This vast mountain range starts in Panama in Central America, rising to huge heights in the middle of the South American continent, finally tailing off into the Southern Ocean at Cape Horn. Its steep mountain passes hid vast cities from the conquistadores, such as the now famous spectacular citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru and is even now still home to many remote rural and very traditional communities.
It usually only takes a day or two to acclimatise to the lofty altitude of some of South America’s most beautiful cities and towns located in the heart of the mountains where you are surrounded by some jaw dropping scenery at every turn.
The Andes are an ever present backbone to the entire continent and offer a serenity and beauty that is impossible to ignore. In the south especially there are some breath-taking drives across high mountain passes that will lead you from cool mountain forests and stark altiplano down to coastal dunes to the West or dense steamy rainforest to the East.
Journey from Bolivia or Argentina into the Atacama Desert in Chile by 4wd as you cross blindingly white salt flats and pass by simple adobe villages and high altitude salt lakes, home to rare species of flamingos. Further south the drive takes you between two famous wine valleys from Maipo and Casablanca to Mendoza where you can discover boutique vintages and take walks or horse-rides among the vines as well as experiencing innovative fine dining from some of the continent’s top chefs.
If you wish to leave the vehicle behind, then you could consider crossing the Andes through the impossibly scenic Lakes District from Chile to Argentina on horseback for some of the continent’s most breath-taking views. And then there are the trekking possibilities: from hiking amid stunning granite peaks and azure blue glacial lakes in Patagonia to multi-day exhilarating and challenging treks up high in Peru and Ecuador where you can discover traditional villages and the stunning remains of the once powerful Incan empire.
For powder fans, the Andes mountain ranges in both Argentina and Chile offer some great southern hemisphere skiing. Heli-skiing is the ultimate way to explore uncharted and challenging mountain territory. A helicopter transfer whisks you from its capital Santiago to Rancagua, to an exclusive lodge deep in the Andes where all the surrounding terrain is reached only by helicopter for the ultimate skiing holiday.
And, of course, it means you can ski from June to September when the northern hemisphere resorts are all closed. Chile’s Central Valley has a Mediterranean climate, so you can spend time skiing in the mountains one moment and then sipping a cool glass of sauvignon blanc in a sunny vineyard the next.
However you love to spend your time in the mountains, we know and love this landscape and will be delighted to share our expertise with you on exploring the Andes to the full.
‘Greetings. this has turned out to be a paradise in so many ways....so a big thank you from us.
Wonderful support from your company over here....we were met at the airport (with flowers!!!!!) and introduced to our personal guide who is fabulous. Can't get over the attention to detail ....cool flannels, chilled water, fresh juice on arrival, bag full of thoughtful goodies for our trip, wonderful rooms with bathrooms bigger than our bedroom at home(!) and we were upgraded to a suite and as I write we are listening to tropical birdsong as we look out over the lagoon from our balcony. Wow!!!!!
I could go on but I'll spare you.
Thanks a million
Judy and Mike’
Premium service from one of the world's most knowledgeable travel companies
24/7 contact number
Your holiday is fully protected by the Package Travel, Package Holidays & Package Tours Regulations 1992
Flight-Inclusive Bonding: We are licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority and hold ATOL Number 7159
Flight-Exclusive bonding: Your holiday is further protected by our membership of ABTOT Membership Number 5197