The Lost World of Quintana Roo
The Lost World of Quintana Roo is out of print. But you can find copies at Amazon for $22.00 and up and at abebooks.com in English and Spanish for for $15 and up (English). alibris has the book beginning at $12.00. Doubtless other used book sites and shops have the book at similar prices. This non-fiction recounting of a solo trek on foot in 1962 from what would become Cancun, all the way down the Caribbean coast of Quintana Roo, to Belise is an amazing tale. I recommend reading it.
The book resonates with me particularly because I am sure that Peissel had to walk down the pictured beach in front of my house, just north of Tulum, to reach his destination. The mangrove behind the beach would have been utterly impenetrable on foot and without assistance. Walking for days on beaches this hot and sunny without access to much fresh water would be very difficult.
What was on this beach in the early 60's? The beach was probably a cocal, a place where coconuts were grown. A caretaker (or a caretaker's family) would take care of the trees (not much is required) and collect the fruit. Boats would come by to pick up the coconuts and carry them to Cozumel or to Belise for sale. Of course, there was no electricity. And of course, there were no roads into the interior. The mangrove behind the beach is wide and deep to this day, but then there were probably more jaguars than now. And many more turtles.
The Mayan Riviera and Tulum have now become tourist destinations. People who travel there now on insane Highway 307 really have no idea what the area was like a scant 50 years ago. Peissel's book describes that beautifully.
A wonderful gift for people who have discovered and love the Mayan Riviera.