Barracuda Biking - Cycling Death Road Bolivia!

Barracuda Biking – Cycling Death Road Bolivia!

Kach Medina Destination, South America & Antarctica, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 42 Comments

Have you heard of the Cycling Death Road Bolivia? Just outside of La Paz, the highest administrative Capital city in the world and nestled in the Altiplano Mountains of Bolivia, lies the world’s most dangerous road. Built in the 1930’s during the Chaco War by Paraguayan prisoners, the Yungas road from La Paz to Coroico was the first ever connection from the mountains to the Amazon. Starting at 4650 meters and descending to 1200 meters, the deadly combination of up to 600 meter drops, no guardrails, large vehicles and landslides claims on average 300 lives per year, including buses, trucks and even tourists transiting the deadly route. Whilst parts of the road have been modernized with concrete, drainage and bridges, the old section of the North Yungas Road remains the most dangerous in the world.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in La Paz / La Paz.

Death Road Bolivia Featured Image

We chose to tackle the route with Barracuda Biking Bolivia, one of the best known and longest running companies offering mountain biking tours of Death Road. We chose them because they have a solid reputation and only use the most experienced guides and drivers. All of their bikes are the latest full-suspension Kona models and are fully checked and serviced after each use.

What was really important for me was that they adjust your bike to your own specifications before you set off. There’s nothing worse than being a British rider and having backwards European brakes! Their tours include all transport, safety equipment, food, water, photography, guides and instruction. Oh yeah, you get a free T-shirt and DVD of your adventure as well!

Bookings – Calle Linares 971 – Tel: (591) 2-2310176 / (591) 767-28881

Languages – English / Spanish

Cost – Starting from 500 Bolivianos – $72US – Bargain!

Here’s how it went…

Approximate Itinerary

6.45am – Meet at Little Italy Café for some breakfast and a coffee, so you’re fully fueled up the day ahead.

On the bus and 7.30am

7.30am – Jump on the bus to the starting point of the ride, at a whopping 4600 metres! After being given your bikes and a comprehensive safety talk, you ride for the first hour on tarmac roads, through stunning mountain scenery, to get the hang of your new bikes and prepare yourself for what’s to come!

9.00am – Back on the bus for a long uphill stretch and munch a complimentary sandwich en-route to the beginning the World’s Most Dangerous Road. Here you’ll receive more expert instruction and advice, including; ‘No selfies on the bikes’; and ‘Don’t be a f#cking idiot!’ Very sound advice on a narrow, dirt track road with up to 400 metre drops to one side!

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10.00am – Time to go! Set off nice and slow as you negotiate rocks, holes and waterfalls, not to mention giant trucks dominating most of the track. Plenty of stops for photos and resting your shaky nerves, with a few confidence inspiring stories from your guide about those who have tried-and-died before you! The sobering sight of crosses and tombstones on the side of the road keep your confidence in check and remind you how this road has earned its title over many years of tragic loss-of-life.

2.30pm – You’ve survived your Death Road experience! Roll down the Barracuda’s very own riverside hostel and restaurant for a shower and delicious hot meal of spaghetti with Bolognese or pesto. This is where you say goodbye to your bikes to feel free to start on the beers and celebrate surviving one of the world’s most dangerous adventures.

Related Article: Looking for affordable accommodation? Check out our Ultimate List of Best Hostels in Bolivia.

4.30pm – Drag your weary bodies back onto the bus fo. the final ride home. You now have the group decision of driving back along Death Road the same way you rode, or taking the newer and far less terrifying, tarmac road home. Provided your guide decides that conditions are safe enough, then we recommend choosing Death Road, as riding in a bus around the steep, narrow curves and passing large trucks on narrow corners gives you an entirely new perspective of the route. And it’s freakin’ awesome!

Here’s what we thought about it…

Two Monkeys 5 Point Rating (5 = Awesome! / 1 = Far from awesome)

Value for Money – Starting at 500 Bolivianos ($72US) for a whole day’s excursion; including all transport, equipment, food, unlimited water, expert guides, full safety instruction, complete with photography and DVD of your experience – we think this is a hell of a good deal!

Score – 5/5

Quality of Equipment and safety – All of the bikes are top of the line Kona, full suspension mountain bikes with hydraulic disc brakes, which are fully serviced after every single use. They also adjust your bike to your specifications before setting off. Safety equipment includes helmet (full face or open), gloves, protective knee and elbow pads, windbreaker jacket and trousers. The guides are first aid trained and carry medical equipment to patch up any minor injuries and will coordinate your evacuation / rescue in more serious cases. Only drivers with extensive experience of driving heavy vehicles on Death Road are used; our driver, Oscar, has around 25 years under his belt!

Score – 5/5

Organisation – Everything ran smoothly from start to finish. The registration process was super-friendly and efficient. At every stage we felt confident that the guides and driver had everything under complete control. Anything that could have delayed our schedule or upset the experience was dealt with so that you barely even noticed. Very impressive and an example for others to follow!

Score – 5/5

Guides – Our guides, Eddie and Jose, and driver, Oscar were awesome throughout the whole adventure. Both very experienced off-road bikers, guides and mechanics, Eddie and Jose were with us every step of the way to ensure we were safe and having a great time. Eddie manages to perfectly balance the roles of guide, authority figure, comedian and friend extremely well. Thanks guys!

Score – 5/5 

Overall Experience – Riding with Barracuda, you get the feeling that every last detail has been considered. Safety and experience are balanced so that you feel that you are taken care of without being excessively controlled. The quality of equipment and organisation give you confidence to really enjoy yourself. We highly recommend Barracuda Biking!

Score – 5/5 

Special thank you to Dayana, Eddie, Jose, Oscar and everyone in our group for an awesome day!

 

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Comments 42

  1. Hi I just want to ask, I’m a solo traveller and I want to try this, is there a minimum number of people or you can register alone and have a ride with other tourists/groups? Yung isasabay ka sa ibang group, kasi mag-isa lang ako, pwede be yun

    Thanks!

  2. With 5/5 score, it convinced me to try this. As long as we set off to Bolivia, we’ll definitely check this biking.

  3. Safety first as usual. Thank you for mentioning that the equipments make you feel confident as you take the Barracuda biking

  4. First, I need to think when I can go to Bolivia. Second, I need to get a lot of courage to the barracuda biking. Looks an amazing experience though.

    1. You will be in Bolivia, Flor! And sure by that time, you have enough courage to try the Barracuda Biking.

    1. Do the Barracuda Biking, Camille. As you said, it’s a YOLO experience and sure it would be worth all the fears.

  5. The road is awesome even it’s dangerous though. Yet, I won’t risk my life because I don’t know how to ride a bike lol!

  6. I love biking. Though I don’t know whether I would be able to ride in such a challenging environment. Thanks for sharing all the details about Barracuda Biking!

  7. Omg biking use to be a big hobby of mine!!!! Your post makes me want to dust off my old bike and take it for a ride!

  8. I used to love to bike! When I was much younger… I would have to get back into shape to even think about doing something like this,

  9. My brother is a keen cyclist. He often rides down to Kent from Norwich. I bet he would love to do this road!

  10. This seems so dangerous holy moly! Such an adventure! Would have loved to see more pictures but I appreciate the details you put in here! So fun!!!

  11. That would be so scary and yet such an exhilarating feeling! I am not sure I could do it but I love hearing about other people doing it!

    1. Hi, Alison! Have you heard other people who tried the Barracuda Biking too before? How did it go for them?

  12. OMG your first photo knocked my socks off! We’re bikers but more city biking so we’ll prolly die doing this lol! But dang, this is going to our bucket list for sure.

  13. This sounds like an amazing adventure! Based on the “death road” I probably would have avoided it if I hadn’t seen this.

  14. Oh my gosh that sounds amazing and challenging. I’d definitely have to do some exercises to prepare me for a bicycle tour like that.

  15. It’s so cool you get to keep a DVD afterwards! I always like keeping records of my adventures, and what better way than a DVD. Sounds like you had a fantastic time, lots of 5/5.

    1. Adventures like Barracuda Biking must be recorded, Lily! 5/5 was a well-deserved rate for the experience in the Cycling Death Road Bolivia.

  16. I’ve never been so much attracted to bikes, even less in the “wild”. sounds pretty extreme:) But the whole excursion day sounds like lot of fun and a great time. What you all get with such a low price is surely worth it ! I love those activities that can give you a DVD of your experience, I love this nostalgia feeling when I watch them later. I’ll sure recommend this excursion in Bolivia !

    1. Indeed, Nya! The Barracuda Biking – Cycling Death Road Bolivia was nothing but an excpetional experience.

  17. I love that after cycling on death road you get to keep a DVD and even get a delicious hot meal at the end. Now that is what I call a good experience!

  18. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of the Cycling Death Road Bolivia, but it seems like a lot of 5’s there so must have been great fun! The fact that you get a DVD at the end too is a great touch to keep all the fun memories!

  19. Pingback: the experiential travel-list [part II]: South America - My Blog

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