It begins at 15,400 feet and for an estimated 300 people a year ends in the loss of their life, yet Bolivia’s North Yungus Road – better known as ‘The Death Road’ – is among Bolivia’s largest draw cards for a thrill-seeking adventure. So after a late night in central La Paz, the journey to the Death Road began.
Travelers and tourists cycle the road in their masses, through the sweeping and never ending mountains of Bolivia. Prior to my departure, I managed to negotiate leaving 1 hour earlier than the standard departure time from La Paz. My thinking was that this way would provide a good chance of having the road completely free of dozens of other tour operators and the hordes of tourists on wheels. Thankfully, it worked out a dream – no other tourists were seen. Perfect.
“It’s been referred to as ‘Death Road’ pretty much since 1994 when Inter-American Development Bank proclaimed it was the World’s Most Dangerous Road. The organisation conducted a study and discovered 200 to 300 people were dying on the road per year.”
For the locals, the ‘Death Road’ is an important transport route which they brave in cars and trucks, teetering on the edge and risking their lives with every trip.
Bolivian natives are forced to use the road as a crucial transport route, with local road rules specifying that the downhill driver never has the right of way and must move to the outer edge of the road. Not a place to have road rage, or to ignore the highway code – that’s for sure.