Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Grand Coral Beach

Beach #8 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: Grand Coral Beach

Every year, millions of tourists choose the Riviera Maya for their holiday, making it the second most popular destination in Quintana Roo; just behind Cancun by a few thousand visitors. From January thru June of 2014, Quintana Roo received more than 5 million visitors and almost half of those were visiting the Riviera Maya.

If you live in Playa del Carmen or are visiting the Area, there are plenty of beautiful beaches for you to enjoy: from the traditional Mamita´s Beach, to Coco Beach or Shangri-La, there is a beach for everyone.  However, if you are feeling adventurous and want to go somewhere new, with all the luxury and comfort of a 5 Star Hotel; Gran Coral Beach might be an excellent option for you.

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Grand Coral Beach: General Information

Grand Coral Riviera is a complete neighborhood that offers its visitors a luxurious hotel, as well as modern condos for sale with beautiful beachfront and golf course views. The complex was designed in a way that every property has access to the 18 hole golf course designed by Nick Price, as well as to the Beach Club and the Club House.

Even if you are not a guest in the hotel or the owner of one of their magnificent residences, you can still access their beautiful private beach. Grand Coral allows guest to visit their beach club, there is easy access and parking right next to the beach club.

These are some of the amenities you will find in the Grand Coral Playa del Carmen Beach Club:

  • Pool
  • Bathrooms
  • Beach chairs
  • Cabanas
  • Towels
  • Beach umbrellas
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Snack Bar

Grand Coral Beach: Getting There
Grand Coral
Carretera Federal 307 km 294, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R.

Getting to the Grand Coral beach is easy, from Playa del Carmen you can:

Driving a Car: If you are coming from Playa del Carmen you will need to get on the federal highway 307 northbound heading towards Cancun. There are plenty of signs and you will see it on your right as a massive entrance. Once you get to the security post, tell them you are going to the beach club, they will take your plates details and ask for an ID, then let you through.

Taking a Van/Taxi:  Any taxi can take you to Grand Coral, ask a few different drivers to find the best price.

Public Transportation: Colectivos/buses are a great way to get around. You will find them driving all along the Federal Road 307 just ask if they go to your destination and hop in.  Keep in mind that the beach is about half a mile into the Grand Coral Complex, so if you are not a fan of walking a cab might be a better choice.

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Grand Coral Beach: Things To Do

  • Sunbathing and relaxing is always a do!
  • Snorkeling is a good option; just remember to bring your own gear.
  • Enjoy a nice meal or a cold beverage at the Beach Club restaurant!
  • Take a dip in the swimming pool or ocean. 

Grand Coral Beach: Recommendations

  • Do not forget to bring your biodegradable suntan lotion and insect repellent, as harsh chemicals harm the coral reef and the local fauna.
  • Remember this is a beach club, if you wish to use the premises you will need to buy a drink or some food.

Grand Coral beach offers its visitors exclusive access to their 5 star beach club and amenities, if you want to enjoy a day of luxury and relaxation this might be a good choice for you.

We hope you enjoy your visit to Grand Coral Beach Club and the beautiful beach. Keep up to date with the best beaches in paradise by following our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya countdown every Friday! If you are in search for the perfect beach to spend the day at, make sure you check out our options. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

If you loved Grand Coral and are interested in purchasing a vacation home or retirement home Grand Coral has several real estate options from beachfront luxury condos to beautiful homes, please feel free to contact any of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives! Browse our beautiful properties; we are sure you will find your dream home.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We make it happen!

10 Interesting Facts About Whale Sharks

  1. Despite their name, the whale shark is neither a whale nor a mammal; it is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known fish species. The whale part of the name comes from its sheer size. The whale shark is an Ovoviviparous species, this means that it keeps its eggs inside her body and once they are mature; tiny whale sharks emerge alive from the mother’s body.

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  1. The whale shark has an extremely thick skin, in some cases up to four inches thick. In addition, their skin has a much darker tone than the rest of the fish with white patterns comprising dots, vertical and horizontal lines; making really interesting patterns.
  1. The whale sharks huge mouth can be as big as five feet long, but swimming alongside a whale shark is 100% safe as they have no interest in consuming humans. They also have a filtration system that does not allow the passage of anything bigger than small fish like sardines and their many rows of tiny teeth are located in the back of their mouth; so they can not really harm anyone.

 photo whalesharkteeth_zps9pmy2akf.jpg Whale Shark Teeth

  1. These majestic animals have an advanced filtration system that allows them to eat without having to swim, compared to other animals that require them to move forward to push water inside their mouth. The whale shark is able to use their gills to pull water into their mouth, where it accumulates plankton, krill and other small seafood like sardines or anchovies.
  1. These fish live in tropical waters at an average 700 meters deep. They are generally solitary animals, but are grouped when they find an area rich in food.
  1. The whale shark is known to be the world’s largest fish, with verified specimens as long as 40 feet; that is as long as a trailer. There are many reported sightings of much bigger whale sharks, over 65 feet long; but they have not been documented and therefore are considered a myth.
  1. Despite its imposing size, whale sharks are completely harmless and peaceful creatures. Tourists can swim very close them, and in the past visitors were even allowed to even touch them but this is no longer permitted.

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  1. Summer is the best season to observe these magnificent creatures, especially the months from June to September. The Riviera Maya has many tour companies that organize whale shark tours, which includes everything you need to enjoy this experience.
  1. If you live in the Riviera Maya or are vacationing here, the best places to find whale sharks are in the area between Isla Mujeres, Contoy and Holbox Island.
  1. Each year an estimated 1,400 whale shark reach the coasts of the peninsula, and about 200 approach the islands of Holbox and Contoy in the state of Quintana Roo.

Swimming with the whale sharks is a once in a lifetime experience, remember this is a peaceful creature but there have been reports of them attacking boats; after being harassed. If you are going on a whale shark tour, respect the whale sharks and follow the indications given by your tour guide.

Would you like to partake in unique experiences like this all the time? Consider retiring or purchasing a vacation home in Mexico there are so many things to do here, you will never run out of once in a lifetime experiences.

From dreaming to owning your dream home in Mexico, Top Mexico Real Estate has a decade team of Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives with the experience in helping foreigners become homeowners in Mexico.

Top Mexico Real Estate…

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The Miracle of Life: Akumal Sea Turtle Nesting Season

The miracle of life is an amazing thing. For millions of years life on our planet has been the sole pillar of everything we know and love. It all really comes down to creating life, and keeping it that way for millions upon millions of years to come. And to be able to witness the miracle of life – be it human or otherwise – is a unique experience that not very many people get to live in their lifetime.

Amongst the many amazing species that call the Riviera Maya home is the sea turtle. In the world, there are eight existing sea turtle species – and most of them are critically endangered. Of these eight species, seven of them live and nest in Mexican beaches. We are a privileged country! And out of those, four nest in the gorgeous, pristine beaches of Quintana Roo.

However, due to heavy tourist congestion, sea turtles start migrating south to find isolated beaches that less humans transit through. And if that seems impossible, they settle for those where there are sea turtle protection programs that (try to) control the traffic of people. One of those places, and the most popular for both swimming with these majestic animals and witnessing sea turtle nesting season, is Akumal.

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Akumal means “Place of the Turtles” in Mayan (‘Ak’ means turtle; ‘Umal’ means place). The name is, of course, justified, as this is not only one of the most important nesting beaches in the region, but it is also one of the biggest natural homes to juvenile sea turtles in the area. This tranquil bay area – very popular amongst tourists – is home to approximately 40 juvenile sea turtles. This is their natural habitat, as it is a popular feeding area for them due to the amounts of sea grass that the bay possesses.

While these juvenile turtles come and go on a daily basis, the phenomenon known as “sea turtle season” refers strictly to the nesting season, which takes place between May and September every year. Now, this season is not a general rule for all eight species, but to the three that nest in Akumal: caretta caretta (loggerhead), chelonia mydas (green turtle), and the occasional eretmochelys imbricata (hawksbill turtle) – hey, now you know three scientific names to impress your friends!

Life Cycle

The most common species to nest in the region are the loggerhead and the green sea turtles, with record over 900 nests in 2013 (in Akumal) throughout the whole season, for both species. However, there are also leatherbacks and hawksbill nests found throughout the state. The life cycle of a sea turtle is fairly simple:

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  • Mating – adult female sea turtles come out to the beach to nest between May and September. They can lay anywhere between 80 and 120 eggs, depending on species.
  • Incubation – this period lasts approximately 45 to 55 days.
  • Hatching – after the incubation period, hatchlings pop out of their shells and make their way out to the ocean*.
  • The Lost Years – the first three years of a sea turtle are referred to as “the lost years” because they migrate to different feeding areas and are hard to keep track of.
  • Juvenile Years – for the next 15 years they migrate around the world to feeding areas until they reach adulthood.
  • Adulthood – this is when they reach their breeding age, which goes from 15 to 50 years old.
  • Mating – adult male turtles court females in order for the cycle to continue.
  • Lifespan – sea turtles can live up to 100 years old, depending on species.

*Unfortunately, only one out of 1,000 hatchlings makes it to adulthood for different reasons:

  • Natural reasons – during incubation, raccoons and crabs dig the nests and feed on the eggs. After hatching, seagulls target turtles, as they are soft-shelled and easy to digest. Through their first years, sharks and whales can eat them, too.
  • Human Interaction – ocean pollution, garbage, obstacles on the beaches, accidental fishing, ‘hit and run’ (when boats hit turtles), and more, are the major cause of death in sea turtles.

How You Can Help and Experience Nesting Season

There are many ways to get involved in the conservation process:

  • Volunteering – sea turtle camps rely 100% on volunteer work. Here they teach you the proper way to patrol and monitor sea turtles throughout nesting season (working with both adults and hatchlings). Volunteer work costs both financially and physically, but it is worth experiencing.
  • Eco-touring – the beaches on which these turtles nest are open to the public (places such as Xpu-Ha close the access at night, but you can stay at a hotel there), so the best way to help with conservation is by education yourself as to what you can and cannot do on the beach (such as leaving garbage or obstacles for the turtles). You can contact a sea turtle camp and find out if they offer educational night walks where you get to witness the nesting process, or if they will have hatchling releases for you to see. Donating to these programs is a huge contribution, as they are NGOs and do not profit from their work.

While Akumal is certainly not the only nesting beach in the Riviera Maya, it is the most popular one – specially because there are juvenile sea turtles swimming in the bay every day of the year. It’s their home, after all. However, you can witness the nesting season at other beaches such as Xpu-Ha, Xcacel, Sian Ka’an, Tulum and Cancun.

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Don’t miss the opportunity of experiencing this unique and life-changing event. Sea turtles are beautiful creatures and they depend on you to continue gracing the oceans we all visit the Riviera Maya for.

If you wish their home will someday be your home, please feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyer’s Representatives who will gladly help you in the process of relocating and finding your dream home in paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

Xcaret Turtle Release and Conservation Program – A Community Effort with Outstanding Rewards!

The Riviera Maya is invested in nature and ecology!  Residents and local organizations work hard every day to help protect the natural environment and amazing wildlife surrounding us.  After all, conservation and care is contributes to preserving the beauty that we all love about the Riviera Maya.

One of the biggest efforts that takes place all throughout the Riviera Maya is the protection of the sea turtles.  This past Monday Xcaret Park held its first sea turtle release of the season sending off the baby turtles to arrive into their natural habitat in the beautiful Caribbean Sea.

We were very excited to be a part of this event which takes place at different points throughout the year! These beautiful marine turtles are truly exceptional creatures!

Who came to witness the Sea turtle release at Xcaret?

There was an incredible turn out of attendance to witness or volunteer for the Xcaret Sea turtle release. Xcaret encourages locals and nearby Playa del Carmen neighborhoods to get involved, volunteer, and help support these efforts of conserving sea life.

The children from the “Ninos del Mar” school were invited to watch the release and also learn about how being eco-conscious, recycling and conservation help to save the life of the sea turtles and all their natural surroundings.  Great lesson if you ask me!  If you see firsthand how your actions make an impression you are much more likely to remain conscious of it now and in the future.

Some Facts about the Sea turtle release and conservation in the Riviera Maya

Xcaret released two sea turtle species which arrived from Xcacel beach to Xcaret! The two particular species, the green turtle and loggerhead turtle, are two of the four specials that arrive to Quintana Roo each year.  There seven different species of sea turtles around the world and six of them make way to the coast of Mexico.

As part of the Marine Turtle Conservation Program in the Riviera Maya, turtles are rescued, rehabilitated and then released into their natural environment in the wide open sea.

The time of the release is carefully planned to take place in the late morning-mid day hours to make way for the turtles to have a safe return to the ocean.  Since the biggest sea predator for the turtles are sharks the operation is done way before dawn before the sharks feed in the evening.

What happens to the Sea turtles after they are released from Xcaret?

Unfortunately, despite incredible efforts made to protect these wonderful beings, only one out of every 1000 sea turtles will reach adulthood.  This is due to various reasons including sea predators or human interference.

But the good news is that these efforts do contribute to a beautiful life for the surviving turtles.  Since the turtles are tagged at release, the Xcaret released Sea turtles have been identified all over the Caribbean in places like Miami, The Bahamas and Cuba.  These amazing creatures make their way far beyond what we can imagine and live a beautiful life.

Interestingly enough the females which were released will find their way back home in 15 years when they are ready to nest.  Pretty cool huh?

Saving the turtles is a combined community effort in the Riviera Maya

I would like to stress a major point about the Xcaret Sea turtle release program.  This is a wide community effort.  Xcaret asks the entire community to get involved and become an active part of saving the wildlife and preserving natural life in the Riviera Maya.

In 2012 Xcaret was the first private park ever to be featured in National Geographic Magazine for their efforts in protecting, caring for and releasing the sea turtles giving an even bigger visibility!

If you are living in Playa del Carmen or are thinking about moving to the Playa del Carmen neighborhood discover all the ways you can get involved.  It truly doesn’t take much to save a life!

-By Bea Lozano

Welcome Back Beautiful Playa del Carmen Sunshine!

Hello Playa del Carmen and welcome to this sunny beautiful day on the most beautiful beaches of the Caribbean!  Some of us have been a little down with the rainy cold days in Playa, but now those days are just a far away memory!

The sun is out and Playa del Carmen beaches are back in action!

Here are a few things to do in Playa del Carmen to take advantage of a full beautiful sunny day!

Have your morning coffee or breakfast outside!  If you have a backyard or terrace at your home in Playa del Carmen, start your day relaxing and reading the morning paper with the natural sunlight.  If you don’t have a space to relax at your home, go to Starbucks or Ah Cacao and enjoy your outdoor brew while you watch the people roam the 5th Avenue!

Take a walk! Maybe it can be on the 5th Avenue, in your neighborhood, on the beach or at a local park! If you have own a pet in Playa del Carmen, this is the perfect time to take your dog for a good long walk!  Remember, they too have been stuck indoors waiting for the rain to go away!

Go to the beach!  The sun is inviting us to come and play!  We have all been waiting for the perfect beach day to come along! So go ahead!  The local Playa del Carmen beach clubs are sure to be offering drink and food specials all day long!

Enjoy lunch outside! Whether you pack yourself a picnic for the beach, or hit up your favorite restaurant, eating outdoors can fill your tummy while boosting your endorphins, making you a little bit more likely to smile today!

Grab an afternoon fresh fruit refreshment!  Since the temperatures are rising, our bodies are asking us for a little extra hydration and nutrients.  You can always find all natural juices, smoothies and fresh fruits wherever you go!

Do a little outdoor shopping!  In the late afternoon, while it’s still light out, take a leisurely stroll down the 5th Avenue! Even if you won’t buy, it’s still ok to look!

As the sun is going down you can head back to the beach!  While the sun does not set on the ocean in Playa del Carmen, it still creates a beautiful colorful affect in the sky over the incredible turquoise sea.

Talk about perfect day outdoors in Playa del Carmen!  Enjoy the sunshine and beautiful temperatures everyone!

Playa del Carmen – A Runner’s Paradise!

Playa del Carmen is filled with beach lovers, shoppers, foodies, coffee drinkers and cocktail lovers but here you will also notice that Playa del Carmen is a runners paradise.

Almost everywhere you go, at any time of the day, you will see someone pushing their body to the test as they take the streets and the beaches in Playa del Carmen as their own personal physical fitness zone!  A friend of mine tells her feelings about taking her feet to the streets in Playa del Carmen!

“Why I love running in Playa del Carmen!”

The atmosphere!  Playa del Carmen is upbeat and lively!  My favorite thing to do while I run is to people watch. It helps me get through quite a few miles without even thinking about it! When you run in Playa there are so many things to see and notice. And while most of the time I run a normal route, its different every time!

Flat Streets!  While some may appreciate the challenge every so often, typically daily running is easier on flat land.  The 5th Avenue along with the other streets in Playa del Carmen are generally an easy run!

The Beautiful Beach!  Running on the beach is breathtaking and can certainly give you a little addition to that runners high!  I feel a sense of appreciation and happiness when I run on the beach, remembering that I live in a beautiful paradise.

Staying updated!  I may not get the chance to get out to the beach or the 5th Avenue every day for leisure, but if I run in those areas I can stay updated every day about new changes.  Recently the 5th Avenue has been transforming with new additions and closures. By running I have been able to quickly see what’s going on in the main areas of our beautiful town daily!

When is the best time of day to run in Playa del Carmen?

I enjoy running at all different times of the day!  The mornings are very quiet and is a free range for runners on the 5th Avenue and on the beach.  Enjoy the peace of Playa del Carmen before the town comes alive.  If you are a beach runner you can enjoy a certain calmness in the air, and in the ocean, that is only found early in the day!

Mid-day running in Playa del Carmen can be a little bit hot but it’s a good time to take a shorter run and get a little extra vitamin D!  You may find yourself running more of an obstacle course weaving through the people.

If the main streets are too busy it can be a great chance to explore new neighborhoods and routes in Playa.  Playacar is an incredible area for runners looking for a nice environment and pretty scenery!

Evening running in Playa is very comfortable and a nice time to see Playa in a different light. There are many well lit areas to do your nightly routine safely.

Running is a FREE activity for all ages in Playa del Carmen!  If you are not a full time runner, a light jog a couple times a week or even a daily walk can serve the same purpose!  Running is just one of the many things you can do to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle in Playa del Carmen!

It’s Freezing in Playa del Carmen!

No not really, but for most locals, we are feeling a bit chilly these days in Playa del Carmen and the entire Riviera Maya region.  Well, if you consider chilly 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit cold.  This is not entirely abnormal as the winter months in Playa can hand us a few days, here and there, worthy of a light scarf, a jacket and a hot chocolate! While some are complaining of “FREEZING” temperatures, others are still completely fine walking around in bathing suits and flip flops.  Both sides staring at each other thinking… “Are you crazy?” The fact is that when you live in a very warm climate year round, 70 degrees can in fact feel, well cold!  On the other hand if you are one of the many Canadians who are hiding from the below zero temperature, 70 degrees, even 60 degrees, is like jumping into a nice hot Jacuzzi!  Which is exactly why you see plenty of people roaming around Playa in both summer and winter apparel; sometimes in both at the same time!

So then what’s up with the weather in Playa del Carmen?

But in either case, many people are wondering why Playa is a little extra cold these days!  One reason is the winter season in Playa does bring some nicer, more comfortable days, to the area; which is always a relief after surviving hot and humid summers. Normally in January or February the air is neither extremely hot nor too cold.  Actually I feel it is the most perfect time of year here! The rain in the Riviera Maya region has also been a contributing factor to some of the chillier days!  It is no doubt that we have had an unusually long rainy season that continued even after rainy season is over! I should mention that this is not the norm in Playa del Carmen!  It is quite normal to see over 300 days of sunshiny days year round.  But in any case, without sun how can we heat up our little beach town?

Could it be because of the Polar Vortex affecting our neighboring northern countries?

We couldactually be seeing some effects of the cold air that has been freezing out Canada and parts of the Northern United States this winter.  It is all part of a weakened Polar Vortex which as an affect is ultimately sending cold air in a downward direction!  Granted we are way down south, but anytime there is a major weather change it can have a significant impact far beyond its local area.

Don’t let a few chilly days change your mind about Playa!

I should mention that in the winter months you can still have some extremely warm temperatures in Playa del Carmen, so my advice is to enjoy the cooler days when they come, as they do only come every once in a while.  Believe it or not there are some great rainy day activities in Playa del Carmen! There are still plenty of things to do in Playa del Carmen where you might actually appreciate some cooler days.  If you are heading to places like Xcaretwhere you tend to spend the day walking outside for an entire day it can be more enjoyable without extremely hot temperatures and also prevents too much sunburn.

And if you are traveling here and thinking you got cheated of warm weather and sunshine, don’t make your judgment just yet!  Playa del Carmen is a beautiful place to be anytime of the year and luckily is filled with many things to do so you can enjoy rain, shine, hot or freezing! If you like this article and want to see more like it hit subscribe to our blog or click on the link at the bottom of the page to follow Mexico Real Estate on facebook! Happy Winter from Playa del Carmen!