One of Bolivia’s most popular tourist activities is mountain-biking “Death Road.” There are many tourist agencies that make this day tour from La Paz; they’ll charge you about $75 for bike, helmet, food and transport. I chose a company called Bside Adventures, who were both professional and fun — and very quick with the first aid when I crashed and blacked out three-quarters of the way down the mountain.
The ride takes the majority of the day, as you bike over 40 miles and descend 12,000 feet from just outside La Paz to the village of Coroico. The trip is mainly downhill, with a trying uphill portion for those not used to exercising at 15,000 feet. But the ride is worth every minute of pain. You cruise through changing ecosystems, peeling off clothes as the temperature rises nearing the tropical lowlands.
As for the nickname Death Road, it doesn’t take long to realize this is an appropriate title. Sadly, many people (200-300 a year) have lost their lives on this stretch of “highway,” which was once the only road between Coroico and La Paz. Current figures estimate that 13 people have died mountain-biking Death Road since 1998, so adrenaline junkies take note: this will be the ride of your life!