Left with the help of Ruben, owner of Arthy's Guesthouse who helped us get a taxi and explained to the driver where we wanted to go, only 12b. and it was a long distance away. Very nice folks (it's a family run hostal), and we could get all the info we wanted in English, ha! There was no bus here, just minivans and minibuses...we took a minibus which has more passengers so costs only 15b. for the what turned out to be a 3 hour ride. Bright sunshine on La Paz side with just bunch grasses and dry, rocky slopes but once over the pass (4700m.) and down the other side about 50km from Coroico like we crossed a line it suddenly turned green, the clouds appeared and we were in lush cloud/rain forest climate, moss covered rocks, huge, deep canyons...great panoramic views. Great vistas, deep canyons, we had probably climbed 1000 feet out of La Paz (3660m.), so dropped down from +/- 14,000 feet to Coroico (1900m.)which is at 8,000 feet! Here's a travel blog about biking down the road in 2006...I don't think it's as dangerous today!Biking Travel Blog Down This Road
Gotta say, the 'death road' is perhaps a bit over exaggerated. The old gravel, narrow and curvey road goes side by side with the paved one we went down. I had concluded earlier that since we saw no one on the gravel part, that the cyclists (several 100) we did see (which were only on the paved part with the traffic) were not really going down the 'death road'. However, we met Susan, David, and Meggan later and they had indeed gone down the gravel part most of the way as part of a tour. So I must conclude that the tours do take the cyclists down the actual 'death road'. I don't really see more excitement than what we've got on many of the downhills in MT and elsewhere, just longer and the scenery is a bit more impressive...if you stop to enjoy it!
Got here and hiked the 15 minute hike to El Cafetal, a nice French place, good food and a dbl w/ private bath is only 120b. ($17 US), and a fantastic view as well! Chatted with a French couple about Copacabana and Isla Del Sol where we are headed next, lots of good info. Not much else happening here altho I guess you can hang-glide out over the town if you want and there is a lot of hiking to do, tho takes a bit more time than we have.
Went hiking today to a waterfall...see pics
Life should be maxing pleasure, comfort, enjoyment, and belly laughs...yet too much is about discomfort, pain, agony, and suffering...but then humans seek mtns AND valleys...ya can't enjoy one without the other I guess. But sooo extreme!?