It used to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world until it was shut down for traffic. Now it is open for adrenaline seeking tourists and taxis. It was featured in of the episodes of Top Gear. 🙂
We arranged a tour from La Paz. There are many different operators, their prices vary only because they use different bikes. We were picked up, got all the gear, best bikes they offered (3 categories, different brakes and suspension), got lunch, snacks, drinks and a relaxation by the pool at the end of the tour (all for 430 BOB=57€).
The ride with the minivan from La Paz takes around 1,5 hours. You reach an altitude of around 4650 metres – this is the starting point. Here we put on bike clothes, helmets, protective pads (knees and elbows) and the fun began.
The first part is on a paved road with normal traffic, so you have to be a bit careful (or pray the others drivers will be). After about 45 minutes (always downhill) we had a snack, drove with the minivan to the start of the old Death road where the real fun began. The road is gravel, bumpy and if you’re not used these conditions you can have many sore parts of the body in the next days. Our group was very small 4 people + guide and when we signed up we weren’t aware of the fact that this is more like a downhill race than a touristy sightseeing bike ride. Because we wanted to take pictures (to share with you 🙂 ) we had to argue with our guide who just wanted to race. You ride through amazing scenery, on cliff edges which drop hundreds of metres, under waterfalls and zhrough big puddles, the only downside is that you can’t really enjoy it all because you have to be quite careful where you’re driving.
Once down (at 1200 metres) you have to pay for riding the death road (25 BOB=3,5€) and cycle to a nearby village for a beer. In the meantime the guides wash the bikes and store them on the minivan and then you’re on your way to a good lunch. Unfortunately we only had a good hour after lunch for the pool because you have to return to La Paz the same way (on the new road). Back in La Paz we got a DVD of our trip and a T-shirt and we walked home proud to have survived the Death road. 🙂
- It is not dangerous if you ride according to your abilities
- Let the guide know if he is too fast (you may have to say it more often – you are in Bolivia J)
- It’s bumpy, really bumpy
- You can take of your clothes twice (because it gets hotter and hotter). But at the beginning put on everything you have, because it’s really cold at the top