This special tour is now very trendy - you go down the Yungas on mountain bike, "The world's most dangerous road." Companies like Gravitybolivia take you up by van to beyond El Alto. You start at an altitude of 4,300m and wind down a narrow road to 1,500m in the warm area of Yungas, a former enclave of African slaves in which you will see their descendants. Along the way, the curves and the numerous crosses in memory of the dead, fallen deep in the canyons will give you the creeps. Caution.
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INFO ON THE RIDE:
We begin the ride at wind-swept La Cumbre (4,700m/15,400 feet) where you ll see fantastic views of a number of snow-covered peaks, including Huayna Potosí (6,088m/19,973 feet). From here we descend rapidly down a twisting asphalted road among mountain peaks, grazing llamas and alpacas, tiny villages and a drug check-post (?!). We stop for refreshments, photos, and rests along the way -- all the better to give us time to take in the scenery: towering cliff faces, dramatic drops and ever greener vegetation... while preparing ourselves for the next breath-taking section. After a snack we descend further, and after a brief undulating section of road we enter the jungle itself and the most challenging part of the ride. This infamous narrow dirt road is cut precariously into the side of the mountain and descends 2,000m (6,500 feet). With 1,000m+ (3,300 feet) sheer drops off to our left and hulking rock overhangs and cascading waterfalls to our right, we ride through mist, low cloud and dust. With your positive attitude and our expert instruction, coaching and supervision you can safely enjoy some of South America s most dramatic and beautiful scenery as you hurtle down the road. (Note that since March 2007 the majority of traffic has stopped driving down the WMDR, and now drives down the new road ... leaving the road for us to enjoy without battling very many trucks, buses and cars!)
As we near the end of the ride it gets progressively hotter and dustier. By the time you arrive at the bottom in Yolosa (1,100m/3,600 feet) you will be tired, hot, dirty and exhilarated. Just below the village of Yolosa we ride down to La Senda Verde Animal Refuge (check out the video) -- where we enjoy a late pasta and salad buffet lunch, take in the magnificent scenery, spend time relaxing by the pool, enjoying a cold drink and getting to know the rescued animals. Note: We can offer you the option of overnighting at La Senda or up in Coroico rather than returning to La Paz the day of the ride, in which case we ll deliver you and your backpack to the town square of Coroico. Many people take this option and then take a bus the next day from Coroico to Rurrenabaque and the Bolivian Amazon Jungle.