The famous Blue Parrot Nightclub in Playa del Carmen will remain permanently closed after the investigation of January’s shooting is completed. Instead, a new hotel will be opening in its place along with a concert area. The nightclub was actually purchased two years ago and the new owner had been waiting for the current lease to expire. Work on the hotel will begin in approximately four months along with an extensive renovation of 12th Street. The new hotel’s name has not yet been mentioned.
To those of you familiar with Panama Jack products (sunglasses, tanning oil, beach clothing, etc.), it may be of interest to note that Playa Hotels and Resorts has partnered with said company in order to launch Panama Jack’s brand into Mexico’s all-inclusive market. Both the Gran Caribe and Gran Porto Resorts will be rebranded with the Panama Jack name (Panama Jack Gran Caribe/Panama Jack Gran Porto)–the resorts will officially use the name in the last quarter of 2017 following a multi-million dollar refurbishment.
Vacationers traveling to Akumal in the next few weeks should be aware that PROFEPA (the Federal Environmental Protection Agency in Mexico) has temporarily suspended tour group snorkeling in Akumal Bay. The agency determined that the original ruling of allowing only a certain number of tour group participants to snorkel had been grossly ignored by tour companies, so PROFEPA is trying to determine how to permanently resolve this issue while protecting the turtles, coral, and other sea life in the bay. At the present time, individual snorkelers, for the most part, are allowed to swim and snorkel in front of Secrets Akumal and ABBWR without being harassed, but snorkeling north of this area may result in being told to get out of the water (the northern end of the bay is where most of the sea grass beds are and where snorkel groups typically have entered the water in the past). There are buoys marking these areas, but there is a lot of confusion right now about who is allowed in the bay and exactly where people are allowed to snorkel. Some reports state that snorkeling is allowed as long as life vests and fins are not used, while others state info to the contrary. If fins and life vests are not allowed, this seems to be a very unsafe snorkeling practice unless it is done immediately offshore.
As most people are already aware, Playa del Carmen’s popular Blue Parrot nightclub was the site of a tragic shooting early this morning at around 2:30 a.m. There are five deaths reported including several security members and a US citizen from Colorado who was killed in the ensuing stampede; the motive of the shooting is unclear at this time, but Mexican police are investigating the possibilities of retribution for failed extortion payments, a murder plot for unknown reasons, or failure to access the BPM Music Festival in order to sell drugs. While the report states this is a resort, the Blue Parrot also owns a small hotel in Playa del Carmen which is not one of the large all-inclusive resorts popular in this area (Playa del Carmen is a 40 min. drive south of the Cancun airport). If you wish to know more about this story, here is an article and short video.
Apparently there was a fire at Grand Bahia Principe Tulum which started in the evening hours yesterday, Jan. 13 2017. The fire began in the Circle lobby bar area due to an electrical short circuit and has destroyed the bar area. While some initial reports stated the lobby and theater were gone as well, these areas were not greatly affected and the resort has put up a temporary bar in the theater area. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident.
Caribbean Journal (one of the largest websites advocating all things Caribbean) votes every year on the “Best Of” in various categories. In 2016, Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita was voted the Best Caribbean All Inclusive Resort. The article sites the resort’s personalized service and dedication of the staff as a basis for its vote. (The spa’s not so bad either!)
There is a new aquarium in Playa del Carmen called L’Aquarium by Blau Life. It consists of 45 exhibitions and promotes the education and conservation of marine life through observation and interaction with the exhibits. It is the 3rd largest aquarium in the country and is located on the corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street. At this time there is a paucity of information about the new attraction, but I’m sure they will be promoting it via Facebook and/or a website, so stay tuned.
Architectural Digest posted a nice summary of the new overwater palafitos at El Dorado Maroma. Take a read at this link.
The wait is almost over!! Just 5 more days until the opening of the overwater palafitos (I know the pic says 10 but it’s only 5)–time to book before they are sold out for eternity (just kidding, but I would bet there is a very heavy demand for them despite the price).
I just read on the Friends of Akumal Bay page on Facebook that the new Profepa rule states that all fins are now banned from snorkelers at Akumal Bay. This reportedly includes all tour group members as well as guests staying at the resorts. Wow. Fins disturb the sand which prevents the sun from nourishing sea bottom grasses as well as potentially damaging coral beds, so looks like the new rule makes sense for the turtles but may present a different kind of snorkeling experience for vacationers.