I must admit, at first biking down the most dangerous road of the world doesn’t sound like the smartest idea, especially if you hear about the estimations of 600 people dying there per year. But then again, it’s extremely tempting and pretty much a “must do” for everyone who comes to La Paz. In the end I could not resist, and booked. Early in the morning, you drive up the mountains to 4700m, and find yourself somewhere between lakes, snowy mountaintops and alpine desert. This is where you get semi professional gear, a small introduction, and start heading 64 km downhill. The first part of the road is nice and easy: Good speed trough proper roads, but many motorcycles and trucks passing while you make your way down through the clouds. There are quite some scary cliffs on the side, but mostly you are still protected by fences.
Those are completely gone once you get to the second part, the actual “old road”, commonly known as “death road”. It is narrow, curvy and slippery, and the cliffs on the side average 600 meters. If you fall, you die, it’s simple like that.
This part is for adrenaline junkies and adventure lovers, and extremely fun for everyone who has the nerves for it. The alpine desert has turned into jungle, and you race down through green mountains, waterfalls and incredibly stunning scenery. There are various crosses and monuments on the sides reminding of the deaths of hundreds. Apart from those crosses, it feels a little bit like one of these flight simulator computer games where you race through valleys hunting enemies or fantasy creatures. After about three hours of biking, you get to the small town of Yolosa, which is on an altitude of 1200m, 3500m below the starting point of the tour.
By: Clara Bütow