They call it Camino De Las Yungas.
In Espanol that means Road of Fate. Yungas Road typically goes by another ominous description: Death Road. Estimates put the number of fatalities at this unforgiving 56 kilometre stretch of (mostly) mud that snakes through the cliffs of Bolivia very high; 200 to 300 folks may lose their lives on Yungas Road annually, on this journey that connects La Paz to Corioco.
You’ll see one of those below, in a video from 2011, in which a double decker bus tries, yet fails to clear an especially dangerous stretch of the journey. Sadly, he doesn’t make it, and becomes one of many to meet his end on Yungas Road.
Yungas Road: Bolivia’s Road of Death
Prisoners built Yungas Road in the 1930s. It’s one of the few routes that connects La Paz (Bolivia’s capital) with the Yungas region of northern Bolivia. The road is mostly a single lane, with no guard rails, and reaches heights of up to 600 metres (2,000 feet) and winds through steep cliffs and hillsides through, shall we say, challenging terrain?
November through March is rainy season in Bolivia and bordering Peru, during which the road becomes a muddy track, with little traction and, unfortunately, little to stop you from going over the edge.
It’s safe to say you don’t want to travel Yungas Road on a double decker bus.
Still, it’s a heck of a story. Anyone who successfully travels Camino De Las Yungas gets immediate bragging rights – think of it as rounding Cape Horn on land. And today it’s caught on with extreme travellers and mountain bikers, in particular, who take death road tours on this most dangerous of journeys.
That’s probably safer than doing Yungas Road by car – and makes a good bucket list item for the adventurous, if not the slightly insane. Enjoy!