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unURBAN

The Death Road

BoliviaPosted by Espen Thu, September 08, 2011 02:11:32

Death Road Special

It took us more than an hour to cross La Paz from Hotel Oberland to Road No. 3 going north east. Today there is a new road going from La Paz, over the La Cumbre pass, and then drop more than 3500 meters (10500 ft) to the town of Coroico. From here it continues north and east into the Amazon jungle.

On our way up to the pass we came across this funny motif of a military troop preparing for a shooting exercise. Notice the local women doing their laundry a few meters away. Hope they are good…

The view from the pass is stunning, as most of the highlands of South America. More on that particular subject a little later.

The new road is also supposed to be an engineering marvel, but we wanted to find “the old road”, or “The most dangerous road in the world”, as it has been referred to for years. We took off from the paved road onto a small dirtroad, and around a bend we saw it…

The Death Road

We are pretty sure that this really was a scary experience when all the trucks were driving this route. However, these days all the traffic you encounter is downhill cyclists and a pickup truck carrying their lunch and some spare tires.

Still, there is definitely a reason that this road had its share of accidents. The sides are STEEP, and there are no safety fences. We read that the worst accident on the road was a bus dropping off the cliff and killing more than 100 people.

Fortunately we didn’t meet any vehicles on our way down, and I guess we will describe the drive as kind of average Andean mountain road. Spectacular, but so are they all!

Down in Coroico we decided to find an alternative route south, and ended up driving rough dirt roads for three days, well beyond any maps (the “best” map; the German Reise Know-How was WAY OFF!). Our biggest challenge was to find fuel.

This part of Bolivia is also known to have the best "chewing coca" in the country. It is a huge area, and we drove along coca fields for hours and hours.

Back on the “overland route” in Ouro, we decided to make a run for it, and drove 610 kilometers to Sucre. Good to fill up at a normal gas station again. Here waiting in line with the truckers.

We settled down for a few days in Alberto’s garden in the middle of town. This certainly is an oasis in Sucre, but it is not an official camp site. PM us for coordinates. Here we also teamed up with toyotours.com for driving to Uyuni and Ruta de Lagunas. More about that in the next post!

E&M

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