Andes, (Spanish: Cordillera de los Andes ), the great mountain system of South America. It extends near the continent's Pacific coast for more than 4,000 miles (6,400 km), running through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. After the towering Himalayan system of Asia, the Andes are the highest mountains in the world.
Along much of its length, the system divides into two, sometimes three, roughly parallel chains. These are the Cordillera Occidental, the western chain; the Cordillera Central; and the Cordillera Oriental, the eastern chain. Various local names are used to designate parts of these chains.