North Yungas Road – The Most Dangerous Road In The World

Posted on 26 September 2009 Crni

The North Yungas Road (also Grove’s Road, Coroico Road, Camino de las Yungas, El Camino de la Muerte, Road of Death, and Death Road) is a 61 to 69 km road (depending on source) leading from La Paz to Coroico, 56 km (35 miles) northeast of La Paz in the Yungas region of Bolivia. It is legendary for its extreme danger and in 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank christened it as the “world’s most dangerous road”. One estimate is that 200-300 travelers were killed yearly along the road. The road includes crosses marking many of the spots where vehicles have fallen.

dangerous roads 1

A South Yungas Road (also Chulumani Road) exists that connects La Paz to Chulumani, 64 km (40 miles) east of La Paz, and is considered to be nearly as dangerous as the north road. The road was built in the 1930s during the Chaco War by Paraguayan prisoners. It is one of the few routes that connects the Amazon rainforest region of northern Bolivia, or Yungas, to its capital city. Upon leaving La Paz, the road first ascends to around 4,650 meters (15,256 ft) at La Cumbre Pass, before descending to 1,200 meters (3,937 ft) at the town of Coroico, transiting quickly from cool Altiplano terrain to rainforest as it winds through very steep hillsides and atop cliffs.

dangerous roads 14Because of the extreme dropoffs of at least 600 meters (1,969 ft), single-lane width — most of the road no wider than 3.2 meters (10.5 ft) — and lack of guard rails, the road is extremely dangerous. Further still, rain and fog can make visibility precarious, and the road surface muddy, and can loosen rocks from the hillsides above. One of the local road rules specifies that the downhill driver never has the right of way and must move to the outer edge of the road. This forces fast vehicles to stop so that passing can be negotiated safely. Also, vehicles drive on the left, as opposed to the right like the rest of Bolivia. This gives the driver in a left-hand-drive vehicle a better view over their outside wheel, making passing safer.

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