Aruba opened its doors to American travelers on Friday July 10, 2020. A warm island welcome featuring steel drums, costumed dancers and gift bags awaited passengers as they exited the plane at Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA). Ray Ellin (a.k.a. Aruba Ray), owner of Aruba Ray’s Comedy Club, arrived from JFK on JetBlue and expressed that the flight to Aruba was easy, and that everyone on the airplane wore masks. He also stated that JetBlue kept the middle seat empty offering ample room for social distancing. Even the procedure once you arrived at AUA was hassle free: “super quick getting through customs in AUA…after you claimed your luggage, you walked toward the exit,” Ellin said. Airport officials were waiting by the exit with a list of names of those people who had already uploaded their test results online. If a person’s name was not on the list, that person needed to take a test at the airport. Those who made the cut had their temperature checked, and they were sent on their way. Ellin also noted that a couple who had failed to upload their information on the Aruba website prior to their trip had their luggage removed from the plane at JFK and were sent home. Obviously not the best way to start – or end – a vacation.
While the journey turned out to be somewhat stress free, taking the necessary steps required to enter Aruba is a must. The Aruba Tourism Authority’s official website contains up to date information regarding the Traveler Health Requirements that are necessary for entry into Aruba. A few other travelers, who made the trek that day, offered their advice on ways to eliminate some of the minor setbacks that they experienced when they arrived. One woman stated that while the average time frame for test results for the visitors who take the PCR test in Aruba is about six hours, the email containing the results doesn’t arrive until around twelve hours later. The solution: download the Aruba Health App which will show the results when they are ready. The app is available on Google Play or it can be downloaded on the App Store. You will need your ED# from the green check card to register. Don’t be alarmed if you initially have difficulty registering; it can be done manually as well. Another good rule for travel: print every document necessary for travel; technology is never 100%. Since some states considered “high risks” are required to have tests prior to their flights, it is imperative that they have valid documentation as home pixel tests are no longer valid. Please check with the ATA or AUA to make sure that your documents are valid for entry.
Some passengers said that while wearing masks is not mandated at many hotels and other establishments, they feel it is a good idea to wear the masks in certain situations where social distancing is not an option. For the most part, the vibe of the folks who exited the plane was one of excitement; the excitement of vacationing on our “One Happy Island” providing a spark of hope that tourism in Aruba is on the upswing.
Written by Chrissy Gates