Existing Member?

The original world nomad "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." - Confucius.

The most dangerous road in the world

BOLIVIA | Friday, 19 February 1999 | Views [17409] | Comments [4]

The browns, oranges and reds of la Paz are swiftly replaced by lush greens as the road to the Amazon drops off the side of the Andes, descending over 3km in about two hours.

Squeezed between sheer walls of rock, dripping with moss and fern, and a plunging edge with nothing until the roaring river far, far below, the road snaked its way tortuously down the mountain. The view from the passenger seat as the bus lurched around hairpin bends was heart-stopping, and the big bag of Coca leaves beside our driver, intended to dull the pain and fear, did little to inspire confidence.

Broken down trucks awaiting parts from La Paz littered the road, and gravestones sprinkled along the way were chilling reminders of the less fortunate. It had rained heavily the previous night, resulting in huge curtain waterfalls pouring from above in great arcs over the road, which didn't seem to daunt or slow our driver.

The bus pulled up behind a long line of trucks, buses and vans. Walking up the road beside this stationary convoy, we eventually reached a crowd of excited passengers watching some men try to clear a large landslide with their bare hands.

The road, originally hewn from a vast slab of rock had been completely swept away as a mass of earth and rock hurtled from above. The vaguely horizontal track that had been cleared across the remaining debris (which only a Bolivian could describe as a road) was perched, ready to slide away down to the river at any moment. A tiny blue mini-van inched forward, eager to continue its journey, wheels spinning on dirt and rocks still whistling by, the driver reluctantly retreated.

Looking back down the road, there were at least 100 vehicles ... most considerably larger than the mini-van. We weren't going anywhere today and probably not tomorrow either. In fact, I began to realise why the Inter-American Development Bank lists this as the most dangerous road in the world, with one vehicle going over the edge about every two weeks.

As it got dark, we unloaded our rucksacks and started walking. We reached Coroico just after midnight after climbing back up over a thousand metres on slippery muddy tracks. As it started to rain we pitched our tent and collapsed for the night.

As daylight arrived, the scarlet hibiscus was shrouded in mountain mist just outside, the iridescent hummingbird hovering, collecting breakfast.

Childhood dreams do come true.

Tags: altitude, amazon, bus, danger, death, insane, la paz, misadventures, rainforest, truck




Mate...there's this fabulous 'new' invention; called the 'aeroplane'. I understand one can now fly over such wondrous works of mankind as this "high"way!!! (remind me to take the Ferrari for a fang on that road!!!). Bloody hell ...

  Wayne Jun 1, 2007 9:26 AM



  JOHNNY DELK Dec 15, 2007 5:12 AM


I went down it when i was ten. For some reason I dont think that the effect was the same. WHY on earth would you go down it durring the rainy season???

  Chris Parrish Aug 30, 2009 5:57 PM



  MOHAMED H.ELRAMLI Sep 23, 2010 6:05 PM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About simon_monk

Simon on Sydney Harbour

Follow Me

Where I've been


Photo Galleries


Near Misses

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Bolivia

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.