It’s not an Ordeal of the Ozaki 8, but Yungas Road is not so far behind. Call it the Death Road Bolivia or the Most Dangerous Road in the World, about 300 people lose it on this extremely narrow 56 kilometre stretch through the Andes about 2,000 feet above the Bolivian jungle – one such example being this unfortunate accident a few years ago.
Wanna do it on a bike?
While it sounds illogical, many folks are doing it. And why not? It’s a stunning ride along Yungas Road – long called the most dangerous road on the planet – done by 25,000 mountain bikers each year. That earns some serious bragging rights and definitely qualifies as Bucket List material for experienced bikers looking for a shot of adrenaline and well-earned beer at the end of a long but memorable ride through the Andes.
A Stunning Journey Along the Death Road of Bolivia
To be clear, this ain’t a cake-walk. Yungas Road has earned its forboding moniker, Death Road of Bolivia many times over; between 200 to 300 folks die each year on this tight, mostly unpaved and muddy trail that snakes through the Andes with little to prevent you from going over the edge.
You do Yungas Road, you accept the risk for injury and death.
Still, Yungas Road bike tours have exploded in popularity. The trip takes about 5 hours, starting at the route’s summit in La Cumbre (about an hour’s drive from La Paz). It’s a 40 mile ride, with the first 20 being paved, which guides say gives riders a chance to get a feel for the bike and the route, and basically ease you into this stunning journey – or give you a chance to backpedal for safety before the shit gets real.
One of the most beautiful parts of the ride is an optional 5 mile ride to the start of the Old Road, in which riders literally ride through the clouds. This leads to dense jungle, through 100 meter waterfalls, by streams and coco fields.
The journey concludes in the village of Yolosa, at 1100 meters, where riders crack a beer and contemplate what the heck they just did.
Yungas Road Bike Tours
You’ll want to do some homework before doing Yungas Road on a mountain bike. An experienced guide is essential here, whose cut his teeth many times over along this journey and knows the route intimately.
Two names continue to pop up for that: Gravity Bolivia and Bolivia Hop. This is an all-day activity – the tour group will typically pick you up from your hotel around 7AM and take you to La Cumbre, where you’ll be lessoned in safety, regulations and etiquette along the trip. You may have a hot snack too, and should begin your ride around 10AM
Here’s an itinerary from Bolivia Hop.
While prices vary, expect to pay $61-$120 US Dollar for a Yungas Road bike tour. That certainly won’t break the bank, and makes Bolivia an extraordinary deal for extreme sports athletes who want to check ‘Rode the Most Dangerous Road on Earth’ off their bucket list before they sign out of this life.
By the way, be sure to have a helmet cam. You really want to record this. Here’s a taste of the tour – enjoy!