The Yungas Road in Bolivia has been called the most dangerous road in the world. Ironically, this has helped boost its popularity, drawing in thousands of tourists yearly.
The road is 61 kilometers (38 mi) long. It begins at the La Paz and goes on until Coroico. This is situated 56 kilometers (35 mi) at the northeast of La Paz.
What to See
There are several crosses along the road, marking the areas where vehicles have had accidents. After you depart from La Paz, the road makes an ascent at the La Cumbre Pass (4,650 meters / 15,260 ft). It descends at Coroico town at 1,200 meters (3,900 ft). It makes a rapid transition from the Altiplano terrain to a forest.
From there the road goes through cliffs and very steep hillsides. The drop-offs are 600 meters (1,830 feet) at least. The width is single lane at the Yungas Road in Bolivia. In fact, majority of the road is less than 10 feet wide.
The road was constructed in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners. The building took place during the Chaco War. It was constructed so it could serve as a route to link northern Bolivia’s northern Amazon rain forest region to the city capital.
Through the years, the road would earn a reputation for danger. It has been estimated that 300 people die on the road every year. On July 24 1983, a bus fell off the road and straight into the cliff, killing over 100 passengers. It was one of the worst road accidents in Bolivian history.
As word of its danger spread, tourists started coming to the site. By the 1990s it had become one of the most popular tourist spots in Bolivia. Mountain bikers in particular, have been drawn to the site. The 64 kilometer (40 mi) stretch of downhill riding is the main draw for the bikers here.
In recent years, tour operators have appeared. They provide the equipment, guides and utilities necessary to traverse the site.
The toll to enter the road is 25 Bolivianos. There are several bikes you can rent nearby so you can cross the road. The costs range from 55 to 75 USD.
Apart from the narrow roads, there are very few guard rails. Dust, rain and fog makes the place even more dangerous.
The Yungas Road in Bolivia is definitely one for the thrill seekers. But for those who prefer a safer route, you can try the La Paz-Coroico highroad.