I see from looking at my web analytics that most people find my site because they specifically are looking for the answer, “Where is the best place to live on the Big Island of Hawaii”? Having lived here from 2005-2006, then 2010-2022, I have a few answers that also led me to write two books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii.” But here are some insights to get you started.
If you are a luxury homebuyer, the best place to live is in Hualalai. This is where the Four Seasons Resort is located, along with multi-million dollar homes and a few billionaire neighbors. If you are considering buying luxury property, thanks for finding my blog, Aloha! I now have my real estate license and I would love to connect with you and give you access to all the available real estate listings and the low down of what it’s like to live in that lush gated community. You will also find Kukio, another adjacent luxury neighborhood. See aerial shot of this area and you’ll see why.
2. I lived and owned a condo in Keauhou, and it was ideal for being close to everything! (I wrote a post about it here) It’s a little upscale, so there is NO crime, the area is situated around a golf course, right near the ocean, within a mile of the grocery store, a movie theater, restaurants, a Long’s, Sam Choy’s, the Outrigger Kona and one of the best snorkeling bays in the whole Hawaiian Island chain. Full of Hawaiian historical sites, our beautiful bay and availability of ocean sports and activities, makes it a fun place to live. The area above the condos near Keauhou Bay is Keauhou Estates, which is gated and has beautiful large homes with amazing ocean views.
3. If you are coming to the island not to retire, but to live here full time, there are some neighborhoods that are fantastic, above Lako Street, especially in the Sunset area. SWEEPING views of the ocean and it’s at a great elevation. We have recently helped two of our clients into homes in this neighborhood and the they bought for the view and proximity to town.
4. I’d say if you want cooler elevation and a great view, Holualoa is a quaint farm/artist community at about 1500 feet, so it’s at least 10 degrees cooler than down near the water. They also have a VERY good school and you can shoot right down the road to the ocean.
5. If you are looking for a second home, Waikoloa and Mauna Lani Resorts put you right near the best beaches on the island, in a community where you can rent your home/condo all year long easily, and are in the middle of West Hawaii to enjoy going north to the cool elevation and excellent restaurants in Waimea or down to Kailua Kona for shopping, water activities, farms and more.
So, those are, in my humble opinion, the best places to live on the Big Island.
For those that love rain and relatively little vog, Hilo is a “real” town with more job opportunities than Kona. Did I say they get alot of rain?
Waimea is upcountry and has their fair share of misty, rainy weather, on the side coming in from Hilo and a VERY dry side coming towards Kohala. Lots of people who live there have been there for generations. If I moved to a tropical island, I would want to be warm and near the water..just sayin’.
Hawi and North Kohala have very few of what I would call, “creature comforts” of a theater, shopping center, ocean side dining, etc. BUT, many tech titans have found a little piece of farming paradise there and many who live there would live nowhere else on Earth. They simply love it.
Waikoloa and Waikoloa Village have their issues of being out in the middle of a lava flow with a LOT of wind,..as that area sits in a wind tunnel created by the two volcanoes, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. They do not receive much rain there, but the wind! Oy! Waikoloa Village was built as the “work force housing” for the resorts along the Kohala coast. Waikoloa DOES make living near the most beautiful beaches on the island worth the wind and the drive back into Kona! We lived there for a year and created a helpful video about the differences between living in Kona and Waikoloa Village.
There is a group of 8 condo communities near the Mauna Lani, all with access to the Mauna Lani Beach Club, that have front row seats to the same beautiful views that the hotel guests only get to enjoy for a few days or a week. (This is really for second home market buyers)
Looking For Reliable Resources to Move to Hawaii/Buy a Home?
If you are really thinking of moving here, I am providing valuable information through my books.
We created the “365 Ohana” a complimentary service for homebuyers. (We get paid at close of escrow from a commission from the seller or our referral agents. (So if you are already working with a REALTOR, we don’t want to take you away from them, but you can still buy my books!) I created a concierge style service and one of the most valuable is the private “365 Kona’s I’m moving to Hawaii and Buying A Home” Facebook group for people willing to work with our team. My husband and I are both licensed Realtors and we are working with clients AND offer real estate referrals to our Realtor partners who specialize in areas around the island. We have worked for over ten years to create helpful resources (books, Facebook groups, a YouTube channel) to provide information about buying a home on the Big Island.
We created our Move To Hawaii website to give potential homebuyers a place to learn and connect. (You can also sign up for “just on the market” real-estate listing emails right now by shooting me an email at JulieZPR@Gmail.com and check out my YouTube channel, “Big Island Real Estate Minute” . You can also purchase my “Insiders Guide To Buying Real Estate on Hawaii Island” where I discuss all the different places to live on the island with some pros and cons along with all the nuances of moving to this island -think lava zones, inundation zones, pests, elevation, short term vacation rental restrictions, HOA fees and more.
(You can order my book: “How to Move to Kona if you are thinking of a move if you buy real estate or not)
Best thing about living here? You can be on vacation at any time you want! Go find a beach nearby and you’re in 78 degree water, riding some waves, bbqing with friends, living the life your friends will envy and you will never forget…BUWHHHAAAHHA!