Chile - Bolivia 2006

Travel time: March / April 2006  |  by Valerie Couarraze

Death Road (La Paz - Coroico)

The Death Road relaying La Paz to Coroico is the 80 km most dangerous road trip of the world. Each year approx. 26 vehicles go down in the abyss meaning an amount of 100 victims. The risk is due to the thickness of the path (3,2 m - so enough for one vehicle), the missing barrier to protect from the enormous abyss (up to 1.000 m) as well as the quality of the road (terra and stones). Quite a few tourists go it down by bike for the adrenaline. I was not interested in. Until I realized that I was doing it... by bus.

As we booked the Amazonia stuff at the travel agency we ignored having to go via the Death Road to our destination. The lady didn’t tell, probably ´cause it was nothing to be mentionned for a Bolivian beeing! Lonely planet says to travel with a jeep or minibus by day during the week to minimize the risk. We did it with a large bus on a Saturday, the end at night. I had the best view, at the window with abyss side. I thought I would die (I am serious). I took this picture as I had recovered; the most dangerous part was far behind us

As we booked the Amazonia stuff at the travel agency we ignored having to go via the Death Road to our destination. The lady didn’t tell, probably ´cause it was nothing to be mentionned for a Bolivian beeing! Lonely planet says to travel with a jeep or minibus by day during the week to minimize the risk. We did it with a large bus on a Saturday, the end at night. I had the best view, at the window with abyss side. I thought I would die (I am serious). I took this picture as I had recovered; the most dangerous part was far behind us

Downhill traffic always passes on the outside on this road. I was scared by bordering the big drop and I was scared by scratching the inside wall as well. The good news it that it created new jobs: women stand at decisive places hanging red or green signs. I was wondering what happens when these normal human beings go for their usual needs. Better not to thing about.

Downhill traffic always passes on the outside on this road. I was scared by bordering the big drop and I was scared by scratching the inside wall as well. The good news it that it created new jobs: women stand at decisive places hanging red or green signs. I was wondering what happens when these normal human beings go for their usual needs. Better not to thing about.

A new paved route has been built on the other side of the valley (still under construction). Small vehicles can use it, larger continue to drive on the old one; there is surely a logical explanation I do not get at the moment.

A new paved route has been built on the other side of the valley (still under construction). Small vehicles can use it, larger continue to drive on the old one; there is surely a logical explanation I do not get at the moment.

I do not mention the end of the rainy season, the waterfalls, the porous and sliding road, the overloaded bus balancing from west to east, the people sleeping on the ground between our feet, the smell of non-fresh meat to be sold on the market on the next day. There was a silence in the bus (locals were sleeping, tourists tried to do so to avoid thinking about the abyss).

I do not mention the end of the rainy season, the waterfalls, the porous and sliding road, the overloaded bus balancing from west to east, the people sleeping on the ground between our feet, the smell of non-fresh meat to be sold on the market on the next day. There was a silence in the bus (locals were sleeping, tourists tried to do so to avoid thinking about the abyss).

It took us 6 hours to do this portion. Actually good news since I could get used to my frightness. Often we wondered how the houses could hold on the stress since there was almost nothing behind but the drop

It took us 6 hours to do this portion. Actually good news since I could get used to my frightness. Often we wondered how the houses could hold on the stress since there was almost nothing behind but the drop

We were getting some colours again

We were getting some colours again

I would have kissed the bus driver who carried my destiny for a while if my brother hadn’t stopped me. About bus drivers: our European rules are not valid here. 20 hours non-stop bus driving? Possible!  The whole as a one-man-show? Possible!

I would have kissed the bus driver who carried my destiny for a while if my brother hadn’t stopped me. About bus drivers: our European rules are not valid here. 20 hours non-stop bus driving? Possible! The whole as a one-man-show? Possible!

The habitations look quite the same, vegetation is changing: looks more like jungle

The habitations look quite the same, vegetation is changing: looks more like jungle

You are here : Overview The Americas Bolivia Death Road (La Paz - Coroico)
The trip
 
Description:
A long time ago I decided to travel to South America - to Argentina or Chile. First no money as a student, then no time as a (hard-)worker. But now my little brother and his friends are spending 6 months over there on their globe-trotter-trip. So no poor excuse anymore. I pack my shoes. My flight starts from Francfort/M, Germany to Santiago de Chile and returns from La Paz, Bolivia. We will backpack from Santiago up to the North until the boarder travelling by bus or train.
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 15, 2006
Duration: 3 weeks
End of journey: Apr 07, 2006
Travelled countries: Chile
Argentina
Bolivia
The Author
 
Valerie Couarraze is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 16 years.
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