Despegar Hotels Review
• Best availability for Latin American hotels
• Vacation rentals are also available
• Interface is a little different to other OTAs - a pleasant surprise
Ease of Use
Despegar is the largest online travel agency on Latin America. It’s mainly available in Spanish, however it does have an English version as well, although it’s mainly based at the US, and people traveling between the two regions. That being said, it is indeed possible to book accommodation anywhere in the world so we’ve included it in our comparison.
Both prepaid and pay-at-hotel type bookings are offered which it always handy. This will of course depend on the individual property, some will offer both payment types and others will only offer one. The Despegar booking system allows you to leave special requests, however you can only pick from a set selection, you can’t write your own. On the booking page they have a particularly interesting feature where you can be kept up to date about any changes to your booking through SMS or even Whatsapp.
From out testing we found that Despegar had good pricing in Latin American, especially in Mexico. It also had reasonable pricing in the southern United States, particularly for the lower end of the market. When it comes to other overseas destination however, we didn’t find their pricing particularly competitive.
Despegar has a mobile app available on both Android and iOS, while it also has desktop and mobile versions of its website. As already mentioned Despegar is aimed at the Spanish speaking market, so it’s mainly accessible in Latin America. They do also have an English version too, however they don’t support any other languages at this stage.
Despegar accepts major credit and debit cards, and in some cases you can also pay with a bank transfer. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are all accepted. Besides prepaid hotels they also offer pay-at-hotel options for some hotels.
In Latin American Despegar is the biggest and most trustworthy local player. Outside of this region though they have little to no reputation.
Despegar provides customer service through a single phone number, which incurs no cost if you’re calling from a landline. As an bonus extra, they also offer VoIP calling through their app. This will particularly come in handy when you’re traveling and only have a Wi-Fi connection.
For the English-speaking target audience of this website, Despegar probably doesn’t rate near the top of your list of travel site choices. While their offering is pretty solid, the limited availability outside of Latin American means that unless you’re traveling to this area, it probably isn’t a real option. If you area however, and particularly if you’re traveling on a tight budget, they might be worth a quick look.