Aug 29, 2013

North Yungas Road Known as Death Road

North Yungas Road Known as Death Road
North Yungas Road Known as Death Road. The North Yungas Road is by far the most dangerous on the planet, so dangerous that it has earned the epithet of ‘Death Road’. The road covers a 70km stretch between La Paz and Coroico over a decent of 3,600m with ridiculously tight hairpins and narrow passages to navigate, all whilst trying to avoid a sheer 800m drop.

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The world’s most dangerous highway is not just a tourist moniker for the route which drops from La Cumbre, above the Bolivian capital of La Paz at an icy 4900m, to Coroico, in the lush subtropical valley 3000m below. In 1995, after some disastrous accidents the Inter American Development Bank christened this route "The Most Dangerous Road in the World". This was based on the macabre ratio of death per mile. On an average, 26 vehicles plummet over the edge each year, claiming more than 100 lives.

Received wisdom is that this is due more to the approach of drunk and/or crazy Bolivian drivers – periodically sending a busload off the precipitous edge – than to the intrinsically terrifying nature of the road. Nevertheless, it has great notoriety, and adventure-minded tourists who make the descent on mountain bikes boast afterwards of their brush with oblivion. Sadly, the dangers of the road actually entice people with adventure seeking in their adrenaline lined hearts. Between, Buses, cars, trucks, and even bicycles, it seems that nobody is deemed safe on this true Death Road. The catastrophic number of auto parts wading at the bottom of the 800m + drops would be in an Auto Parts Geek favor, if it weren't for the devastating truth that the only reason the auto parts exist is because of the extreme fatalities this Death Road produces.

The North Yungas Road (alternatively known as Grove's Road, Coroico Road, Camino de las Yungas, El Camino de la Muerte, Road of Death, Unduavi-Yolosa Highway or Death Road) is a 61-kilometre (38 mi) or 69-kilometre (43 mi) road leading from La Paz to Coroico, 56 kilometres (35 mi) northeast of La Paz in the Yungas region of Bolivia. It is legendary for its extreme danger and in 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank christened it as the "world's most dangerous road". One estimate is that 200 to 300 travellers were killed yearly along the road. The road includes crosses marking many of the spots where vehicles have fallen.