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advice on the highway of death

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Redding, California
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26 posts
15 reviews
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advice on the highway of death

I am motorcycling from California to Argentina. I plan on driving from Cuzco to LaPaz and i want to ride the highway of death at some point, but it looks pretty frightening. One minor problem---- I am afraid of heights. I don't think I could ride with the drop off to my right and would need to hug the side of the mountain. My bike is narrow so i won't have as much trouble as a wide vehicle. Is the drop off constantly on one side such that i could start at a point that would allow me to stay with the cliff side to my right and the drop off to the left, or does the geography of the road mean that this can't be done all the time? If it can be done, where would I access the road and how do I get there from La Paz? I was determined to do this, but the more pictures I see, the scarier that drop off looks. Thanks!

5 replies to this topic
London, United...
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1. Re: advice on the highway of death

I am assuming you mean Yungas road, aka deat road. To call it a highway would be pushing it quite a lot ;). When I did with a bike, we didn't see anybody else on it except other bikers and the support vans, as there is a new road for actual traffic that everyone else uses. So it isn't as dangerous as it used to be.

The drop is constantly on one side, so if you are going down, then it is on your left side all the time. It is quite narrow at some points, about the width of a small van.

But can't really say anything about doing it with a motorbike, haven't seen anybody do that.

London, United...
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2. Re: advice on the highway of death

I travelled by bus to Rurrenabque from La Paz along the "route 3" road which I assume is the one you'll be using.

There are unbelievable drop offs from about 1 hr out of La Paz until Caranavi. The drop offs are mostly on the left hand side of the bus travelling from north to south (La Paz to Caranavi).

From what I saw you won't get a choice to "hug the cliffs". The speed that our bus was travelling was pretty fast. We met many trucks and lorries along the road and in many places we had just enough room to squeeze through.

Redding, California
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26 posts
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3. Re: advice on the highway of death

Thanks to both of you for the information. I had forgotten that a new road replaced some of the old road, but it does sound like I can manage to do the road with the drops to my left so i won;t be immediately next to them (all I need is a few feet and i'm fine). By "hugging the cliffs" I simply meant staying with the mountain to my immediate right. The pictures I have seem make it clear that there is no place to even stop, let alone pull over, but that shouldn't be necessary.

I'll see you on the road!!

Jersey, United...
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4. Re: advice on the highway of death

Drive very carefully down the road, because you don't know it like the locals do. There is oncoming traffic to be wary of, and certain down and up times to be aware of. Also, the road is very narrow in parts, and also slippery.

-I'm sure you will be fine, but i would insist that you think wisely about this road. It's no joke!!

paris
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106 posts
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5. Re: advice on the highway of death

Don't worry, it's feasable.

I did it last october with moutain bike, my max speed was 70 km/h and the road is never narrow for one person. It could be narrow for two buses of course. To get there you have to follow Ruta National 3. The first part is tarmac whereas the second part is gravel (the speed was only 30-35 km/h by bicycle)

See my report in Bolivia www.aliade.eu but unfortunately I haven't written anything yet on Death Road.

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