The Road of Deathis a 38 to 43 mile road (depending on source) leading from La Paz to Coroico, 35 miles (56 km) 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 travellers are killed yearly along the road.
It runs in the Bolivian Andes, 70 km from La Paz to Coroico, and plunges down almost 3,600 meters in an orgy of extremely narrow hairpin curves and 800-meter abyss near-misses.
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. However, an alternative, much safer, road connecting La Paz to Coroico is nearing completion.
The worst year on death record (1983) saw 320 people lose their lives in the gaping valley below, including the biggest single road accident in Bolivian history when more than 100 people were sent crashing over its near-vertical edge. On average, 26 vehicles plummet over its ledge each year, claiming more than 100 lives.
The title of the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road ’ was bestowed upon this transport route by the Inter-American Development Bank in 1995, based on the macabre ratio of deaths per mile. The ‘road’ itself is nothing more than a narrow sliver chiselled out of the mountainside – it’s unsealed, there are no barriers guarding you from the vertiginous drops and in places the rough, potholed track is only 3.2 metres wide. This is disturbing enough – even before you find out it’s also the main access route between the agricultural region of the Yungas and the bustling city of La Paz , which ensures there’s a constant stream of groaning food trucks and lorries packed with local workers maneuvering the other way.
- Official name: Unduavi-Yolosa Highway
- Nickname: ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road ’
- Location: La Cumbre – Coroico , Bolivia
- Length: 64km
- Altitude: 15,500 feet (start) to 3,700 feet (finish)
- Avg death toll: 100 people per year