If you love history, then it’s a good bet you’ll fall easily for Antigua.
Great beaches, swanky resorts, and world-class yachting may be the top draws here, but it’s impossible to ignore the island’s colorful history, old talk, and legends. Even at luxury properties like Sugar Ridge, the boutique hotel I called home this past weekend, where you might expect guests to solely have an interest in the sublime pampering available at their disposal, most everyone I met was keen on exploring the island’s historic treasures.
(More on the wonders of Sugar Ridge here.)
Nelson’s Dockyard is undoubtedly Antigua’s top attraction, historic or otherwise, and well worth a visit, though uncommon travelers won’t want to miss the rocky spot pictured above.
That is Devil’s Bridge, a natural overpass carved out over thousands of years by thunderous Atlantic Ocean waves. You can find it in the rugged, though not terribly remote central portion of Antigua’s eastern shore between Nonsuch and Long bays.
Devil’s Bridge is significant from a proven historical standpoint as Amerindian artifacts have been unearthed here, suggesting some of Antigua’s earliest residents probably lived in the area.
From a mythological standpoint, though, it’s even more legendary.
According to popular local beliefs, slaves seeing no other escape from their lives of bondage, would steal away to this spot and leap to their deaths from atop the bridge.
There’s no historical evidence to support the myth, but the story so resonated within Antiguan culture over the years that it inspired the Devil’s Bridge name.
If you go, you’ll find the name fits in a few ways.
Waves crash in pretty hard here, making much of the already tricky jagged rock footing very slippery. Probably not a good idea to venture out across the bridge either as you could easily get swept off and into the churning surf below.
Better to keep a safe distance, admire the power of the sea, and contemplate the history, both real and imagined, that has come to define this unique natural attraction.