As globetrotters scramble to be among the first wave of tourists to visit Cuba, a sharing service of the sea called Sailo is offering an interesting new way to get there. Launched in 2015, Sailo is an online platform similar to Airbnb or Uber where users can browse hundreds of boats for rent in popular coastal locations far and wide. You can use the app or the website to book an afternoon of sailing around New York Harbor or a week aboard a yacht on the Mediterranean.
Both small boat owners and established charter operators with full crews can list their boats on Sailo after being vetted by the app’s co-founders, Delphine Braas and Adrian Gradinaru. “Before, searching for a boat you would Google it, you would try a lot of different websites, you would contact each operator, ask for a quote. There was a lot of legwork involved. We really just streamlined the process and brought it all online, and on the app. It’s all about ease of use and access to information,” says Braas.
For trips to Cuba specifically, the presence of a captain and crew makes a huge difference. Not only does the staff take care of your needs on the boat, but they serve as tour guides as well, which can be imperative in such unfamiliar territory. “You have a local guy, who knows the best place that makes cigars, he knows where you can rent an antique car to drive around the island, he knows where you want to eat, where you want to snorkel, so having that local touch is really important,” says Gradinaru.
Two hurdles in particular for Americans traveling to Cuba are the host of formalities required to get a visa and the lack of modern luxury hotels on the island. Sailo takes care of both of those issues. All of the boat crews working on charters to Cuba offer assistance with visas and trip permits, and with 100-foot yachts among the boats for charter, sleeping on board is a sure way to guarantee comfortable accommodations.
Browse boats at sailo.com.