Book IX, Chapter XXV
On the oak groves that the author says are to be found and he has seen in the Mainland, not far from the Southern coast, in the foot of the sierras called Orocí.
Translated by Lucy Brown ’23
I remember when going from the city of León, which is in the Nagrando province, in the governance of Nicaragua, to board the ship at Nicoya to go to the city of Panama by the coast and the south sea, after having climbed a rough mountain near the foothills of the sierra called Orocí (and leaving those behind to our north on our left, after we have climbed to where the plains of Nicoya begin), about a league ahead on the road, still leaving the sierras of Orocí to the North as we headed east, on the foot of that sierra I came across a group of acorn oak trees, and since they were not in season no acorns were found in their branches. Except that more than a dozen acorns were found on the ground: I stopped with those I had brought with me to look for them, and we ate them even though they were somewhat dry; and they were neither more nor less than those of Spain, the branches and the leaves of the tree as well as the fruit. I have mentioned this so that it is known that there are such trees where I have said, and because I say that it was not the time for acorns there, the day being August 7th. But I will not fail to mention a meal that the Indians that I brought with me as company had that evening. We went to sleep by a stream called los Murciélagos, because there were many bats, and it was very deep, between two ravines, and very full of trees and woodland groves. That night, some of the Indians who were bearing my baggage, ate large roasted frogs, and these Indians were from the fortress in Nicaragua, and out of friendship around twenty of them carried my cargo, and the day before they had eaten lots of roasted scorpions. And as I looked at the delicacy they were eating in wonder, they invited me with lots of laughter to eat it and said that it was very good. There could be a distance of a league and a half or two to the large river called Marinia, which flows down from that sierra of Orocí that I mentioned, and from the said oak tree grove to Nicoya the distance could be eleven or twelve leagues, a little more or less.
Image retrieved from John Carter Bwon Library at Brown University.