How to Choose a Safe Mountain Bike Company for the Death Road, Bolivia

The Death Road
The Death Road | © Gatol fotografia / Flickr
Harry Stewart

As you may have inferred from the name, Bolivia’s Death Road is no laughing matter. Thousands have lost their lives on this notorious mountainous highway, including over a dozen tourists since mountain bike tours became a thing. And with so much at stake, it’s essential to choose a reputable company to ensure your chances of survival remain high. Here’s how.

You get what you pay for

Countless different adventure tour companies hustle for business in La Paz’ main tourist thoroughfare, each promising an adrenaline pumping outing with strict safety standards. Thrifty backpackers may be quick to note that prices range tremendously, from US$50 (€40) to well over $100 (€80). However, it’s important to keep in mind that in Bolivia, much like elsewhere in the world, the old saying “you get what you pay for” rings especially true.

More expensive outfits tend to have sturdy, high-quality bikes which are far less prone to mechanical failures, meaning riders can rely on their equipment while hurtling downhill. Furthermore, most guides have extensive first aid training and may carry rescue gear such as winches to propel down the cliff should an emergency arise.

Cheaper companies, on the other hand, tend to provide clapped out bikes and poorly trained guides.

Fancy going down The Death Road?

Test your gear before you go

Some companies keep a bike in the shopfront so tourists can try before they buy. If possible, take a close look at the bike to ensure it fits your needs and rigorously discuss what kind of safety gear is included such as full face cover helmets and knee/elbow guards. Before saddling up at the top of La Cumbre, be sure to examine all your gear thoroughly to check for potential defects.

The Death Road in all its glory

Do your research and opt for a reputable company

Tour companies come and go in Bolivia due to stiff competition and a lack of government control. It’s always safer to choose an established operator who has been in the game for years, preferably with a proven track record of safety orientated service. Travel forums are an excellent place to research, just be aware of the prevalence of fake reviews. Otherwise, seeking advice from fellow travelers is a great way to obtain up to date and unbiased information.

At the top of their game is Gravity Bolivia, an old-school outfit who pioneered the route over two decades ago. Known for their strict safety standards, the company is a premium option for travelers who can afford to pay a little more.

Another excellent high-end option is Altitude, who boast first-rate equipment and a professional crew.

Of course, most backpackers want to do everything on the cheap and feel reluctant to pay those extra pesos. Plenty of more affordable options are out there, but it’s important to choose wisely.

Waterfall on the Death Road

Do I need the best bike?

Most companies allow customers to choose between single or double suspension, with a considerable price difference between the two. So is that fancy dual suspension worth it? The answer ultimately comes down to your budget and riding skill.

Dual suspension makes the ride much smoother, especially considering the journey primarily covers course and rocky terrain. Effectively, this also makes the bike easier to control and consequently lowers the likelihood of coming unstuck. In summary, if you’re skint and up for a challenge, by all means, feel free to opt out.

Mountain biker going through a waterfall
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.