65 kilometers downhill on Yungas Street (Death Road Bolivia)

A world trip is an adventure. A world trip is about finding yourself and developing yourself. A world trip also means facing your fears and taking on new challenges. How about the Mountainbike Downhill the Yungas Street or also called Death Road? Is this a challenge that helps you develop yourself and deal with fears in a different way? Yes! To ride the Death Road near La Paz into the Amazon with the mountain bike is a very special experience that we no longer want to miss.

The first part of the downhill course

Death Road Bolivia -. what kind of road is this anyway?

The Yungas Road or Yungas Pass was until the year 2007 a two-lane road that was not really paved and was considered a very important road connecting the high Andes and the Amazon of Bolivia. In 2007, a new paved road was opened to reduce the death toll at the pass. Since then, the road is rarely traveled by vehicles but is now a popular hotspot for downhill mountain bikers. In total, it goes from about 4,700 meters in altitude to 1,200 meters in altitude.The length for mountain bikers is 65 kilometers.  A distance of about 15 kilometers is covered by bus since here are a few meters of slope to overcome.  The biggest accident happened in 1983 on the Yungas road – here a fully loaded truck with 100 people fell into the depths. All occupants died in this accident. Until the year 2007, it is estimated that between 200 – 300 people per year became victims of the death road in Bolivia. Opened the Camino de la Muerte in the year 1936.

To the right, it was about 100 meters down the rock face.

Which Tour provider should you choose if you want to ride the Death Road on a mountain bike? would like to drive?

There are countless providers in La Paz which offer mountain bike tours along the Death Road. However, thereare only two official providers that are also officially licensed to offer these tours along the Yungas Road.

Barracuda Tours La Paz

https://www.barracudabiking.com/

Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking

https://www.gravitybolivia.com

We chose Barracuda Tours in La Paz because the offer was very similar and the price but almost 50% cheaper. At Gravity Tours you usually pay between 100 – 120 USD per person, we were able to negotiate the price down to 66 USD per person for a full-suspension bike at Barracuda Tours – so it’s worth comparing!

Well equipped, we headed down Death Road by mountain bike.

What was included in the Death. Road mountain bike tour included?

Of course, it’s not just always the price that speaks, but also the package of what you get for your money – as mentioned earlier, we compared Barracuda Tours and Gravity Tours and there are really only differences in the final destination. Our tour included a full-suspension brand mountain bike, the appropriate helmets (full face), gloves, jackets and pants – at the end you still got a T-shirt as a gift, in addition to the equipment you should definitely use (because it is relatively cold at 4,700 meters) you got the transfer to the starting point, a snack, another snack, a lunch buffet + free towels and the possibility to shower and still a nice pool to cool down. The return transport was of course also included. Not included were the entrance fees at the checkpoints along Death Road – here were again 50 Bolivianos (about 6 euros) per person due.

Here you can see very clearly that you should pay attention – as it goes steeply down the slope on the left.

How does the Death. Road Downhill Tour goes down?

Let’s go at 7:00 – 7:30. Here the meeting point was a small Italian restaurant that already served breakfast. Fresh coca tea was also available! After all participants had gathered here it went about 1.5 – 2 hours by bus from La Paz to the starting point of the tour at 4,700 meters above sea level.

On arrival there, the bikes were distributed and each Participant got his equipment he had already tried on at registration had. Spare parts and further equipment would also have been available – in case the one or the other piece of equipment would not have fit.

Don’t fall below here!

After all were dressed and equipped with the bike Were we got a briefing on how to brake at Death Road best should. Our bikes had hydraulic disc brakes that really worked very well. functioned. The mountain bikes were in very good condition and were also very carefully checked by our guides. After we then had a sip alcohol on Pacha Mama had drunk the downhill tour went the Death Road from La Paz into the Amazon then finally started.

The first stretch was tarred and went about 22 kilometers. Here you could get to know his bike well to better cope with the unpaved part. The average speed was about 35 km / h. A guide took the lead and another guide was placed as a taillight. After the first 1300 meters of altitude, we went back to the bus after a snack to cover the steep part of the route by bus.

Our Death Road Group

After the 15 kilometers or so, we headed out onto the old part of the Yungas Road. Here the clothes were adjusted to the temperature and the ride of the next 40 kilometers went off. In regular intervals breaks were inserted and one had the opportunity to fill up his water bottle. The bus followed us and would have been there in case of an emergency if someone could not overcome could.

The next 40 kilometers were really breathtaking.The nature changed and you drove along a steep slope. On the right side, you could always see waterfalls that made their way along the dirt road.  

Our guides took action photos of us during the descent!

After the first 20 kilometers, we had another snack and something to drink. After that it was another 19 kilometers downhill and about 1 kilometer uphill. When we had made the last climb we went to a small courtyard with pool and showers and a buffet. Here we could take a shower and regain our strength. At about 16.30 we went on the new Yungas Pass back to La Paz.After about 3 hours of driving we are well kept but exhausted in La Paz arrived.

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The Yungas Road winds through the mountain and through the Amazon

Our conclusion – Is it worth it the Downhill Tour Death Road?

Once you’ve overcome your fears and gotten used to your own bike, the Death Road Downhill Tour is a real highlight. Of course, the Death Road is no longer as deadly as before since only rarely buses and cars drive the road and thus no more “tight” situations arise on the road. However, one must also be clear as a mountain biker – if you exaggerate here you probably no longer have a second chance. Mostly the slope goes down very steeply and you would most likely not get away with life.It’s a great feeling to drive from 4700 meters to 1200 meters and so to come through several climate zones. Our personal highlight was probably the brilliant views that you have during the tour as well as the thrill of driving the once most dangerous road in the world. The price-performance ratio with Barracuda Tours La Paz was very good and the guides who accompanied us could speak good English and were very friendly, sympathetic and considerate.

The Death Road Downhill Crew

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