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.

Birding Safari on the Riviera Maya

By Dave McBride


When the irrepressible Chief of the Seminole Tribe of the Everglades, James Billie, was acquitted by a jury of eating an endangered Florida panther in a tribal purification ritual, a reporter asked him what panther tastes like, to which he famously replied: “Like a cross between manatee and bald eagle.”

A funny story, but the alarming reality is that environmental scientists last year warned that the world is entering a period of mass extinction not seen since the age of dinosaurs. Like many others, my wife and I have reacted by improving our relationship with the natural world and, in particular, have re-embraced a desire left behind in adolescence to seek out the agreeable company of birds.

We do not pretend to be serious birders and a beach bar can be as appealing an attraction as a jungle hiking path. But Anita and I are regular visitors of local wetlands and wading birds near our South Florida home and likewise seek the fellowship of their feathered Mexican relations when travels take us to the Riviera Maya. The color palette is bolder south of the border and nowhere is that more evident than in the plumage of the birds of the Yucatan.

1bHosting more than half of the bird species in all of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula is one of the best regions for bird watching in North America. Some are our neighbors at the Now Jade all-inclusive resort. Others are a short walk or drive away in the mangroves and jungle around nearby Puerto Morelos. Any back road will lead you to them. They are abundant in mangroves and at cenotes; the underground water-filled caves. The resort even displays photos and profiles around the grounds of birds guests are likely to view.


For travelers who are becoming more conscious of the destination environment and who wish to leave a lighter footprint, the Now Jade is Rainforest Alliance Certified and offers water-efficient bathrooms, biodegradable shampoos, soaps, and body wash. It discards kitchen grease safely, recycles waste and uses eco-friendly cleaning products.


Any Google search of the words “bird forum Yucatan” will summon posted tips by bird hunters, offering directions to productive locations. The Apple Vacations desk at the Now Jade can connect you with a birding guide.

Barbara MacKinnon is the preeminent authority on bird life in the Yucatan. She wrote the Spanish language book on indigenous birds called Sal a Pararear Yucatan, which describes more than 400 species of birds in the region. The books are donated to local communities in the Yucatan to teach children to identify the birds they live with. Money from sales of the books supplies the kids and their adult volunteers with binoculars.

A more Anglo-friendly book is A Bird-Finding Guide to Mexico by Steve Howell. He lists 100 sites all across Mexico, and the Yucatan and Cozumel are well-represented.

By the way, should Alex Trebek speak to you the words: “For Final Jeopardy—The number of species of birds on the planet Earth,” the correct reply is: “What is nine thousand?”

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.

Family Vacation to Now Resorts & Spas

Now Jade Resort & Spa

Now Jade Resort & Spa

Many families are in the process of booking their summer getaways and are deciding where to go. Over the next few weeks we will feature some of our favorite family vacation resorts, to help you make your decision.

One of my favorite resorts my family visits over and over is Now Jade Riviera Cancun (if you read the blog often, you may already know this). My family loves Mexico for the white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, history, culture and charm. I am a creature of habit and we tend to go back to Mexico often.

As I write this, I’m dreaming of sitting under a palapa with my toes in the sand.

Here are my top 5 reasons why Now Jade Riviera Cancun makes a great family vacation (which you can’t necessarily find in a brochure or on a website):

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Feel NO #MommyGuilt on an Apple Vacation!

#Mommyguilt  –  All the mommies have it, right? Well, I am on the first leg of my son’s summer break. As I was heading off to work and he was heading off to the library with Grandmom, it snuck up on me: I should be taking him to the park, pool or to a movie.

Then I remember – it’s OK!  I prepared, I planned! I have plenty of activities and trips planned for the summer, including some valuable #Familytime.

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Unlimited Luxury for All

As told by Jeff Farinosi, Senior Graphic Designer

I have a SECRET to tell you NOW (whispering): you can call me AMResorts’ #1 groupie. The past 5 trips I’ve taken were all at Secrets and NOW Resorts if that tells you something! During my travels I’ve been in relationships and have also been FREE (happily divorced) in others! Besides my relationship status changing, my love for AMResorts has not.secretsbanner

Most people would throw a label on Secrets Resorts as being mostly catered for couples and romance. That is far from the truth. They are wide open and friendly to any type of human being or group of people. Whether a Dolce & Gabbana cologne-doused metrosexual or a gun-rack-in-the-back-of-your-pick-up-truck redneck, you’ll see all sorts or personalities sharing and enjoying the public areas together, whether it’s the lobby or the swim-up bar. I ought to know since I accompanied the metrosexual, the redneck and his wife on a few of my trips! At the end of the trip, all of them wanted more with no complaints.

So when selling the Secrets brand, I say go for it and describe that the resorts cater to all and not just the ones deeply in love. There are plenty of opportunities to get romantic and the resorts are overall quiet when compared to the kid-friendly resorts. But there’s never a feeling of being a “third wheel” when staying at a Secrets Resort & Spa.


Now Jade Riviera Cancun

My family and I recently headed to Cancun, Mexico for our summer vacation. We had a couple of close friends join us on our adventure. It was their first time traveling to Mexico, so I was really excited about showing them sugar white beaches and the crystalline blue Caribbean Sea. We stayed at the Now Jade Riviera Cancun, an upscale luxury all-inclusive resort.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were pleasantly greeted and all of us quickly had a cool beverage in hand while we waited to check in – already off to a great start. All of us needed to recharge from traveling, so we went for lunch and ate outside. The weather was perfect – sunny and blue skies. I could tell that we were all going to have a great time! The best part for me was hanging by the infinity pool in a super comfortable lounge chair. I find it incredibly relaxing laying back and looking at the ocean. Throughout our stay we tried all the different type of restaurants and checked out the evening entertainment nightly. My family and friends and I shared a lot of laughs, enjoyed delicious food, had the best service, in a sunny tropical setting – I would go back in a heartbeat. 

Have you stayed at the Now Jade Riviera Cancun? Share your thoughts and comments.

Step Up Your Stay with Apple Vacations

With so many people looking for a “price-driven” vacation in this economy, they might lose sight of the incredible in-resort upgrades available. Some people may have a price point that they have to stick to, but it is always nice to look into an upgrade if your budget allows. And, if you do a little research ahead of time, and keep your eye on sales, you can get an upgraded room, view or amenities for just little more, and it will really enhance your vacation.

Most hotels do have an upgraded section or upgraded rooms. On my last stay at Now Jade Riviera Cancun, I upgraded to the Preferred Club. At Now Jade this is what it included: upon arrival we were escorted through the main lobby and into the Preferred Club lounge. We had a private check-in, with snacks and drinks, at a comfy desk and chair versus the main lobby. From that point on, our key provided us access to this Preferred Club lounge. In the lounge, there were always plenty of drinks, sandwiches and snacks available all day and all night long. There were board games for rainy or lazy days. There were 2 computers with free internet access, and there was also a Preferred Club concierge there for any assistance we needed.  Preferred Club rooms were much larger.  Our room was a full suite with a sitting area and separate living area, 2 televisions, a huge bathroom and a jacuzzi on the balcony! There was plenty of space for a family. There were also extra amenities in the room, such as chips, candy, sodas and liquor. The best part about the Preferred Club at Now Jade is the Preferred Club adults-only pool.  It’s an amazing infinity pool with a great swim up bar and amazing views of crystal blue ocean. It was so relaxing sitting by (or in) the pool with these majestic views. On our latest trip, when our son went to the Explorer’s kids club each afternoon, my husband and I would head over to this pool to relax. Bali beds and upgraded lounge chairs surround the pool and were heavenly.

Almost every hotel offers some type of upgraded “clubs”, views, rooms and amenities. So when you make your decision, don’t forget to then look into an ocean view room, junior suite, a swim-up suite, and even a Jacuzzi room.  Any one of these options is a great way to have an even more amazing experience, and it will also make all your friends and family super – jealous when they see the pictures of your Apple Vacation 🙂

To see some current hotels with upgrade offers click here.