They say that in 1514 during the bloody conflicts of the conquistadors, the leader of Nicaragua, Rodrigo de Contreras, came to the plains of Sixaola with the plan to conquer his enemy, Hernán Sánchez de Badajoz. To subdue the indigenous population, Rodrigo de Contreras destroyed all the pejibaye palms in the valley, an essential sustenance for the inhabitants of the area.
The pejibaye palm can be more than 30 meters in height and it is part of the livelihood of the region; it has been depended on for millenniums by both nature and humans.
Each palm bears 5 or 6 clusters, each of which contains 50 or 60 pejibayes. In some cases a palm can bear fruit twice a year. The fruit is reddish-orange and cannot be eaten raw. Once it is boiled to soften it and peeled, one will discover the pulp inside is an intense yellow and very flavorful. The fruit can be prepared in many ways and used to form many delicious dishes. Pejibaye can also be fermented and be made into a type of wine that was very popular in small towns and villages of the region.
The palm has a tough black trunk which was used to fashion weapons for indigenous groups. Its leaves could be used to make floors, roofs, or fences. The sharp thorns around the trunk were used to make needles and fishhooks. In all, the entire pejibaye palm is very useful.
The pejibaye is a well balanced and nutritional fruit which contains protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins A and C, and potassium. Its flavor is delicious and it is often eaten as a snack, in an avocado salad, or with mayonnaise. It is a nutritional part of the diet of people in the Caribbean region as well as in the rest of Costa Rica.