Posts by Veteran Newsman Dave McBride

We asked amateur birder Dave McBride to report back to us on bird-watching conditions in Riviera Maya. Here’s what he had to say:

Birding Safari on the Riviera Maya

2 Stalking Birds with a Camera in Mayan Muyil

The Black Bandit of Yucatan Birds

Babes in Mayaland

Puerto Morelos—where a picture of Señor Morelos will buy you a beer at the beach bar

Veteran Newsman Dave McBride is an award-winning news radio reporter, anchor and program director and creator of fan-favorite Dave’s Raves. Dave has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Writing for Radio/Large Market and the 2010 and 2011 Murrow for continuing news coverage. He was awarded the New York Festivals World Gold Medal for Best Writing for Radio. In his first year in Florida he received the Florida AP award for Best Long Light Feature in both first and second place. Dave is currently based in South Florida.



I have a Secret … well lots of them. And no, it is not that I am happy it is back to school time! OK … maybe a little. It’s actually Secret’s Resorts & Spas. The newest resort is opening this fall – WELCOME SECRETS AKUMAL RIVIERA MAYA.

Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya opens November 1, 2015 and it makes the perfect vacation if you are looking for an adult escape! The resort is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya along those beautiful white sand beaches and calm, clear waters of Akumal.

The resort is one hour south of the Cancun airport and will open with 434 elegant suites, many with stunning ocean views.

This brand new resort offers adults a charming, picturesque vacation, complete with an exceptional Unlimited-Luxury® experience.


Welcome cocktail and cool towel

Full breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks each day

Unlimited premium alcoholic beverages

Complimentary mini-bar refreshed daily

24-hour room and concierge services

Pool and beach wait service

Non-motorized water sports

Open-air theatre

Fitness center

Complimentary greens fees at nearby Riviera Maya Golf Club

Internet access

Expansive oceanfront infinity pool and outdoor Jacuzzi

All taxes and gratuities

So if the kids are heading back to school (or already there), or if you are looking for a romantic couples vacation, girls getaway or relaxing time at the spa; make sure you look to the new Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya. We all deserve a little “me” time and this is the perfect place.

For more details click here –>


akumal blog pic

Cancun, Cozumel, Riviera Maya Time Change

Cancun Time Change

Apple Vacations has received notice that on Feb. 1, 2015 at 2 a.m., the state of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, Cozumel and Riviera Maya, will change clocks to Eastern Standard Time Zone.

Local time in destination for all arriving and departing flights will move forward one hour. Departure and arrival times in the US will not be affected.

The change does not apply to the rest of Mexico nor to the state of Yucatan.

Apple Vacations and the airlines are in the process of making adjustments to flight times in their systems to reflect this change. In the meantime, Apple Vacationers should confirm their return hotel transfer and departure flight time with their local Apple Vacations Representative in resort.

The 10th Annual Sea Turtle Festival


Photo Credit: Apple Vacations - Tulum Ruins, Mexico


Photo Credit: Apple Vacations - Baby turtle in Tulum Mexico

If you’re thinking about a trip down south to soak up the sun and enjoy warm tropical waters, here’s a great reason you should consider visiting Tulum, Mexico. The 10th Annual Sea Turtle Festival will take place in Tulum this upcoming week. Activities will include sandcastle competition, children’s painting, art exhibition, raffle and live music. It’s really great how many wild animals live and nest in the area.

From the 25th to the 28th October you will be able to be part of an exciting gathering of people who are passionate about sea turtles and their conservation. One of the hosts will be  Bahía Príncipe Hotel in Tulum. The festival aims to raise the local population and tourists awareness on the sea turtles protection, as one of the most primitive vertebrates in existence and now endangered too. Centro Ecológico Akumal is part of the organizing committee.

Will you be visiting Mexico in October? Here are some other exciting things to do in while visiting Cancun and Riviera Maya with Amstar DMC!

Get Reconnected and Recharged

I just returned from an unbelievable one-week vacation in the Riviera Maya. My fiancé and I were really looking forward to a chance to spend some quality time together. Our hectic (and completely opposite) work schedules make it almost impossible for us to see each other throughout the week. We figured the only way to catch-up was to hop on a plane and head somewhere warm. Not a bad plan, if you ask me.

We knew we wanted Mexico. We knew we wanted an amazing beach with everything included, and though we look forward to having a family in the future, we knew we wanted an Adults Only resort.

Lucky for us, all signs pointed to Secrets Maroma Beach.

We wanted to make this a special trip so we couldn’t skip out on the necessary extras. We started the vacation off right with Preferred Perks. We had incredibly convenient and comfortable seats in the second row with more seating room – is a must for my 6’4” amigo. Being among the first off of the plane, we zipped through customs and by the time we reached the baggage carousel our luggage was already waiting for us. We grabbed it and headed outside to our private transfers. If you have never used private transfers before, you must do it. If you don’t believe me – try it, just once, and you will see the incredible difference it makes in your trip. We made it to beautiful Maroma Beach is about 30-minutes. To be fair, I purposely left my watch at home, so give or take a few minutes.

Ok, I have to be completely honest here. We have been to a few adults only resorts in the past, usually for short stays and we have always had a great time; but I was wondering “can we really just gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes for an entire week?” Rest assured there’s no other face in this world I would love to stare at more, but for an entire week? Speaking in hushed voices, tied at the hip and using pet names for eight days straight is just not our style. We want the romance but we like to have fun too, and I was nervous that there wouldn’t be enough options for us. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The resort was incredibly elegant, romantic, and the service was unbelievable. It managed to be all these things and yet still comfortable. From the moment we arrived we were able to really relax, have fun and most importantly, spend time together. Our week was spent so many different ways. We laid on the beach and soaked up the sun, met new friends at the beach bar, dined at amazing and intimate restaurants, even watched the Eagles game at the outdoor Sports Bar (which in retrospect, we probably could have skipped that week). We even participated in activities hosted by the Entertainment Staff – a bit out of character for us. One night we hopped in a cab and headed into Playa del Carmen for a fabulous dinner and some shopping, and the next day we took a fantastic snorkeling excursion in Puerto Morelos. We were able to make our romantic getaway 100% suit us.

It was by far the best vacation we’ve ever had. It was so hard to leave after only one week, but we came home reconnected, relaxed and ready to tackle reality again. And naturally we’re already planning our next trip back!

Stay Connected to Mexico

To help Golden Apple agents stay connected at the Apple Vacations Tradeshow in Chicago, they were invited to a very informative presentation Mr. Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, Deputy Director General of the Mexico Tourism Board. I wish agents everywhere had the opportunity to hear his dynamic presentation. He gave us the facts and figures to help set the record straight about traveling to Mexico. Mr. Lopez Negrete explained why the perception about travel to Mexico is not the reality:

  • Mexico is the #1 destination for American travelers.
  • 97% of American travelers to Mexico find they are very satisfied or better.
  • 99% of American travelers would recommend a vacation to Mexico to their family and friends.
  • The number of worldwide international travelers through July is up by 3.5%

The top markets are experiencing growth from 6.6% to 57% with the exception of the US which is down 6.3%.  Research finds Americans are traveling closer to home not only because of fear but more importantly due to the economy. Cruise lines that have temporarily suspended visits to Mexico did so because of economic reasons not because of safety issues.
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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda

Apple Vacations & BlueBay Grand Esmeralda in Cancun’s Riviera Maya has announced specials available from now through the of the year! We have gotten a lot of questions on the resort. So I asked one of our Sales Managers, Gina West, who was there for a report. Here is her review:

The resort is located just north of Playa del Carmen , so the commute from the Cancun airport is only about 30 minutes which is especially great for short stays.

Each guest room building has it’s own concierge and each building also has an elevator with glass walls that with views of the outdoors. The guest rooms are really very nice and richly appointed with plush bedding (not the hard mattresses that are so typically are found in hotels). All of the guest rooms definitely have the feel of a luxury upscale resort – which surprised me for the price of this resort. For an upgrade, they offer swim out rooms with a large and rather deep (3′ – 4′) common plunge pool that is shared by everyone on the ground floor. These plunge pools do not connect with the resorts main pool. They also offer suites which are two rooms – a living room and a separate master bedroom with a king bed.

The very large main pool runs parallel to the coastline rather than perpendicular to it, which is always more pleasing and dramatic. The pool has a lot of character. They have a children’s area plus exercise bikes in the pool and built in lounging seats in the pool around the perimeter. Very nice for hot summer days!

The white sandy beach is very clean and spacious with ample lounge chairs for those who prefer to sit closer to the ocean. In this case, you can be close to both the pool and the ocean!

The specialty a la carte restaurants were completely renovated about 2 – 3 years ago and I was very impressed with them. The main buffet restaurant is located by the pool with great views of the ocean. It’s very spacious and the food was good.

Their spa is large with lots of open air areas and a water circuit program. At the time that it opened, I remember thinking it was larger than most spas and just really different since it was so open.

The theater area was okay. The hotel also have a few specialty shops for guests. The lobby is nice. It’s probably the highest point in the resort. One thing to point out at the resort is that there is a distance between the lobby, spa, theater and shops and the guest rooms. You have to walk over a long boardwalk that was built over the mangroves to get there. They do have shuttles available, but mostly people walked.

For the selling points of this hotel, it is definitely worth it!