Apart from partying (usually with narcotics), the only other real main attraction on the backpacker trail in La Paz is to cycle down what is known as the most dangerous road in the world! Before you think it, this isn’t simply another marketing scam, since an IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) report made it official given that an average of 26 vehicles per year disappear over the edge into the great abyss.
We heard that even as recently as last week a driver of a bus died from driving off the gravel track which is just 3.2m wide! If you don’t believe me we found this stocking clip of the fatal incident.
In spite of hearing of some horror stories about dodgy tour agencies supplying faulty bikes that have no breaks! We decided to go for the cheapest agency we could find.
Thankfully all of the equipment was good enough with professional tour guides that treated our safety as their main priority. Unfortunately Andre had yet another bout of ‘the squirts’ which put him completely out of action for 2 days meaning that we lost 50% of our money due to cancelling the tour at the last-minute.
After plying Andre with antibiotics and rehydration salts we were able to do the tour which takes you from the highest point in La Paz (4000m) to Coroico which is deep in the jungle where many of the rich coca plantations are.
The decent of about 3000m, takes over 3 hours of actual riding, requiring you to first cycle down the motor way of the ‘new road’; high in the snow-capped peaks. This is by far the fastest part of the trip and usually the coldest since it is often raining; making the whole thing even more exhilarating.
The second leg is the actual ‘Death Road’ which these days isn’t really used by anyone other than tour groups since they have built a new, safer road with actual tarmac about 7 years ago.
The ‘old road’ is however still in use by some locals who prefer to use it as it is a quicker route. This meant that we had to drive down ‘the English way’ as our tour guide put it; basically on the left given that anyone going up the road has the right of way. You would have thought this would have been better for me being English…..the only problem is that the cliff edge is also on the left!
The good news was that the risks of traveling down the road are balanced by the reward of seeing some of South America’s most amazing ‘vertical’ scenery….. Aswell as being alot of fun!
We did get a CD with all the pics from the tour guide but I cant seem to find a computer with a CD drive! I will just have to wait to see the crazy pics and videos of us going down the death road!