HAWAIIAN PUNCH: BEAT THE COVID QUARANTINE AND TAKE A WINTER-TIME TRIP TO HAWAII

by | Dec 27, 2020 | Travel

Thankfully, 2020 is almost out the door, and there’s a ray of hope shimmering for 2021. Vaccines are on the horizon. Still, Canadians are now heading into the teeth of winter. So why not consider a holiday in Hawaii to escape the drudgery of lockdown and winter’s cold embrace? And all without having to quarantine upon arrival?

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That’s right – straight from the plane to the beach. Last month, David Ige, the governor of America’s 50th state, signed a deal with WestJet and Air Canada to allow passengers travelling from Canada to the Hawaiian Islands to bypass the mandatory quarantine. At the time that quarantine period was 14 days.

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden, Oahu

On Dec. 19, the days of quarantine were reduced to 10. Ige said the state has the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the U.S. And he is confident WestJet and Air Canada are taking all the proper precautions. As of Dec. 17, the state registered 20,105 positive cases and 281 deaths.

So there is something to feel positive about. Read on to find out how you may be able to skip the quarantine. Soon you’ll be changing into a bathing suit and sinking your toes into the fine sand. (And while we are at it, add Hawaii to our list of must-go health and wellness destinations.)

How it’s done

Air Canada began flights from Vancouver to Hawaii on Dec. 17. WestJet began flights on Dec. 19. Both carriers offer weekly departures to Honolulu and Maui, opening endless travel opportunities for January, February and beyond.

Waikiki, Oahu

And what’s the deal? Both airlines have set up pre-flight COVID-19 testing opportunities for their passengers who book trips to Hawaii. According to the Westjet website, potential passengers in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta “travelling on a WestJet operated flight to Hawaii can now get tested for COVID-19 prior to departure.” And that eliminates quarantine time upon arrival.

If you book with WestJet, testing can be done in Alberta at a DynaLIFE lab. In British Columbia, approved labs are Bon Voyage Medical in Coquitlam, Iridia Medical and Care Point Medical Clinic in Vancouver. In Ontario, a test can be had at Lifelabs. Bottom line, it’s a proactive way to get people traveling again.

Waikiki Beach, Oahu

For those who prefer to fly Air Canada, the airline has partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart as a Hawaii-approved testing lab. On top of that, the Air Canada website lists other locations that have been approved as well.

You have to pay a fee for the test. That can cost anywhere from $150 to $250, depending on the lab. So when you present a negative result within 72 hours of departure to Hawaii, you will be able to leave the plane and enjoy your vacation, quarantine-free.

Proving your negative result

According to the Hawaiian tourism authority website, travellers heading to Hawaii must upload their negative test result to the Safe Travels system prior to departure. Or, as an alternative to uploading, bring a hard copy of their negative test result with them when boarding their flight. We can’t recommend this enough. Having that hard copy is a good back-up plan.

So now you have a plan to escape the cold. Where do you stay when you arrive in Hawaii? Here are a few options:

Click on image to enlarge and view gallery

The Royal Hawaiian, Honolulu, Oahu

Dubbed the “Pink Palace of the Pacific” this five-star luxury hotel is a 1920’s Spanish-Moorish-style beauty. And it’s situated right on a prime stretch of Waikiki Beach. The beachfront locale gives you private beach access and enviable ocean views.

The 528 bright rooms and suites blend historic Pacific Islander ambience and of-the-moment décor. That includes dark wood furnishings, and nostalgic woven ceiling fan blades. Also, the rooms feature intricately textured gold-and-fuchsia-hued floral wallpaper complementing a soothing cream-colour palette.

But all that nostalgic décor doesn’t mean there are no 21st century creature comforts. Leading the way – wide-screen LCD television, iPod compatible CD/radio alarm clock, high-speed Internet access, and refrigerator. Plus there’s a laptop-size in-room safe. Those are standard. Bathrooms feature high-end complimentary toiletries.

Wailea Beach Villas, Wailea, Maui

This property unites the comfort and privacy of a magnificent home with the services and amenities of a grand resort. The oceanfront Wailea Beach Villas brings a new level of luxury to the south coast of Maui. And there are no worries about having enough private space. The penthouses and villas in this collection of two and three-bedroom Hawaiian residences range from 1,900 to 3,100 square feet.

Each features a spacious private lanai. And many have an individual plunge pool. Truly, this is Hawaii luxury at its finest. With its expert concierge, soothing tropical gardens and in-villa spa treatments, this exclusive gated community is the perfect escape.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort, Honolulu

The Kahala Hotel & Resort – part of the LVX collection of Preferred Hotels & Resorts – is situated directly on the shore. And talk about a pristine oasis. The resort offers white sand beachfront and spectacular scenery.

The elegant 338 guest rooms and suites are adorned in the signature “Kahala Chic” style. Each rooms offers superior comforts, modern connections, and unique artwork and décor.

IMAGES: HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY

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