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The Death Road Into The Yungas

sunny 25 °C


Let the catch up game continue! I am writing today from Cusco Peru (pretty much our final destination) as we arrived a day or two early after travelling via night buses back to back nights (super fun stuff but guess what? We officially took our last "real" bus ride last night!!!! Now all that's left is one from Santo Domingo in the DR to Punta Cana... and that's no big deal at all). Yesterday we arrived in Nazca bright and early, boarded a small prop plane and flew over the famous Nazca Lines! What a sight to behold. And definitely the smallest plane either of us has flew in before.

But now for the Yungas. The Yungas are a famous area just north of Bolivia's capital city La Paz, which is basically half Amazon and half Andes. It is also renowned as one of the best Coca growing areas in the country. Our bus for Uyuni arrived in La Paz early in the AM and we quickly hopped a cab and headed towards a mini bus terminal that wisked us away towards Coroico which is a sleepy little resort town that lies in the heart of Yungas. Quite the temperature difference... and that was exactly what I needed to help heal up my sickness.

The issue is, to get to Coroico you have to travel via 'The Worlds Most Dangerous Road' lol. I'm not even joking. Ok... this is only partly true because most of the road has been redone. Still, even with the improvements it was by far the scariest road I've ever travelled!


Why is it so scary? Well because La Paz sits at around 3650 M and to get to Coroico you go down, down, down a very windy road with literally no shoulder or safety barriers. So we boarded a mini bus which was basically a 5-6 seater converted into a 8-10 seater and which was also an automatic. So... we're riding in this questionable rig to begin with and what happens? The brakes start smoking and overheating!! Go figure? No down-shifting in a over weighted vehicle that has to ride the brakes. Anyways we pulled over in just the nick of time (scared shitless lol) and the driver gets out his 'toolbox', pulls the tires off and starts to bleed the brake lines. As you can probably imagine we're thinking that there is no way in hell that we're getting back on this bus!!


This kind of gives you an idea of the drop offs I'm talking about. At some spots on the road it must have been a sheer 2000 M drop straight down!


One of the funnier things I seen: You know when you drive mountain roads how they have emergency semi-truck runaways that ramp up and have all sorts of barricades to help them stop incase of a loss of brakes? Well on the 'Death Road' they sort of attempted to build these. Except they were about 10-15 feet long ramps with a few boulders down the middle. Just a tease really lol. Trucker - Is it gonna save me? Nope. Aaaggrrrh!!" Lol it was such a half ass attempt. Had to see it. So the breakdown... after bleeding the brake lines the driver decided to take one last stab at it. We said a quick pray and jumped back in. Ya well we made it a total of 100 metres as the brakes were completely fubar'ed. So then what happened? Well we were stuck by the side of the death road without transportation for 2 hours until we finally flagged down a van to ferry us the rest of the way. Looking back at it now it makes me laugh, but at the time we were both very tired and cranky. But we eventually made it to Coroico and checked into paradise on the mountainside.


So for around $25 a night we got a big comfy room, swimming pool, sauna, buffet breakfast and solid WIFI.... just what we needed after the long tour of the salt flats. It was hard to grasp that just a few hours drive from La Paz and the weather does a complete 180. Our first day wasn't the sunniest, but the days following were just glorious.


You see what I mean? Part Amazon, part Andes....


For our second day in the Yungas we did a little bit of hiking around to check out the town (our hotel was about a 10 minutes walk uphill and out of town) and surrounding area.


The mountain views were nothing less than stunning. One of the most unique places we've been. Usually it's pretty easy to compare one place we've travelled to the next but here was something else. Tropical forest surrounded by snow covered peaks.


Coroico's main plaza/square...


We found a little bar along the cliffs to sit back and enjoy happy hour at...


Next we headed back up towards our hotel's area and found ourselves a great little cafe to enjoy some dinner. Along the way Stacey was immersed in her flowers...


Some tasty local cuisine...


The top of our hotel which overlooked the entire valley...


Another cool thing about our hotel was all the friendly company...


We actually took them for a few walks up by the hotel. Still can't believe this poor old girl could walk with her busted up legs! She walked just fine so it must have happened ages ago.


We couldn't believe just how lush everything was in the Yungas especially since we had just come from the salt flats which was anything but. They even had Mandarin Orange Trees flourishing all over their grounds.


The only downside to all the lushness and fruit was the abundance of sand flies that were around the pool. We had been lucky enough up to this point on our tour to have never experienced them before. But we got our taste this time around!


If your unfamiliar with sand flies let me tell you... they are HORRIFIC little creatures! Basically they're like fruit flies but they bite, draw blood and immediately you swell up and itch. And the swelling is unreal! I had welts the size of golf balls all over my legs! And you can't even feel the little buggers biting you. Antihistamines don't really work either so your pretty much forced to just deal with it. Glad they don't live in Canada!

That's it for the Yungas guys. Not much else to show you of our time there. It was just the R&R we required after some long hard travels throughout magnificent Bolivia.

Posted by ttbwarren 10:33 Archived in Bolivia

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