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Yungas Road (Death Road) – 1 Day Travel

Tour

Information

The Yungas Road is a cycle route about 60 km long which links the city of La Paz and the Yungas region of Bolivia. Many tour operators cater to downhill mountain biking, providing information, guides, transport and equipment. At least 18 cyclists have died on the road since 1998. The tourist route is a 64 km-long road with 3500 metres of descent.

The route includes the Cotapata-Santa Bárbara section. It replaced the old road, built in 1930. It was considered dangerous because of its steep slopes, narrow single track, lack of guardrails, rain, and fog, and was nicknamed the “Road of Death“. However, it was not the most dangerous road in the region. Unlike the rest of the country, traffic was left-hand, to allow the driver to assess the distance of their outer wheel from the edge of the road.

A new alternative route, now part of Route 3, was built during a 20-year period ending in 2006. The modernization included enlarging the carriageway from one to two lanes; asphalt paving; bridges, drainage, guardrails, and the building of a new section between Chusquipata and Yolosa, bypassing the most dangerous sections of the original road.

The “Death Road” itself is not difficult, it is just that when accidents happened, cars were often too fast or inattentive. This can be better controlled by bicycle. However, have someone more conservative leading your group, just in case. Since it is downhill all the time, the 60 km are possible in 3-5 hr, depending on the amount of stops and the weather. Front suspension is best, but full suspension is not needed—this is a gravel road used by cars before, it is not an off-road trail. Some tour companies offer their clients really bad and old bicycles, proofing the easiness of the road. Nevertheless, get a good bicycle—the most important thing are your breaks.

Highlights

  • 30 minutes away from Coroico there is this community project that offers canyoning and trekking. Canyoning involves rappelling down 8 natural waterfalls with pure, fresh, crystal clear water in the middle of the Yungas Jungle. You can also enjoy trekking through the Yungas tropics appreciating nature and fauna.
  • Pozas del Vagante. River swimming.
  • Laguna Cedromayo. A nice swimming pool next to a waterfall, in case it gets really hot.
  • A 1,500-m zipline developed by the community in 2010. It flies at speeds of up to 85 km/h. Besides this station there is another 4 higher one across the river. Check it out in case you go by with the bicycle.
  • The “Vertical Route” Circuit (Iron Road / Via Ferrata). The communities San Juan de la Miel and Villa Ascensión offer this commercial 6-hr adventure tour along 5 different “iron activities”: abseiling, iron steps, a hanging bridge of 30 m, a 100-m zip line, and a rope swing. The “road” is both, vertical and horizontal, equipped with nails, dams, staples, chains, handrails, suspension bridges and zip lines.

 

Location

Added By James

James