The name Death Road just sounds badass, so when my friends suggested we bike down this narrow dirt road in Bolivia with terrifying drops…how could I say no?!
Just the other day a coworker was telling me that people actually take sedatives when travelling by bus or truck down this road through Bolivia to help ease their nerves. That story made me laugh when I then thought about biking Death Road, a sedative definitely wouldn’t have helped me then!
The road itself is actually called North Yungas Road and spans the distance of 56km from La Paz to Coroico. In 1996 it was dubbed the “world’s most dangerous road” and became an instant tourist attraction and biking Death Road instantly became one of Bolivia’s biggest tourist attractions.
It’s completely understandable why tourists enjoy mountain biking down this road. You’re immediately impressed by the absolutely stunning views as you barrel down the narrow dirt road (hoping that your breaks will work). It is a little scary, and to begin with I was going pretty slowly. Once I got comfortable on my bike though, I was having a great time speeding down the road!
I was nervous for good reason, too as I was biking Death Road. As I was riding my bike down the road I noticed crosses and memorials and our guide explained that some estimates claim that 300 people a year die on this road. The road begins with drops of 15,400 feet and is as narrow as 3 meters, which feels like 3 feet when you’re making way for an oncoming truck or van!
Next time I’m in Bolivia though, I’m going to investigate South Yungas Road. Apparently it is just as beautiful, and dangerous, but with less tourists! Anybody been there, what are your thoughts?