Published: May 23rd 2008May 19th 2008
The worlds most dangerous road
This road has many names. The death road, the worlds most dangerous road, the coroico road and the yungas road...
The road is going from La Paz to Coroico, and is about 69 km long. It first goes up to 4700 meter, before its descending to 330 meter.
This makes it a popular ride for bikers!
The official name, I think, is Yungas Road. And it's because it connects the Altiplano with the Yungas (mountain to jungle)
The road was build in the 1930s during the Chaco War with Bolivia. They used Paraguayan prisoners to build it.
The reason why it got its nickname "the death road", was because of all the people who died during the construction, one of the guides told me. He said that it was maybe one bus with prisoners that went over the edge each month during the time it took to build the road!
But it is still dangerous after the building as well. It's a single lane gritroad, and with massive dropoffs.
This has lead to a high number of accidents after the road opened, and the other name "the worlds most dangerous road.
Special road rules
The road rules is an exeption from the normal rules in Bolivia. the driver who is going down, have to stop for uphill traffic, and the driver who has the cliff on his left side must drive on the outside. This because he has a better view over the outside wheel, and it's making passing safer.
Accidents in the last couple of weeks
Around 3 weeks ago about 11 people died, included to bikers. One car came up with high speed, got a puncture, hit a biker and fell off the edge. 8 of 12 people in the car died and the biker.
Another biker died falling over the edge, but noone really know what happend. He might have got a heart attack, or just used the front brake in a turn....
At least 13 bikers have died the last 10 years...
We heard other histories as well, so it's with full right it's the worlds most dangerous road.
Biking on the edge
In the last couple of years it has been build a new road on the other side of the valley. This makes the bike ride much safer
without all the traffic.
I booked a trip with a local company, B-side, which I can highly recomend!
We started with driving up to La Cumbre, the highest part of the road at 4700m.
Her we got a good instruction in the bikes, the road, and other safety precautions.
The ride starts with 1 to 2 hours on the new road which is asfalted. This gives us some time to get used to the bikes, and get warm before entering the old road.
We had good stops now and then to check that everything went fine, and to explain the next part of the road.
In total we went from 4700m to 1100 meter in a distance of 64 km.
We had a good lunch halfway through, and some fotosessions on the way, of course : )
We had 3 guides, and we where 15 bikers. They splitted us up after a little while, so everyone could go in their own speed and follow a guide/group they felt comfortable in.
The ride is really nice, but I would actually say I enjoyed the 2 days biking from Sorata more! That ride was less touristy and in even
more spectaculare settings.
After around 5-6 hours we all arrived safe in Yolosa, and almost without injuries... One guy fell over and hit a rock, but was all fine, just a bit of blod in the face...
From Yolosa we drove up to Coroico for a swim in the pool and a tasty dinner before driving up the new road back to La Paz.
I would say that the ride itself is not to bad if you just go in your own comfortable speed, don't try to be tough! And if you felt unsafe, we always had a car which we could jump in to....
Many of the accidents is just people who do stupid things like trying to take pictures while biking, and others are pure accidents, which can happen everywhere. But it's still the worlds most dagerous road....
There are more photos below