We know Montevideo
One thing that our guests tell us is that it is very hard to find information in English about Uruguay. It's true, there's not much out there – when in reality there is so much to do. We guess that is why Uruguay is still quite a secret destination in the South American circuit...
We can help you plan your stay before you arrive, including recommendations for travel and car hire and when you check in we will give you a personal orientation to the Old City and Montevideo.
Your host Karen runs a very popular blog about Montevideo and Uruguay, Guru'Guay.
For your planning we recommend that you check out The Guru'Guay Guide to Montevideo. 140 pages of information useful for your entire trip, not just your stay in the capital. Karen is currently writing The Guru'Guay Guide to Uruguay Beaches, Estancias and Wine Country out October 1 and available for pre-order from mid July. But as our guest you can ask her for her picks right now!
We are very happy to help you plan your stay while you are with us or before you get here. Contact Karen on-site or before you arrive for advice on:
- deciding how long to stay in Uruguay and/or Montevideo – you may be surprised
- where to visit in the rest of Uruguay and our secret accommodation recommendations
- experiences, tours and other activities that are really worth it while you are in Uruguay
- car rental vs public transport Car rental is expensive. If you're staying in Montevideo public transport is great. If you're travelling around you may or may not need to rent depending on where you want to go
- Spanish classes We are two blocks from a language school, we can also recommend Uruguayan teachers who provide online skype lessons. Accustom your ear to that Oo-roo-gwai-zzshan accent in preparation for your trip
- carnival activities (late Jan-early March)
ORIENTATION ON ARRIVAL
Your check-in will be carried out by Karen, Sergio or Ivan. We are all big fans of Uruguay. We'll:
orient you to where you are on a map and how to get around the city.
provide you with practical information about the Casa and the neighbourhood – on paper, so you can go back to it later at your leisure.
go through our mini-guide to the city. It may be just a few pages long but guests tell us that compared to the big guidebooks, it is the best! We'll look at what you're personally interested in and what can be fitted into the time you have.
recommend where to go that lunch-time or evening so that from the get-go you are in the real Montevideo
make a selection of things to do every night you are with us based on your preferences (see what this guest had to say).
WE'RE YOUR INSIDERS
What else do you need to know about Uruguay?
Karen & Sergio
Karen's originally from Wales. She's been living in Latin America pretty much since she got stranded in Mexico City airport aged 22. Karen has worked in the communications sector for almost 20 years and, in that fine Welsh tradition, is a singer.
Sergio is from the interior of Argentina. He is a psychologist and he runs a very cool foundation on inclusive development. He travels a lot for work especially to Brazil so he speaks pretty good Portuguese.
We moved to Montevideo in 2000 after having lived in a bunch of countries. Directly before coming here we were in Washington DC. Ask us why we think Montevideo and DC have more in common than you (and most Uruguayans!) might expect.
Casa Sarandi is inspired by B&Bs in South Africa (Karen travelled there for work for years) which are family-run, accessibly-priced, beautifully-decorated and each is unique. We couldn't find anything comparable in Montevideo and decided to open the Casa in 2010.
IVAN, LUCIA & Belen
Ivan, our son, helps out at the guesthouse from time to time. Ivan is studying engineering at the public university and he plays violin (rock and tango). Ivan is the "honourary Uruguayan" of the family. He speaks perfect English and Spanish. If you want to know about local soccer, he's your man (note: he gave a great defence of Suarez on the BBC during the 2014 World Cup!).
Lucia works part-time at Casa Sarandi. You will see her around midday doing the house-keeping. She is passionate about home-making and we are lucky to know her. She is completing high school and plans to study pastry and baking next year at night. She doesn't speak English though is learning some basic phrases. She's always in touch with us so can quickly give us a call if you need her to.
Belen helps out occasionally. She's at university studying literature. She and Ivan went to primary school together so we've known her forever. If you need baby-sitting, Belen is your girl. Kids adore her, as do we.