Aruba drops all COVID-19 restrictions this weekend
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Starting this weekend, Aruba will become the latest tropical tourist destination to drop all COVID-19 travel restrictions. As of Saturday, the Caribbean island will end its requirement that travelers present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or negative test. The changes take effect Saturday, March 19.
Leaders in Aruba announced the decision Tuesday, more than a month after dropping pre-travel testing requirements for vaccinated visitors.
With this move, Aruba joins a growing list of countries ending or significantly scaling back restrictions as the COVID-19 situation has improved. This change means visitors wanting to vacation on the island face far fewer hurdles to enter.
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Requirements still in place
Travelers entering Aruba will still be required to complete an embarkation form before arrival. The form is part of the country’s digitized customs and immigration process. The questionnaire asks for identifying information, including passport details. The form also includes a section where visitors can input their travel plans and answer health questions.
Aruba’s website also mentions that masks are still mandatory at the airport. Like many places in the U.S., individual establishments can choose to require mask-wearing in public. We found some resorts on the island, for instance, that still had mask requirements listed online.
Otherwise, the country lifted all other mandatory safety measures effective Feb. 17, besides the need to be vaccinated or show a negative test, and now that requirement has been removed for visitors.
Traveling to Aruba
With fewer restrictions in Aruba, and with COVID-19 cases here in the U.S. a fraction of what they were a few months ago, demand for travel is certainly on the rise.
There are plenty of options for booking flights to Aruba, but you have to plan carefully if you’re hoping for a direct flight to the island. Nonstop flights to Aruba come from airports that are major hubs for U.S. airlines, with about a dozen or more options depending on the season, and with the most direct flights out of the eastern U.S.
Traveling from the northeast, one of the best options I found over the spring months involved a round trip between May 4 and 11 departing from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) on United with nonstop flights in each direction. The fare goes for $318 in regular economy or $278 in basic economy. On United, basic economy means you can’t pick your seat or bring a full-sized carry-on bag for free.
The option is even better if you have MileagePlus miles to spend on United: the round-trip option for that same itinerary: 17,000 miles for a round-trip ticket in economy. Based on TPG’s March 2022 points and miles valuations, the value of that trip booked on miles is about a 30% savings over the economy cash fare.
Where to stay
Many of the large hotel chains have hotels in Aruba, including Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton and others.
For travelers looking to use points to book their stay, I found a good value for that same week in May at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort & Casino. The nightly cash rate of $341 comes to a grand total of $2,391 for the whole stay.
On the other hand, you can book the stay for 240,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (including one night free when you stay at least five consecutive nights). TPG’s valuations suggest that’s a savings in value of about 19%.
While you will be free from restrictions as you plan your journey to Aruba, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the requirements for getting home.
As of now, the U.S. has not ended its requirement that all incoming flyers — regardless of vaccination status or citizenship — show a negative COVID-19 test result. As TPG has reported, there are some options for satisfying this requirement with a video-supervised, at-home test. However, keep in mind, this generally does not include the at-home tests you can by over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.
As of March 19, Aruba joins the list of countries that have no restrictions for incoming travelers. At a time when more and more people are feeling comfortable booking travel — including international travel — there are plenty of options to use the miles and points you’ve saved up as you plan a vacation to the Caribbean island.
Featured photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino.
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