It’s currently July 2020 and the U.S. is still knee deep in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, many other nations have a strong handle on the spread of the virus and have begun opening their borders. While Europe is currently off limits to U.S. Citizens, Aruba opened to the U.S. on July 10th. We landed in country on July 12th and below is a video documenting our experience with international air travel during COVID-19.
When traveling to Aruba during COVID-19, it’s extremely important to plan ahead! Aruba has launched an online travel information website that passengers will need to visit. There, passengers will register and complete some important screening requirements.
All travelers will be required to complete the online Embarkation/Disembarkation card. Once each traveler is approved, print the approval bar code page for each traveler. You will have to show this to your airline before you are permitted to board your flight.
All travelers who enter Aruba are tested for COVID-19. If you are traveling from any of these states, you will have to have a PCR Test administered within 72 hours of your flight and uploaded no later than 12 hours before your flight: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
If you do not reside in one of these states, you will have the option to take the PCR test in Aruba upon your arrival. For this, you will have to pre-pay for your test when you complete your ED Card. If you choose this option, it’s important to note that you will be quarantined in your hotel until your results are returned. It can take between 4 and 24 hours to receive the results back. If you should test positive, you will be relocated to a pre-determined facility to complete a mandatory two week quarantine with your entire travel party. All members of your party will be tested and the two weeks restarts with each positive test.
We do not reside in a restricted state but we opted to take a test before our trip. We took the PCR test exactly 72 hours before our flight time to be safe, and didn’t receive the results until 30 minutes before boarding, three days later. Because we passed the 12 hour mark, we were not able to upload our negative test results and had to pre-pay for tests in Aruba. Fortunately, when we showed our negative results during the screening, we did not have to take a second test at the airport.
All visitors will be required to purchase Aruba’s health insurance. This is required whether you have your own U.S. health insurance or not. For adults, this is $15 per day. The price per day does decrease depending on the length of your stay, up to a maximum fee of $350 for longer stays. For children 14 and under, this is a one time $10 fee. You will be required to pre-pay for this as well. Be sure you print your health insurance confirmation. You will also have to show this prior to being allowed to board.
It’s also important to note that our hotel required a copy of our negative COVID test results as well. While we had to wear our masks at check in, once guests are confirmed to be negative, masks are no longer required on the property.
Masks are not mandated in Aruba, but it’s a good idea to keep them handy. Some situations prevent social distancing, so it’s safe to have them close by.
Restaurants require all diners to use hand sanitizer and some even take your temperature. Also, tables are spaced out to promote social distancing.
We were very nervous about traveling during COVID. However, our fears were quickly alleviated. The airports had many COVID safety procedures in place. United Airlines sanitizes after every flight and gives passengers sanitizing wipes. All travelers entering Aruba have to test negative for the virus. Hilton sanitizes each room and then seals the door for customers arrival. Housekeeping is also suspended to promote less contact. However, it can be requested in advance.
We’re very glad we made this trip. It was a wonderful family experience and COVID precautions existed at every turn. As an extra precaution, now that we’re home, we are undertaking a self imposed two week quarantine to ensure we don’t develop symptoms and needlessly expose others.