Karen A Higgs

The guru of Guru'Guay

Karen A Higgs grew up in the South Wales Valleys. At 22 she found herself stranded in Mexico City airport with just a pocket Spanish dictionary for company. Since then she’s lived most of her life in Latin America. She sang 60s covers in a psychedelic rock bar in Costa Rica. In Buenos Aires, she impressed her teenage English language students by riding a 500 cc motorbike around town. In 2000, she moved to Uruguay to lead the communications team at an international non-profit.

In 2010 she made a radical change of career, running an award-winning guesthouse in Montevideo’s Old City. Pleas from grateful guests to share her insider information about the city more widely inspired the popular Guru’Guay website in late 2013.

Since then Karen has written The Guru’Guay Guide to Montevideo (2nd ed Oct. 2019) – the only English-language city guide to the capital – and its companion The Guru’Guay Guide to Uruguay: Beaches, Ranches & Wine Country (Nov. 2017). They are Amazon bestsellers. In 2020, Karen narrated and published the Montevideo guide as an audiobook. It is Uruguay’s first ever long-length audiobook in the world.

Our website visitors are mainly from the US, Uruguay, Canada and the UK. In 2021, we received our website visitor # 1,000,000. The video at the end of the page explains why so many readers from all over the world and all walks of life—ambassadors, entertainers, professors, you name it—love Guru’Guay.

Karen A Higgs is the only Uruguay travel guide author to live in Uruguay. The difference to the other commercial guidebooks is palpable.

Guru’Guay in the media 

Internationally Karen has been quoted in the New York Times and National Geographic and the subject of shows by the BBC and The Vacation Rental Show.  She’s been a guest on the world’s most popular travel podcasts. The Uruguayan public has also fallen in love with Guru’Guay and Karen appears regularly on local TV and radio. Check out the Guru’Guay media page including links to podcast interviews.


Guru’Guay is proud to be part of Uruguay Natural, Uruguay’s country brand. Our guidebooks have been  sponsored by the Uruguay Ministry of Tourism and the Government of Montevideo.

Private 1:1 consultations

Karen can be your personal guide. She is available to provide expert guidance to people like yourself who are deciding if Uruguay is a great place for them to visit, live and invest.

Join the Guru’Guay online

Facebook Page The official Guru’Guay page where we curate selected blog posts, top picks and articles about Uruguay from the Guru’Guay website and other sources

Instagram This is the Guru’Guay snapping as she goes about her daily business

Discover Uruguay Facebook group The Guru’Guay community share top picks, tips and general fun stuff you’ll want to know about living and visiting Uruguay. The Guru moderates to keep it a friendly group.

YouTube Our official channel. 

Play Video about La Paloma lighthouse at dusk

25 Responses

  1. Love the website Karen and I’m on your email list. Just a note I tried to order your books but couldn’t get the Montevideo one from Amazon.co.uk. I have ordered from Amazon.com site. Maybe it is just a problem with ordering from Ireland (we are the Uruguay of Europe) but maybe your publishers are not supplying the book properly. Anyway I can wait but trying to prepare for a loner third trip to Uruguay in 2025.

  2. Hello Karen,

    As fate would have it, I saw your TikTok video yesterday and then I had a slightly uncomfortable encounter with a taxi driver today in Montevideo. I’ve lived here four years and have never tipped a taxi driver. The driver was insistent. I did not tip. When I got home I search online to see if tipping taxi drivers is something new. I came across your site first which states tipping of taxi drivers is not expected. Do you know if the expectation has changed recently?

  3. Hi Karen… I’ve been going thru your guidebook to Montevideo in preparation for an 8 day solo trip there on the first week of March. I’m entertaining wild thoughts of retiring in a couple years somewhere outside the crazy USA. My ticket has me arriving in Montevideo at about 10 pm local time (and I’ve never gone anywhere in Latin America on time) and I’m wondering how local transportation to hotels is in the late evening. I also clicked the link to your place, but it was in Chinese for some reason, looked like an abandoned site. Are you still open? Any other recommendations if not? I’m thinking of the ciudad viejo area to start with.
    Thanks so much, Dan

    1. Hi Dan, thanks for buying my guidebook! Airport transportation will still be working. See page 87 of your guidebook. My old guesthouse is no longer open. I’m focussed 100% on Guru’Guay. Here are great accommodation recommendations for you. Have a wonderful trip and if you still feel excited about Uruguay after your stay, feel free to hit me up for a consultation regarding retiring! It’d be a pleasure to assist. Great to be in touch, Karen

  4. Hello Karen. I will be visiting Montevideo for the month of February and don’t want to rent a car. Can you recommend a personal driver in case I would like to visit a specific winery? Thanks so much. Great website!


    1. Hi Joseph, how cool you’ll be here for the entire month! I’d recommend B&B Remises https://www.bybremises.com/en/ Very reliable. Tell them you came through Guru’Guay and thanks for the kind words about the site. Greetings from the Old City of Montevideo — Karen

  5. Hi Karen,

    After a extensive research I’m eager residence for my family of 7 in Uruguay. I’m looking for some recommendations for the most professional immigration service in the country and other resources. Do you have an opinion on that? I’m happy to pay.

  6. Hi Karen! I’ve just got to you, I really didn’t know what you were doing for my country, great job! I’m living in Piriápolis, a small coastal town in Maldonado which has a very rich history, beautiful hills falling to the sea and a mystical background to be unveiled. I lived all my life in Montevideo and now moved here, to Piriapolis, and I just can’t understand how this town (Magnum Opus of Francisco Piria, its founder) isn’t one of the main destiny’s for tourists, travellers or even people who are willing to move to Uruguay… I’m starting a project to empower this town and its sourroundings and really would appreciate your advice or help, how does it sound? I am sad to see how many interesting places, architectural works, awesome landscapes which we have in Piriápolis are not properly cared for or valued. My brother-in-law, Fernando Tapia, is a member of the Colonia del Sacramento Tourism Commission and in that city one can see the enthusiasm and care for the heritage, it is really motivating and inspiring. Piriapolis, and all nearby towns, need betters services, hostings,etc. but I think that if people knew its existence, history, landscapes, mystical and cultural interest they surely would come to see… Sorry if I bored you, I’m indignant to see such fabulous place becoming decadent, I really would like to help people here to rise up and show this beauty to the world. Bye!!

  7. Hi Karen I watched a documental about you and Anthony Fletcher, two English people in Uruguay and I admire your passion. I am a teacher of English in the north of Argentina. I want to tell you that the word Uruguay is from guaraní language and it means the river of the birds. Best regsrds

    1. Thanks so much, Guillermo! I appreciate it. The documentary was great fun to do. I have people from all over Latin America contacting me to say they’ve seen it! I’m actually Welsh. Anthony is English. Together we are British 🙂 — all the best, Karen

  8. Hi
    I am considering travelling from Montevideo airport to Punta del Este in October 2019.
    Can you help me with bus numbers, timetable and bus stop locations.
    Many thanks

  9. Hi, my friend Sam recommended that I contact you. There many things I need help with in Uruguay, some including immigration, bank accounts, tax number and more, too much to list. I need to contact you preferably by phone if you could provide me with your number if not then email might work. My number is country code xxxxxx. I can pay you through western union for your services. I am located in Canada. Thank you!


        1. Hi Karen, great! It is distributed countrywide. If you go to a bookshop and they don’t have either (there are two – the Uruguay one and the Montevideo one), then you can ask them to order it and it should be there within 1-2 days. The distributor is called Gussi. If you want to let me know where you are, I can find out the closest bookshop to you. Many are doing delivery right now. Thanks so much for your interest! — Karen PS I’m assuming you want the paperback. The digital is available on our site. Also… you’re the first to hear this 😉 the AUDIOBOOK of the Montevideo guide will be out on Audible in the next few weeks!

          1. I would like to purchase the guide book guruguay
            I am from SnFrancisco CA.
            Native Uruguayan.. Resident of California for most of 60 r/s.
            I am sure that lots of changes since I left the Country.
            My name is Blanca Beal
            Email leridachuchu@yahoo.com

    1. Hi! I need a doctor to get me mwdicines that require a green prescription can you send me some contacts for that?

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