That’s the real name. It would be a more grabbing post if we named it Death Road, the Camino de la Muerte – the traditional names. It’s the most dangerous road in the world.
The Death Road is the lower track from (my waypoint) ‘beginning of yungas road’ to the town of Yolosa. The upper track is the new Yungas road, built because of the danger of the old road.
You can see from the track that I rode it from left to right, downhill. This is the most dangerous way to do it.
It is legendary for its extreme danger and in 1995 the InterAmerican Development Bank christened it as the “world’s most dangerous road”.One estimate is that 200 to 300 travellers are killed yearly along the road. The road includes cross markings on many of the spots where vehicles have fallen.
This is one of the few routes that connects the Amazon rainforest region of northern Bolivia, or Yungas, to its capital city. Upon leaving La Paz, the road first ascends to around 4,650 metres (15,260 ft) at La Cumbre Pass, before descending to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) at the town of Coroico, transiting quickly from cool Altiplano terrain to rainforest as it winds through very steep hillsides and atop cliffs.
The largely single-lane road has no guard rails and cliffs of up to 600 meters (1,968 feet). Most of the road is the width of a single vehicle, about 3.2 metres (10 ft). During the rainy season from November through March (oops), rain and fog can severely hamper visibility, and water runoff can turn the road into a muddy track, affecting traction (tell me about it). In the summer, rockfalls are common and vehicle dust limits visibility as well.
One of the local road rules specifies that the downhill driver never has the right of way and must move to the outer edge of the road. This forces the faster downhill vehicle to stop so that passing can be negotiated safely. Unlike the rest of Bolivia, vehicles are required to drive on the left side of the road, to give the driver a better view of the vehicle’s outside wheel and making passing safer.
I’ve noticed from other ride reports that no-one gets many photos. The reason is obvious – you just want to get the job done and ride it out.! There’s one famous place everyone gets a photo. The corner here is an incredible 25 feet wide, so it’s where riders stop to talk, take a pic, drink some water, lie about how easy it is. The drop here isn’t significant but the view is tremendous. There’s Lucinda
Some of the inside corners had breathtaking drops and crucifixes where people hadn’t made it. The video to the left is another one of the fun inside corners (click, enlarge and click HD). Raining like crazy so I’m going very slow – there’s even less visability through my visor than through the camera. My Contour camera isn’t waterproof so it came off after this
Four French adventure seekers on mountain bikes and their guide were drinking water here. I asked them what they thought. One said ‘terrifying’. I didn’t laugh.
Despite the legendary reputation it’s not close to the recent Canyon del Pato or the Cordillera Lagunas route for sustained edgy riding. But it is more dangerous. But when I finished del Pato I had to sit down for a minute and go holy shit that was intense
The weather was clearing on the ride back to La Paz
It’s rainy season here for the next three or four months