the active formulations of vitamin and herbal extracts are designed to deliver maximum results and a pampering experience tailored to individual needs.

The Spa has five fabulous new Babor facials and two body wraps for you to try for a radiant look. Let’s take a look at one of them:

Vitamin C Facial (60 min)
Benefits
• Boosts the immunological system against damaging oxidants. Stimulates collagen synthesis and tones your skin
• Balances stressed and tired skin, refreshing and restoring it to health
• Intensive protection against environmental factors that cause ageing, boosts the skin’s defenses
• Increases collagen synthesis and improves firmness and elasticity, leaving your skin looking and feeling softer

Active ingredients
• Vitamin C extract: Once applied to the skin as ascorbic acid, it spreads the Vitamin C where needed
• NMF Factors: Moisturize the skin with lasting effects
For maximum absorption, the face is completely covered in bandages after the mask is applied.

Ready to book?
Click here to book your Royal Resorts Spa treatment. Enjoy a facial, body wrap, choose a massage or even indulge with a beach massage and let the sound of the waves lull you into a perfect state of relaxation.

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Royal Resorts Foundation supporting community causes

Here’s the latest news from the Royal Resorts Foundation and the work it is able to do to transform lives and protect the planet as a result of the generous support of Royal Resorts members, guests and employees.

 

Kitchen construction well underway at Don Bosco Youth Center
Building a kitchen at the Don Bosco Youth Center was the 2018 Royal Resorts Foundation Race cause and it is now taking shape. The teenagers attending the center will soon have access to the balanced and nutritious meals they need as they study for a better future.

Open School at Colegio Mano Amiga
Thanks to the donations of Royal Resorts members, guests and staff, the Royal Resorts Foundation is able to provide scholarships for an entire class of 35 children at Colegio Mano Amiga in the Ciudad de Alegria in Cancun. Royal Resorts Foundation representatives recently caught up with these second graders at their open school event before they broke up for the summer holiday.

Watch the video


Colegio Mano Amiga students come from poor families, often from single parent households, migrant families or vulnerable backgrounds sometimes overshadowed by domestic violence, health and other problems that would make it impossible for children to continue their studies if it were not for the support they receive from the Royal Resorts Foundation.

 

Collecting school materials
Royal Resorts employees have been collecting new and second-hand text books, art materials and other school kit to donate to children in disadvantaged communities on the outskirts of Cancun.

If you would like to donate educational material, children’s books in Spanish, new toys and clothing in good condition for children and adults, you may do so year round. The Royal Resorts Foundation will see that they get to those who need help the most.

 

Bottle tops can make a difference
Royal Resorts employees support an ongoing campaign to collect plastic bottle tops and put them to better use. In late July, 21 kilos of bottle tops collected at the resorts were delivered to Banco de Tapitas A.C., a Mexican charity that sells them for recycling and uses the proceeds to help children with cancer.

 

Protecting the environment
Did you know that one discarded cigarette stub pollutes approximately eight liters of sea water and up to 50 liters of fresh water? However, they can be reprocessed, mixed with recycled paper and sawdust and given a new use that reduces their impact on the environment. Royal Resorts cleaning staff participated in the First Colillaton campaign organized by the Cancun Ka´Yok´ Planetarium to raise awareness about the need to dispose of cigarette stubs correctly. They handed over 15 kilos of cigarette stubs picked up on the beaches or from ashtrays at the resorts from April to July.

Get involved
For more information on the Royal Resorts Foundation and its community and conservation causes visit www.royalresorts.com/foundation and give it a like on Facebook

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Restaurant excellence, top marks for Grand Residences by Royal Resorts

For the second year running, the restaurant team at Grand Residences by Royal Resorts, our resort to the south of Puerto Morelos, has achieved a 100% score in Distintivo H inspections of the kitchens and food storage facilities.

Distintivo H is a seal of approval awarded by the Mexican Tourism Board and the Ministry of Health for excellence in food preparation and kitchen hygiene in resorts, restaurants and bars.

The restaurant kitchens at The Royal Cancun, The Royal Caribbean, The Royal Islander, The Royal Sands and The Royal Haciendas, Captain’s Cove, Pancho & Willy’s and Hacienda Sisal are also inspected every year as part of Distintivo H certification and pass with flying colors.

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Discover Merida’s history by night

Are you planning a visit to Merida, the historic state capital of the Yucatan? If you are, don’t miss the colorful video mapping projections in the main square in the evenings. First up is Casa de Montejo, the 16th-century residence of the Montejo family, Merida’s founding fathers, where A Meeting of Two Worlds: Dialogue of a Conquistador is screened on Wednesday evening at 8:30 p.m. This tells the story of the Conquest of the Yucatan by Francisco de Montejo “El Adelantado” and the fate of the Maya. The projection is narrated by a guide and is followed by a jarana folk dance performance.

The imposing San Ildefonso Cathedral is the backdrop for the next video mapping on Friday at 8:30 p.m. Sacred Stones tells the story of the founding of Merida in 1542 amidst the ruins of a much earlier Maya city called T’ho and the construction of even more churches, convents and mansions during the Colonial period.

There is another video mapping projection at the Monumento a la Patria on the tree-lined Paseo Montejo boulevard. All three video mapping events are free of charge.

At 6 p.m. during August, the City Tourism Information Office offers a free guided walking tour through the historic heart of Merida. The tour takes in major landmarks such as City Hall, Casa de Montejo, the Cathedral and Government House to see the famous murals depicting the history of the Yucatan by local painter Fernando Castro Pacheco. The tour is also offered Monday to Saturday at 9:30 a.m. year-round and takes about an hour and a half. Visitors should arrive at the Tourism Information Office 15 minutes before the tour departs in order to register and the guide speaks English and Spanish.

On Friday and Saturday evenings there’s another walking tour but with a difference, street theater. During a stroll through the main square and surrounding streets, visitors see scenes of the city’s history played out. Noche de Leyendas is a street theater performance that makes the past come alive. The tour starts outside Peon Contreras Theater at 9 p.m. Tickets must be purchased two hours before the show begins.

Visiting Merida
Thomas More Travel offers trips to Merida and can help you with transport, accommodation and a sightseeing itinerary if you would like to plan a longer stay in this beautiful city.

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Cozumel, sacred island of the Maya and dive paradise

Set sail from Playa del Carmen and a short boat ride across the turquoise and indigo waters of the Caribbean takes you to Cozumel, Mexico’s largest inhabited island. In ancient times it was the sacred island of the Maya but nowadays it is world-famous for the beauty of its spectacular reefs. Spend a day or two here and you’ll find colorful marine life and coral formations, beautiful beaches, rich history and island traditions.

In ancient times, Cozumel or Cuzamil, “land of the swallows,” as the Maya knew it, was the site of a shrine to Ixchel, goddess of the moon and fertility. Temples still dot the flat, jungle landscape and there are lighthouses and lookout posts on the coast, testimony to the days of Mayan seafarers when the island was an important center on the Caribbean maritime trade route.

San Gervasio is the largest of Cozumel’s 25 archaeological sites. In addition to receiving Mayan merchants, it was also visited by pilgrims who would travel hundreds of miles from all over the Yucatan and then make the perilous sea crossing from Xaman-Há (Playa del Carmen) and Pole (Xcaret) to worship at the shrine of Ixchel.

In 1519, the world of the Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures changed forever when a Spanish expeditionary force led by Hernán Cortés landed on the island. From Cozumel, Cortes and his band of soldiers sailed into the west, across the the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall on the coast of Veracruz. Lured by tales of gold and a legendary lake city beyond the mountains, they continued on their journey into the unknown. They made the arduous trek through the highlands and reached Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, now the site of Mexico City. By 1521, this ruthless band had defeated the Aztec army and overthrown a mighty empire, seizing its land and treasures.

During the Colonial period of Mexican history, Cozumel was largely forgotten and its deserted shores became a haven for pirates such as Captain Henry Morgan and Miguel Molas. In the 1850s, refugees fleeing the Caste War on the Yucatecan mainland settled the island.

Located in the island capital San Miguel, the Cozumel Museum has interesting exhibits on the ancient Maya, the coming of the Spaniards, pirates and the 19th-century colonization of the island. Other displays showcase local festivals such as the Carnival and the El Cedral Fair held at the beginning of May. Visitors also learn about the formation of the coral reefs and the island’s flora and fauna. The tropical forest and wetlands are rich in wildlife, including endemic creatures such as pygmy raccoons and coatimundis and the Cozumel emerald hummingbird.

Reef paradise
Most visitors to Cozumel are drawn by its spectacular coral kingdom, a chain of reefs off the west coast that was made famous by Jacques Cousteau and Mexican diver Rene Cardona. Magnificent coral buttresses and walls festooned by huge red, yellow and orange sponges and delicate sea fans are honeycombed with caves and canyons and inhabited by 300 species of fish and other colorful marine life of all shapes and sizes.

The water visibility around Cozumel is as high as 200 feet and the current enables divers to practice drift diving and literally fly past coral walls and drop-offs, keeping pace with sea turtles, huge groupers and schools of eagle rays.

Divers can spend a lifetime exploring reefs like Paraíso, Chankanaab, La Herradura, San Francisco, Yucab, Santa Rosa, Colombia, Maracaibo and the largest of them all, Palancar, famous for its immense coral pillars, caves and walls.

Some shallower reefs such as Chankanaab and Paraíso are also popular snorkeling spots and swimmers have their own encounters with queen angelfish, parrot fish, blue tangs, sergeant majors and jacks. For visitors who would prefer to see the underwater world without getting wet, there are glass-bottomed boats and an unforgettable immersion on the Atlantis submarine, which dives to a depth of 100 feet.

Take a tour of the island
As a break from scuba, snorkeling or fishing sign up for an island tour or rent a car, moped or a taxi and explore at your own pace. The island’s sheltered, palm-lined swimming beaches are all on the west coast. The rugged windswept east coast has some beautiful, deserted stretches of sand you can stroll along but most of them are not recommended for swimming. Strong currents and undertow make swimming dangerous on the windward coast.

Chankanaab Park is one of the most popular spots on the west coast of the island. The crystal-clear lagoon and reef are ideal for snorkeling. In the jungle there is a cenote or sinkhole that is connected to the Caribbean by an underground river. Other attractions include a botanical garden and dolphin swims.

Nature lovers and bird watchers should head to Punta Sur nature reserve on the southern tip of the island and Isla de la Pasión in the north for a glimpse of water birds such as herons, roseate spoonbills, ibis and even flamingos. Cozumel is also a haven for migratory birds in the winter and has an annual Bird Festival in October.

Arrange a boat trip to El Cielo, a shallow reef and calm stretch of crystal-clear water off the north coast where the seabed is covered with starfish. Take photos but don’t disturb these living treasures.

Thomas More Travel offers trips to Cozumel for diving or sightseeing or you can make your own way there at your own pace using the ferry from Playa del Carmen.

 

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Seaweed landings in the Caribbean

It is natural for seaweed to wash up on the beach from season to season, after storms and in the summer heat. However, this summer larger quantities of two species of seaweed known as Gulfweed or Sargassum (Sargassum natans and Sargassum fluitans) are coming ashore from time to time in the Riviera Maya, Cancun and other parts of the Mexican Caribbean. These landings occur periodically, the amount of seaweed varies and not all beaches are affected.

Similar landings are occurring in the Caribbean islands and along the Gulf coast of the United States.

The word Sargassum comes from the Portuguese word sargaço, which means “little grapes,” a reference to the air-filled bladders that enables it to float on the surface and move with the currents. Unlike other algae that are rooted in the seabed or attached to rocks or corals, pelagic or free floating sargassum grows and reproduces as it drifts through the water.

Pelagic Sargassum seaweed is historically associated with the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean where vast beds of it are a habitat for marine life such as microscopic plants, shrimp, crabs, sea horses, baby fish and turtles.

Sometimes ocean currents transport lines or patches of this seaweed to areas beyond the Sargasso Sea. However, biologists believe that the Sargassum affecting the Caribbean islands and the coast of Quintana Roo may have a different source, an area off the coast of northern Brazil, thousands of kilometers away. The causes of the seaweed proliferation or bloom have been attributed to rising sea temperatures due to global warming and excessive nutrients in the water flowing into the sea from the Amazon River and its many tributaries. The appearance of drifting mats of sargassum where they were previously very rare may also be linked to variations in currents and wind patterns.

Beach cleaning in Quintana Roo
A statewide campaign is underway to track the movement of patches of drifting sargassum and to collect and dispose of the seaweed when it comes ashore on public beaches in different parts of the Mexican Caribbean. The Mexican government pledged additional funds for beach cleaning during the summer. Many hotels and resorts have their own cleaning programs and there are volunteer beach cleaning initiatives too.

Based on the recommendations of marine scientists, the authorities are now implementing a second phase of the program to prevent the sargassum from coming ashore by installing barriers in the sea. The first barrier will be installed in the Punta Nizuc area in the coming days and will be followed by additional barriers in Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Mahahual and Puerto Morelos.

The barriers are anchored to the seabed but float on the surface of the water perpendicular to the coast. Each one is 30 meters long and they can be connected to form a chain. They will be installed in areas where sargassum landings are the most frequent, taking into account the circulation of ocean currents and wind direction. They do not trap the sargassum but are designed to deflect it so that the currents move it away from the shoreline.

The barriers will not impede the movement of marine creatures nor trap them, affect coral reefs or the sea grass beds and they can be dismantled as the sargassum diminishes with the arrival of cooler temperatures in September and October.

In Puerto Morelos, the local authorities are also collecting the seaweed in a boat before it reaches the shallows.

Royal Resorts
Beach cleaning has been redoubled at the Royal Resorts in Cancun in recent weeks. It is taking place at night and in the morning. The local authorities are permitting the use of a tractor at this time as long as it is on wet sand in the zone where the waves break. An additional cleaning brigade was brought in at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander for June, July and August.

Cleaning has also been stepped up at The Royal Cancun although seaweed landings principally affect the stretch of Cancun shoreline from Punta Cancun to Punta Nizuc that faces the open ocean.

Grand Residences by Royal Resorts
At Grand Residences by Royal Resorts to the south of Puerto Morelos, a mechanized beach sweeper operates twice a day. If needed, the resort’s team of gardeners is on call to offer additional support.

The Royal Haciendas
The Royal Haciendas is doing its best to keep the beach clean with volunteers and an external team that has been hired by the resort for this duty. With additional personnel and the use of the tractor, the aim is for a more efficient removal process, however sometimes more seaweed comes ashore later in the day.

Turtle nesting season
It is turtle nesting season and in the Riviera Maya government beach cleaning regulations prohibit the use of heavy machinery on dry sand to prevent it from compacting or causing irreversible damage to turtle nests and eggs. This means that at The Royal Haciendas the tractor can only be used on the shoreline where the waves break and at certain times of the day.

All along the coast, turtle patrols are keeping an eye on adult turtles coming ashore to nest on beaches at times when there are seaweed landings. They will also watch over the hatchlings as they are born later in the season to ensure that they do not become entangled in it.

Swimming tips
Seaweed washes up on the beach naturally and is an important habitat for marine life. The presence of seaweed does not mean that beaches are polluted. You can still swim in the sea.

Showering after swimming is recommended and swimsuits should be rinsed out after use. Seaweed will not sting you. However, microscopic creatures or insects may be trapped in the weed and can occasionally irritate the skin, hence the recommendation to rinse off after sea bathing.

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Mexico welcomes even more visitors in 2018

The Mexican Tourism Board recently announced that in March, Mexico welcomed four million international visitors, 14.6 percent more than the same month in 2017.
From January to March, the number of Canadian visitors to Mexico rose 17.4 percent over the same period in 2017. Two million Canadians visited Mexico in 2017.

According to the latest passenger statistics released by ASUR, the Airport authority that manages Cancun International Airport, it received almost 13 million visitors from January to June this year, a 7 percent increase over the same period this year. The number of Mexican passengers arriving on domestic flights rose by 12.5 percent and visitors on international flights by 4.7 percent. Cozumel Airport registered an increase of 3.7 percent in the number of passengers handled and in Merida numbers were also up by 13.6 percent.

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The world’s best city to visit, and it’s in Mexico

For the second year running, the readers of Travel & Leisure magazine have voted San Miguel de Allende, Mexico’s colonial jewel and UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the Best City in the World to visit. Another Mexican city, Oaxaca, also a treasure trove of history and traditions, comes in at number two and Mexico City is at number 11, a nod to its pre-Hispanic and colonial landmarks, museums, vibrant arts scene, shopping, dining and nightlife.

All three cities also featured in the Travel & Leisure listing of Best Cities in Mexico, along with Guadalajara and Merida and Isla Mujeres was one of the favorite Islands in Mexico, Central and South America.

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