The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 km (120 mi) to 700 km (430 mi) wide (widest between 18 degrees South and 20 degrees South latitude), and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft).

Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated by intermediate depressions. The Andes is the location of several high plateaux – some of which host major cities such as Quito, Bogotá, Arequipa, Medellín, Sucre, and La Paz.

The so-called Altiplano plateau is the world's second-highest plateau following the Tibetan plateau. The Andes extends to seven countries, in alphabetical order: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, some of which are known as the Andean States.

The Andes range is the world's highest mountain range outside of the continent of Asia. The highest peak, Mt. Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6,962 m (22,841 ft) above sea level. The peak of Mt. Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes is located at the point on the surface of the Earth that is the most distant one from its centre. This is because of the Earth's equatorial bulge that results from its rotation. The world's highest volcanos are in the Andes, including Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina frontier which rises to 6,893 m (22,615 ft), and over 50 other volcanos that rise above 6,000 m.