My Aruba Vacation
A Christmas Entaglement
They are right when they say Aruba is One Happy Island. The island will take your mind from stress to rest. Vacation in Aruba, especially during COVID, will probably be one of the best gifts you will give to your mental health.
You deserve a vacation on a beautiful island, in the sun, on the beach, away from the hustle and bustle of life. ARUBA is that little piece of happiness and fun that you will feed your soul.
The year 2020 has been the most devastating year globally due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. This viral event has taxed us mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially in some shape and form.
The island of Aruba will refresh, rejuvenate, relax, and take your mind to a place of bliss.
I most often use Expedia to book my vacation packages. You can accumulate points per purchase dollar which can be applied to a future hotel booking.
Other online travel agencies have the same points system; booking through the Expedia app, you accumulate more points. Moreover, in an effort to persuade customers to travel during COVID, hotels and airlines have great deals on flight and hotel packages.
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.
Here are my links to some travel essentials that you may need for your vacation travels.
Before You Visit Aruba During COVID, Here Is What You Need To Know:
Any visitor planning on vacationing in Aruba during the COVID pandemic, must have a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test done within 72 hours or 3 days of your travel date.
Every country or destination has its own requirements. So, you may want to research travel requirements for your destination before you travel.
My PCR Delima
On December 15th, New York City was preparing for a snowstorm. The CityMD closed early and was scheduled to be open at 11 am the next day. The test was conducted in the evening after work. CityMD informed me that the CPR result will take 5-7 days.
Taking CPR the Test In Aruba
Since I did not have a negative CPR test prior to my trip. I made up in my mind that I will have to pay US$75 to take the test in Aruba. Prayers went up hoping that my test results will be ready before the day of my flight.
I Was So Lucky in Aruba
I checked for my CPR results before my flight took off in NYC but nothing; no email confirmation was received.
While waiting for my luggage in Aruba, I hook up to the free WIFI at the airport and all my messages came flooding in. I was delighted and relieved to see an email confirmation from CityMD confirming that my CPR test results were ready. Yow, was I happy!
I immediately logged into the CityMD app and was able to download my test result to present to the immigration officer from my phone.
After clearance at Aruba airport, I received this DVG approval card. This card must be presented to the hotel representative at check-in to waive the quarantine process.
What If You Get Tested In Aruba?
If you did not have a PCR test done prior to travel, the CPR test must be done on arrival. However, you will be quarantined for up to 24 hrs in your hotel room until you receive the COVID-19 test result.
If You are tested positive for COVID, you will be removed from your hotel and placed into quarantine.
$30 Aruba Visitors Insurance
The Aruba Visitor Insurance can be purchased using a credit card via the link above.
You will be required to complete an online application where you complete personal and travel information such as passport number, and dates of travel.
After you make the $30 payment you will receive an email confirmation.
This fee is due to the COVID and covers the cost associated with the event you get sick from COVID while on vacation in Aruba.
Online ED Card
I highly recommend that you download The Aruba Health App.
The app is useful for easier processing at the airport in Aruba. You can add each family member to the same app, but each will have its own profile.
If you have your test result prior to travel, you can upload it to your profile. However, I would suggest you also carry a paper copy of the required documents with you on the trip.
Once you have complete The ED Application Process including the payment of the $30 insurance fee, you will get an ED card via email.
This card will need to be presented to the airline’s boarding agent before you can board the aircraft. The process may seem daunting at first, but it is not as bad as it may be perceived.
Checking In Online
Checking in online with your airline company makes the process a bit easier.
All I had to do at the airport was to print the tag for my checked luggage and drop it off.
One interesting observation was that the seat number that I chose when I booked my flight, never got changed.
I assume this was due to COVID and the airline tried to promote social distancing.
However, my flight to Aruba was surprisingly almost filled to capacity. One pointer: walk with a head or earphone that has a jack that is compatible with Jetblue’s audio jack. I had the Samsung earphone with a USB C output.
However, WIFI was available via Jetblue Fly-Fi. Therefore, I was able to be entertained by my tablet and phone.
Returning To New York City
The AUA Aruba Airport Check-In Process
Check-in process at the airport is out of the norm for me. I felt like I was repeating the check-in process twice. Travelers will have to go through several checkpoints (TSA, Checked Luggage, and customs) throughout the airport before you reach your assigned gate.
In Aruba you go through customs there instead of in the US. Therefore, all I had to do when I landed in NYC was retrieve my luggage and head home.
Traveler’s Health Form
Jet Blue Airlines in compliance with the Department Of Health (DOH) requires that a New York State Traveler Health Form must be completed within 24 hours of your travel date.
The form asks for flight info such as my flight number, seat number, date of flight, and airport destination. Once I have completed the form, I received a confirmation on the screen. it was recommended to screenshot said confirmation so that it can be presented at the airport at check-in.
The COVID-19 test and Required Quarantine
You will be required to quarantine for 14 days after your arrival to NYC. On day 4, a COVID test is needed and results should be submitted to the DOH. However, if you indicated on the online Traveler Health Form that you are an essential worker, then you will be exempt from the 14 days quarantine. But you will still need to take the COVID test on day 4.
WELCOME TO THE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND OF ARUBA.
The Little Happy Island Of Aruba
Your Aruba Vacation is Here
The RIU Hotel in Oranjestad Aruba
Hotel RIU and Resorts are located in Palm Beach. Bear in mind when you choose RIU as your hotel stay, you have the choice of staying on the family side of the resort; the hotel that looks like a castle. The neighboring RIU Palace Antilles Resort on the right is the Adult side.
Both are two beautiful all-inclusive resorts that give you full beach access and use of all the resort’s amenities. Visit Hotel RIU Palace website for more details.
Booking through Expedia or one of the other online travel agencies will provide you with better deals.
Enjoy Some RIU Aruba You-Time
My junior suite on the 18th floor provided the most beautiful view of the city, lakes, pools, and ocean from the balcony.
The relaxing view is one of the most therapeutic feelings you may ever experience.
The sunrise, the sunset, and the shimmering glitter of the stars and moon on the horizon of the ocean filled my spirit with wonder about the majesty power of the creator.
The Perfect Surrounding
RIU is fun-packed with all your entertaining needs. I did not have to go outside the hotel for any entertainment.
The resort has everything for your entertainment: beach access, water sports, music, unlimited alcoholic beverages, food, music, games and just to name a few.
Social Distancing & COVID Precautions
The Resort management team ensured that safety measures were in place to prevent the potential spread of COVID.
All guest must wear a mask when on the resort unless you are at the beach, pool, or actively eating in the dining areas.
Guests must hand sanitize and get their temperature checked before they enter the dining areas.
In addition, hand sanitizers were stationed throughout the entire resort.
Poster signs were posted emphasizing that guests should wear their masks and practice social distance.
Outside The Resort
The hotel is within walking distance to nearby restaurants and shopping plazas. But, you can also take public transportation that is located directly across from the RIU hotel.
Aruba Food Cuisine
Talk about food! Three meals a day, buffet-style, with a wide selection of different food cuisines options such as vegan, vegetarian, or meat lover dished were provided in the all-inclusive package.
Most of the meals served at the RIU resort seems to have some form of Spanish influence. You will most often see pork, beans and rice on the buffet table.
A wide selection of sweet threats were also available at each meal time.
The Dining Areas
The dinning area are sectioned into both indoor and outdoor dining looking into the beach front lined with coconut trees swaying into the cool sea breeze.
I was most often entertained by a few blackbirds that fight for the scraps of food left on the table by guests.
The RIU Staff
The RIU Amenities
Between 7 am and 7 pm the gym is open for you to burn off some calories from the food and alcoholic beverages consumed.
There are 2 pools. One for swimming, playing volleyball and pool aerobics.
The other is a bar inside the pool where you can be seated and order as many drinks as you like.
Beach Towel/Towel Card
Next to the pool is the towel room. Every guest in addition to their room card key, also received a card for beach towels.
You exchange the towel card for a beach towel. When you return the towel, the Attendant will give you back a card. May I add that the beach chairs were free and easily accessible to all resort guest.
Renova Spa provides different types of massage treatments and body care. The one issue I had was that the Gym and Spa share the same changing room.
In addition to the pool bar, there are 2 other noted bars. The bar in the lobby is opened 24 hrs and the other bar is sandwiched between the outdoor dining area and the beach front.
Enjoy Dining On The Aruba Waters
The De Palm Pier is a one stop shop located on Palm Beach directly across from the hotel.
The Pier has a few small gift shops and a restaurant. The ambiance of the restaurant is very rustic and festive overlooking the beautiful blue sea.
The views of the ocean while dining is peaceful and relaxing; you will fight falling asleep after having a good meal or a drink.
Explore The Aruba Beach.
If you are a lover of water sports or boat excursions, then this will be your go-to spot. It’s right on the beach across from the RIU resorts.
Ask for David, he will provide you a breakdown of all the water excursions they offer.
Whether it is Jet skiing, scuba diving, parasailing, tubing, snorkeling, or sailing, you will definitely have a great time.
Traveling Aruba Public Transportation
Take The Bus In Aruba
Public transportation is easily available directly across from the RIU Hotel. The fare is US$2.50 per trip. The bus takes you along the strip lined with hotels and resorts, shopping malls, and restaurants.
Rent a Bike In Aruba
Unfortunately, no Uber or Lyft cab service is available in Aruba. However, you can easily call for a local Aruba taxi to take you around the island.
What Language Is Spoken in Aruba?
Aruba is a very small island. There are about 100,000 people. The 2 main languages are Dutch and Papiamento which is Portuguese Creole. However, most, if not all, the residents speak English and/or Spanish, therefore you do not need an interpreter or translator.
The currency of Aruba is the Florin. At the time of travel US$1.00 was converted $1.65 Florin.
Click on Visit Aruba for more information about Aruba.
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