June beach update

June 13th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

The ecology zone in front of the Golden Crown Paradise. Le Meridien can be seen in the backgroundAfter walking the beach and getting well crisped by the sun, Mel Zelniker took this photo of the beach in front of the Cancún Palace on June 4th.

While the hotel is being re-developed, an "Ecological Restoration Area" has been planted at the back of the beach. A ‘beautification’ project really.

View a larger version of  Mel’s photo of the beach.

Mel adds that it appears the beach cleaning is restricted to hotels that are open; the area in front of Le Meridien (the green-roofed building in the background) is pristine, while the area next door in front of the Ritz Carlton is laden with seaweed and junk.

Another photo of the ecological restoration area, and another.


April 5th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Photos, Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, March 26th - photo: Chantelle Tucker Come on in the water’s lovely…

Chantelle Tucker captured the turquoise-blue Caribbean Sea at Playa del Carmen on March 26th.

View the complete photo set on Flickr.

Reminded me of the crystal clear breaking wave captured by Alejandro Mejía Greene in Cancún last month. 

What a difference a day makes…

April 5th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

Beach recovery, Le Blanc, April 5th - photo: Jim Wehrle24 hours later… Le Blanc now has a beach.

These guys sure work fast.

This stretch of the beach was wiped out by Hurricane Wilma. You can see what little remained in this photo taken just last week by Nancy McElroy, who is, alas, now back home in Michigan.

View a slideshow of Jim Wehrle’s before and after photos from April 4th and 5th.

Tropical fruit cocktail

March 30th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Hotel groups, Photos, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

Franchise operation 100% Natural has a foothold on Fifth Avenue ("Quinta Avenida"), the main drag in Playa del Carmen (between Calle 10 & 12). It serves up veggie pastas & soups, and fresh fish, meat and poultry, which you can eat in their tropical courtyard garden.

Playa del Carmen, March 22nd - photo: Andy BuddChantelle Tucker (a regular in my posts here) shares out all the wholesome goodness in this set of photos.

Just south of Playa is Ikal del Mar, with thirty beautiful, thatched villas, scattered throughout its lush grounds (the hotel prides itself on the fact that no trees were cut down during its construction).

Brighton-based Andy Budd was a guest earlier this month. Andy’s…

El Cozumeleño and Chen Río

March 24th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cozumel, Photos

Patricia Mitchell took these photos last week on Cozumel.

El Cozumeleño Resort and Chen Rio, Cozumel - photos: Patricia MitchellThe El Cozumeleño resort only re-opened at the end of January, but Patricia commented on how the hotel had done "a remarkable job of rebuilding".

On the windward side (eastside) of Cozumel, the Chen Río beach is a peaceful place to stop and eat, and popular with locals (always a good sign). Take a taxi, or rent a car across the island.

Many visitors swear by the huge mixed platters of grilled seafood and simpler cerviches under the palapas at the Chen Río restaurant.

1. View of hotel pool from room 1901
2. Room with a blue-green view
3. El Cozumeleño

More sand at the Sands

March 16th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

Kudos to Royal Resorts for their constantly updated photo galleries, which are a real treat. The information they provide is head and shoulders above their Hotel Zone neighbours.

Beach recovery at Royal Sands, March 15th, 2006 - photo courtesy Royal ResortsThis photo was taken yesterday (March 15th) in front of the Royal Sands, looking south.

View a larger version

It’s noteworthy, I think, because it’s the first image I’ve seen that clearly shows the vast width of the reclaimed beach.

We learned yesterday that up to 58m of sand is being pumped onto the Cancún’s beaches (not 30m), with the expectation that it will shrink naturally to approx. 25m.

The beach looked like this just five days ago.

With just under 8km of beach…

Xcaret eco-park

March 16th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Eco-parks, Photos, Riviera Maya

Xcaret dolphin - photo orcagirlChantelle Tucker visited the Xcaret eco-park last weekend.

You can browse her voluminous set of photographs on Flickr, or view them as a slideshow.

Wilma stripped much of the jungle of vegetation, but the park re-opened on December 12th and new growth has brought Xcaret back to life.

Things to see and do include: Jaguar island, the chapel of San Francisco of Assisi, where mass is celebrated overlooking the Caribbean Sea every Sunday at 4:30pm, the birdmen of Papantla, Los Voladores de Papantla, dolphin swim, night performances

Xcaret: virtual Flash map

Rollin’ on to the Ritz

March 11th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

Cancun beach recovery reaches Ritz Carlton - photo: Jim Wehrle Jan de Nul have all but completed their work in front of the Ritz Carlton.

Photo, right, taken this afternoon by Jim Wehrle.

After frenetic progress since February 1st, work on the Cancún beach recovery has visibly slowed after three days of windy conditions and choppy seas.

However, the equipment will shortly be assembled at the Royal Sands, which is next in line for a beach makeover.

The project is now 60 per cent complete and still on course to reach Punta Cancún before the April 30th contract deadline.

My unofficial beach recovery timeline

Miracle workers

March 7th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

What a difference a few days make.

Looking south from the Cancun Palace - photo: Mel On Friday (March 3rd), the ‘view’ in front of the Cancún Palace was of waves licking at the hotel boundary wall (photo: Jim Wehrle).

Today, the transformation is nothing short of miraculous (see photo, right).

Bulldozers are today smoothing out the recycled sand in front of hotel Le Meridien (photo), the Golden Crown Paradise and Ritz Carlton (photo).

Special thanks to Mel Zelniker who took these photos earlier this afternoon along the stretch of Cancún’s beach known as Playa Ballenas.

If you go down to the beach today…

March 7th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Photos, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen: photo Chantelle TuckerChantelle Tucker, aka orcagirl, captures the weekend buzz at Playa del Carmen beautifully.

Sunday is traditionally a day to head to the beach – even more so last weekend as local families celebrating Día de la Familia mingled with the tourists.

And look at these guys demonstrating their acrobatic skill on the sand and in the water.

Check the status of the hotels in Playa del Carmen.

Beach recovery reaches the Marriotts

March 3rd, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

The beach recovery teams are currently working in front of the Grand Melia Cancún (scheduled to re-open at the end of this month) and the CasaMagna Marriott (June 1st).

Jim Wehrle took this photo today from in front of the Palace hotel (no beach whatsoever). Looking south, the JW Marriott (May 1st) can clearly be seen… and in the distance, the earth moving equipment working the beach at the Grand Melia.

This photo shows the bulldozers working in front of the CasaMagna Marriott.

The second dredger – the Barent Zanen – has also now arrived, but I expect progress to slow a little as this stretch of the beach was washed away completely.

Did the earth move for you?

February 28th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

I’ve updated this page to take into account the speedy beach recovery to date.

Beach recovery in front of the Royal Islander photo Lee TaylorNote that no timetable for the work has been made public, so these dates remain my best guesstimate.

Cancún’s beach reclamation project looks well on schedule to finish before April 30th, the ‘delivery’ date in Jan de Nul’s contract.

Lee Taylor took this photo (right) a few days ago during a brief sojourn at the Royal Islander.

I have to admit, I’ve become a beach recovery photo junkie. I’m no marine engineer [laughs], but I’ve found the whole spectacle… well, a spectacle.

Another photo

I do not think I’m the only one finding myself ‘lusting’ over "trailing suction"…

Day trip to Isla Mujeres

February 24th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Isla Mujeres, Photos

Isla Mujeres escaped remarkably well from the wrath of Hurricane Wilma.

Eduardo García lives in Cancún and took a day trip to Isla Mujeres on Saturday.

He took the car ferry from Punta Sam for the 45-minute crossing to the island. You get a good view of Playa Norte on the approach to the jetty downtown.

Check the status of the hotels on Isla Mujeres

Beach recovery moves up a gear

February 23rd, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

Beach recovery at the Royal Islander photo James WehrleHills of sand are already appearing in front of the Royal Islander as phase two of the beach reclamation project starts ahead of schedule.

Kudos to Royal Resorts as one of the very few to regularly post news updates online. Their website even features a short video of the beach recovery teams at work earlier this month.

Another photo.

Cancún beach photos

February 14th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Photos

The first phase of Cancún’s beach reclamation project (El Mirador to Punta Nizuc) nears completion as the earth-moving  equipment and piping is moved towards the Westin (View a map).


Many thanks to Jim Wehrle who took these photos on February 13th and 14th.

I recommend that you browse through all Jim’s photos in slideshow format.

Wish you were here #2

February 14th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Photos, Riviera Maya, Tulum

"A picture is worth a thousand words" sounds trite, but how about these images to infuse some sunshine into your day.

Ms. Sizzle and her party clearly had fun frocklicking in the turquoise Caribbean Sea and relaxing with a good book and a chilled beer on a perfect white powdery Tulum beach.

I’ve also just caught up with Derbyshire couple, Jason and Vicky Bytheway who flew into Cancún on the first post-Wilma Thomson flight out of Birmingham (UK), just three weeks after the hurricane.

Jason had great things to say about their fortnight at the Riu Tequila (Playacar).

"Whenever we recall our time in Mexico, following such a destructive act of nature," he wrote…