There’s nothing wildly exciting about LOS ANDES, but this old colonial town, with its narrow streets and lively main square, makes a convenient base for day-trips to the ski resort of Portillo. Eighty kilometres north of Santiago, on the international road to Mendoza, Argentina, it’s set in the beautiful Aconcagua valley; the first ridge rises to 3500m and then soars to 6959m Aconcagua, the highest peak outside the Himalayas, just across the border in Argentina. The surrounding region is fertile, and as you approach Los Andes from Santiago you’ll pass vineyards and numerous peach and lemon orchards.