The Yungas road was built by war prisoners during the 1930’s to connect La Paz with Coroico. The highest point is almost 4700 meter above sea level and it ends at only 330 m above sea level. It is a narrow, winding road built totally without any security in mind, the result is yearly between 200-300 deaths by year. This has given the road the nickname “The death road”.
These days there is a new, modern road which is both wider and safer you could take instead. This means that the old Yungas road is primarily used but tourist and cyclists like myself but Wikipedia is wrong. The old road is still open for traffic and it is still used by both cars and trucks, how they do if they meet another car or truck I have no idea about, the road is really, really narrow.
Myself decided to take and bike down the road. While getting shuttle to the top I should get a nice, cozy downhill trip with magical scenery, well that was the plan at least.
The first of the road is tarmac and to be honest quite boring, Its a a perfect opportunity to get to learn your bike though which I must say was way more modern and had a higher level of components than I thought.
Somewhere around that we left the tarmac and went into the real Yungas road it started to rain, and what a rain. One of the main attractions on the road is that you actually drive through a waterfall, for us however it was no difference between the waterfall and the rain. The view which is supposed to be magical was, nothing since we were at the same altitude as the clouds. However you could look out, over the cliff and look down 3-400 meters.The surface of the road is hard packed gravel and stones/rocks, not really hard to bike on, it is really narrow though and on the right side you have a cliff wall and on the other it is just, nothing.
The death road lived up to its name and I think I did under under the worst conditions you can. As if the rain was not enough it switched to snow. Wet into the bones while the snow slowly fell down made me everything besides happy but I biked down and in the shuttle bus on the way back to La Paz I never felt more worthy of a beer.