The road out of Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, climbs five kilometres above sea level, before pitching downwards like a terrifying roller-coaster ride. A statue of Christ stands here, and drivers pull into the gravel lay-by to make offerings, praying that they’ll make it down.
Road signs usually point drivers to places, or alert them of impending congestion. Not here on the Yungas Road. The signs here are memorials to dead motorists, and this 69 km stretch of winding single lane, above Bolivia’s steepest valleys, is peppered with wooden crosses like potholes.
Known as “The Death Road,” it’s estimated that up to 300 travellers lose their lives here each year.
Its reputation is helped by the awesome yet clearly lethal surroundings — narrow roads, sheer cliffs, dense jungle. If the crash doesn’t kill you the anacondas will.
When it rains, visibility is compromised and the road turns to slime. The track literally can wash away from under you.