I love adrenaline and I am a sensation-seeker. Cycling down the Death Road was definitely one of my best experience ever. You can not miss it if you’re in the capital! Below you can find my review and all my tips to spend an unforgettable day.
About the Death Road
Known as the World’s Most Dangerous Road, it is situated at a height of 4,700m. Indeed, on this road linking La Paz to the region of the Yunga in the north-west of the country, thousands of people die every year. The narrowness, the curves and the quality of the road make it very easy to lose control and fall down into the ravines.
Due to the number of accidents, the Death Road is now partially closed. With an engine vehicle, you can only drive it up. Curiously, it is the only route of the country where you drive on the left side for security.
What a challenge ! I could not miss it. With a group of friends from the hostel, we went to town to book a tour. There are at least 20 different agencies offering the same service. I advise you to talk to a few and choose the one you prefer. Some leave earlier in the morning (you avoid the crowd). Others offer the best new mountain bikes in the market. In my opinion it is not necessary but make sure the material and equipment you use is safe. All of them speak good English.
You can find all the information you need on the official website of the Tourist Information Center of La Paz.
Ready to cycle down
At 6:30, the minibus picked us up in front of the hostel. Then started a 2h drive to the top of the mountain. Bolivian are not famous to be the best drivers, so I advise you take a motion sickness pill, the road is not the best !
On the top, at that altitude, it is freezing. Make sure you bring enough clothes. We were offered a nice breakfast with hot traditional tea (including the famous coca infusion) while the guides prepared the bikes.
At 9 o´clock, we’re all set up and so excited ! I am honest with you, I was a bit worried at first. The view is stunning but impressive! But all the bad feelings fade away once we are on the bike.
The next 4 hours went by so fast. The landscape is of course amazing but the speed and the risk make the sensations even better. It is important to say that the guides are very available. They make everything safe whether you’re a beginner or an amateur cyclist. If you follow the rules, there is no danger at all. Some curves and portions can be very tricky so you have to listen to them carefully.
I absolutely love cycling down the Death Road. I’ve never been a good rider but this experience is incredible. It gives you the exact feeling of freedom I seek in this kind of experiences.
We take a lot of breaks, and they even give us snacks. We are very hungry indeed!
The end of the road
At 1pm, we finally arrive to a hotel in Coroico, the village at the end of the road. We have lunch all together (included in the price) and we can have a shower and even use the swimming pool. It is so much fun. It is a surprise but the food is fairly good, and we can eat as much as we want. At 4, it is time to go ! We jump in the van and to be fair, I dont remember much of the road back: we were all sleeping!
My advices on the Death Road
First, do not do it if you’re afraid of heights. You permanently have a ravine of hundreds of meters on your left side.
I recommend bringing with you (and this applies for the whole country) motion sickness pill as well as altitude sickness medication. I absolutely love the coca based candies they sell pretty much everywhere in the capital, they are very efficient. Take a bag with you and grab one whenever you feel to! Bring warm clothes, several layers, that you’ll take off one by one as going down. It is very hot in Coroico (1,740m of altitude), so do not forget your bikini ! Always take a bottle of water, but all is included.
I really emphasise on following the safety rules. Make sure you have a good night of sleep before the departure.
With all these advices, you’re ready to spend one of the best day of your life!
What about you? Have you been crazy enough like me to do it? What did you think about it?