These friends walking along the beach are passing a palapa. This is an open-ended hut with a thatched roof. The Spanish word means “pulpous leaf.” You will also see dried palm leaves covering gazebos, beach umbrellas, bars, restaurants and major buildings. This style dates back to the Mayans. Most people equate Mesoamerican architecture with stone pyramids because they have survived for hundreds and in some cases a thousand plus years. But the Mayan houses and the top of their temples were made from wood with thatched roofs.