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Royal Resorts is ready for the 2017 turtle nesting season in Cancun

The month of May heralds the start of the turtle nesting season in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean. During the summer, thousands of sea turtles will emerge from the waves every night to dig nests in the sand and lay their eggs. Royal Resorts is ready to welcome these maritime visitors and protect their precious offspring.

Like biologists, marines, hotel workers and conservation volunteers all along the Quintana Roo shoreline, Royal Resorts security guards will patrol the beaches at night for the next five months on the look out for telltale turtle tracks in the sand. They strain their eyes at the mere hint of a domed shell in the surf as these marine reptiles heave their vast bulks on to dry land in search of a nesting site.

From May to late September, female green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles, and the occasional leatherback turtle, struggle ashore during the long, hot summer nights to lay their eggs on the beaches of Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Isla Mujeres, Contoy, Holbox, Cozumel, Sian Ka’an and the Costa Maya in southern Quintana Roo. Forty-five to 60 days later, their eggs will hatch and the baby turtles will break free of their shell prisons and race across the beach towards the waves and a new life at sea. In 12 to 15 years time, some of them will return to lay their own eggs on the same beach, repeating the cycle.

Royal Resorts is a Cancun pioneer when it comes to turtle conservation
Royal Resorts is proud to do its part to protect this ancient, and sadly, endangered species. A Cancun conservation pioneer, it has been watching over sea turtles since 1985. Official record keeping began in 1998 at three of its resorts for turtle nesting season in Cancun and 19 years later, the tally of protected nests at Royal Resorts stands at 6,932 and 629,826 baby turtles released!

In the 2016 turtle nesting season in Cancun, there were 246 nests with 25,435 baby turtles at The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander; a further 2,968 turtles hatched at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun to the south of Puerto Morelos and 82 at The Royal Haciendas in the Riviera Maya.

Sea turtle nesting is cyclical and good years with lots of turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs are always followed by slow years. Last year was a slow year, after a record-breaking season in 2015. We hope that 2017 will be a good year for the sea turtles.

Constant summertime vigil
In the weeks leading up to turtle nesting season in Cancun, Royal Resorts security guards attend courses on sea turtle habits and the procedures they must follow given by biologists working for the statewide conservation campaign. They are now ready to begin their annual summer vigil.

Night after night, they will patrol the beaches in search of nesting turtles. When they find one, they watch over her as she laboriously digs her nest and lays her eggs. They carefully collect the eggs and move them to a nursery where they dig another nest that is identical in shape and depth to the original. The species, date and time of nesting and number of eggs are recorded and another long wait begins until the eggs begin to hatch.

As the estimated hatching date approaches, the Royal Resorts turtle guardians begin to monitor the nest closely until they see the first tiny turtles emerging exhausted from the sand. They are moved to a container to regain their strength before being released after dark when predatory seabirds such as gulls and frigate birds have gone to roost.

Do you know the sea turtle season rules?
If you are going to stay at Royal Resorts or Grand Residences this summer, please join us in protecting our turtle visitors. Follow the rules for sea turtle nesting season in Cancun and the Riviera Maya:

• Alert the security staff when you see a turtle on the beach at night
• Be very quiet and keep still, noise, lights and the movement of people disturb nesting sea turtles and cause them to leave the beach without laying eggs
• Watch from a distance of 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
• 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 plastic bags, drinking straws, 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 them, persecute or hunt them and consume their meat, eggs or purchase other products such as tortoiseshell jewelry and cosmetics made with turtle oil.

SEMARNAT, the Mexican environmental agency, enforced new rules for the 2016 turtle nesting season to keep human contact with the fragile baby turtles to a minimum. The rules stipulate that hatchlings can only be released by trained security personnel and not by hotel guests. Failure to comply with these measures can lead to resorts losing the right to have turtle nurseries on site or to be part of the turtle protection campaign.

First turtles of 2017 arrive in Cancun,Cozumel and the Riviera Maya
Earlier than usual, Cancun, Cozumel and Xel-Ha in the Riviera Maya have already reported the first turtle nests of the season. It won’t be long before Puerto Morelos, Xcacel-Xcacelito, Akumal, Isla Mujeres and other nesting beaches see their first arrivals, and there will be many more in the months to come.

A loggerhead turtle was the first to come ashore on Cozumel’s windward coast, Xel-Há has also reported its first nesting loggerhead turtle while turtle nesting season in Cancun began with a much rarer visitor, a huge leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which was sighted at Hotel Emporio, next to The Royal Caribbean. Seldom seen in the Mexican Caribbean, the leatherback is known as tortuga laud in Spanish. Measuring up to seven feet long it is the largest species in the world. The name leatherback refers to its shell, which is rubbery and ridged, unlike the harder bony carapace of the green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtle.

Two years ago, another leatherback turtle came ashore in the same spot, but since neither of them was tagged there is no way if knowing if it was the same one or two nesting females. Turtles will return to the same beach where they were born to lay their eggs.

The leatherback turtle is a great ocean wanderer, swimming the longest distances between feeding and nesting areas, sometimes over 7,000 miles. It also dives deeper than any other turtle, to depths of more than 4,000 feet and can stay immersed for over an hour. Leatherbacks feed on jellyfish and many die as a result of swallowing plastic bags and other refuse they mistake for their prey. This is one more powerful reason to reduce the use of plastics that end up as ocean refuse.

Stay posted during the summer for more sea turtle news from Royal Resorts
For more news on the 2017 turtle nesting season in Cancun and the Riviera Maya check the summer editions of the Royal Reporter e-newsletter and this Royal Resorts blog.

 

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Royal Resorts Signature Club unveils a new benefit for members to enjoy

Royal Resorts Signature Club members now have an additional benefit to enjoy, a new Wine and Merchandise store on the Privileges for Royal Resorts shopping portal. This new online store features a selection of over 3,000 products including designer merchandise such as jewelry, home goods, travel gear and more, plus access to hundreds of hand-picked […]

Seven nights of tempting dining at Royal Resorts

Did you know that you can literally dine at a different restaurant every night during your Royal Resorts vacation? When dining at Royal Resorts, you have 16 fine eateries to choose from in Cancun and at The Royal Haciendas in the Riviera Maya. Plan an evening of delicious dining at Cancun favorites like Captain’s Cove […]

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Royal Resorts Signature Club unveils a new benefit for members to enjoy

Royal Resorts Signature Club members now have an additional benefit to enjoy, a new Wine and Merchandise store on the Privileges for Royal Resorts shopping portal. This new online store features a selection of over 3,000 products including designer merchandise such as jewelry, home goods, travel gear and more, plus access to hundreds of hand-picked boutique wines, accessories and gift baskets.

Royal Resorts Signature Club members enjoy exclusive savings of up to 60% off through the use of Savings Credits. When they find a product they wish to buy they apply their Savings Credits like cash at the time of checkout for dollar-for-dollar savings off the total purchase price.

To start shopping in the new Wine & Merchandise Store members must log in to their account at www.rrsignatureclub.com and click on the Privileges for Royal Resorts link. They can then click on the Shop or Wine links to see what’s available.

When planning a trip anywhere in the world, Royal Resorts Signature Club members can take care of all their travel needs with Privileges for Royal Resorts, by booking flights, hotels, cruises, packages and guided vacations.

For more information on the Royal Resorts Signature Club and all the benefits of membership, why not schedule an appointment in the Sales Center during your stay at Royal Resorts.
If you are a Royal Resorts Signature Club member and have a question, call U.S. toll free 1-888-882-9343 | www.rrsignatureclub.com | Mexico toll free 001-855-211-4056 or email rrsc@royalresorts.com

Savings Credits are exclusively for use on the Privileges for Royal Resorts platform and cannot be converted to Royal Resorts Rewards.
Savings Credits are used to buy down the cost of Hotels, Resorts, Cruises, Merchandise, Wine, Guided Vacations, and much more, by eliminating the markup other retailers place on travel.
Members must be at least 21 years of age to purchase wine products and to sign for the delivery of wine products. Proof of age will be required to receive wine shipments. Individuals below the legal drinking age may purchase non-alcoholic products from the Store Website.
The Store provides for the sale of wine products and services in the United States and will only be shipped where it is not prohibited by law. The Store does not deliver wine or other alcoholic beverages outside the United States. Sales are subject to all Federal, State and Local laws and regulations regarding the sale and delivery of wine and alcoholic beverages, including the payment of all applicable Federal, State and Local taxes. Members who do not reside in areas where the delivery of wine is legal, or live outside the United States, or reside in areas where the Store, at its sole discretion elects not to deliver wine, may purchase non-alcoholic products.
The Privileges for Royal Resorts program may be subject to cancellations or modifications at any given time.

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Royal Resorts is ready for the 2017 turtle nesting season in Cancun

The month of May heralds the start of the turtle nesting season in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean. During the summer, thousands of sea turtles will emerge from the waves every night to dig nests in the sand and lay their eggs. Royal Resorts is ready to welcome these maritime visitors and protect their precious […]

Seven nights of tempting dining at Royal Resorts

Did you know that you can literally dine at a different restaurant every night during your Royal Resorts vacation? When dining at Royal Resorts, you have 16 fine eateries to choose from in Cancun and at The Royal Haciendas in the Riviera Maya. Plan an evening of delicious dining at Cancun favorites like Captain’s Cove […]

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Seven nights of tempting dining at Royal Resorts

Did you know that you can literally dine at a different restaurant every night during your Royal Resorts vacation? When dining at Royal Resorts, you have 16 fine eateries to choose from in Cancun and at The Royal Haciendas in the Riviera Maya. Plan an evening of delicious dining at Cancun favorites like Captain’s Cove for seafood, Hacienda Sisal for traditional Mexican recipes, El Conquistador at The Royal Islander for steaks and continental dishes and don’t miss Los Murales, the signature restaurant at The Royal Haciendas in the Riviera Maya.

There are plenty of delicious International and Mexican dishes for the whole family on the menu at The Royal Cancun, The Royal Sands, The Royal Caribbean, The Royal Islander and The Royal Haciendas, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For snacks during the day, the pool bars and grills serve fresh seafood tacos, ceviches, flavorful burgers, sandwiches and more.

When staying at The Royal Cancun, try La Trattoria for dinner, it offers mouthwatering pastas, pizzas, traditional Italian classics and gelato. Don’t miss the spectacular views of the bay from La Palapa, the resort’s Caribbean-style thatched roof beachfront restaurant.

Speaking of spectacular views, La Palapa del Sol at The Royal Haciendas is an immense tropical-style thatched roof restaurant right on the beach with views of the Riviera Maya shoreline and the island of Cozumel in the distance. It is the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast with a freshly squeezed fruit juice or smoothie from the Juice Bar, a leisurely lunch with an ice cold beer or margarita and dinner with family or friends.

In the mood for tacos? Your dining at Royal Resorts tour must include Paco’s Tacos at The Royal Islander for casual lunch or supper. Snack on fish or shrimp tacos at any of the poolside bars and grills, try the ceviche tacos at Sand Dollar in The Royal Sands and book your table at Hacienda Sisal if you would like to try more Mexican dishes.

From fresh fish and shrimp pasta to burgers and steaks, La Veranda at The Royal Sands, Tradewinds at The Royal Caribbean and Cayo Largo at The Royal Islander also offer tasty dishes for your week of dining at Royal Resorts.

And then there are the evening theme buffets! From poolside cookouts and pizza and pasta to lobster, seafood and prime rib nights, there is something different to try every evening when dining at Royal Resorts. Here is the current line up of theme buffets, brunches and cookouts at the resorts in Cancún and at The Royal Haciendas to whet your appetite for your next trip.

Dining at Royal Resorts? Here’s your seven-night guide

SATURDAY
Prime Rib Night
Captain’s Cove
$570 pesos per person. Surcharge for REFINE All-Inclusive guests $235 per person
Reservations required, ask your Concierge or call ext. 165

Tacos & Fajitas Night
La Palapa, The Royal Cancun
$320 pesos per person

Lobster Festival
Tradewinds, The Royal Caribbean,
Cayo Largo, The Royal Islander
Lobster charged by the ounce, current price $64 pesos per ounce

Caribbean Buffet
La Veranda, The Royal Sands
$403 pesos per person

Mexican Night
Buffet and live mariachi music
La Palapa del Sol, The Royal Haciendas
$430 pesos per person

Poolside Cookout
BBQ with live music (weather permitting)
Sol Grill, The Royal Haciendas

SUNDAY
BBQ Night
Tradewinds, The Royal Caribbean
Special Menu

Fajita Bar
La Veranda, The Royal Sands
$295 pesos per person

Prime Rib Night
The Royal Cancun
$520 pesos, Surcharge for REFINE All-Inclusive guests $235 pesos per person

Caribbean Night
Buffet and live music
La Palapa del Sol, The Royal Haciendas
$430 pesos per person

MONDAY
Lobster Night
La Palapa, The Royal Cancun
Lobster charged by the ounce, current price $64 pesos per ounce

Mexican Night Buffet
Pancho & Willy’s Bar next to Captain’s Cove
$475 pesos per person

Cajun Night
Tradewinds, The Royal Caribbean
$288 pesos per person

International Night
Buffet featuring dishes from around the world and Rodizio, the Brazilian technique of cooking and serving steaks.
La Veranda, The Royal Sands
$360 pesos per person

BBQ Night
La Palapa del Sol, The Royal Haciendas
$430 pesos per person

Teppanyaki Show Grill
La Palapa del Sol, The Royal Haciendas
Two tables seating 10 people each. 4 sittings during the evening. Reservations required

TUESDAY
Prime Rib Night
El Conquistador, The Royal Islander
Reservations required, ext. 165
$570 per person, Surcharge for REFINE All-Inclusive guests $235

Taco Night
Tradewinds, The Royal Caribbean
$320 pesos per person

Poolside Cookout
Cayo Largo, The Royal Islander
Special menu

Italian & Seafood Night
La Veranda, The Royal Sands
Live piano music
$400 pesos per person

Live Mexican Music
Hacienda Sisal

Oriental Night
La Palapa del Sol, The Royal Haciendas
$430 pesos per person

WEDNESDAY
Karaoke Night
La Palapa, The Royal Cancun

Italian Night
Tradewinds, The Royal Caribbean
Live trumpet music
$400 pesos per person

Oriental Night
La Veranda, The Royal Sands
$316 pesos per person

Prime Rib Night
Captain’s Cove
$570 per person, Surcharge for REFINE All-Inclusive guests $235

Italian Night
La Palapa del Sol, The Royal Haciendas
$430 pesos per person

THURSDAY
Caribbean Beach Night
La Palapa, The Royal Cancun
Live music and cookout
Special menu

Fajitas Night
Tradewinds, The Royal Caribbean
$295 pesos per person

Prime Rib Night
La Veranda, The Royal Sands
$520 per person, Surcharge for REFINE All-Inclusive guests $235

Live Mexican music
Hacienda Sisal, The Royal Sands

Prime Rib Night
La Palapa del Sol, The Royal Haciendas
$520 pesos, Surcharge for REFINE All-Inclusive guests $160 pesos per adult, $80 pesos per child

FRIDAY
Shrimp Festival
La Palapa, The Royal Cancun
Special menu

Pasta & Pizza Night
Tradewinds, The Royal Caribbean
$295 pesos per person

Shrimp Festival
Cayo Largo, The Royal Islander
Special menu

BBQ Night
La Veranda, The Royal Sands
Live marimba music
Special menu

Mediterranean Night
La Palapa del Sol, The Royal Haciendas
$430 pesos per person

Teppanyaki Show Grill
La Palapa del Sol, The Royal Haciendas
Two tables seating 10 people each. 4 sittings during the evening. Reservations required

Also during the week

Sunday Brunch
8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Hacienda Sisal

Sunday Brunch
8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Captain’s Cove

Smoke BBQ lunch
Monday, from 12 p.m., Cayo Largo, The Royal Islander

Smoke BBQ sandwiches
Tuesday, from 12 p.m., The Royal Cancun

Theme nights, times and prices are subject to change without prior notice. Check the Welcome Home Guide upon arrival, ask your Concierge or call the Restaurant Reservations Center, ext. 165.

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Royal Resorts Signature Club unveils a new benefit for members to enjoy

Royal Resorts Signature Club members now have an additional benefit to enjoy, a new Wine and Merchandise store on the Privileges for Royal Resorts shopping portal. This new online store features a selection of over 3,000 products including designer merchandise such as jewelry, home goods, travel gear and more, plus access to hundreds of hand-picked […]

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Royal Resorts dining: perfect pasta at La Trattoria

Thinking about your next vacation and planning your Royal Resorts dining? Be sure to plan a night of Italian cuisine at La Trattoria, The Royal Cancun’s popular restaurant, during your next Cancun trip. The menu is full of tempting choices from the Italian kitchen and the daily pasta special is a tasty new feature that is proving very popular. It may be a traditional Italian dish or one of the chef’s delicious creations.

Order the daily pasta special night one evening and return later in your stay for more delicious Royal Resorts dining from the La Trattoria a la carte menu. The selection of classic pasta dishes on the menu includes lasagna, tortellini and seafood spaghetti or you can choose your pasta and combine it with a selection of sauces and add grilled vegetables, grilled shrimp, fish or chicken (additional charge). And there’s much more on the menu than pasta, share the antipasti, carpaccio, calamari and other starters with family and friends and order salads and gourmet pizzas. Try the seafood risotto. the trattoria chicken, grilled salmon and Florentine-style beef fillet or the beef casserole if you are craving a hearty, homestyle meal.

Save space for dessert. If you are an ice cream fan, you’ll love the selection of gelatos, choose creamy vanilla, indulgent chocolate with hazelnuts or refreshing tangerine, they are all delicious. Order a coffee and tiramisu or zuccotto cake for a heavenly combination.
La Trattoria is open daily from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations are required.

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Royal Resorts Signature Club unveils a new benefit for members to enjoy

Royal Resorts Signature Club members now have an additional benefit to enjoy, a new Wine and Merchandise store on the Privileges for Royal Resorts shopping portal. This new online store features a selection of over 3,000 products including designer merchandise such as jewelry, home goods, travel gear and more, plus access to hundreds of hand-picked […]

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Gift Shopping at Royal Resorts

If you are gift shopping at Royal Resorts, you have more options than ever before. Treat someone special to a morning of relaxation in the Spa at The Royal Sands or The Royal Haciendas, a meal or shopping. Say “I love you” with flowers and plan a special dinner on the sand that will be a vacation highlight.

Whatever the occasion, surprise the ones you love with a Royal Resorts Gift Card. On sale at The Royal Market, Paloma Gift Shop and the Spa, they are available for Spa therapies and massages, dining at Hacienda Sisal and Captain’s Cove, Royal Roast Coffee Co. and shopping at The Royal Market and La Paloma Gift Shop.

With a gift card for The Royal Market, the recipient can shop for vacation groceries or splash out on a bottle of wine or premium tequila. At La Paloma Gift Shop they can pick up resort and beach wear, straw hats, bags and leather sandals, jewelry and Mexican souvenirs.

Flowers always make a wonderful gift. You can order them online before you travel or for someone who will be staying at Royal Resorts. During your stay, you’ll find roses, lilies and bouquets of mixed flowers on sale at The Royal Market and a catalog if you would like to choose a floral arrangement or fruit basket to be delivered to your villa.

If you are celebrating an anniversary how about surprising the one you love with a romantic beach dinner? Contact Special Events to organize an unforgettable evening under the stars.

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The month of May heralds the start of the turtle nesting season in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean. During the summer, thousands of sea turtles will emerge from the waves every night to dig nests in the sand and lay their eggs. Royal Resorts is ready to welcome these maritime visitors and protect their precious […]

Royal Resorts Signature Club unveils a new benefit for members to enjoy

Royal Resorts Signature Club members now have an additional benefit to enjoy, a new Wine and Merchandise store on the Privileges for Royal Resorts shopping portal. This new online store features a selection of over 3,000 products including designer merchandise such as jewelry, home goods, travel gear and more, plus access to hundreds of hand-picked […]

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Staying at Grand Residences soon, download the Grand Residences App

If you are going to be staying at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun soon, you might want to download the new Grand Residences App. It has some great features that will help you make the most of your vacation. Available for iOS.

Use the Grand Residences App to:
• Preregister guests staying with you
• Review orders and vacation purchases
• Look at resort activity schedules for adults, teens and children and plan your day
• Check restaurant menus and make reservations
• Check past and future reservations
• Make special requests prior to your arrival
• Share trip reports and feedback with Resort Management
• Pay your resort bill using your credit card

 

Staying at Royal Resorts? There are Apps for you to use too
If you are Royal Resorts bound, download the Royal Resorts App and make the most of your vacation time. Its useful features enable you to preregister guests staying with you so that you can speed up your check in at The Royal Cancun, The Royal Caribbean, The Royal Islander and The Royal Sands in Cancun and The Royal Haciendas in the Riviera Maya.You can review your account during your vacation, keeping tabs on food and drink orders and the purchases you and your family make. At the end of your stay, pay your resort bill with a credit card and prepare for check out. Check future reservations and use the App to make special requests before your next trip. You can also use it to share information and suggestions with the resort during and after your stay.
Android version coming soon.

The Royal Dining App is a handy tool for making reservations at your favorite Royal Resorts restaurants: Captain’s Cove, Hacienda Sisal and El Conquistador in Cancun and Los Murales at The Royal Haciendas, five minutes to the north of Playa del Carmen.

 

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Royal Resorts is ready for the 2017 turtle nesting season in Cancun

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Royal Resorts Signature Club unveils a new benefit for members to enjoy

Royal Resorts Signature Club members now have an additional benefit to enjoy, a new Wine and Merchandise store on the Privileges for Royal Resorts shopping portal. This new online store features a selection of over 3,000 products including designer merchandise such as jewelry, home goods, travel gear and more, plus access to hundreds of hand-picked […]

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Important information about UBER in Cancun, a warning for users

If you are planning to use UBER in Cancun and the state of Quintana Roo during your vacation please be aware that the State Government Transport and Highway department has not recognized UBER as an authorized means of public transport. As a result, since UBER launched last September (2016), the authorities have pulled over and towed a number of UBER vehicles because they do not have the official documents required to offer transport services.
This means that if you choose to use UBER for any transportation, you run the risk of delays or of being left stranded and not being able to arrive at your destination.
Until we receive further information from the authorities, we recommend the use of authorized services listed at the Thomas More Travel desk in your resort or the public transport system if you are planning to move around within the city limits.
As soon as we have news regarding the regularization of UBER in Cancun and the State of Quintana Roo we will publish an update on this blog, in the monthly Royal Reporter newsletter and in Members News in the Members Area of www.royalresorts.com (member log in required).

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Royal Resorts Signature Club unveils a new benefit for members to enjoy

Royal Resorts Signature Club members now have an additional benefit to enjoy, a new Wine and Merchandise store on the Privileges for Royal Resorts shopping portal. This new online store features a selection of over 3,000 products including designer merchandise such as jewelry, home goods, travel gear and more, plus access to hundreds of hand-picked […]

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Swim with the whale sharks, a Mexican Caribbean summer trip highlight

If you are traveling to Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Holbox or the Riviera Maya this summer, you have the chance to see the gentle giants of the ocean, the whale sharks. This is an incredible wildlife encounter with the world’s largest fish, a Mexican Caribbean summer trip highlight.

From mid-May to mid-September, hundreds of whale sharks migrate to the northern waters of the Mexican Caribbean near the islands of Holbox, Contoy and Isla Mujeres to feed on plankton blooms caused by high temperatures, and eggs laid by spawning little tunny fish. Biologists say it is the largest whale shark gathering in the world.

Whale sharks are great ocean wanderers, migrating thousands of miles through the tropics during the year in search of feeding grounds with rich pickings of plankton and fish roe.

Fishermen in the Mexican Caribbean call whale sharks pez domino or domino fish in reference to their distinctive markings of stripes and spots. No whale shark is alike, they each have a unique pattern and taking photos of them is helping marine biologists around the world to compile a catalog. Through the use of this international database for identification purposes and tagging sharks they can start to map the movements of these enigmatic creatures during the year.

Imagine watching as a creature the size of a bus approaches out of the crystal-clear depths and then swims placidly by, its gaping jaws open to scoop up the minute plankton and filter the water through its gills. Suddenly wherever you look you see fins as the whale sharks eat their fill before diving deep. It is an awe-inspiring sight and one that wildlife watchers shouldn’t miss.

On the boat journey out to the whale shark area, there’s the added thrill of spotting wild dolphins and sea turtles. Huge manta rays also gather to eat plankton alongside the whale sharks and sometimes breach the water surface in spectacular flight.

Book your summer whale shark trip
Guided eco trips to the whale shark feeding grounds are available for small groups through Thomas More Travel. Book online at www.thomasmoretravel.com or at the tour desk during your stay.

 

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Royal Resorts Signature Club unveils a new benefit for members to enjoy

Royal Resorts Signature Club members now have an additional benefit to enjoy, a new Wine and Merchandise store on the Privileges for Royal Resorts shopping portal. This new online store features a selection of over 3,000 products including designer merchandise such as jewelry, home goods, travel gear and more, plus access to hundreds of hand-picked […]

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Go off the beaten track to Maya Ka’an, an encounter with nature and Mayan culture

Planning your next Cancun or Riviera Maya vacation and looking for new adventures that take you deep into the world of the Maya, then Maya Ka’an is the place for you. This is a region of central Quintana Roo that offers you the chance to reconnect with nature and discover an ancient culture. Picture yourself venturing deep into the jungle in search of rare wildlife; listening to birdcalls as you drift through a coastal lagoon and meeting the Maya to learn more about their traditions, if this sounds like the unforgettable off the beaten track travel experiences you are dreaming of, then Maya Ka’an is the place for you.

Maya Ka’an, a journey to the heartland
The Mexican Caribbean’s latest eco destination, Maya Ka’an is a large expanse of central Quintana Roo comprising the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the traditional Mayan heartland known as the Zona Maya. Formed by the districts of Tulum, Felipe Carrillo Puerto and José María Morelos, the Zona Maya is rich in natural beauty, history and traditions.

Maya Ka’an is a sustainable development initiative to bring the economic benefits of tourism to Zona Maya communities while also protecting the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the area’s heritage. There are 16 different tours and activities to choose from, which take visitors to nine villages in Sian Ka’an and the Zona Maya. To ensure that local inhabitants reap the benefits, community tour operators handle all the trips. For visitors who enjoy learning about different cultures and like to give back to communities when they travel, Maya Ka’an is the perfect option.

The key Maya Ka’an communities are Punta Allen, Muyil and Punta Herrero in Sian Ka’an, historic Felipe Carrillo Puerto, capital of the Zona Maya, Tihosuco (site of the Caste War Museum), Señor, Chunhuhub, Noh Bec and Kantemó. They all offer a range of activities, some showcasing natural attractions and others giving visitors a glimpse of Mayan life.

Meeting the Maya
Visitors can watch craftsmen at work and traditional cuisine being prepared, find out about farming techniques and the healing properties of native plants used since time immemorial. They’ll listen enthralled as village elders tell stories of the mythical Xtabay, a temptress part woman, part serpent who lures men to their doom deep in the jungle, and the Aluxes, the guardian spirits of the corn fields.

On trips to Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Tihosuco, visitors learn about the history of the area from the days of the ancient Maya to the coming of the Spaniards and a series of Mayan uprisings against social injustice that culminated in the Caste War in 1847.

In Muyil they’ll see men climb the trunks of chicozapote tree armed with machetes that they use to slash the bark and harvest the white sap as it begins to weep from the deep v-shaped gashes. This latex-like resin is collected, heated and processed to make bricks of chicle, the natural source of chewing gum.

Eco adventures include bird watching safaris in search of more than 350 species of birds that make their home in the jungle and wetlands, nature walks, boat and kayak trips through the lagoons and bays of Sian Ka’an and visits to the Cave of the Hanging Snakes in Kantemó.

The Maya Ka’an trip collection

Tours in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

• Laguna Negra (Punta Allen)
Enjoy a nature walk to a watchtower for panoramic views of the wetlands and lagoons of Sian Ka’an, followed by a kayak trip through the mangroves to Laguna Negra.

• Bicycle Adventure (Punta Allen)
Take a guided bike trip from the fishing village of Punta Allen through Sian Ka’an Reserve.

• Wildlife Watching
Board a boat from Punta Allen for a trip through the lagoons, mangroves and out to the reef in search of birds and marine creatures such as dolphins, sea turtles and myriad colorful fish. Includes snorkeling.

• Fly Fishing
Punta Allen is one of the top locations in the Mexican Caribbean for fly fishing. Your guide will show you the best spots for permit, tarpon and snook in the area’s lagoons.

• Muyil Jungle & Float
Discover the archaeological site of Muyil and then board a boat for an exciting journey through Muyil and Chunyaxche lagoons to a canal filled with crystal-clear water where you’ll simply float, letting the current gently bear you through the mangroves. Gaze up at the sky, listen to the breeze and the distant cries of birds and feel your cares drift away.

• Sunset over Sian Ka’an
A boat trip through the lagoons is followed by breathtaking sunset views across the immense wetlands of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

• Bird watching in Muyil
See some of the 350 species of birds that inhabit Sian Ka’an’s jungle and wetland ecosystems, Muyil is the ideal spot to start.

• Mayan Heritage: Chicle
Learn about the chicozapote tree and chicle, the latex-like sap that has been extracted from its bark since the days of the ancient Maya. In the 19th century, chicle became the natural raw ingredient for the chewing gum we know today. The chicle demonstration by inhabitants of the village of Muyil is followed by a boat trip through the lagoons and mangroves.

• Mayaking
Follow the route taken by ancient Mayan trading canoes as you row your kayak across Muyil and Chunyaxche lagoons towards the Caribbean using a natural channel through the mangroves that the ancient Maya widened. You’ll see herons, egrets, ospreys and other birds during your journey.

Tours in the Felipe Carrillo Puerto area

• Kayaking in Siijil Noh Ha Lagoon
Try your hand at kayaking in the Siijil Noh Ha Lagoon and dive into the cool, clear waters of a cenote. You’ll also follow your guide along a trail to learn about the plants grown or harvested from the jungle by the Maya for their medicinal and cosmetic properties.

• Herbal healing
Return to nature and soothe body and soul with this Mayan healing experience in the village of Raxalaj Mayab. Healers harness knowledge passed down through the ages, music and dance and remedies with plants used in traditional medicine.

• The secrets of Mayan cuisine
Learn how to cook traditional Mayan cuisine in the village of Chunhuhub. Learn about the area’s staple crop, corn, and its importance in the Mayan creation story. Watch women prepare tortillas and other dishes using a pit oven or pib.

• Cave of the Hanging Snakes
Witness an eerie natural spectacle that takes place at dusk. As night falls, thousands of the bats that make their home deep within the cave begin to stir and emerge from their roost to hunt for insects. As they take wing, snakes hidden in crevices in the cave roof hang down with gaping jaws, snapping up the bats in mid-flight, hence the name Cave of the Hanging Snakes.

• Mayan culture in Tihosuco
From the colorful mural in the roofless colonial church and the Caste War Museum to craft workshops, traditional herbal healing and timeless ceremonies, the village of Tihosuco is a window on Mayan culture and history.

• Señor
Meet the village elders of Señor and hear tales from the past and of life in a traditional Mayan community. You’ll learn about the stingless bee and Mayan honey, traditional medicine, sisal rope and craft making.

• Ximbal Maya Circuit
This is a two-day trip through Maya Ka’an that gives visitors the chance to spend more time in a Mayan community and wake up to the sounds of the jungle. The circuit includes Muyil, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Tihosuco and Señor.

Visiting Maya Ka’an
Thomas More Travel offers small group eco trips to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and can help you arrange Maya Ka’an tours.
Please notify the travel agency with at least three days notice in the case of Maya Ka’an village trips, as time is needed to contact the community tour operators. Visit http://mayakaan.travel/index.php?route=common/home for much more information on Maya Ka’an, a photo gallery and videos.

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Travesia Sagrada Maya, the Sacred Mayan Journey to Cozumel

After six months of arduous training sessions at the break of dawn, 300 oarsmen from Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen will board 30 canoes in the sheltered inlet at Xcaret on May 26 ready to embark on the 2017 Travesia Sagrada Maya or Sacred Mayan Journey. They will be following the perilous 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 eleventh 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 bustling Mayan market and rituals in honor of Ixchel to the clothing, headdresses and face paint worn by the priests, dancers and oarsmen, everything has been carefully researched to make it as authentic as possible.

Xcaret Park is the location of the ancient Mayan port of Polé, once an important trade center and the departure point for pilgrimages to Cozumel. At dawn on May 26, Mayan priests bless the pilgrims and the ruler and his subjects gather on the shoreline to bid them farewell as one by one the canoes slip out of the bay their course set for Cozumel. As the pilgrims’ families watch, 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 to offer up their prayers to the goddess and receive a message of hope for her people. They return to the mainland the following day and are greeted in Polé with great jubilation.

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 and visitors from all around the world who have chosen to make their home here. This year, 38 citizens of Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile, Spain, Italy, France, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland and the Netherlands are taking part in the event, joining oarsmen from Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche and other parts of Mexico.

If you would like to witness the Sacred Mayan Journey ask at the Thomas More Travel tour desk.

 

Photos courtesy of Experiencias Xcaret

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