Bolivia’s Death Road

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If you are feeling a little bit daring then I feel as though a trip to North Yungas Road, more commonly known as ‘Death Road’ in Bolivia is in order. Now, the road obviously did not get that name for being a safe place to drive. In fact, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous roads in the world. It is estimated that every single year about 300 travellers are killed over the 38 mile length. This is a massive number. Of course, that does not put people off travelling from far and wide to pay it a little bit of a visit.

This road stretches from the Amazon Rainforest all the way to the capital of Bolivia. It is one of only a few roads to do so, and without a doubt one of the quickest routes between the two. As a result, many people actually have to travel the route as a necessity as opposed for a bit of adventure. As a tourist though, I am sure that you will be heading to this road just to find out what it is all about.

So, why is this road known as ‘Death Road’? Well, because it is remarkably dangerous! The highest point of the road is at 4,650 meters. This is known as La Cumbre Pass. Along the route you will be traversing all sorts of hills and cliffs with your vehicle. All along the way you will be surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in all of Bolivia. Don’t look too hard though, taking your eyes off the road for just a second can spell death. Yes, it really is that dangerous.

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The majority of the road is a single-lane road….although you have cars going both up and down it. At no point along the route will you find a guard rail. These leaves drops of up to 600 feet fully exposed. That would be fine if this was a straight road. It is not though. It is probably one of the toughest to navigate roads with twists and turns galore. It can become incredibly wet during the rainy season and from time to time fog will descend on the area. This will make it even tougher to traverse because you will never be able to see what is coming up ahead. This is how most accidents happen. Owing to the danger of the road, this is the ONLY road in Bolivia which states that you have to drive on the left hand side of the road. This ensures that visibility is at its maximum…accidents still do happen though….quite frequently in fact (average around one to two deaths a day)

For those that want to just explore the scenery and are not quite that as daring as some people, then a visit to South Yungas Road may be best instead. This road, whilst still dangerous, is nowhere near as dangerous as the Death Road. It stretches 40 miles and connects up La Paz and Chulumani.

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Risto

Risto is the founder and editor of fronne.com, where you can find travel related articles from around the world.

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