If you were on vacation, would you want to spend your time biking “The Death Road?” Believe it or not, this is a real place in Bolivia and it is also on the top of many people’s travel bucket list. This is one of the most adventurous trips you can take, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you’re a daredevil at heart, here’s what you need to know.
Located in La Paz, Bolivia, the mountain biking trail known as “The Death Road” has become an almost rite of passage for those who identify as adrenaline junkies. The trail stretches over 43 miles through the Cordillera Oriental mountain chain which connects La Paz to the city of Coroico via a steep road. And when we say steep, it’s really steep, like 15,260 feet above sea level steep.
The road is a twisting and winding one that heads towards the Amazon rainforest. The most frightening part? The side of the road has no railing and looks of to a 2000 foot drop.
Of course, the sad reality is the name of this road describes the end of many unfortunate journeys by people who have tried to traverse the Death Road. Without any guard rails and with visibility issues, things can get pretty dicey. The Inter-American Development Bank has dubbed it the “World’s Most Dangerous Road,” which is backed up by reports that claim that between 200-300 people die on the road (both motorists and cyclists).
For those who don’t care about those statistics, there are biking tours that will take your down the long, steep stretch of the road. The road is about 11-feet wide but there are unpaved sections that do not have guardrails.
The reason behind visibility problems is due to weather patterns, which are varied across the trail. From the Amazon, warm and humid winds meet the Andes slopes and bring rain and fog, causing low visibility. Tumbling rocks and mudslides are also quite common.
The trail takes about 5 hours to complete and costs between $50-100 for a tour. The tour will provide you with the gear you need for the ride, which includes a sweatsuit to wear over your clothing. Expect a range of temperatures, from feeling swelteringly hot to freezing.
So what makes all of this worth it? The spectacular views…and bragging rights, of course.