Some years ago, I asked one of the old timers in Nosara about the origin of the name "Nosara". Amazingly, she did not know but she was as curious as I was. After a bit of research and some help from my daughter, we found an old legend that gives credence to the name. The story is entitled "Curime and Nosara - A Legend of Love". The story was written by José Ramirez Sáizar and has been translated by Richard Jenssen, Jr. We hope you enjoy the story as much as we have.
There once was a tribe of Indians called the Tarascos, who lived on Janitzio, an enchanted isle in Lake Pátzcuaro, México. They fished, warred on occasion with neighboring tribes, and produced exquisite ceramic pottery, jewelry and feather adornments.
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THE LEGEND OF NOSARA
The Tarasco warriors delighted in the distant triumphs of the Nahuas, the Aztecs, the Popolocas, the Otomíes and the Chorotegas, and were fascinated by the accounts of how the Chorotegas, of Aztec lineage, had grown tired of the incessant conflicts with other tribes in México, and migrated to a peninsula in Central America called Nicoya. Yet, life was good on Janitzio, and no one seriously considered leaving. No one, that is, except Curimeo.
Curimeo was a warrior blessed with a powerful physique, who had gained fame in battle against the savage Spaniards. He longed to leave his island and join Huitzilpochtli, the Aztec hummingbird god of war, for a life of adventure. One day he set out alone on a long journey to the Valle del Vetka of the Nicoya Peninsula. He traveled day and night, crossing crocodile-infested rivers, bone-chilling mountain passes, fathomless gorges and never ending plains, until he finally reached the Vetka Valley.
Nambí, the chief of the Chorotegas, greeted Curimeo upon his arrival, and in a short time the Tarasco warrior had earned the chief's admiration for his bravery, prowess at hand-to-hand combat, and accuracy with spear and arrows. Curimeo soon became a respected Chorotega warrior and leader of the tribe's archers.
Before long he met a beautiful young Chorotega princess named Nochari. Curimeo recalled with pleasure that in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, nochtli meant prickly pear, and that tlalli meant land of. Thus, in Nahuatl, Nochari meant Land of the Prickly Pear. He would call her Nosara, a name used by the Tarascos. In turn, Chief Nambí would shorten his name to Curime, which meant the man with the big mustache in Nahuatl. Nosara and Curime soon fell very deeply in love, but life in the land of the prickly pear wasn't without hardship. The Chorotegas had mortal enemies nearby- the Chiras.
One evening during a full moon the Chiras mounted a surprise attack. They watched and plotted as the Chorotegas celebrated the anniversary of their arrival to their promised land. The Chorotegas made offerings in the sacred temple they called the teyopa, drank chicha, a beer made from fermented corn, and danced well into the night.
When they were sure the Chorotega warriors were asleep, or too intoxicated to defend themselves, they attacked. The Chiras slaughtered a number of Chorotegas, then headed for the teyopa to plunder the precious jewelry and golden artifacts. Curime and Nosara awakened to the cries of those being attacked. Upon recognizing the intentions of the Chiras, they raced to the teyopa to save their tribe's treasures.
With a fury he hadn't felt since his days fighting the Spaniards, Curime laid siege to the marauding Chiras. His fusillade of arrows decimated the intruders and forced them to flee for cover. This allowed Nosara to reach the temple, gather the treasures, and escape to a nearby mountain. Curime soon joined his beloved Nosara, and helped her carry the sacred cargo to the summit.
The Chiras then regrouped and launched an assault on the mountain. Curime's deadly hail of arrows held the Chiras at bay just long enough for Nosara to bury the treasures. Yet, the invaders were relentless, and as she rejoined Curime, a Chira arrow pierced his breast, killing him instantly. The valiant Chorotega warrior tumbled down the steep flank of the mountain he and Nosara had climbed only moments earlier. Nosara, beside herself with grief, and fearful that the Chiras would capture her and force her to reveal where she had hidden the Chorotega treasures, slid her quartz dagger from its sheath, and took her own life.
Those who now live near this mountain, called Cerro de las Huacas, or Mountain of the Buried Treasures, recount how on evenings with a full moon you can hear the mournful voice of Curime calling out to Nosara in the distance: NO-CHA-RI...NO-SA-RA...IT'S ME...CU-RI-ME!, and if you listen carefully, you can hear her sad reply through the rustle of the leaves: CU-RI-ME...IT'S ME...NO-CHA-RI!