First Resort Dolphinarium to Open in Mexico

Swimming with dolphins has been gaining in popularity over the years. Most dolphin-swim attractions are heavily booked, with limited slots open for visitors to interact with these creatures. Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa has partnered with Via Delphi to open the first dolphinarium at a resort in Mexico. While there are a number of dolphin-swim operators throughout Mexico, including in Cancun and Los Cabos, this is the first affiliated directly with a resort. This should go a long way in ensuring that clients obtain an appointment to swim with dolphins.

Scheduled to open next month, the Delphinus Dreams Cancun excursion will include roundtrip transportation, complimentary goggles for underwater activities, lockers for personal items and valuables, showers, towels and an hour-long dolphin experience. Guests can also take advantage of photography and DVD video services to provide records of their dolphin swim. Along with guests of Dreams Cancun, Delphinus Dreams Cancun will also offer the experience to Cancun visitors and locals; resort guests will get a discount.

Well-respected Program

Delphinus Dreams Cancun is the fifth dolphinarium operated by Via Delphi. The company has a good reputation in its specialized field, earning high marks for its veterinary supervision, training and nutrition, as well as for providing the appropriate environment for socialization. The Via Delphi Institute for Research in Water Mammals note that it "offers a natural, friendly swim with the dolphins." This is important, as some operators have been known to over-schedule their dolphin swims, which can stress them. Via Delphi's breeding program has a survival rate double that of similar programs around the world and more than triple the survival rate found in the wild. The company is looking forward to six dolphin births this year.

Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa is part of the all-inclusive AMResorts Dreams brand. Surrounded on three sides by the Caribbean, the resort commands the shore point known as Punta Cancún. On property are 379 guest rooms and suites, a spa, the Explorer's Club for kids, three á la carte and one buffet-style restaurant, and 24-hour room service. For more info, e-mail info@dreamscancun.com.mx, call 866-2DREAMS, or visit www.dreamsresorts.com.

Riviera Maya Update

New Tourism Director; Visitor Numbers Surge

Mexico's Riviera Maya powers into 2007 with a new director of tourism and figures showing strong tourism growth. Last month, Javier Aranda Pedrero became the director of tourism for the Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Board (FPTRM), following work as under-secretary of tourism promotion for the Tourism Secretariat in Quintana Roo. The FPTRM has released 2006 tourism statistics showing a 20.7 percent increase in tourist arrivals for 2006. This percentage is slightly skewed, since the Riviera Maya had a setback in 2005 due to hurricanes Emily and Wilma. Riviera Maya's hotel room inventory reached 30,705 rooms in 2006, compared to 26,980 in 2005. In 2007, the number of hotel rooms will increase to 34,113. Visit www.rivieramaya.com.

Delphinus Dreams Cancun has a dolphinarium on property

New Property in Cancun

The all-inclusive Elan Resort & Spa in Cancun officially opened on March 8. The resort has completed a $15 million refurbishment of the former Club Las Velas, which closed after a battering from Hurricane Wilma. Resembling a 17th-century Mexican village, the resort has 95 rooms and 51 one-to three-bedroom villas with Wi-Fi Internet access, 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and cable TV. The 51 duplex villa suites are top-of-the-line for the resort. Of these, the 10 three-bedroom villas on Calle San Jose and the 11 units on Calle Santa Juliana open directly onto the beach. Villas have a second TV, unlimited wine and beer and a cappuccino maker. Room rates start at $300 a night through April 7. Villas start at $450. Elan has six restaurants, three bars, two private beach areas, two swimming pools, tennis courts and a spa and fitness center. The agent liaison is Jim Bauer, director of reservations (888-400-ELAN, jim@smartsinc.com). Visit www.elanresort.com.