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Aruba during covid protocols


LeeW
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Thought people might want to know what Aruba is like with covid and info on testing.

 

Aruba is open, similar to Florida, with 50% of population vaccinated.  They do still have restrictions on bars and indoor activities.  Most restaurants are seating folks outdoors and you do need to wear a mask indoors, in transportation, and at the airport.  Not a problem at all.  Current rules are at: https://www.visitaruba.com/traveling-to-aruba/entry-requirements-and-visas/aruba-travel-restrictions-covid-19 and https://www.aruba.com/us/traveler-health-requirements.  They recommend you download the Aruba health app but we found it didn't really do anything (unless you were reporting sickness).

 

Tourist activities are open and love to have you.  We took a sunset cruise and a UTV Andicuri tour.  Wore masks only while checking in and on bus.  Both DePalm activities were great.  The UTV tour had both rock crawling and high speed driving on sand (you get VERY dirty).  Both tours highly recommended.  Bought art class at Studio Murano glass/restaurant/bar.  Ate at Daniel's Grill on Palm Beach - one of the best steaks we have ever had, great sides, great staff, and great desserts.  Casinos are open, night hours were extended 4/26/21 to 9:30 closing.  Masks required and temperature checks on entry. 

 

Barcelo Aruba AI was a great place to stay.  Good food, pool, beach facilities and staff.  Highly recommend their Garden Lanai View rooms - private shaded patio off pool area with loungers, chairs and small table.  Or you can spring for their beachfront Royal balconies that give you an extra restaurant and beach bar and some reserved palapas on the beach.  On a few days the hotel was full and it wasn't possible to get reservations for the Italian or Japanese restaurants but we found that the buffet food was great and only busy one night.  The Beach restaurant was only open for lunch and was more upscale, but also delicious.  Our only issue at hotel was towel cards.  You get one and it checks out one towel.  And towel service was closing early (5:00 PM) while we were there so couldn't get towel first day.  But by then it was easy to get a palapa.  Note that these can fill by 8 AM even when hotel isn't full so you need to get out early to snag one.  But there is plenty of shade if you don't - just ask the beach guys to find you a good spot to set up your chairs.

 

Getting to Aruba:  You need a covid PCR test no earlier than 72 hours before flight and must upload results to Aruba ED card site no later than 12 hours before flight.  There are some special arrangements for Jet Blue and I have no idea how an at-home test can meet the timing but it is allowed.  Lots of folks at our resort from New York and New Jersey probably used that.  In our case, timing of our flight to Florida didn't allow testing in Denver at the airport so we flew to FLL and got our test walkin there.  Long walk from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 hauling luggage but easy testing once we got there.  You will fill in a form by scanning a QR code at the clinic.  Results downloadable in about 12 hours.  Now we were within the 72 hour point, so logged on to Aruba ED site (https://edcardaruba.aw/), uploaded results and paid for mandatory insurance.  Got green OK to fly.  We printed this at hotel, but should have also printed out the test results.

 

You need the OK paper/electronic to check in for Aruba flight.  Must wear mask in airport and on flight.  Once you get to Aruba they separate folks into two groups.  One for folks doing PCR covid testing there (these folks get to quarantine in their hotel room until results come back).  Other group gets in long line to show your negative test results and process through immigration.  Hang on to the blue card until you are leaving the terminal!  Took DePalm transfer to hotel and checked in.  Efficient, fast and cheaper than a cab.  Worked well at end of trip also.

 

Getting home:  We were concerned about getting tested for the home trip.  Not an issue in Aruba.  Testing sites everywhere, although some have limited hours, and many hotels do on-site testing at reduced cost or free.  Test needs to be done 3 calendar days before return but hotel said don't do it before 2 days.  We followed their advice and it worked well.  In our case left Barcelo hotel and crossed street, walked two blocks north to Palm Beach Plaza.  Testing facility wasn't open until 9 AM.  Walked out and 50' farther north to the roundabout and turned right.  Fit2Fly testing center is across street and marked with big blue dots on street and banner.  Antigen test is $50 and results come back in a few hours.  Note that you will need to create an account on their website to download results, and if there are more than one person associated with the email you will have a pulldown at the top of the page to access the other results.  Highly recommend printing these out at your hotel but you can just save results to your phone.  Also print out a CDC affirmation form.

 

Flying out is a pain.  Check in with airline (Jet Blue was packed, American wasn't).  Show passport, covid results and present CDC form.  Only some doors into terminal are open.  Exit south door, curve around restroom (area very slippery when wet - saw someone fall).  Present passport, boarding pass to guard at Aruba door.  Aruba scanner (no shoes, belts, computer out of case) and immigration.  Then pick up luggage and proceed to US immigration (another scan, xray, no shoes/belt/computer).  Global Entry works here, give receipt to agent.  Then drop luggage on appropriate belt.  Show passport again.  Not sure if another set of scanners - lost track.  Finally in airport departure area, with quite a few restaurants (Cinnabon!), a bar and 8 gates.  Finally can put away passport.  Many flights changed gates several times while we waited for our flight and of course ours was almost two hours late.  In theory you can get to the airport 3 hours before your flight.  We took over an hour to process with light passenger traffic - would highly recommend being at the airport 4 hours before your flight.

 

Compared to a cruise, getting to/from Aruba was a pain by air but well worth it.  We enjoyed our visit immensely.

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Thanks for writing about your experiences!  I noticed you said you need a CDC  form when returning.  Where do you get that form?  Do you get that with your test results?  We are hoping to be going to Aruba in June!

 

Pam

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Took a while to find it again online since I didn't want to just post the form.  The airline desk in Aruba will give you one but it is easier to have it in advance.  I printed out a couple of copies before we left and printed the Fit2Fly lab results at the hotel in Aruba.  The airline will accept digital but since my phone plan doesn't work in Aruba I was dependent on wireless hotspots.  But I did both print out test results and store them on the phone so I would have backups.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/pdf/Fillable-Attestation-English-p.pdf

 

Getting into Aruba it would have been MUCH easier to have printed test results than the file on my phone - so tiny that we had to zoom and move around for the screener giving us our blue card.  You need to show the card several times before leaving the terminal.  Cardboard, looks like a large bookmark.  Don't need test results or your ED card "OK" after you get the blue card.

 

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Thanks for this info and link!  I have to admit I am intimidated about all these requirements and hoping not to mess it up.  I really appreciate reading your account of what it is like.  I will make sure to print out whatever I can!  I may have more questions when our trip gets closer:-)

 

Pam

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It isn't really that hard - our only real concern was getting PCR test results back from a test taken less than 72 hours before Aruba flight.  Came back in 12.  If you don't get tested before trip you get it at the airport in Aruba and quarantine in your hotel room until test comes back (they try to make this 4 hours).  So you need a hotel with 24 hour room service.  But that is a backup.  Or fly Jet Blue since that test is a home test (no idea how that can meet the 72 hour rule, but Aruba accepts it).

 

Our biggest issue was finding flights.  From here minimum is around 15 hours with connections in places like Newark.  That is why we flew to Ft Lauderdale (test in airport), stayed a few days there, and flew out of Miami.  Coming back we would have missed any connection (plane was over 2 hours late) so we had planned to fly to Miami, stay overnight, and fly to Denver.  I've done island flying before and they are notorious for delays.

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We could get free PCR testing here at our drug stores, but results take 3-5 days.  That is just too nerve-wracking as I really did not want to deal with testing and quarantine when arriving if our tests do not give us results in the necessary time frame.  So we will pay a lot to get tested at a nearby university where you can get results in 12-24 hours.   But this makes the tests very pricey. 

 

Wow - 15 hours and having to connect to Newark!  That is terrible.  We live in Iowa and have also lost a lot of good connections, especially with AA.  However, we can fly with with Delta to Aruba and only have a short connection in ATL.  So a super early morning flight and mid-afternoon arrival - if we make the connection:-)  Coming home is the same, except, instead of a really early morning, we will have a really late-night arrival home.

 

Pam

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great Info. Im wondering how the testing deadlines will work with a cruise? Ours isnt until March so maybe things will be different by then, but our arrival in Aruba is the 3rd day of the cruise (including embarkation day) and is our first port. Will the cruise line have the testing I wonder? Maybe that way you are in the "bubble" and it will cover each port. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/3/2021 at 1:35 PM, LeeW said:

Now we were within the 72 hour point, so logged on to Aruba ED site (https://edcardaruba.aw/), uploaded results and paid for mandatory insurance. 

 

Thanks so much for all this info! We're going in July and I've been researching all the requirements. I've seen the Aruba Covid-19 travel site and the info about the ED card but must have missed the part about mandatory insurance. How much was it?

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Are the buses from and to cruise pier operating and able to be used by cruise passengers? We're planning taking the short bus to palm beach, but if that's not an option, maybe a cab would be the best option?

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We just returned from Aruba 2 days ago. The Aruba Covid insurance is $30 per person.  It will show up as part of the process when you actually go in to to fill out all your info on the ED website.  It was much easier to do than I expected!

 

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As soon as you get off the ship look for a big green open air truck. HAPPY HOPPY safari tours.  We were in Aruba last week. They have a great deal..$20 per person for Eagle beach Plus awesome island tour of the area with the natural bridge, Gold Mill ruins, etc. We got to see other beaches, the California lighthouse, nice neighborhoods, churches, government buildings, awesome viewpoints and natural wonders, a drive by the Ostrich Farm, squares, outdoor market and more with a couple hours at Eagle beach to finish things off. All for $20 p.p!

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On 6/21/2021 at 4:11 PM, amypintx said:

 

Thanks so much for all this info! We're going in July and I've been researching all the requirements. I've seen the Aruba Covid-19 travel site and the info about the ED card but must have missed the part about mandatory insurance. How much was it?

From what I have seen, this is only if you are flying into Aruba and not cruising to Aruba

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