The Andes Mountains, which form Argentina’s backbone, are to the far west of the country, and separate this nation from bordering Chile. They extend most of the length of South America (some 4,300 miles), stretching down from Venezuela through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and finally, Argentina. At their widest, the Andes are about 430 miles wide and measure an average of 13,000 feet high, which means they are visible from many miles away.
Most visitors to Argentina’s closest connection with the Andes will be from near Mendoza, one of the main wine-growing regions in the country, with its popular Malbec (red) wine. Mendoza is just east of the Andes, and from here, it is possible to visit a lookout point with a good view of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain on the continent, as a day trip. The 22,841 foot mountain is a favorite among mountain climbers, but it an intensive trip that requires planning, training and high-mountain gear. Most visitors will content themselves with seeing, rather than climbing the Andes.
Though parts of the Andes may look barren, there is often abundant wildlife, including guanacos, slim-necked relatives of the llama, and it is fairly common to see Andean condors, with a wingspan measuring as much as 10.5 feet in width, coasting on thermal updrafts.