Big Island Horse Properties: Waikii Ranch or Puu Lani Ranch

This month, I am assisting several prospective buyers with similar criteria: they own horses and are interested in properties for sale in a Big Island gated community with shared equestrian facilities. There are two options:

  1. Puu Lani Ranch which is near Kailua Kona
  2. Waikii Ranch which is near Waimea (Kamuela)


For those of you who are horse owners, that is gated horse properties, not gaited horse properties…as far as I know, the CC&Rs have no restrictions as to breed or riding disciplines! However, for the equestrian, one of the criteria in looking for a property is often to find like-minded horse owners, whether that means interest in trail riding or dressage competition, natural horsemanship, or reined cowhorses.

There are similarities and differences between Puu Lani and Waikii, some of which matter to all buyers, not just those interested in equestrian pursuits.

Similarities between Waikii Ranch and Puu Lani Ranch

The general similarities:

  • Both are gated communities with a rural ranch feel, yet an easy 15-minute drive from a “town” with shopping, restaurants, hospitals, and schools.
  • Both have CC&Rs with design guidelines to promote a certain consistency in the community.
  • Both have monthly dues to maintain amenities and common areas of the ranch, and have private water systems, which means more expensive rates than county water.
  • Both are at cooler elevations – 1,800′ above sea level for Puu Lani and 3,500′ above sea level for Waikii Ranch.
  • Both have drier climates…although it will green up in winter, when you imagine the environment, think Rocky Mountain ranch rather than New England farm…let alone tropical rain forest.
  • Both offer amenities for the non-horse lover in the family; you’ll find tennis courts and a workout room. At both places, many homes have boats in the driveway…in my household, some prefer riding the waves to riding horses, so I understand the lifestyle choice.

Differences in Homes, Lifestyle, Equestrian Facilities

If you want to keep your horse in a barn next to shared amenities, Puu Lani is the place

Puu Lani Ranch

The concept at Puu Lani Ranch is that lots are only 1 to 1.5 acres on average…enough distance to provide privacy from the neighbors, but not intended for backyard horses. Instead, Puu Lani Ranch offers 16 stalls at the central barn next to the riding ring and round pen. This means that even at maximum capacity, a relatively small percentage of home owners are going to be horse owners, and there is relatively little competition for use of the facilities.

Currently, vacant lots at Puu Lani are available for around $99,000 (the developer has some larger lots at higher prices). There are only 5 homes currently for sale at Puu Lani Ranch, priced from $319,900 (for a “REO” bank-owned after foreclosure), to $887,000 for a 4,200 sq. ft. 4-bedroom home (MLS# 250153). The concept at Waikii Ranch is very different with larger acreages and mainly larger residences to match.

home on acreage with barn Waikii Ranch

4-bedroom residence with 2-stall barn listed for $1,450,000 at Waikii Ranch (MLS# 251301)

Waikii Ranch

At the much larger Waikii Ranch, lot sizes range from 10 acres to 40 acres. Just eyeballing it, somewhere around 30%-40% of the properties at Waikii Ranch have horses, sheep, or even “Waikoloa nightengale” rescued donkeys grazing…and some of the homes currently for sale have their own barn and facilities. While there is no central barn at Waikii, owners ride their horses on the equestrian easements to the two arenas and polo field.

Waikii Ranch vacant lots range from $225,000 for a 10-acre lot (MLS# 250258) to $440,000 for 40 acres. The CC&Rs require a minimum house size of 2,400 sq. ft. although many are quite a bit larger. Currently, there are six homes for sale at Waikii Ranch (of which two are new on market in the past three weeks), at prices ranging from $950,000 to $7,999,999.

If your vision for your horse property is something different than what these two communities have to offer, there are other choices, both in gated communities (such as Ranch at Puakea), and outside of subdivisions where your only guidelines for building will be complying with zoning and building codes. Send me your checklist and I’ll send you some ideas!

A hui hou,

Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)
Direct: 808.443.4588  

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3 Responses to “Big Island Horse Properties: Waikii Ranch or Puu Lani Ranch”

  1. Pat Strausse, RB
    January 26, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Great comparison Beth, you’ve done an excellant job of detailing the points of both ranch communities. Even though I now represent a non horse owner buyer in escrow for a home in Puu Lani ranch, I would have to say as a horseowner, Waiki’i is easily the best pick between these two. And yes, I am a bit biased as a former home owner in Waiki’i Ranch. But, I think much of the joy in owning a horse is being around them all day long so you get to see them kick up their heels and run around, and as Waiki’i is soooo quiet you can hear the horses grazing in the pasture at night. Always left me with a feeling that all was right with the world!
    I think it would be interesting to hear back from you on what directions your buyers go after you have given them the grand horse property tour. Thanks again for sharing your great insight.

  2. Beth Thoma Robinson R(B)
    January 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    @ Pat, so good to hear from you as you have the expertise to share as well. It’s good to have choices for sure.

  3. Tara Kelly
    January 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Love the horse pic! I am a bit biased myself as my recent deal at Puu Lani Ranch is closing next week. As always thanks agian for the great information for our buyers…..

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