South America Travel

Andes Mountains Region

A winding road in the Andes Mountains near Mendoza, Argentina Travelers seeking solace in ancient cultures and natural beauty, while basking in the glow of the excitement and adventure that only the sheer magnitude of the great Andes mountain range could produce, will find themselves quite at home in these majestic mountains that traverse the length of South America.

The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world, running 4,500 miles along the west coast of South America. It passes through seven countries, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, and Argentina. It also has one of the highest peaks on the continent, Ancongua, which is located in Argentina and rises over 22,841 feet above sea level. The Himalayas have the highest peaks but can't compete with the length or width of the Andes, which average 13,000 feet high and 100-300 miles wide.

The Andes feature some of the most spectacular scenery in South America with its dynamic variation of terrain. There are pristine lakes and rivers, glacier parks, Incan ruins, snow-capped peaks, and lush rain forests. It offers many opportunities for all types of water sports such as scuba diving, whitewater rafting, boating, and fishing; the eastern slopes have some of the best skiing in the world.

The Andes are made up of three main regions. The northern region, being closest to the equator, has a rainy and warm climate. This region is surrounded by some of the highest peaked rain forests in the world. The central region has the most moderate climate since it is a considerable distance from Antarctica and the equator. It is the driest region and features beautiful highlands used for farming and producing some of the world's best wines. The southern region is the coldest since it is closest to Antarctica and is located in Argentina and Chile. This region has some of the best skiing in the world and with its deep valleys and rugged chains, has some of the most breathtaking views.

The name Andes comes from the Quechua word antis, which means high crest. The indigenous Quechuans and the Aymarans still farm the rural highlands like their Incan ancestors did and wear colorful traditional clothing. The ancient Incans left old trading routes, which now make excellent hiking trails. The Inca trail is still used by mountain trekkers and locals. The hike to Machu Picchu, which takes three to five days, is the most famous route. Another popular area is the Gringo trail, which runs from Quito in Ecuador to La Paz in Bolivia. There are also many pristine wilderness areas that are sparsely populated such the Patagonia Region where the lakes and alpine forests are still largely undisturbed by tourists.

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Andes Mountains Travel Guide:
For all the information about sights in Argentina along with lodging, history, transportation, dining and entertainment visit: -> Andes Overview

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