Bolivia’s Death Road with reduced chance of death

Visiting Bolivia in October The Rapid Traveler met video game designer extraordinaire Travis Steiner who had just hurtled down Bolivia’s Death Road (Yungas Road) by bike. This is a popular activity among tourists, though the roadside crosses testify to the continued lethality of the daytrip. There are frequent complaints of the equipment, quality and safety measures of various tour operators. Travis is experienced with a bike and did a tremendous amount of research, eventually selecting B-side. B-side is the premium operator but the cost seems justified compared to the poor girl on another tour Travis saw whose handlebar came off during her ride.

This is not the kind of activity to tempt fate by testing a number of operators, so a comparative review is not feasible. And The Rapid Traveler wanted no part of being a punchline on newspaper headlines, “Found death on Death Road,” that kind of thing, little better than the infamous last words, “Hey, look at me.” But those who want to experience the road part without the death part can consider B-side among the options.

Travis generously granted permission to share his superb photos. His full flickr album captures the stark beauty of southwestern Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni and Northern Chile. So much so that The Rapid Traveler’s own pictures, long on his to-do list but nothing compared to Travis’, may need to be kept under wraps.

Photo by Travis Steiner

Photo by Travis Steiner

And a great video on the Death Road:

Readers, have any of you ridden Death Road?

Disclaimer: The Rapid Traveler has no connection with B-side and will not receive any compensation from this recommendation.

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  • Wow, amazing pictures! The salt flat at Salar de Uyuni was on our round-the-world travel list as well, but it’s so hard to get there! And we heard the operators at the salt flat are hardly reliable also (think drunken drivers). Would you happen to have any recommendations?

  • aadvantagegeek

    I guess I-93 in Boston isn’t with worst road in the world.

  • Selection of an operator is a hassle but maybe it is best to be zen about it, because whoever you book with, you agency very likely will pass you on to another to fill a vehicle. I worked with Bolivia Travel Site, Travis dealt with Red Planet, and we ended up together. Just about every tour seemed roughly the same unless you go the custom or luxury route. I will soon do a post in more detail on Uyuni. The elevation and climate make it a trip to not be taken lightly, but the scenery is outstanding, where else can see you a lake of arsenic?