As I have pointed out in other blog posts, Bolivia is a wonderful, gorgeous country. I will post a slide show in the future. In the meantime, I will show you another facet of Bolivia– beauty sometimes comes at a cost.
Bolivia has three main geographical divisions– the tropics to the east, the high mountains (and I mean high–over 20,000 feet!) that run through the middle, and the massive altiplano in the west which averages around 14,000 feet above sea level. To get from the altiplano down to the tropics is a major logistical feat.
Here is a video of one of the few highways available. I drove this a couple times. It was hair-raising. The Inter-American Development Bank declared this the most dangerous road in the world. The narrow road is dangerous enough by itself but the Bolivian drivers, most of whom have no licenses, driver training, insurance or sense of “share the road,” complicate the transit. Huge busses and large trucks take the right-of-way no matter which direction they are headed, crowding to the inside of the turn and forcing smaller vehicles to the outside edge of the road where there is often a sheer drop of a thousand feet. No kidding…watch the video. You will be astounded.
Another one of these highways, the one from La Paz/El Alto to Cochabamba is described in some detail in the Cochabamba Conspiracy. It would take no less than five hours on a good day to drive…I could fly to Cochabamba in forty-five minutes in the C-12.