Smart Health Card Accepted as Proof of Vaccination

The Aruban Government now accepts proof of vaccination for entry to Aruba, but only for fully vaccinated US travelers in possession of a “Smart Health Card”.

Yes, we’ve all heard the news, but the smart health card is new, and no one really knows about it.

It’s only available in a few US states, including but not limited to California & Louisiana.

Okay, so what is this smart health card?

It appears to be this new way to verify your vaccination status that can be easily verified by different organizations around the world, including Aruba’s airport.

This new card was developed between the Smart Health IT and Boston’s Children’s Hospital.

Smart Health IT is a project based at the Boston Children’s Hospital Computational Health Informatics Program, that develops open standards and technologies to connect people with their health data.

Aruba tourism authority partnered with this new program in order to slowly start the exemption process of testing for US travelers.

The health card has a 2D barcode that contains your vaccination information in a format that’s secure, portable, and easy for Aruba airport to verify your vaccination results.

Here’s how the smart health card looks like…



Who from the USA is actually eligible to be exempt from testing?

  • Travelers who are fully vaccinated with an FDA or EMA authorized COVID-19 vaccine in the USA including (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson).
  • 14 days must pass since receiving the vaccine.
  • Must have a “Smart Health Card” vaccine record
  • Use the Common Pass Digital Health App to qualify for Aruba’s online Embarkation/Disembarkation Card.

Unfortunately, the smart health card is not available yet in all US states, but there’s a chance that you might still get the card, even though it is not available in your region.

Some travelers on our private Facebook group have managed to get lucky and still got their hands on a Smart Health Card.

The smart health card is promoted to be found at:

  • At the Pharmacy – Walmart & Sam’s Club (Not all states as of yet)
  • Any healthcare provider in California & Louisiana

Here’s some tips to get your hands on one of those smart health cards:

Vaccine providers in the US are required to upload your vaccination information into the department of health/state files. Some US states are making use of this digital system to upload the CDC paper vaccination card, and can provide you with the Smart Health Card.

  1. You can try to get this health card by contacting clinical organizations, pharmacies and ask if it is possible to email your a paper copy of the smart health card.
  2. Ask your state registry what the possibilities are to getting your vaccination records uploaded into a smart health card, if you are fully vaccinated.
  3. Search for apps that support smart health cards, and link your CDC paper vaccine results to it.

If your state offers the smart health card, ask your vaccine provider to either:

  • Hand you a paper copy at the time of your visit
  • Email you a paper copy after your visit
  • Download your digital version from a website or app hosted by the organization, and also copy and/or save it as a file.

How to Apply For The Smart Health Card – Click here to read the Smart Health Card’s official website to learn more about the Smart Health Card and frequently asked questions.

If you want to travel to Aruba without testing, you need to present your Smart Health Card before your flight departs as a part of the island’s online travel qualification process.

To do this you need to use the CommonPass health app to store the information of your smart health card.

Here’s the steps to follow:

  1. Use “2ARUBA” for CommonPass invitation code.
  2. Create a “Travel to Aruba” pass in the CommonPass app by scanning or uploading your Smart Health Card.
  3. CommonPass app will show you a QR ID Code which you can use to complete your Aruba online ED Card process to verify your proof of vaccination. 

Done!

Travelers who are not exempt from testing need to provide a negative corona test result taken 72 hours before arrival in Aruba. 

All other rules and measures are still in effect.

This new travel requirement is subject to change at any moment at the discretion of the Aruban Government. 

Read more detailed instructions on how to integrate Smart Health Card and CommonPass app on Aruba’s tourism authority page.



New Entry Restrictions To Limit Importation of Delta Virus

Aruba issued a new travel restriction targeted at a list of 47 countries that are considered high risk in order to limit the importation of the more contagious delta corona variant. 

The Aruban Government implemented a new change in the ministerial regulation that requires travelers visiting Aruba from high risk countries to perform a PCR Test 72 hours before arrival in Aruba – and wait for the negative test results in quarantine even though the traveler is fully vaccinated.

This new change goes into effect as of July 17, 2021.

Here’s a list of the countries that are considered high risk for the new delta virus variant:

  1. Seychelles
  2. Cyprus
  3. Fiji
  4. Mongolia
  5. Tunisia
  6. Namibia
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Colombia
  9. Cuba
  10. Kuwait
  11. Argentina
  12. Spain
  13. Botswana
  14. South America
  15. The Netherlands
  16. Oman
  17. Georgia
  18. Costa Rica
  19. Portugal
  20. Malaysia
  21. Panama
  22. Suriname
  23. Andorra
  24. Brazil
  25. Maldives
  26. Kyrgyzstan
  27. Iran
  28. Irak
  29. Luxembourg
  30. Libia
  31. Paraguay
  32. Greece
  33. Uruguay
  34. Russia
  35. Kazakhstan
  36. Malta
  37. United Arab Emirates
  38. Chile
  39. Saint Kitts & Nevis
  40. Monaco
  41. Indonesia
  42. Zimbabwe
  43. Guatemala
  44. Bahamas
  45. Trinidad & Tobago
  46. Ireland
  47. Denmark

The Aruban government and health officials are implementing this new travel measure because of the alarming rate of infections of delta virus around the world at the moment.

These new travel measures are subject to change at the discretion of the Government in Aruba.



Aruba Continues To See Rise in Tourism

Air seats in Aruba continue to rise as the island received 84.592 stay over visitors during the month of June 2021, which is  a 20% increase compared to May 2021.

The amount of visitors entering Aruba during the month of July is expected to increase compared to June 2021, as the airport handles an average of 26 flights per day. 

According to the CEO of Aruba’s Tourism Authority, the island’s recuperated 85% of its tourism industry compared to June 2019, before the pandemic hit.

Over 326.387 stay over visitors were welcomed in the first 6 months of 2021. This amount is 57% of tourism compared to the first half of 2019. 

The booming tourism industry also skyrocketed the island’s hotel occupancy, which was at 70% for the month of June 2021 (16% less compared to the hotel occupancy in June 2019). 

Tourism experts in Aruba are seeing a fast growth in the industry, and expect for Aruba to fully recuperate its tourism in the first quarter of 2022. 

Do you already have your ticket book for Aruba?



50/50 Chance Carnival Will Continue in Aruba

The organization of Aruba’s Carnival , SMAC (Stichting Musica Aruba Carnival), announced this week on their Facebook page that Carnival will continue in Aruba.

According to the President of SMAC, carnival season will officially start as of November 11, 2021. 

The first event for Carnival, Color Parade, will be held on November 12, 2021.

Members of SMAC have collectively agreed to:

  • Start carnival as of November 11, 2021 
  • Carnival will be celebrated in January & February.
  • First carnival event will be “Color Parade” – November 12, 2021.

The color parade that will be held in November is a fundraising parade to enlarge and beautify Aruba’s carnival in 2022. 

It will be the 68th carnival celebration in Aruba next year.

Although SMAC announced that carnival will restart this year, this announcement is subject to change at the discretion of the organizers – due to the uncertainty of the current pandemic.



3 Course Lunch & Dinner Special at Café The Plaza

Café the Plaza offers a 3 course lunch and dinner special during the month of July 2021. 

The special 3 course menu includes classic dishes and new inspirations.

Café the Plaza’s special costs $27.50 and let’s you…

Pick your appetizer:

  • Octopus – Herb marinated, grilled octopus on honey lemon & cherry tomato salsa.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms – Goat cheese & pesto stuffed mushrooms
  • Shrimp & Chorizo Cocktail
  • Mini Dutch Platter – With a honey mustard remoulade

Follow your dining experience with a main course:

  • Chicken & Steak – Rosemary cajun, marinated chicken & filet mignon; grilled to perfection, served with spinach mashed potatoes and drizzled with  marsala reduction.
  • Caribbean Pork – Jerk marinated pork braised, served with vegetables, fried plantains and pineapple salsa.
  • Seafood Casserole – Mixed local seafood infused in garlic creole sauce, served with polenta and plantain chips.
  • Atlantic Spiced Wahoo – Baked wahoo with creamy coconut “Madame Jeanette” sauce; served with rice, vegetables and mango kuchela.

After the main course, try a delicious dessert.

  • Chocolate Brulee
  • Churros with dulce de leche
  • Blueberry Cheesecake

The price for this 3 course menu is $27.50 per person.

Café The Plaza is located at Renaissance Marketplace in Oranjestad.. 

This lunch and dinner Special is only available between 12.00 PM – 10.00 PM.



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Upcoming Changes For Fully Vaccinated Visitors

The CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority (Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes) gave a sneak peek into the requirements for fully vaccinated travelers during a press conference this week.

According to Ronella, Aruba will ease entry restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers, which include, but is not limited to:

  • PCR Test will be no longer required
  • Reduced rate for Aruba Visitors Insurance

These decisions are tentative at the moment, and will be implemented once announced by the Government and tourism authorities.

The CEO of Aruba’s tourism board mentioned in previous press conferences that 85% of the island’s population must be vaccinated in order to proceed with new changes in Aruba’s entry restrictions for visitors.

Entry requirements remain the same until announced otherwise by the local officials in Aruba. 

This means everyone traveling to Aruba is required to at least:

  • Take a PCR Test 72 hours before arrival in Aruba
  • Purchase Aruba Visitors Insurance
  • Register through the Aruba Health App

Aruba’s Tourism Authority is continually working on new projects to motivate more visitors to travel to the One Happy Island.



New Vaccination Program Targeting Teenagers

Aruba continues its efforts to vaccinate as many locals as possible with a new vaccination program targeted at teenagers. 

The public health department in Aruba received approval from the Netherlands to offer the vaccine to children between the age of 12 – 17 years.

Over 732 children have already taken their first jab of Pfizer since the vaccine became available to them. 

These numbers are expected to increase, after the vaccination event “Youth Edition” during this weekend. The event is not only targeted at teens, but also for parents who are not yet vaccinated and want to protect against the virus. 

Here’s a view of the current rate of vaccination in Aruba:

  • 8% of teenagers between 12 – 17 years. 
  • 67% of adults between 18 – 59 years.
  • 73% of adults over 60 years. 

The vaccination rate in Aruba is increasing daily. 

Vaccination programs will continue to be organized until 85% of the island’s population is fully vaccinated.



Over 92.000 Visitors Expected in July

Tourism is recuperating at a rapid rate with over 92.000 visitors to step foot on Aruba during the month of July 2021. 

Experts projected that it would take up to 4 years for tourism to recuperate, after the pandemic hit Aruba and practicality stopped the island’s tourism.

However, the One Happy Island is doing better than expected, a lot better.

Tourism restarted officially in Aruba on July 10, 2020.

Slowly increasing every month by the thousands to welcoming over 85.000 travelers in June 2021.

The monthly visitors reports from the airport and tourism board indicate that over 60% of travelers are first-time visitors.

According to the CEO of Aruba tourism Authority, the island will fully recuperate its tourism in the first quarter of 2022. 

When are you visiting Aruba?



Aruba’s Romantic Overwater Bungalow 

The travel website focused on destination weddings and honeymoons, www.espriterrant.com featured one of the island’s resorts in their top 15 honeymoon hotels in the world. 

Aruba Ocean Villas was selected as a perfect resort to enjoy a romantic honeymoon. 

It’s a small boutique resort on the island with overwater bungalows. 

The villa only caters to adults and couples over 18 years.

There’s a total of 8 overwater villa bungalows with wrap-around decks, with daybeds, hammocks, and staircases directly to the ocean.

Aruba Ocean Villas is located in Savaneta, on the other side of the island from the hotel area. 

If you’re planning a honeymoon trip to the Caribbean – look into the romantic bungalow experience at Aruba Ocean Villas.



Carnival Time Is Getting Close Again

The foundation that organizes Carnival in Aruba (Stichting Musica Aruba Carnaval) announced on their Facebook page that they are discussing the possibilities of restarting Carnival in 2022.

Fanatics are all wondering if the parades will take place in 2022 after the pandemic canceled carnival in 2021’s. 

It will be officially announced soon if the carnival will resume next year or not,  according to the President of the Carnival foundation.



New Double Decker Event Trolley

The double decker trolley that transports visitors around the downtown area will be transformed into a new events trolley.

According to the sales and marketing department of Arutram, the idea of renewing the trolley into an experience surrounding personal events, will help add to the city’s renovation project to revamp the mainstreet. 

The other remaining trams will be available to transport visitors throughout the main street and stop at all the iconic spots to focus on the island’s heritage and culture. However, the double decker, which can seat up to 64 passengers, will be available for rent to host all sorts of personal events including dinners, birthdays, and marriage proposals to name a few ideas. 

More details will be announced soon by Arutram.



Expect New Roundabout in Palm Beach

If you’re renting a car in Aruba expect a new roundabout in Palm Beach soon. 

The public health department announced the new infrastructure project this week during a live press conference on Facebook.

It will be created right between the intersection between Wendys and McDonalds. Traffic on this roadway is currently directed with road signs and barricades, as a temporary solution until construction works start soon. 

The road starting at Caribbean Palm Village until Cafe 080 in the district of Noord will also be reconstructed. 

Renovation works on this road are set to start on July 12, 2021 and will take up to 4 weeks to complete. 

Pay attention to signs around this neighborhood indicating detours.



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Government Ease Corona Measures Further

The Government announced that the measures against coronavirus will be lifted as of July 5, 2021. 

According to the Prime Minister, the decision to lift the measures is justified due to the following developments on the island, including:

  • Rate of vaccination among the population is high at 69%.
  • Mass vaccination programs are set to continue to vaccinate 85% of the population. 
  • The amount of new cases are low, average 3 per day (not higher than 30 active cases in a month)

Lifting the current measures means the island will practically return to normal life and business as usual.

Closing times were set at 11:00 pm, now establishments can close according to the stipulated hour on their business permit.

Restaurants are allowed to increase their guest capacity to normal operation as before the pandemic. 

Nightclubs can operate as normal again.

Social distance will no longer be required.

Local entertainers are allowed to play live music and dancing is allowed. 

The consumption of alcohol in public space is also lifted as of July 5, 2021. 

Establishments have the right to require face masks to enter or not.

Although the measures will no longer be in effect, the Government still advises the use of face masks in crowded spaces.

Aruba Tourism Authority will soon announce easing of measures for fully vaccinated tourists. According to the CEO of the tourism board, until the new measures are announced, all visitors must meet the requirements to visit Aruba. 

Including the most important:

  • Negative PCR test result 72 hours before arrival.
  • Have Aruba Health Insurance.
  • Registered on Aruba Health App.

Tourism is recuperating faster than expected in Aruba, because of you. 

Thank you to all the travelers who are making the choice to visit the One Happy Island.


Beaches are shining like diamonds…


TUI UK Cancels More Destinations

The major airline TUI UK cancels flights to a list of destinations until July 21, 2021 due to travel uncertainty caused by coronavirus regulations. 

Aruba is also on the list of destinations cancelled by UK’s TUI. 

Here’s a list of destination that are also on the list:

  • Bulgaria
  • Cape Verde
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Spain
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey

The airline also included to the list the following countries: Maldives, Indonesia, Thailand, Dubai Seychelles and Sri Lanka. 

According to the latest updates by TUI – “We want to offer our customers the flexibility and choice to travel during the summer, so where borders are open and where UK’s Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office advice allows travel, we will operate to those destinations as planned”.

The airline also announced that they are continually reviewing their holiday flight program and cancelations in line with the Government updates every 3 weeks, with the next update expected on July 15, 2021. 



Hurricane Hunters Use Aruba for Hurricane Research

A team of pilots and researchers from the Hurricane Hunter are in Aruba during this weekend to help local meteorologists monitor upcoming tropical storms. 

The hurricane hunters are using Aruba as a hub to monitor and forecast developing tropical storms during this hurricane season, including the new hurricane named Elsa.

Hurricane Hunter’s are using one of their Lockheed Martin WC-130J aircrafts on the island. These aircrafts are especially designed for hurricane research and reconnaissance.

This special aircraft routinely flies into the eye of storms to track the position and intensity of the hurricane.

Caribbean islands, including Aruba and the US mainland depend on each other in a mutually supporting way, by sharing data to more accurately predict the track and intensity of approaching tropical cyclones. 

The combined efforts of Aruba and the US allows weather officials to issue a warning as appropriate, when required. 

Hurricane Hunters will depart from Aruba to their home base in Miami on July 4, 2021.



Fisherman’s Hut Restaurant Opens in Palm Beach

One of the best seafood eateries in Aruba known as The Old Fisherman’s opens a second restaurant located at Playa Linda Beach Resort.

This new restaurant is named Fisherman’s Hut. 

It’s an open air restaurant with a casual ambience.

The same owners.

Same delicious seafood. 

The staff at Fisherman’s Hut are ready to serve you their finest seafood plates with fish, lobster and shrimp, with funchi, pan bati and kerrie kerrie.

Local personalities are known to be featured on this restaurant menu. 

Fisherman’s Hut’s list of seafood dishes includes two of my friends, Kit Wong and Sergio Rasmijn, who are both local fishermen. 

The “Kit Wong” dish includes a skewer of tenderloin, chicken & shrimp served with mango or creole sauce. And the “Sergio Rasmijn” is a dish featuring jumbo shrimp served grilled or breaded with your choice of creamy garlic or creole sauce. 

There are several other dishes on the menu, including avocado shrimp, salad, ceviche, catch of the day, seafood paella, conch, calamari and mussels. Meat dishes are also available. 

Fisherman’s Hut is open everyday from 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm.



The Day After Tomorrow Beach Party at Moomba

Moomba Beach has an inaugural beach party on July 9, 2021, after the pandemic shut down the nightlife on the island.

It didn’t take too much time for one of the best beach bars on the island to celebrate the Government’s announcement that bars are allowed to resume business as usual.

Moomba released the invitation with a Facebook post asking, where will you be the day after tomorrow?

Referring to the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”. Symbolizing the day after doomsday, when the virus measures have been lifted for bars and nightclubs in Aruba.

The party will be held July 9, 2021 at Moomba beach starting at 7:00 pm.

Entrance is free.

Live entertainment by C-Zar Olarte, DJ’s (Diablo & Green). 

Moomba bar has a special on beer buckets (Heineken, Amstel Bright & Amstel Ultra). If you buy a bucket of Amstel Ultra, you get one extra beer for free.



Return of “The Strongest Man of Aruba” Event

Aruba’s annual strongman competition will take place this year. 

It’s been officially dubbed as “The Strongest Man of Aruba” and this year is the 5th anniversary. 

Challenging not only physical strength, but also mental energy, this competition is designed to push the strongmen to their absolute limits. 

Different exercises will shake and tremble muscles, including but not limited to lifting beer kegs, boulders, large tires, pulling trucks, and much more to determine who really is the strongest man in Aruba.

Expect live entertainment, DJ’s, specials on beer buckets at the bar and delicious food. 

Winner of the event will take home $2300, trophies and medals.

The strongest man of Aruba will take place during October 8 – 10, 2021 at Surfside beach bar.



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Aruba Votes Coalition in 2021 Elections

The 2021 elections took place on June 25, 2021 and Aruba’s local community voted for a coalition. 

Winners of the elections were 5 different parties which are: MEP, AVP, RAIZ, MAS & Accion 21. 

The coalition has to be formed between these 5 political parties. 

Now it’s up to the Governor of Aruba to guide the leaders of the winning political parties with forming the new Government that will be in charge of the island for the next four years. 

Over 40.000 voters went out and voted. There were a total of 70.000 locals that were eligible to vote in this election 2021.

Aruban had a choice between 12 political parties and 176 politicians.

The results of the elections are clear, some leaders of traditional parties grew in votes, while the others lost supporters. And new political parties are getting more support.

No one knows yet which parties will form the Government, and which politicians will get a seat in Aruba’s Parliament.

Will it include one or both of the largest parties (MEP, AVP)? Or will the new and small parties (RAIZ, MAS & Accion 21) be the future of the island…



The New Vaccine Alternative: Johnson & Johnson

The department of public health is now offering Johnson & Johnson vaccine to locals who want to vaccinate.

At first, the vaccine of choice at the start of vaccination campaigns was Pfizer. 

It required locals to get 2 doses, with about 3 -4 weeks in between each jabs. Johnson & Johnson only requires one dose.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was developed in collaboration with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Belgium Based division of Johnson & Johnson.

It’s approved by the advisory committee on immunization practices, Center of Disease Control, Food Drugs Administration and Medicaments Association in Europe.

The Netherlands provides Aruba with thousands of Pfizer vaccinations by airplane (KLM), and helped the island with batch of 2.500 vaccines by Johnson & Johnson.

Health officials in Aruba continue their efforts to vaccinate as many locals as possible. Because the Governments goal is to vaccinate 85% of its population in order to reach herd immunity and recuperate the island economy and public health.

Pfizer remains the main vaccine in Aruba against the virus.

Over 67.605 vaccinations have been administered on the island as of July 1, 2021. 



Aruba Airport Awarded For Reducing Carbon Footprints

The airport in Aruba was awarded a new accreditation for its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. 

Reina Beatrix Airport entered the Airport Council International program for airport carbon accreditation in 2018. 

The Aruba airport has since then implemented several different steps to reduce its carbon emissions. Including but not limited to changing all the lights to LED, installing electrical timers inside and around the property, and invested into new environmental friendly air-conditioning systems.

A “Level 2 Accreditation” indicates that the airport is on the right way to reduce its carbon footprint and remaining a pioneer in the Caribbean region.

The “Airport Carbon Accreditation” is the only Global program specifically meant  for airports. It certifies them for their efforts to manage and reduce their carbon emissions.

All airports around the world need to strive to be inclusive, safe, resistant, and sustainable. 

Their are a total of 6 accreditation levels when it comes to the reduction of carbon footprint including:

  1. Mapping
  2. Reduction
  3. Optimization
  4. Neutrality 
  5. Transformation 
  6. Transition 

The carbon accreditation program was created in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, and they aim to reach their goal by 2030.


recent news out of Aruba


125 Additional Flights to Aruba During Summer

Airlines that service Aruba announced they are adding additional flights during the summer of 2021.

A total of 125 seats are being added by all airlines combined.

The airport is currently receives 80% of its total flights compared to 2019, before the pandemic. And the passenger load for airplanes is at 70% compared to 85% in 2019. 

Tourism keeps growing in Aruba as the amount of visitors keeps growing monthly. The hospitality industry is blooming again, faster than expected. Maybe because the vaccination rate around the world is increasing, the confidence among travelers is increasing, and Aruba maintains strict health protocols.

Major airlines are keeping up with the new travel trends by adding more flights to Aruba’s schedules and revive old ones. 

Here’s a breakdown of the additional flights to Aruba by global airlines:

  • American Airlines is increasing its flights from Charlotte to Aruba in the summer.
  • The airline is also resuming one weekly flight service from LaGuardia as of June 12, 2021.
  • United Airlines increased its flights from Washington.
  • JetBlue increases its flights from JFK to Aruba as of July.
  • WestJet restarts flights to Aruba as of November 6, 2021 (tentative), 2 weekly flights from Toronto. 
  • Air Canada starts flights as of September 11, 2021 from Toronto.
  • Avianca plans to increase weekly flights from Bogota as of July until August, 2021.
  • KLM increases its daily flights from Amsterdam from July until August. 
  • TUI NL plans to increase flights as of July 6, 2021 through October 2021.
  • TUI UK plans to increase flights from Gatwick as of July 7, 2021 (subject to UK Government review of green list countries).

Flight schedules in Aruba are changing constantly and are subject to change at any time of the moment.



A Deeper Look Into Oranjestad Renovation Project

The Director of Public Works in Aruba announced more details about the new Oranjestad revamping project.

According to the Director, renovating Oranjestad has one goal – to make the city more vibrant!

It’s a large project that includes renovating existing buildings into new retail stores with options to live upstairs. And developing new establishments for food, beverage and hang out spots. 

Oranjestad Renovation Project is a collaboration between the Government, public works department, the public and private sector.

All stakeholders in this project want to attract more locals and visitors to experience the downtown’s retail shops, food and beverage. 

Different areas of the capital city will be beautified including welcome Plaza, Plaza Daniel Leo, and the fountains next to retail shop Penha, Nikki Habibi, and Chipi Chipi.

Aruba’s trolley will be the way of transport through the main streets for visitors to get to know the iconic spots, shops, food, beverage, history, culture of the island. 

Developing houses above retail shops in the downtown area will attract more locals and international university students to live in Oranjestad. 

Parking spaces are going to be expanded with new building parking lots around the downtown area. And the current paid parking system will be evaluated, according to the Director of the department of public works.

 



Aruba’s Sarah Quitah Dominates Israel Windsurfing Competition.

Sarah Quita Offringa, one of Aruba’s professional windsurfers won the 2021 Tiberias Israel PWA World Cup.

Members of the professional windsurfers association consider this competition as one of the most prestigious in the world.

The windsurfing competition was held in Israel on June 21 – 25, 2021.

It’s been 18 months since a windsurfing competition has taken place around the world due to the pandemic. Israel is the first country to host a windsurfing competition after the windsurfing world came to a halt. And it’s also the first time Israel is hosting a world cup windsurfers event.

The event had over 60 riders and tested their slalom windsurfing discipline.

Sarah lead the group of women at the start of the competition and earns gold medal at the end.

Aruba once again on the map, congratulations for the 5th time, Champ!



Celebrate Aruba Ariba & Natural Bridge Cocktails

Two bartenders in Aruba received recognition this week for creating two of the best drinks on the island – Aruba Ariba & Natural Bridge. 

These 2 signature drinks were created by Juan Nicodemus Tromp (Jockey), Aruba Aruba and Francisco Hyacinto Kelly (Frans), Natural Bridge.

These two bartenders were part of the island’s bartending competition organized during the old days that still make an impact on today’s bars.

Aruba Ariba & Natural Bridge are established cocktails in Aruba, but new concoctions being created everyday by modern skilled local bartenders.

Aruba Ariba is the most popular drink out of the two – if you’ve ever had one before, you know why…

Here’s the basic recipe for Aruba Ariba, which could be altered to your own taste:

  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Passion fruit syrup
  • Creme de Banana
  • Orange Juice
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Cherry grenadine syrup
  • Triple sec
  • Orange & pineapple slice
  • Maraschino Cherry

If you’ve never had the Aruba Aruba before, order one when you’re on the island.

Cheers!



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Expect a New Development Project in Oranjestad

Aruba’s main streets will look different in the near future, after the Prime Minister announced a new project to upgrade the downtown area. 

This new “Oranjestad Project” is meant to revamp the capital city of Aruba and recuperate the islands economy, after the pandemic took a big hit on the islands economic industry.

Tourism is at 55% compared to 2019, if the current trend continues upward, Aruba could possibly gain 68% of it’s tourism industry at the end of 2021.

Oranjestad Project entails creating new food & beverages establishments, retail shops and hang out spots.

According to the Prime Minister, there are more developments in the pipeline to renew the island’s main streets. Including the renovation of the ex-Nikky Habibe building and remodel it into a modern residential area. Also the transformation of the popular gas station near the lagoon area into a entertainment spot with food & beverage options.

Additional infrastructures will also be created around the city where different pop-up stores can attract and entertain crowds.

New layer of asphalt will be placed on the driveways that need to be repaired, and additional parking spots will be created to make the Capital City accessible. 

When the project is completed, the main streets of Aruba will look different – more like the old days, where stores used to be on the ground floor, and people living upstairs, with the city bussing with crowds, but this time around, with a more modern appearance.



Harbour House Officially Open

Aruba’s newest luxury residential project in Oranjestad known as Harbour House is finally completed. 

The official opening of Harbour House took place last week June 10, 2021.

This luxury residencial property was built by the Pering Group, a family owned construction business for over 50 years.

What you see now as a beautiful and luxury building close to the iconic pink Royal Plaza Mall, was once an abandoned building, until transformed by the Pering Group into a sparkling new building featuring shops and restaurants. 

Harbour House also includes a beautiful Harbour Walk for a leisurely walk around the property.



Dry Law in Aruba On Election Day 2021

The Government has implemented a dry law that prohibits the selling of alcohol during election day. Commonly known as dry law  in the US, in Aruba it’s called “Ley Seco”.

Ley Seco starts on June 24, 2021 (6:00 pm) and ends it on June 26, 2021 (6:00 AM).

The dry law is a security protocol to facilitate the electoral process on June 25, 2021. Although the law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages in different establishment, it doesn’t prohibit the personal consumption of them.

This law has been applied during previous elections, in order generate a more honest and safe electoral process.

Given that this years election is important for the island, in addition, during a pandemic, the Government wants to take all necessary precautions.

This law includes the following measures:

  • All establishments with permit to sell alcohol must close, with exception of:
  • Establishments which sell other products next to alcoholic beverages can stay open, but can’t sell alcohol (for Example Supermarkets)
  • Hotels (and resort restaurants) are allowed to serve alcoholic beverages strictly to visitors only.
  • Restaurants located outside of the hotel area, are not allowed to serve alcoholic beverages, with exception of restaurants located inside of Aruba’s Airport, and only to departing tourist or transit travelers.


Almost Reaching Herd Immunity in Aruba

The Prime Minister of Aruba announced and confirmed that over 66.000 vaccinations have been administered to locals.

This means that an average of 67% of the island’s population is vaccinated, but the goal is to reach 85%.

Reaching this goals means “Herd Immunity”, when most people are considered immune to the virus and making the spread from person to person unlikely to happen.

Coronavirus in Aruba has slowed down considerably, only being less than 25 active cases during these last several weeks, and an average of 3 cases per day. And more people are getting vaccinated everyday.

The Government will organize more events that will inspire people to get vaccinated, so that Aruba can reach its goal.



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Facemasks No Longer Required in Aruba

Aruba’s Prime Minister announced that facemasks are no longer required. 

The pandemic is not over yet, but the corona measures are being eased further, because the amount of new cases are very low. Furthermore, the amount of locals receiving vaccination is increasing. 

This new measure went into effect June 9, 2021. 

I can imagine you want to know where and when to wear facemasks.

While proof of vaccination is not required to enter any business or participate at any events, the public health department encourages locals who are not fully vaccinated to do so. 

Despite lifting facemasks mandates, the public health department strongly encourages the wearing of masks in public when social distancing is not possible. 

Businesses may require customers to wear face-coverings. 

Anyone who prefers to continue to wear a facemask is welcome to do so.


aruba savaneta coronavirus 2020


Possible Reduction in Aruba Visitors Insurance

Aruba’s tourism board is evaluating reducing the rate for the island’s visitors insurance.

According to the CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority, the total number of imported cases of coronavirus is very low, and justifies the decision to reduce the price for visitors insurance.

As of July 2020 until April 2021, Aruba received over 310.000 visitors, and only 0.2% of travelers were infected with covid-19, which is relatively low.

The visitors insurance was created to provide travelers with advanced insurance protection in case testing positive for corona while on vacation.

It guarantees that you are properly insured and that local medical, and non medical providers are not left with unpaid bills. 

The visitors insurance covers:

  • Hospital Costs
  • Intensive Care Unit Costs
  • Transportation
  • Doctors Consults
  • Isolation expenses
  • Covid-19 tests  

If you happen to test for coronavirus, you will have little to no out of pocket expenses, giving you peace of mind during your stay.



Aruba’s Tourism Keeps Recuperating

According to the CEO of Aruba’s Tourism Authority, there’s 74.500+ travelers expected for the month of June. 

Aruba received a total of 70.683 visitors in May 2021, which is a 20% increase, compared to April 2021. 

The CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority says “Since March until May, tourism has been consistently growing with double digit numbers in Aruba”.

The US market has almost completely recuperated in May 2021, compared to may 2019. 

Aruba is one of the forerunners in the Caribbean when it comes to recuperating its tourism and recovering from corona pandemic.



Soul Beach Festival is Back Again

The popular Soul Beach Festival was cancelled in 2021 due to the pandemic.

But fortunately the promoters announced that “Aruba Soul Beach Festival” will be back again in 2022. 

Soul Beach will be held during memorial day weekend on May 25 – 30, 2022

The lineup of artists isn’t released yet, but the party will be unforgettable, including 3 nights of concerts, 5 nights of club parties and 5 days of beach parties.

It will be Soul Beach’s 20th anniversary this year.

Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival partnered with Divi’s top Aruba resort for accommodation during the event. 

Reserve your accommodation now at one of the participating Divi Resorts to get the best rates, including Divi Village Golf, Divi Dutch Village, Divi Aruba Phoenix.

Check out a short video of Soul Beach festival…


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Transformation Project at Ayo Rock Formation

A new renovation project was announced by the Prime Minister of Aruba to transform Ayo Rock Formation into a visitors site, including a botanical garden.

Renovations at Ayo Rock Formations started on May 31, 2021. There’s no scheduled date yet announced for completion of the renovation project.

This transformative project is part of the Government’s plan to create new outdoor activities on the island.

What is Ayo Rock Formation?

It’s a large site of monolithic boulder formations located about 3 kilometers away from the popular natural bridge, in a neighborhood called Ayo, located in Santa Cruz. 

The Ayo rock formation was inhabited by Arawak Indians many years ago. They considered this rock formation a sacred site to send prayers and perform religious rituals. 

The Arawak Indians also left behind various petroglyphs (carvings on rocks) that are interesting to see. Most carvings on the boulders, also known as rock art, are white or red, and form a large part of the island’s history and heritage. 

Ayo Rock Formation is one of the 32 sites on the island where you will find paintings by Indians. 

Renovation at the rock formation will happen in three phases. 

The first phase of renovation includes repairing the stone walls surrounding the rock formation, adding cabins for shade, and fixing the restrooms. 

Phase two of the project includes renovating the entrance of the rock formation and construction of a new parking lot. A new art and souvenir shop (called Cosecha) will also be constructed, where visitors can purchase handmade crafts by local artists. 

The last phase of renovation is landscaping and creating a one of a kind botanical garden featuring native plants in Aruba. 

You are invited to visit Ayo Rock Formations after renovations are completed to learn more about the history and heritage of Aruba, and enjoy the stunning views of the island from the boulders.



Baby Beach Beautification Project

Last week I mentioned that the Tourism minister completed the first phase of renovation at Baby Beach – a new road towards one of the most popular beaches in San Nicolas. 

The new road starts from the ex-Aruba Esso Club towards Baby Beach.

It’s a road used by locals and visitors who want to enjoy the moon shaped bay on the Southern part of the island.

Baby beach in San Nicolas is currently in the midst of a beautification project, which started in 2019.

The beautification project includes additional palapas on the beach for shade, large parking lot, restrooms, new restaurants and bars, new courts for beach sports, and facilities to exercise.

There’s no final date yet as to when the project will be completed. 

Here’s a view of the current renovations happening at Baby Beach…



Upward Trend Continues For Tourism in Aruba

Aruba recuperated 79% of its tourism in May 2021 compared to May 2019, before the pandemic broke out. 

Tourism is getting back to normal, and faster than expected, according to the Tourism Minister. 

A total of 58.000 visitors stepped foot on Aruba during the month of April 2021, but the month of May exceeded all expectations, with over 70.000 visitors. 

Airlines are also increasing their seats, reaching an average of 70% seat capacity.

June seems to be another month for tourism to keep surging as dozens of airplanes are expected to arrive. 

The first cruise ship will also arrive on June 10, 2021 which will bring more tourists, and start the recuperation of the island’s economy.



Renaissance Aruba Resort Awarded “Best of the Best”

Tripadvisor.com recently ranked Renaissance Aruba Resort as one of the best 25 hotels that topped every traveler’s list.

Renaissance is known in Aruba for offering unique experiences, and ofcourse beautiful pink flamingos. 

This is the second year in a row that Renaissance has been nominated for this award. 

Tripadvisor ranked Renaissance resort number 11 on the list, last year it was ranked number 18.

Have you been to Renaissance island already?



Celebrity Cruises Switch Cruise Ships For First Summer Cruise

Celebrity Millennium was scheduled to arrive in June, however, the cruise lines are swapping ships for the summer’s first sail, after cruises were halted at the start of the pandemic.

A new bill signed into the US laws to allow cruise ships to visit Alaska this year is the reason for swapping ships. 

According to Celebrity Cruise Lines, the new US legislation accidently listed the Celebrity Cruises ships to sail in Alaska, but unfortunately didn’t include Celebrity Summit cruise ship.

The Alaska Tourism Restoration Act specifically listed all the ships the new law applies to, which Celebrity Millennium is listed, but not Celebrity Summit. 

This means that Celebrity Summit is not legally allowed to sail to Alaska this year without visiting Canada. 

In order to comply  with the new law, Celebrity Millenium must sail roundtrip from Seattle in Alaska. 

All bookings with Celebrity Millennium will be transferred to Celebrity Summit.

Celebrity Summit will change the port order section of the itinerary. 

Summit will be visiting Bridgetown Barbados on Monday. Followed by a day of sailing on the sea, visiting Curacao on Wednesday, and Aruba on Thursday (June 10, 2021).


Cruise ship visiting Aruba


Freewinds Volunteers Sanitized Twenty Million Square Feet in Aruba

Can you believe that the Freewinds volunteers have managed to sanitize over 20 million square feet of location on the island. 

This includes supermarkets, schools, churches, government offices, gyms, restaurants, bars, and the most visited tourist attractions.

The freewinds boat has been stranded dockside in Aruba since March 12, 2020 and they have since then helped minimize coronavirus infections on the island. 

I remember seeing the volunteers sanitizing different locations on the island since the beginning of the pandemic.

Besides helping to sanitize most parts of the island, they also distribute various informational booklets in regards to how to prevent coronavirus. They also give seminars and training on how to use one of the strongest virus and bacteria neutralizing agents. 

The Aruban Community is thankful to the Freewinds Crew for all of their efforts.



Hurricane Season 2021 Started Officially

The 2021 hurricane season started on June 1, 2021. 

Meteorologists are forecasting that this year’s hurricane season has a 60% chance of being more active than normal. 

They are expecting between 13 – 20 tropical storms, which are already named. 

From these, between 6 and 10 have the potential to become hurricanes, including 3 high category hurricanes. 

The first storm for 2021 is named Ana, which formed east of Bermuda early Saturday morning on May 23, 2021.

Here’s a list of the 2021 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Names, provided by the World Meteorological Organization.

  • Ana
  • Bill
  • Claudette
  • Danny
  • Elsa
  • Fred
  • Grace
  • Henri
  • Ida
  • Julian
  • Kate
  • Larry
  • Mindy
  • Nicholas
  • Odette
  • Peter
  • Rose
  • Sam
  • Teresa
  • Victor
  • Wanda

Aruba is known to be one of the safest places in the Caribbean during the hurricane season, because the island is outside of the hurricane belt.



Vaccination Statistics in Aruba

Aruba continues its efforts to vaccinate 85% of the island’s population. 

Here are the latest vaccination statistics as of June 5, 2021.

  • 63.997 Locals vaccinated
  • 11.445 locals with first dose
  • 52.552 locals fully vaccinated
  • 115.144+ total applied vaccinations

The more locals vaccinate, the less chance there is of the virus infecting new people and keep on mutating into different strains, which our current vaccines offer no protection against. 

The total population of Aruba that received vaccination is currently at 64%.

Aruba’s goal is to reach  85% in order to get herd immunity.

Once this goal is reached, Aruba will most likely allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter the island without having to test for corona.



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