Living in Aqaba as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Aqaba Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Aqaba

Aqaba, also known as 'Akaba', is a port city and special administrative region in Jordan, located on the northwestern coast of the Red Sea. This bustling coastal expat hub is surrounded by sweeping desert terrain, featuring impressive mountain vistas and breathtaking sunsets over the Red Sea. The city's culture is a unique fusion of Arabic, Syrian, and Egyptian flavors, combined with modern amenities and first-world facilities. With a burgeoning tourism industry, Aqaba has taken the spotlight as one of the most desirable expat destinations in the Middle East.

Tips for expats in Aqaba

Visa requirements

Jordan requires expats to obtain a work permit or a residency permit for conducting businesses in the country. Working in Jordan requires a work permit, validated by the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Authority. Expat families moving to Jordan with children under the age of 18 need to register the children at the Department of Education. Australian, New Zealand, British, and Canadian nationals are exempt from obtaining a visa before entering Jordan. South African citizens need to obtain a visa at the border.

Language resources

Aqaba's official language is Arabic, and English is widely spoken. Learning basic Arabic phrases can help facilitate communication with the local population, particularly in less developed areas. English language courses, such as those offered by the British Council, are available for expats looking to improve their language skills.

Cost of living for expats in Aqaba


The cost of housing in Aqaba largely varies based on location and features. Expats hoping to rent a room in a shared house can find affordable options at approximately 150 JOD ($212 USD) a month. One-bedroom apartments in central areas range around 300 JOD ($423 USD) a month, while two bedroom apartments vary between 400 JOD ($566 USD) to 700 JOD ($1,012 USD) depending on the apartment's location and amenities. The price for a three-plus bedroom house can range from 1,200 JOD ($1,711 USD) to 3,500 JOD ($5,030 USD).


The cost of groceries in Aqaba is relatively low, with prices varying based on store and location. Supermarkets such as Carrefour and Spinneys offer quality products at competitive prices, while local markets appeal to those looking for fresh produce and traditional goods. Expats can budget for around 200 JOD ($285 USD) a month on groceries for a family of four.


Regular bus services and taxis are affordable alternatives for transportation around the city, with a one-way bus fare costing less than 1 JOD ($1.40 USD). Taxis can be expensive, particularly during peak hours, with prices rising during the summer months due to the high demand. An estimated cost for a 20 minute taxi ride is around 8 JOD ($11.24 USD).

Climate in Aqaba

Aqaba's climate is arid subtropical, characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The average temperature in the summer ranges from 28°C to 32°C (82.4°F to 90°F), with high humidity causing mugginess during the peak summer months. Winter months offer milder temperatures, with an average of 16°C (60.8°F) in December and January. The region enjoys scant rainfall, with minimal development of vegetation.

Job market in Aqaba

Aqaba's economy is primarily driven by tourism, fishing, and shipping. The city's port handles over 80% of Jordan's imports and exports, making it a hub for shipping and logistics companies. Additionally, Aqaba's flourishing tourism industry has created opportunities for talent in hospitality, communications, and retail. As for career advancement, Jordan's National Center for Agricultural Research is headquartered in Aqaba, offering research positions related to sustainable agriculture.

Healthcare in Aqaba

Healthcare facilities in Aqaba feature Western-style clinics and hospitals, providing expats with access to specialist care and advanced medical treatments. Aqaba's King Hussein Medical Center boasts state-of-the-art medical equipment, staffed by highly qualified medical professionals. Basic medications and over-the-counter drugs are readily available, and English-speaking doctors and medical staff are commonplace.

Transport in Aqaba

Aqaba's transportation network consists of several modes of transport, with buses serving as the primary mode of transportation within the city. Taxis, tuk-tuks, and water taxis offer alternative transportation options for shorter distances. The Red Sea Rail offers regular services to Eilat, Israel and Wadi Musa (Petra), a significant attraction for tourists and expats wanting to explore Jordan's ancient history. Public buses are regularly serviced, with air conditioning available during summer.

Safety in Aqaba

Aqaba is generally considered a safe city, with low crime rates for theft and violent crimes. Expats living in Aqaba's central areas, including Tala Bay and Ayla Oasis, are advised to take precautions against petty thefts, such as carrying only essential valuables with them. Expats are encouraged to remain vigilant in less affluent neighborhoods, such as Marka, Al-Rashid, and Abdallah Al-Harith, which experience higher crime rates. Jordan's Royal Gendarmerie operates Stations in Aqaba to help western expats.

Neighborhoods in Aqaba

  1. Tala Bay

    Located on the southern Red Sea coast, Tala Bay features stunning views, world-class amenities, and luxurious seaside villas. The area boasts modern housing, amenities, and entertainment, including a variety of restaurants and bars, fed by local ingredients. The water is perfect for watersports and diving aficionados, providing some of the best marine life and coral reefs in the region.

  2. Ayla Oasis

    Nestled on the east coast, Ayla Oasis has quickly gained popularity amongst expats due to its modern infrastructure and abundance of amenities, notably tennis courts, spas, and an impressive selection of dining options. The development presents one, two and three-bedroom apartments and villas, depending on preferences, with prices varying.

Attractions in Aqaba

  1. Blue Hole

    Located 35 km north of Aqaba, the Blue Hole's stunning coral landscape and abundance of marine life is ideal for diving enthusiasts. The formation consists of a breathtaking 122-meter deep underwater sinkhole, creating a unique drama for diving adventures.

  2. Aqaba Fort

    Built in 1329 near the eastern promontory of Aqaba Bay, this historical fort now serves as a museum, showcasing artifacts and exhibitions, reflecting the city's rich history and the role it played in ancient trade routes.

International Schools in Aqaba

  1. St. George's School


    Established in 1948, St. George's is a private, non-sectarian British curriculum school serving students from kindergarten through high school. Expats can enroll their children at St. George's School in Amman, about a 5-hour drive from Aqaba.

  2. The International Academy *

    Ras al-Ein, Aqaba

    Located in the rapidly developing city of Aqaba, The International Academy combines the British National Curriculum with international education methodologies. The school offers classes from kindergarten through Grade 12.

Useful expat resources in Aqaba

Expat destinations in Jordan