Since traveling through South America tales of the road from La Paz to Rurrenbaque have been many and varied. Most tell stories of the biting cold, aching calf muscles, sore behinds and of the stunning scenery. A few too many, however, tell stories of close shaves, sheer drops, injury and the reason why this highway has become known as the ‘Death Road.’
Opened around 70 years ago ‘Death Road’ was the main route between the Bolivian Amazon and it’s administrative capital La Paz. Scores of trucks, lorries, vans and cars would make the winding route to the city carrying timber, fruit, minerals and livestock from the Amazon Basin along the high mountain pass around 60 kilometers long and 5 meters wide. Last year a new ‘death road’ was completed after more than 20 years of construction and a great deal of siestas I suspect. Since then the death toll has dropped but in the past 30 years official reports show that the road has claimed some 60,000 lives and caused countless more injuries making it the most dangerous road, per kilometer, in the whole world.