Photo Friday: Riding the Death Road

Dozens of people ride the death road each day, and it is may be one of Bolivia’s, if not South America‘s, greatest adventure travel attraction.  But until you do it, you can’t really imagine what it’s like.   Imagine cruising at top speed across loose gravel, through mud puddles, and hopping along a washboard road while at the same time having nearly a kilometer’s drop straight down just to your left.  High waterfalls sprinkle down on top of you to add to the drama, something you’ll never be short of on this downhill mountain biking adventure.

Bolivia’s “Death Road” used to be called The World’s Most Dangerous road.  However, a new highway has taken all of the bus and truck traffic off this road an left it, for the most part, in the hands of tourists seeking a thrill.  The trip starts at high altitude (around 4700 meters above sea level) where there is little sign of plant life and glacier lay roadside.  But quickly, as the road begins to drop, you find yourself in the middle of the jungle, eventually dropping to around 900 meters.  Not only is the death road absolutely stunning and exhilarating, but for those who have been at high altitudes for quite some time, getting down to the jungle at the end of the day is a great reward since you won’t have to fight for oxygen any more.

Words don’t truly describe the feeling of this amazing journey and photographs don’t fare much better, but I hope that these pictures will give you some sense of the experience.

Death Road, Bolivia, start
Bolivia’s “Death Road” starts at high altitude amidst the tall mountains of the And
Death Road, Bolivia, cliffs
After a dozen or so kilometers of highway the road reaches the cloud forest where cyclists get their first glimpses of the sheer cliffs
Death Road, Bolivia, graves
Roadside graves are a constant reminder that one wrong move could make you a permanent resident of the Bolivian rain forest
Death Road, Bolivia, turns
Cyclists make their way around the winding roads of the Death Road below
Death Road, Bolivia, rider, mountain bike
I stand alone, and proud on one of the steepest cliffs of the death road in awe of my surroundings.
Death Road, Bolivia, grave, cross
I’ve ridden the death road 4 times, and thankful to say that I made it down without incident, I wish I could say the same for the rest of the people who made the same journey