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How last minute is last minute?

Has anyone booked their holidays for Cuba last minute?  Were there any problems when you arrived at the resort–meaning, did not have your room, did not know you were coming, etc.?  

Doing some searches, and it seems if you book two to three days before your travel (departure), you can get some of the resorts as low as 80% to 90% off???  Anyone with experience?  

(My husband and I know when we are off for the summer (July 28th to August 8th), so thought we will wait until the very last minute to book.)

Pick a couple of resorts to chose from, keeping in mind that not all features may be working in the off season. Once you have your favourites, ask here and someone will know what features to expect. Breezes Jibacoa is well known here as is Blau Marina, the Iberostars and Barcelo on Varadero.
Booking last minute means taking what is available. That can be a dice throw in March but August? You will probably get whatever you want because the resort won’t be more than 50% full.
Remember, 80% off gets you an off-season experience. Not always what’s shown in the brochure.

[quote=@spunky]Pick a couple of resorts to chose from, keeping in mind that not all features may be working in the off season. Once you have your favourites, ask here and someone will know what features to expect. Breezes Jibacoa is well known here as is Blau Marina, the Iberostars and Barcelo on Varadero.
Booking last minute means taking what is available. That can be a dice throw in March but August? You will probably get whatever you want because the resort won’t be more than 50% full.
Remember, 80% off gets you an off-season experience. Not always what’s shown in the brochure.
[/quote]You are absolutely right!  We just want to be away during our vacation, so we might as well be somewhere I do not have to worry about cooking, and just relaxing–here and there.  

We are really not a demanding people by any means, so I think we will be quite okay, even if there are things that are not available because it is off-season.  As long as we have a clean room, bed, and something to eat and drink, we will be fine.  

Dont wait too long. The listings are usually removed 48 hours pre-departure. There’s no such thing as true last minute any more.
I never had a problem checking in to a resort even when I booked 3 hours before take off. That was 3 years ago and they were expecting me at Lindamar.

I’ve looked at last minute vacations in the past and found the price about the same, especially if you have a specific resort you want to go to. I’ve really only checked during high season though. I imagine if it’s off season and you are flexible you can find a deal

I have booked many times last minute deal and I got great price but I was open minded. So I mean you have to know that you might need to buy deal/resort that is available at the moment not the one that you had in your mind. Varadero is popular destination and during summer time there is many Europeans and South American tourists who travel to Varadero. So I want to say that May and June you can get really nice last minute deal but July and August will not be as easy as school is over and many Canadians as well go to spend 7 days on the beach. I am sure that you will be able to get nice last minute deal for all inclusive in Cuba but not sure if it will be Varadero. My suggestion is to look for departures that are during the week days instead of weekends as sometimes it can be couple hundred dollars difference per couple. Another thing is if you see good deal now buy it as sometimes thinking to save $100 can cost you much more.

Booking last minute could result in little choice, or in some cases no choice at all. If the plane fills up, you won’t be going. This is where a good travel agent is invaluable, as they can let you know how many seats are left on the flight to the destination you prefer. A “cheap & dirty” way of checking is to plug in the maximum number you can book on line…usually six…and when that is no longer bookable but you can still book four (or two!) you know you had better move fast! I prefer my TA telling me “it’s wide open” or “book it now, only three seats left!”

I have gone last minute a couple of times…never had a problem with the flights, hotel, transfer’s etc…

Great deals can be had…best I had was $89 pkus taxes for 4 days…which is a great deal out of Atlantic Canada.

Went again last min this year for $155 plus taxes…

Really depends on your depature airport as to whether it is worth it and how much choice you will have. And of course the time of year!

Thank you all for your great insight. I will keep that all in mind when booking. We really do not have too much preference where we are going, as long as we are going somewhere.

So, as far as we are concerned, anywhere reasonable and inexpensive!

I’m thinking I’ll have to do the same, as my husband’s vacation STILL hasn’t been approved/disapproved yet. I mean, I could just book something for my son and I, but I’d rather have my husband along (insert naughty eyebrows here)

We’re thinking of August 1-10 or thereabouts. Hoping for Kawama, BUT I stumbled across the Allegro Cayo Guillermo (?) and it looks pretty freaking amazing.

Do you book the day before
do you book hours before
do you pick a country, an area, or a specific resort?

My very first Cuba trip I booked Wednesday for the following Saturday morning departure. These days it depends. I tend to cut it tighter in hurricane season, so I can see whether anything is immediately threatening. Out of hurricane season it depends on whether I have a specific area or hotel in mind. If I do, I will book it ahead when the price is right. Travelling solo it is never an issue. If I am going with friends I tend to book further ahead.

Two same title threads are merged under this one now.
Sorry for any confusion.

[quote=@iggy1]Do you book the day before
do you book hours before
do you pick a country, an area, or a specific resort?[/quote]

Last minute deal I would book the week I will travel. So for example if flight is on Wednesday I would book my vacation on Sunday or Monday or Tuesday so up to 24 hours before departure. So for example I looked now for deal to leave tomorrow and I found Allegro Club Cayo Guillermo for $145 plus tax which is great all inclusive deal. I found as well Hotel Colonial Cayo Coco all inclusive for $145 plus tax and I believe that flight and 7 days all inclusive with food and drinks alone will be cheaper for me to go to Cuba than to stay and eat, drink etc in Canada. Who has time and can travel at right time can get amazing last minute deals to Cuba.

[quote=@spunky]Two same title threads are merged under this one now.
Sorry for any confusion.[/quote]

The reason I started a new one was I didn’t want to railroad someone else’s thread,
now it’s been done for me.

[quote=@admin][quote=@iggy1]Do you book the day before
do you book hours before
do you pick a country, an area, or a specific resort?[/quote]So for example I looked now for deal to leave tomorrow and I found Allegro Club Cayo Guillermo for $145 plus tax which is great all inclusive deal. 
[/quote]That looks like an AMAZING hotel. I wonder if I’d like the Cayo Coco area as much as Varadero? Hmmm.

[quote=@desmei][quote=@admin]So for example I looked now for deal to leave tomorrow and I found Allegro Club Cayo Guillermo for $145 plus tax which is great all inclusive deal. 
[/quote]That looks like an AMAZING hotel. I wonder if I’d like the Cayo Coco area as much as Varadero? Hmmm.[/quote]

I have been many times in Varadero and I personally like it a lot. Cayo Coco is very nice and bit secluded comparing to Varadero so if you like to have more quiet time Cayo Coco is perfect option. I guess we all get tired after visiting same area for many times and we want change and to see other parts of Cuba. So as all of us can be different some like more to party or have different options to go out at night or have places to eat out while some like to get away from everything and enjoy quiet and peaceful time on the beach. Anyway there are some great last minute deals available if you do not mind where you will go but this doesn’t apply for high season (usually I see high season when kids are not in the school in Canada).

I think I’d like both styles. What would be perfect would be a week in Varadero then a week in Cayo Coco! When I win the lottery perhaps. :wink: I think I’d like secluded if I had someone to be secluded WITH, but Varadero is preferable for when I’m alone.

DH still hasn’t heard about his vacation. I’m losing hope.

Cayco coco way different feel and vibe than Varadero. Very quiet, secluded, not much to get out and do alone, and not as many solo travellers.

I love Cayo coco area’s beaches, but wouldnt go there unless going with someone as well or meeting up with friends.

monctonguy and desemei: No matter where you go, you always meet people. Some good, some not so sympatico - so avoid the latter. You will find someone for activities and “jolliness”. (Is that a word?).