Every year Yungas Road, AKA “The Road of Death” claims the lives of approximately 2-300 people. Yet, every day, tour groups, intrepid roadtrippers, and daily commuters, brave the hairpin curves on this white-knuckle drive. The road became so dangerous that a safer route had to be built in 2006. White crosses mark where drivers have perished all along the treacherous road.
North Yungas Road in Bolivia earned quite the infamous reputation as one of the scariest highways in the world. The most potentially-fatal 40 miles of this highway runs from La Pa to Coroico, and it’s actually incredibly popular for tourists. If you visit Bolivia it’s one of the few routes that will take you from northern Bolivia to the capital city. Prepare yourself for some pretty insane elevation, as your initial ascent on the single-lane highway from La Paz takes you 15,260 feet high. Also, consider yourself warned if you decide to tackle this road between November and March. In addition to the steep cliffsides, you’ll also deal with the rainy season, which adds mud, water runoff, obviously heavy rains and fog, which kills your visibility and pretty much turns the route into an off-road obstacle course.
Yungas Road: The Road of Fate
The Yungas Road (AKA Camino de las Yungas) also earned the moniker of “The Road of Fate,” and this is where a lot of its appeal comes from. Known as one of the world’s most dangerous roads, it’s developed a sort of cult following. It’s quite an alluring attraction for travelers who want to prove how adventurous they are.
“Drivers stop to pour libations of beer into the earth – to beseech the goddess Pachamama for safe passage. Then, chewing coca leaves to keep themselves awake, they are off at break-neck speeds in vehicles which should not be on any road, let alone this one. Perched on hairpin bends over dizzying precipices, crosses and stone cairns mark the places where travellers’ prayers went unheeded. Where, for someone – the road ended.” – BBC News
The rules of the road
According to local road rules, the uphill driver always has the right of way. So it’s the downhill driver’s responsibility to move to the edge of the road when faced with oncoming traffic. This rule is pretty nuts when you think about it. It forces the downhill driver (i.e. the driver who is by the laws of physics going faster) to stop and allow the slower-moving uphill driver to pass by. And on this road, you have to drive on the left side of the road, which allows better views for the driver.
Read more at BBC News.
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