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AUDLEY TRAVELLER | 39andes the >experts' guide to. Stretching for 4,300 miles, the Andes dramatically dissect the South American continent, and provide a backdrop for some of its most thrilling experiences. Here's how to enjoy the best of these mountains... the

THE REGIONTime zone: GMT -5Flight time from UK: 13 hoursWhen to go: The countries of the Andes do lend themselves to year-round exploration, though we would recommend avoiding January and February if you wish to visit Machu Picchu, and aiming for the UK winter months if you wish to trek the wilds of Patagonia.In brief: The longest continental mountain range in the world, spanning 4,300 miles from north to south, the Andes provide a dramatic backdrop to some of South America's most diverse terrains. From Ecuador's volcanoes and Peru and Bolivia's ancient civilisations to the trekking haven of Patagonia, there is an Andean experience to suit every interest. THE ANDESWE RECOMMEND1PERU Truly, a country of icons - from the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca and the Amazon rainforest, Peru is top of most travellers' lists for a fi rst visit to South America.2CHILE Snaking along the foothills of the Andes, Chile is home to many unique experiences: exploring the world's driest desert, sampling some of its fi nest wine and lacing up for some of the most spectacular trekking in Patagonia.3ARGENTINA Sparkling blue glaciers and picture-postcard Lake District towns combine with wine-tasting and trekking. A trip to the mighty Iguaçu Falls adds a further dimension to this country of incredible contrasts.4ECUADOR Colourful markets, colonial cities and avenues of volcanoes meet the Amazon and one of the world's most outstanding wildlife experiences: the Galapagos Islands.5COLOMBIA With rolling coff ee plantations in the Andean foothills, jungle-fringed beaches and vibrant colonial towns, it's no wonder that Colombia is becoming the 'one to watch' on lists of hot new destinations.Unmatched diversity makes this the mightiest range, says Conor Powell In a nutshell No other mountain range o ers such a diversi of landscapes as the Andes -  om migh glaciers to arid deserts, mis co ee planta ons to sparkling-white salt  ats. In fact, it feels almost as if superla ves were invented to showcase this spectacular region! Where else would you  nd the world's highest ac ve volcano, driest desert, highest navigable lake and highest capital ci ?What's new? Colombia. Now poli cally LANDSCAPES40 | AUDLEY TRAVELLER | BY SECTIONBolivia's Laguna Colorada is just one of the Altiplano's incredible lakesTierra del Fuego00500 miles805 kilometresBogotaQuitoChiclayoLimaSantiagoBuenos AiresLa PazCuzcoATLANTIC OCEANPACIFICOCEANAmazonLake TiticacaVENEZUELACOLOMBIAGUYANASURINAMEFRENCH GUYANAECUADORPERUBOLIVIABRAZILPARAGUAYURUGUAYARGENTINACHILEAmazon RainforestThe Coffee RegionMachu PicchuSalar De UyuniTorres Del Paine National ParkEl CalafateFalkland IslandsPatagoniaMendozaParanaSan Pedrode Atacama23145Map not to same scaleEasterIslandRio de JaneiroCuzcoBRASÍLIAASUNCIÓNCARACASGEORGETOWNPARAMARIBOCAYENNEBOGOTÁQUITOLIMALA PAZSANTIAGOBUENOS AIRESMONTEVIDEOSTANLEYBRAZILGUYANASURINAMEFRENCHGUYANAVENEZUELACOLOMBIAECUADORPERUBOLIVIACHILEARGENTINAPatagoniaTierra delFuegoAmazonRainforestPARAGUAY URUGUAYFALKLANDISLANDSGalapagosIslandsAmazon ParanáLakeTiticacaCaribbean Sea Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean Pacific Ocean 0500 miles0805 kilometres