The World's Most Dangerous Road

Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Bolivia  , La Paz,
Monday, November 8, 2010

Another early start, 6.30am and we set off for the tour company to cycle down the most dangerous road.

We drove to the start and kitted up with protective trousers, knee and elbow pads and a full helmet, which transformed Aff into a star of the predator movie! The bikes had full suspension, and were made in America and imported.

The descent takes you through beautiful scenery from 4650 metres in the antiplano down to 1200 metres jungle a total length of 68km. The first part of the cycle is on the main paved road an is very fast and smooth winding its way down through the mountains. Carla was glad she had been cycling in Bristol, as she was not put off by the passing traffic and started to pick up a good speed after our tour guide who had gone zooming off ahead.

The second section was the actual death road, an unpaved, rocky road, which winds it way around the mountain edge with at points 1000 metre sheer drop on your left. So whilst Carla had been fast on the paved road she was like an old granny on the death road gripping the brakes the entire way down, whilst Aff had to wait at regular intervals for her to catch up.

As we descended down the road the scenery changed a lot from arid mountains with the sheer drop at the side of the road where it was easy to see how the road got its name, to lush greenery with vegetation clinging to the edges, which as we heard from our guide, if you were lucky, may have even saved you from plummeting to your death, as it did a young man some years back. As you dropped through the altitude the weather changed as well, at the top it was cold and Carla had to borrow a coat from the instructor, but towards the bottom it became incredibly hot and humid as we entered the jungle.

As we cycled down the road you could see several signs of why the road had got its name, indicated by several crosses on corners and flowers at miny shrines at the side of the road or 
at crumbled away edges where people had died in the past. However, we did not find it particularly dangerous,  mainly because they have built a new road now, so there was barely any traffic, in fact we only past two cars and they were relatively close to the bottom; granted one of them almost killed Aff as it came flying around the corner but Aff heard it coming and kept his cool and moved out of its way to the edge of the road.

When we reached the bottom of the death road we stop for a drink and then got back into the van to take us to a hotel for lunch and a swim in its pool. The hotel was really nice, with a balcony overlooking Corico with a beautifully landscaped garden and an inviting swimming pool. As it was so hot we were eager to jump into the pool and have a swim, we only had about an hour before we needed to head back to La Paz, so we split it between relaxing in the pool and enjoying the buffet lunch. 

On the way back we thought we would drive on the new road back, but to our surprise we went back along the death road. Now this seemed far more dangerous than the cycle, as we think they must stop traffic in the morning but in the afternoon there was actually several lorries and other vehicles using the road. So we had to overtake on the narrow, windy corners whilst clinging to the seat and closing one eye. It did give us another chance to see the spectacular scenery though, which Aff enjoyed by hanging out of the window in an attempt to take photos. Luckily we made it to the top unharmed and back on a paved road - bliss! Back to La Paz
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The Big D on

Okay, Macho-Man, where's the photo of you leaping back into the van when the road disappeared from under you as the van came perilously close to the edge whilst you were leaning out? :-)

The Big D again on

Good stuff. Like the suits. Parachutes included?

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