Death Road: The World’s Most Dangerous Road
One of the most popular activities to do when visiting La Paz in Bolivia is to take on the Death Road on bicycle. The road is locally known as La Ruta de la Muerte or the death road and it got its name from its terrifying high number of deaths. Until 2007 there were as many as 300 deaths per year on this road. It has now been closed for most cars and every day hundreds of tourists mountain bike down this infamous road.
Located in the Yungay, this road is the entry into the Bolivian Amazon. The landscape along the Death Road is absolutely breathtaking. The vegetation is so lush and green with several waterfalls along the way only to finish your journey in the beautiful Amazon jungle.
This is not an activity for the faint of heart. Biking down this narrow path alongside a steep cliff in the mountains of Coroico is the most famous extreme sport adventure in Bolivia.
This incredibly scenic road starts in high altitude at 4700 meters overlooking snow covered mountains. You ride your bicycle down for 56 kilometres for more 4 hours until you make it to 1000 meters elevation. This descent of more than 3600 meters starts in high altitude and has you riding down a narrow path along the cliff.
If you like mountain biking then this is the activity for you! When I took on the Death Road I had not been on a bicycle in a few years. And I had never really done mountain biking so I had no idea what to expect. You don’t need to be experimented to take on this activity since you can go at your own pace. As for myself, my fear of heights combined with my lack of skills on a bicycle made this experience quite painful.
Since the entire road is downhill, it does not require too much strength. Although, my hands did get extremely sore because I was pushing the brakes the entire way down.
I was working with the company Altitude Biking to produce a promotional video of the Death Road so I had to do it three times to get enough footage. The first time I did the bicycle with some friends, but it was really hard to film people at the same time since I was the slowest and the last of my group. My hands were also so sore from the ride that flying my drone was much harder. So I came back two more times and rode in the car following the riders and filming them.
Riding the front of the car at more than 50 km/h with my drone in my hands getting ready to fly was daunting to say the least. The bicycles were actually faster than the car most of the time, but my driver was intent on going as fast as possible. As much as I was frightened, I trusted that my driver knew this road like the back of his hand.
The price of this activity will vary a lot depending on which company and which type of bicycle you choose. The cheapest options probably won’t offer the best quality of equipment so make sure to research and get a bicycle with a decent suspension as well as gloves, helmet and good protection for your body.
Beware to not stay too close to the people in front of you while riding down. Most accidents happen when someone is too close and hits the person in front of them.
Be careful because a lot of people get small injuries, although most of the stories that I have heard were caused by people who were going too fast or riding too close to someone else. Stay safe and have fun!