The story behind the Death Road Bolivia
The Yungas road covers approximately 70 kilometers and connects the capital, La Paz, with the city of Coroico, in the Yungas region of the Amazon basin of Bolivia. This deadly road was built in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners of war from the Chaco conflict.
At that time, the Yungas Road was the only link between La Paz and the Yungas region. So if you needed to make the trip, you would be risking your life along the way. Today, it is not used that often. In 2009, the Bolivian government opened a modern two-lane highway, new pavement, drainage systems, and railings that eliminated the need to travel the Death Road.]
Today, this trail is still used by thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies cycling along Bolivia’s famous Death Road.
Yungas road conditions
Along the way, the altitudinal range changes considerably when leaving La Paz. The Yungas road begins at an elevation of 3,640 meters (11,942 feet). The path first ascends rapidly to about 4650 meters (15260 feet) at Paso de La Cumbre before descending to 1200 meters (3900 feet) in the city of Coroico.
Fluctuations in altitude mean that travelers will rapidly experience various changes in condition without warning. Travelers will experience cold, windy conditions in the highlands and hot, humid conditions in the rainforest below.
The actual physical components of the road do not promote safe travel. The path contains:
A single lane of 3 meters wide.
Cliffs up to 600 meters (2000 feet)
These cliffs have claimed countless lives over the years. Along Bolivia’s death road it is common to see many crosses and altars that mark some of the many places where people lost their lives.
Different conditions in different seasons
Bolivia road of dead – The road has different conditions between the rainy and dry seasons. During the rainy season, rain and fog can seriously disturb visibility and rushing water can turn the road into muddy terrain. In the dry season, rockslides are common and dust also limits visibility.
It is important to know that unlike anywhere else in the country, on the Yungas Highway, downhill drivers must drive on the left side of the road to get a better view and make the passage safer. Note that the left side is the edge of the road, which means that this creates extremely dangerous conditions.
Tourism on the Yungas highway
The danger of Bolivia’s highway of death attracts tourists from all over the world. Every year, many mountain bikers come to the country to travel this risky route and experience moments of adrenaline. Today, the path is still dangerous and is recommended for the more adventurous.