The Caribbean island of Aruba has a new proposal for U.S. travelers—come live and work in paradise for up to three months visa-free.
The recently launched “One Happy Workation” program is open to all U.S. nationals with a valid passport. There is no special visa or application required (though there are COVID-related travel requirements—more on that below); the only requirement is a minimum one-week stay. You can opt into a collection of hotels (including those with kitchens), villas, condos, and other accommodations on the island that have put together longer-term stay packages ranging from one week up to three months. Stays can be extended while on the island, as long as they don’t exceed 90 days. (Prior to this new program launching, Americans could only stay in Aruba for up to 30 days without a visa and were not allowed to work while there.)
In order to take advantage of the new option, all U.S. travelers have to do is scroll the options—and book.
Some of the Aruba workcation offers that caught our eye include:
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
This package feels more like a great vacation getaway than an extended-stay scenario, so why not consider it for either (remember vacations?). The Noord-based beachfront property is centrally located along a popular stretch of sand, and the package includes an ocean-view room, a couple’s massage at the beach, a private cooking class for two, a private yoga class on the beach, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
To book: From $370/night, marriott.com
Two-bedroom luxury condo in Gold Coast
Located in Malmok along the island’s northwest coastline, Gold Coast is a vacation community, complete with villas, townhomes, and condos. The development is located just a few blocks from the Caribbean Sea, and stays here include free Wi-Fi, access to three community pools, tennis courts, a barbecue area, access to the clubhouse gym, a free parking space, and a 15 percent discount at Alamo Car Rental. The units also include a washer and dryer.
To book: From $675/week or $2,675/month (including taxes and utilities), fordpropertyaruba.com
Aruba Happy Rentals
If you’re going to be staying awhile, you can live like a local in an island vacation rental or condo in locations throughout the island (including Eagle Beach, Noord, Oranjestad, Palm Beach, Santa Cruz, Tierra del Sol, and Westpunt). Villas come with private pools, and condos share a community pool. Aruba Happy Rentals has a range of options: one- to three-bedroom condos, two- to five-bedroom private villas. All properties have air-conditioning and complimentary Wi-Fi and include a discount at Sunset car rental. Utilities, taxes, and additional cleaning fees will be charged as extra.
To book: From $995/month, arubahappyrentals.com
Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort
This family-friendly resort in the lower key beachfront area of Oranjestad-West includes spacious suites outfitted with full kitchens so that you can fully embrace that “workcation” life. Stays include complimentary Wi-Fi and on-site amenities such as fitness centers, spas, restaurants and bars (with takeout and delivery service), pools, beaches, tennis courts, and golf. The resort has instituted a Clean Check program with enhanced health and hygiene measures. To get the extended stay deal, the travel must occur by December 21, 2021.
To book: From $1,435/week (plus taxes and fees), divisresorts.com
COVID-19 requirements for travel to Aruba
If you have your heart set on making Aruba your new home away from home for the next few weeks or months, make sure to be up to date on the Dutch island’s COVID-19 travel requirements.
Aruba has two different sets of entry requirements—one for visitors from places deemed as “high-risk areas,” and one for everyone else. Visitors arriving from U.S. states that are not deemed “high-risk” have one of two options: They need a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to their departing flight to Aruba, or they may get a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Aruba and quarantine until the results are ready (typically within six to eight hours, according to the government of Aruba).
Visitors arriving from U.S. states that are deemed as “high-risk areas” must do both—the test prior to departure and the second test upon arrival. Aruba has not specified how often the list will be updated, but it has asked visitors to check back regularly. Effective September 24, the U.S. states on the “high-risk” list are:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Once cleared for arrival, you can spend your extended stay in Aruba as you choose. “Working is not mandatory,” the government stated in its explainer about the program. That sounds like a valid excuse, right?