The North Yungas Road connects La Paz, Bolivia to the small town of Coroico in the tropical Yungas region. It was built by Paraguayan prisoners during the Chaco War of the 1930s and quickly gained notoriety, although it wasn’t christened the world’s most dangerous road until 1995, by the Inter-American Development Bank. At some points, the narrow, single-lane road’s sharp curves and sheer drops led to vehicles falling off, especially during the rainy season. (You can even search for videos of this happening on Youtube.) After a new alternative road was built, the Yungas Road became much less frequently transited by vehicles. At the same time, it became a popular tourist destination attracting mountain biking thrill-seekers…
Unless you are equipped with your own reliable, safe mountain biking equipment, you’ll need to arrange this excursion through a travel agency in La Paz. They’ll provide a hotel pickup and drop-off, the US$4 admission to the road, the necessary equipment, food and drinks, facilities in Coroico, and transport to La Paz. Most also provide an “I Survived the World’s Most Dangerous Road” t-shirt and photos of the ride, for the rightfully-earned bragging rights.
If you opt to do a Biking Death Road tour, you’ll be transported from your hotel in La Paz to the ride’s starting point in the morning. The start of the ride, at La Cumbre Pass, 4,700 meters above sea level, is along asphalted road and is windy and cold. That will soon change, however, so the best plan is to dress in easily shed layers.
After the first hour the temperature begins to become ever warmer and the vegetation more abundant as you begin to enter a semi-tropical zone. You’ll notice the climate and landscape change around the time you reach Unduavi village. From here, the views you have will look increasingly more like jungle valley and less like chilly Andean peaks.
You’ll be able to stop at several points along the ride in order to rest and hydrate. There’ll also be the opportunity to take photos at scenic lookouts with enviable views. In the San Juan area, you’ll ride through two waterfalls that fall on the highway, in one of the most picturesque and exciting sections of the ride.
In about five hours, you’ll have descended the equivalent of a 3,500 meter drop, zig zagging down the road to the town of Yolosa, at 1,180 meters above sea level. There, temperatures generally exceed 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
After the ride, you’ll be transported by car to the town of Coroico a half-hour away. There you’ll have a replenishing lunch at a local hotel and the opportunity to use their facilities to shower or swim. In the afternoon, you’ll board a bus to La Paz, where you’ll arrive at around 8pm.
For more information about this and other extreme adventures you can do in Bolivia, contact Pirwa Travel Service at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. And don’t forget to stop by our hostel in La Paz if you’re looking for a cheap, comfortable place to stay, where you can meet and interact with travelers from all over the world.