Aruba drops pre-arrival testing requirement for vaccinated visitors
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new entry protocols on Feb. 9.
Aruba, a Caribbean island just north of Venezuela, remains an attractive tropical destination for tourists thanks to an abundance of hotels redeemable by points and easy entry requirements. And those entry requirements became even easier as of Feb. 3, as vaccinated travelers no longer need to submit a pre-arrival COVID-19 test.
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If you’re planning a vacation to Aruba, here’s everything you need to know about visiting right now.
As of Feb. 8, fully vaccinated visitors over age 18 are able to enter the country without a COVID-19 test by showing digital proof of full vaccination completed at least seven days before travel, including receipt of a booster shot. This information needs to be uploaded as part of the aforementioned ED Card process within three days and up to four hours of arrival to Aruba.
Neither a physical document nor a picture of the CDC-issued vaccination card will be accepted, it must be digitally uploaded via a SMART Health Card.
Any combination of the following vaccines (and booster) are currently valid for entry:
- Comirnaty (Pfizer BioNTech)
- Spikevax (Moderna)
- Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)
- Janssen (Johnson&Johnson)
- Nuvaxovid (Novavax)
Although a booster shot is necessary for travelers age 18 and up to be considered fully vaccinated, a booster shot is optional for travelers ages 12-17 and those 11 and younger are exempt from vaccination requirements.
Unvaccinated travelers, 12 and older, must take a COVID-19 test to enter Aruba.
As of Feb. 3, Aruba allows travelers to submit either an Antigen test (i.e. a rapid test) or Molecular test (i.e. PCR) within one or three days of arrival respectively. The previous risk levels for determining your testing window no longer apply.
Note that at-home rapid COVID-19 tests are not considered valid for entry into Aruba. JetBlue passengers wishing to test prior to travel can take an at-home PCR test via the airline’s partnership with testing company Vault.
The following Antigen test types are accepted as of Jan. 18:
- Antigen test
- Ag test
- Rapid Antigen test
- Lateral-flow Antigen test
The below Molecular test types are also valid as of Jan. 18:
- PCR / RT-PCR / ddPCR / Rapid PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)
- NAA / NAAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification)AMP PRB (Amplified Probe)
- LAMP (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification)
- TMA (Transcription-mediated Amplification)
For more information about specific test brands, read the latest guidance from Visit Aruba.
Lastly, those travelers over the age of 12 who had previously recovered from COVID-19 within the preceding 10 days to 12 weeks of travel to Aruba are exempt from arrival testing requirements provided they do not show any symptoms upon arrival.
Predeparture steps: Online ED Card
All visitors to Aruba, including children, must complete an online application to obtain a digital Embarkation and Disembarkation Card with relevant traveler information. Through that digital card, travelers will submit a personal health assessment, upload results of a negative COVID-19 test (if applicable) and agree to the Aruban government’s COVID-19 rules.
Additionally, travelers 15 and up must purchase Aruba Visitors Insurance, which covers COVID-19-related medical expenses including testing and isolation, for a flat-rate fee of $15 per person per stay. Those younger than 14 are exempt from the insurance requirement. Insurance must be purchased in advance of travel as part of the online application process for the aforementioned ED card.
“To maintain the safety and well-being of visitors and locals, one of the new requirements put in place for visitors to be admitted to Aruba is the mandatory Aruba Visitors Insurance, which helps to protect you against medical- and non-medical expenses incurred if you test positive for COVID-19 during your stay in Aruba,” said IASA, Aruba’s immigration service. “The Aruba Visitors Insurance covers all eligible foreign nationals from pre-approved regions or countries. The Aruba Visitors Insurance is mandatory and meets the Aruba government’s minimum requirements.”
Read more about the mandatory COVID-19 travel insurance here.
Upon arrival: Face masks and curfew
Face masks are mandatory in indoor public spaces, including retail shops, supermarkets, museums and casinos, and all businesses (except hotels) are required to close by 1:00 a.m. Both indoor and outdoor dining is limited to ten people per table.
How to get to Aruba: Limited nonstop flights
Although flight schedules have been altered due to COVID-19, there are many flights to Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) in Oranjestad from U.S. cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami and Washington, D.C. Check out the Visit Aruba website for a complete list of airlines currently offering service to Aruba.
JetBlue, United, American and Delta currently offer nonstop round-trip flights to and from Aruba, but the availability for round-trip, nonstop flights on the same carrier remains low based on a test search conducted for this story. As a result, you may want to consider paying extra to make the entire trip nonstop and/or on the same carrier. If you’re sticking to a tighter budget, try booking separate tickets with a stop or two factored in to keep the price down.
For example, the cheapest round-trip, nonstop flight I could find on a single carrier from the NYC area to AUA was out of EWR in late February on United for $563. It is in United’s basic economy class, which does not include full-size carry-on luggage.
If you are dead set on flying nonstop or using points for a certain airline, try adjusting your travel dates to see if more options become available.
Where to stay: Plenty of points options
For Marriott Bonvoy members looking to splurge, we suggest The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, where a limited view room with a balcony and a king-size bed starts at 85,000 points or roughly $1,000 per night in late February.
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Although that’s a great redemption, you could spend less at either Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino or Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort, where limited view king rooms for one night start at 60,000 points or around $700 and king rooms for one night start at 50,000 points or approximately $500, respectively. Keep in mind that you get a fifth night free when you book four award nights at Marriott hotels.
The Renaissance property is also unique in that guests at this hotel have exclusive access to a 40-acre private island called Renaissance Island, where flamingos flock on aptly named Flamingo Beach. Plus Renaissance Aruba is offering a 24-hour cancellation policy for all reservations through Dec. 21, 2022, so guests can receive a full refund.
A king room at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino currently starts at 14,500 World of Hyatt points + $357 per night, while a limited garden view room at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino currently costs 80,000 points or roughly $700 per night.
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Featured photo by Federico Cabello/Getty Images.
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