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This remarkable tour departs from La Paz, first to “La Cumbre” at 4650 m.a.s.l. This is the highest point on this journey and the landscape is truly breathtaking. Drive for about two hours through an impressive mountain road (aka Death Road!) between cliffs and rocky walls 'Top Gear style' down to the Yungas rain forest. In Coroico visit coca, coffee, fruit crops according to season. Have a lunch and explore the town.
This is one of the few routes that connects the Yungas region of northern Bolivia to the capital city. Upon leaving La Paz, the road first ascends to around 4,650 metres (15,260 ft) at La Cumbre Pass, before descending to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) at the town of Coroico, transiting quickly from cool Altiplano terrain to rainforest as it winds through very steep hillsides and atop cliffs.
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The Death Road is currently one of the most popular tourist destinations of Bolivia, is also known as "The World's Most Dangerous Road", is a route of 65 km long from the "Summit", a step of high mountain in the Andes, at 4000 meters, which until 15 years ago this route was the main access road to the forest of the Yungas. This road becomes legendary for its extreme danger because of its steep slopes, sharp curves, with a width of a single lane road in many segments (3 meters wide). Currently the form of access to populations like Los Yungas, Coroico and Yolosa is through a new paved road, so "The Road of Death" is today consolidated almost exclusively as tourist circuit for the mountain bike descent. This road became even more notoriety in February 2012 when the international channel "History Channel" filmed the reality show "Mortal Routes" on the road to Coroico
The largely single-lane road has no guard rails and cliffs of up to 600 metres (2,000 feet). Most of the road is the width of a single vehicle, about 3.2 metres (10 ft). During the rainy season from November to March, rain and fog can severely hamper visibility, and water runoff can turn the road into a muddy track, affecting traction. In the summer, rockfalls are common and vehicle dust limits visibility as well.
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 the faster downhill vehicle to stop so that passing can be negotiated safely. Unlike the rest of Bolivia, vehicles are required to drive on the left side of the road, to give the driver a better view of the vehicle's outside wheel and making passing safer.
The danger of the road made it a popular tourist destination starting in the 1990s, drawing some 25,000 thrillseekers. Mountain biking enthusiasts in particular have made it a favourite destination for downhill biking since there is a 64-kilometre (40 mi) stretch of continuous downhill riding with only one short uphill section. There are now many tour operators catering to this activity, providing information, guides, transport and equipment.
It was featured on the BBC show Top Gear: Bolivia Special (Click here to read more!) where the hosts travelled 1,610 kilometres (1,000 mi) from the Bolivian rainforest to the Pacific Ocean. The road began to crumble under the wheels of Jeremy Clarkson's Range Rover, as he was forced to the edge while passing another vehicle.
A Mitsubishi Outlander TV commercial was the first ever filmed on the road.
The second season of IRT: Deadliest Roads, a spin-off of the History Channel series Ice Road Truckers, follows six North American drivers as they haul cargo along the road.
The road featured in the third episode of Hamish and Andy's Gap Year South America on Australia's Nine Network in 2014.
The road also featured on the British BBC show World's Most Dangerous Roads in series three, episode three. The episode starred Phill Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke and first aired Wednesday 9 January 2013 on BBC HD.
The 'Old' Death Road (a little safer now!)
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Coroico has 23 thousand people and it´s essentially a tourist spot. It was once occupied by the Aymara, Chulumani, Coripata and Irupana. Although there are very few old buildings, it´s still possible to see traces of colonial and republican architecture in some of their homes.
Coroico streets, steep slopes and cobbled paving have a special charm, it´s surrounded by wonderful scenery that can be observed from different viewpoints, you can also do hikes to Cochuna and San Jacinto waterfalls or ascend to the top of Uchumachi, at 2500 meters above sea level, through a forest trail that forms tunnels to reach the summit, which has a spectacular view of the Cordillera Real de Los Andes.
It is also possible to visit the "vagantes", which are rock pools in Santa Barbara River, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in crystal waters and observe the natural landscape and citrus groves that are very close.