Not gunna lie, I had no idea that there was something called the Death Road in Bolivia, but after I heard more about it, I knew it was definitely something that I couldn’t miss. The main reason why I wanted to go to Bolivia was to see the Uyuni Salt Flats, but since I had an extra day in La Paz, one of the highest altitude capital cities in the world, I figured, why not? Right?
It’s only the world’s deadliest road, and I had only not ridden a bicycle since I was about seven. Totally safe.
The world’s deadliest road is located high in the mountains in Bolivia, and appropriately named “Death Road” due to the high number of deaths that have occurred on it. So why in the hell am I giving you reasons to ride a freaking bike down a road that’s notorious for people dying on it? Well, because it’s actually a lot of fun!
To my surprise, I actually didn’t fall off the edge of any cliffs, although I did feel like my bike was slipping a few times, and did dangle my feet over them for a picture. Aside from my extremely sore butt and, uh, other parts that were not used to aggressively riding a bike down rough terrain for six hours, I had a really good time!
So if you’re looking for an awesome adventure to do near La Paz, perhaps before hitting up the Uyuni salt flats, be sure to look into taking a nice casual mountain bike ride down Death Road! I did the tour with Altitude Adventures, and would highly recommend them!
Here’s what you can expect on your ride:
1. You Get an Awesome View 16k Feet Above Sea Level
Don’t worry. You don’t have to ride your bike up the mountain. Thank god. Instead, the Altitude Adventure tour guides pick you and several other dare devils up from your hotel, and take you up the mountain in a bus. The starting point is an area that’s 16k feet above sea level, where you’ll get a glimpse of the stunning mountain views, and get ready for the ride.
2. You Get Crash-Proof Gear
I look so bad-ass, right? Or like a boy…
Having just been hit by a car on a motorcycle, you’d think I’d be a little more reluctant to ride a bicycle downhill with oncoming traffic. But Altitude Adventures provided knee and elbow pads, protective pants, jacket, and gloves, and what is probably an extreme sports dirt biking helmet that covers your whole face.
3. There’s a Fun Paved Portion of the Death Road
Spoiler alert, the majority of the Death Road is made of dirt and rocks. BUT! The first hour or so of the ride is on a paved road that has huge curves and turn that make you feel like you’re on a non-terrifying roller coaster! Plus the scenery from that high is absolutely breath taking!
4. You Get a Serious Adrenaline Rush
Only thought I was going to die a couple of times…
If the paved roller-coaster part isn’t enough of an adrenaline rush for you, don’t worry, because the road just gets narrower, rockier, and tighter turning the further you go down. You literally ride along the edge of cliffs (because other bikers and cars pass on the right), which provides quite the thrill for adventure-seekers!
5. You Get to Ride Through a Waterfall
This was right after the waterfall…
I don’t know about you, but doing anything that involves waterfalls is an immediate winner to me. Part of the Death Road goes through the lush and beautiful Bolivia jungle, and there’s a waterfall that cascades off a cliff and onto the road that you get to (well, have to) ride under!
6. You Get Some Really Cool Pictures
You know you want this pic!
Unless you strap a GoProto your bike or helmet, you won’t be able to actually take photos yourself while riding your bike down the Death Road, but luckily the tour guides and staff bike ahead to stop and get photos as you ride by! They also get some awesome shots of your tour group sitting on the edge of a cliff, and with your cool bike and gear on!
7. You Meet Awesome People
Yes, I am purposely sitting next to the cute German guys…
What better way to meet awesome, travel-loving, adventurers like yourself than at a group activity that requires a liability form? It was so fun being around people from all over the world who were just so excited and having so much fun riding bikes down a deadly road, that I almost forgot about how much pain my poor lady parts were in from the bike seat.
8. You Feel Really Cool When You Get a Death Road Survivor Shirt
Proof that you biked down Death Valley..
After biking down a mountain on a cliff-side dirt road, you’ll feel extremely bad ass and confident, but how will the world know about the brave adventure you just conquered?! Not to worry! There are t-shrits for that! At the end of your ride, everyone gets a “Death Road Survivor” shirt, which even if you think you’re too cool to wear, you’ll wear it anyway because you won’t want to miss the group shot.
9. You Get to Relax at a Tropical Pool
Just hanging at the pool with my new homies
Well, to be fair, the pool is definitely located in a tropical environment, it just happens to be at a hostel at the bottom of the mountain. After eating a fairly good buffet-style lunch that’s included in the meal, you have a while to relax, shower (in cold showers, sorry), go in the pool, or just lay your aching body on a chair until it’s time to go.
10. You Leave With an Awesome Story and New Friends
Seriously tho…how cool do we look?!
Would I ride a bike down the Death Road again? Probably not. Am I glad I did it? Hell yes! Experiencing a place, activity, and people you’ve never seen before is what makes potentially-dangerous adventures all worth it in the end. And if anything at least you’ll know how you feel about mountain biking afterwards.
Alyssa is a self-made, full time travel blogger who loves adventure and typically travels the world solo. She's been to 53 countries and 6 continents so far, and believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!