More and more tourists are deciding to travel independently, without previously booked tours or tourist packages, because they prefer to design their itineraries by themselves, with the help of the information they find trough the internet.
Many people visiting Uruguay –especially European and US tourists- are looking for other activities beside sun and beaches. A lot of them are seduced by rural tourism, including visits to “estancias”, walks trough vineyards and olive groves, and they want to know the gastronomic traditions and the rural Uruguayan customs. But information about this kind of tourism is hard to find in the classic guides, which are frequently outdated.
Karen Higgs a British citizen, who has being living in Uruguay for 16 years, decided to create a website –entirely in English- for English-speaking tourists that could work as a guide about Uruguay. She called it Guru’Guay (guruguay.com).
The website includes –besides the classic information on how to get to Montevideo from the airport, the best way to travel from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, or where you can exchange currency- articles about farms that produce olive oil, where you can ride horses or milk cows. Also it includes information on accommodations in places like Carmelo (described as “The Uruguayan Toscana”), the best “wine routes” in Montevideo, Canelones or Punta del Este and the places where you can dance tango.
“The information that I offer is not a list of hotels or restaurants without knowing anything about them, as it usually happens in traditional guides. I recommend the activities and places I experimented and know personally. I recommend things that are special, representative of the country or something that is curious. Not necessarily the classic and well known places” -says Higgs. And she added that foreign visitors want an opinion and not only a description of the different destinations.
“Tourists are more and more independent, they use internet to plan their trips and are vey interested in bloggers that bring opinions and advices about what is worth a visit and when is best to do it” -she said.
“A lot of tourists that came to Uruguay complained about how difficult was to find updated information about the country” -said Guru’Guay’s creator. She also said that most of the guides about Uruguay were not good and were made by people who hardly knew the country.
Guru’Guay website received more tan 172 thousand visits the last year –mostly from The US- and only this January more tan 21,000 visited the site.
This drove Higgs to make the first guide about Montevideo published in Uruguay that is written in English. The guide is available in Amazon and in bookstores, museums and hotels in Uruguay.
Also she is making a supplement about Uruguayan beaches, farms and vineyards: topics she says are what tourists seek the most. “Meanwhile I am preparing a guide about Uruguay that surely will be out in 2018, because I have a few places left to know yet” -added Higgs.
She left Wales when she was 18
Higgs left Wales, her country of birth, after finishing high school, when she was 18. She worked many years in England, Costa Rica, Argentina, Spain and United States, as a journalist, musician and English teacher, among others things. In 2000, with her Argentinean husband they decided to live in Uruguay, because they considered it was the best place to raise their family.
Source: El País