Living in Antigua

Antigua will be your home for the next two years. That’s why our tips for living in Antigua include everything you need to reside comfortably – from grocery shopping to transportation. By the time you start classes, you’ll already feel at home and when you return to the U.S., you’ll be homesick for Antigua. Discover all you can do in a day in Antigua.


AUACAS has contracted for reduced rates with an independent bus company to transport students to and from housing locations. Only students residing in AUACAS-selected housing are eligible to purchase transportation passes for $300 USD per semester in the three-semester program. Students can also purchase 10 trip passes for $20 USD. Transportation is non-refundable nor prorated. Multiple scheduled pickups from housing to campus and back are available. Free transportation is also provided to and from the general hospital for student rounds from the AUACAS campus.

Renting or buying a car is also an option. Numerous rental agencies can be found on the island, including ones in St. John’s and at V.C. Bird International Airport. Cars are available for purchase from dealerships, private owners, and other AUA students leaving for their clinical clerkships. On the island, temporary Antiguan driver’s licenses are required to drive. Rental agencies can facilitate acquiring them or you can contact the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board for licensure and other information.


St. John’s hosts a number of clubs and live music venues for students looking to unwind. The island observes Sailing Week in late April or early May, Carnival in July/August. There is also a movie theater on the island featuring the latest releases. There are over a hundred restaurants on the island, offering everything from fine dining to fast food. You will find familiar franchises such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, and Australian Ice Cream, but also a number of excellent restaurants that fuse local ingredients with the elements of West Indian cuisine.


Although all necessities are available on the island, most large internet retailers will ship to you (contact the vendor for details on government duties). For luxury shopping, there are a variety of upscale stores close at hand in St. John’s or a short jaunt away in English Harbour.

Groceries & Food

St. John’s has numerous supermarkets and food options. This includes:

  • Epicurean, the largest and most extensive supermarket in Antigua. Carries a wide range of global brands with local produce and baked goods. 
  • First Choice Supermarket, which carries fresh and smoked meats, frozen vegetables, snacks, pasta, desserts, as well as beauty supplies, accessories, and other non-food items.

You’ll find more than one hundred restaurants on the island, from fine dining to fast food. This includes franchise like Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, and Australian Ice Cream, as well as local restaurants that fuse elements of West Indian cuisine with local ingredients.

Island Activities


English Harbour’s waters play host to elite racing and luxury yachts. It is one of the few Caribbean deep-water ports, allowing super yachts to moor. Antigua’s internationally recognized Sailing Week and the Classic Yacht Regatta cap off an intensive competitive season with a gathering of racing, recreational, and vintage boats. English Harbour is also home to the historic Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, once an 18th-century British Naval base.

Historical Tours

The curious can find tours of every nook and cranny in Antigua to match any interest. Whether an exploration of colonial plantations and fortifications, a quad-bike trek through the undergrowth, a soaring helicopter ride, or a kayak-and-snorkel journey along the coast, these expeditions uncover a treasure trove of history and beauty.

Bird watching

Much of the appeal of the natural environment in Antigua and Barbuda is the multitude of bird species to be found there. The Frigate Bird Sanctuary on Barbuda, though accessible only by boat, is the largest bird sanctuary in the Caribbean and contains over 170 species. Long Island and Great Bird Island also offer outstanding opportunities for birdwatchers.


The 365 white-sand beaches of Antigua line its shores. Some are social hotspots while others remain all but undiscovered, providing an ocean-side retreat for all temperaments. The neighboring island of Barbuda has pink sand beaches, making it a unique excursion from the beaches in Antigua.

Horseback Riding

Several stables and miles of trails give the casual rider plenty of opportunity to explore from horseback. Riders should check ahead to ensure the stable is insured and licensed.


Steady trade winds make for excellent windsurfing and kite surfing. Rentals and instruction are available near campus, and related activities and rentals are available at oceanfront spots across the island.

Zip Lining

Off Fig Tree Drive, a series of zip lines hang over the forest canopy, providing breathtaking views while on a thrill ride.


There are two golf courses on Antigua: an 18-hole, 70-par course at the Cedar Valley Golf Club, and another course at Jolly Harbour.

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