El Camino de la Muerte (the road of death)

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The North Yungas Road, as it is otherwise known, is a 64 km stretch of continuous downhill road leading from the world’s highest city, La Paz to Coroico in Bolivia.

It is legendary for its extreme danger and in 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank christened it “the world’s most dangerous road”.

One estimate is that 200-300 travelers are killed annually on the road, which is marked at regular intervals by crosses indicating where its victims met their untimely ends. On July 24, 1983, a bus veered off the road and into a canyon, killing more than 100 passengers in what is said to be Bolivia’s worst road accident.

Why is it so deadly?  A number of factors all contribute.  First of all, the extreme dropoffs of at least 600 meters, with no guard rails.  Then there’s the fact that much of the road is single-lane width —  no wider than 3.2 meters.  Further still, rain and fog can make visibility precarious, and the wet rainforest climate makes the surface slippy and causes rocks to fall from the  hillsides above.

One man’s meat, of course,  is another man’s poisson.

The extreme danger of the road has ironically made it a popular tourist destination.  Mountain biking enthusiasts, in particular, are drawn to the Road of Death, lured by the appeal of its 64 kilometers of continuous downhill riding and the activity keeps several tour operators permanently employed, providing information, guides, transportation, and equipment.

The local understakers are kept pretty busy too.  At least 13 of these cyclists died on the ride since 1998.

A possible side trip for the intrepid Peru Trek team?  Hell, yeah!

Beats driving.

Here’s a video we found of a documentary made about the road:

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3 Responses to El Camino de la Muerte (the road of death)

  1. Hannah Mill says:

    Don’t you dare do the road of death. Do you realise how much hassle it will be for me to find another bank manager, financial advisor, cook, taxi driver, house mover and….servant…?!

  2. psmill says:

    You’ve got to learn to stand on your own two feet some
    time!

  3. Hannah Mill says:

    Yes, and so do you. With a torn calf muscle, and preferably not on the ‘road of death’ thank you very much!

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