Living in St. John's as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your St. John's Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of St. John's

St. John's is the commercial and political hub of Antigua and Barbuda, a dual-island nation situated in the northeastern Caribbean Sea. While the city's population is relatively small compared to other capital cities in the region, it packs a powerful punch in terms of culture, commerce, and cuisine. From cobblestone streets to colonial-era architecture, St. John's is a charming and inviting destination for expats of all backgrounds and interests.

Tips for expats in St. John's

Visa requirements

Expats moving to St. John's will need to apply for a work permit and residency visa through the Antiguan and Barbudan immigration authorities. The application process can be lengthy and bureaucratic, with multiple forms and documents required. Expats should plan ahead and give themselves plenty of time to gather all the necessary documentation.

Language resources

English is the official language of Antigua and Barbuda, making it relatively easy for expats from English-speaking backgrounds to integrate into the local community. However, some locals may still speak Antiguan Creole, particularly in more rural or working-class areas. Expats should be prepared to learn a few basic phrases and expressions to better understand the local culture and community.

Cost of living for expats in St. John's


The cost of housing in St. John's varies widely depending on factors such as location, size, and amenities. Expats can expect to pay anywhere from XCD 500 (USD 186) per month for a small room in a shared house, to XCD 3,000 (USD 1,115) for a three-bedroom house in a desirable neighborhood. Those renting apartments will typically pay a bit more, with one-bedroom apartments starting at around XCD 1,200 (USD 453) per month.


St. John's has a variety of supermarkets and markets, catering to all budgets and dietary requirements. Prices for basic groceries such as rice, beans, and fruit are generally affordable, with higher-end items such as imported meats and branded products being more expensive. On average, expats can expect to spend around XCD 400-500 (USD 154-186) per week on groceries, depending on their choices and lifestyle.


Commuting in St. John's is generally affordable, with bus fares starting at around XCD 1 (USD 0.37) and taxi fares averaging XCD 15-20 per trip (USD 5-7). Cycling and walking are also popular modes of transport, particularly in the city's more central areas. Those who prefer to drive can expect to pay around XCD 170 (USD 64) per month for car insurance, as well as additional expenses for fuel, parking, and repairs.

Climate in St. John's

With a tropical savanna climate, St. John's enjoys hot and humid weather year-round. Temperatures typically hover around 28°C (82°F), and the city receives plenty of rainfall, especially during the hurricane season (June to November). The trade winds, which blow consistently from the northeast, help to mitigate the heat and humidity, making St. John's a comfortable and pleasant place to live and work.

Job market in St. John's

St. John's is the economic epicenter of Antigua and Barbuda, and as such, offers a diverse range of employment opportunities in various industries. The main sectors include tourism, finance, and services, with significant job openings available in areas such as hospitality, banking, and retail. Many expats find work in these fields, particularly those fluent in English and with relevant qualifications and experience.

Healthcare in St. John's

St. John's has a well-established healthcare system, with several private and public hospitals and clinics scattered throughout the city. These facilities offer a range of medical services, from primary care and specialist treatments to emergency medical care and routine check-ups. Expats are encouraged to take out private health insurance, as this will ensure that they have access to the best possible medical care in the event of an emergency.

Transport in St. John's

St. John's is well-connected by public transportation, with several key routes serving the city and its suburbs. The main modes of transport include buses, taxis, and minibuses, which operate on a fixed-route basis. Having a reliable form of transportation will make it easier for expats to navigate the city, particularly during peak commute times.

Safety in St. John's

While St. John's is generally a safe and secure place to live and work, expats should take certain precautions to minimize the risk of theft and personal harm. Some areas of the city, particularly those with high levels of poverty and crime, should be avoided after dark. Additionally, expats should be cautious of pickpocketing and petty theft in crowded areas and markets. It's also a good idea to keep valuables and passports securely locked away, particularly when travelling long distances by bus or taxi.

Neighborhoods in St. John's

  1. Bournehall

    One of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in St. John's, Bournehall is home to many of the city's cultural and heritage sites. The area is known for its charming colonial architecture, narrow streets, and mature trees, which create a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Expats living in Bournehall will enjoy proximity to the city's key attractions, such as the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda and the historic Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

  2. Warrior's Park

    Located on the western fringe of St. John's, Warrior's Park is a sprawling residential district known for its modern residential developments, tree-lined streets, and lush greenery. The area is home to many of the city's expat communities, particularly those working in the finance and IT sectors. Expats living in Warrior's Park will enjoy a peaceful and scenic lifestyle, with easy access to major highways and transportation routes.

Attractions in St. John's

  1. Devil's Bridge

    A natural arch formation made of limestone rock, Devil's Bridge is a stunning geological landmark located on the eastern coast of Antigua. The area is also home to a number of pristine beaches and coves, including Savannah Bay and Dickenson Bay, which offer opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, and other water-based activities.

  2. St. John's Cathedral

    Built in the 19th century to replace the original cathedral, which was destroyed by fire, St. John's Cathedral is a magnificent example of colonial Gothic architecture. The cathedral's interior features intricate carvings, stained-glass windows, and a soaring ceiling, making it a truly awe-inspiring sight.

International Schools in St. John's

  1. Antiguan International School

    Warrior's Park

    With a student body made up of over 35 different nationalities, the Antiguan International School is a vibrant and diverse community focused on holistic education and personal growth. The school offers a range of academic, sports, and extracurricular programs, from IB and A-Level courses to music and drama clubs.

  2. Sebastian's Country School


    Founded in 1950, Sebastian's Country School has a rich history and proud tradition of educating Antiguan and Barbadian children from a young age. The school offers a nurturing and supportive learning environment, with small class sizes and individualized attention for each student.

Useful expat resources in St. John's

Expat destinations in Antigua and Barbuda