Upon first viewing, you’d probably be somewhat perplexed by Quetzaltenango’s Puente de los Chocoyos, or “Parakeet Bridge.” A stand-alone structure that neither connects two raised areas nor crosses any gap or body of water, it’s become dubbed the” Bridge to Nowhere” by witty, traveling wordsmiths oblivious to its fairly rich history. But before you go cracking the same jokes, allow us to shed a little light on this quaint architectural landmark.
Los Chocoyos’ actual story dates back to 1883, when the city banded together to build a bridge over Avenida 15 (then Calle de los Chocoyos), which had a tendency to flood every rainy season. Several rebuilds later, the current structure was erected in 1928. Okay, maybe not the most exciting history, however the bridge has since given rise to a legend that’s much more intriguing. According to the story, two young lovers from rivaling families around Xela died of broken hearts after being forced to live away from one another. Their spirits, however, returned to the bridge at night in the form of two parakeets, affirming their undying love and commitment to each other. Needless to say, it’s not unusual these days to catch sight of smitten local couples standing together at the bridge, which has become a local landmark of sorts. If you’re sans lover, no problem: just take a few minutes to enjoy a cool photo op you’ll only find in Quetzaltenango.