10 Pros and Cons of Living on the Big Island

When people think of Hawaii, they think of beaches, lush tropical settings, and a laid-back vibe. That may all be true, but each island has its own unique qualities that make living there special. Today I want to talk about the pros and cons of living on the Big Island of Hawaii, specifically the area on the west side of the Island. Let’s look at five points for each side.

Pros of Living on the Big Island

These are my personal favorites about living here. Most of my clients agree that there are some great things that stick out about life on the west side of Hawaii’s Big Island.

Beach Access

When you live on the west side of the Big Island, you have access to some of the best beaches. The Coast stretches from the central-west part of the coast up toward the northwestern tip, the Kohala Coast (North and South Kohala Coast).

The largest white sand beaches are located in this area. Some of the top beaches are Hapuna Beach, Walia Bay (also known as 69),  Kauna’oa (also known as Mauna Kea), Keawaiki Bay (also known as Lone Palm), Anaeho’omalu Bay (also known as A-Bay), Spencer Beach.

white sand beach on hawaiis big island

Outdoor Recreation

Aside from watersports and spending the day at the beach, the West side of the Big Island area has a lot to do. You can check out historical sites, tour a seahorse farm or coffee plantation, or play a round of golf. Further north, you might watch some whales, go hiking, or go ziplining. Lots to pick from!


Hawaii’s stable temperatures lend well to year-round comfort. Overnight lows may get into the 60s, with highs in the upper 80s, so there are no real extremes. The northern Kona and South Kohala districts are drier than the rest of the Big Island as they get little rain, while the southern end of Kona can get quite humid with significantly more rainfall.

Fresh Fruit

The tropical climate of the Big Island means we can grow a variety of warm weather produce that simply won’t grow in other areas. We get to enjoy lychee, jaboticaba, passionfruit, guava, different varieties of mangoes and avocadoes, apple bananas, and white pineapple. Yummy!

two people on the beach during purple sunset on big island hawaii

Simple Lifestyle

Most who live in the area have a relatively simple lifestyle that focuses on relationships and activities that take advantage of what nature offers. With all the opportunities for outdoor recreation on the Big Island and the comfortable weather, there isn’t a need to overcomplicate things.

Connecting with friends, especially if you live in a condo community, is a way of life, and it can be as simple as sitting together to enjoy the view or catching up on a walk. Being outdoors keeps us mentally and physically healthy, so our stress level is lower than those who may not have those opportunities.

winding road through big island neighborhood

Cons of Living on the Big Island

Nothing can ever be perfect, although I think Hawaii comes close. In addition to the pros, I want to share some cons to living on the Big Island of Hawaii that you should consider before moving.

High Cost of Living

With a simple lifestyle, however, we have a high cost of living. We spend more on our groceries that may have to be shipped in from elsewhere, and many of our retail goods are likewise more expensive. I recently went to the grocery store to buy organic milk; a half gallon was $10.89! OMG

Land comes at a premium and is often protected by regulations to avoid overpopulation. Housing is correspondingly expensive, as are our electric bills. While the cost of living is one of the cons of Big Island living, the pros offset it by offering free recreation, a healthier lifestyle, and an appreciation of nature.

kona coast big island condos

Lack of Seasons

The weather is pretty great year-round! But you might miss experiencing real seasons. We don’t get very cold spells that help balance the hotter weather we get. We don’t experience the beauty of the leaves changing in the fall (nor the cleanup involved). Our growing season is long, but we have to grass mow more. You can make a career by mowing lawns because everything grows so fast!


The Kona and Kohala Coasts are extremely popular with tourists, so you can expect to encounter tourists daily when you live here. From the grocery stores to the beaches, there are just a lot of people around. During the winter months (December-April), we have an increased number of tourists because spending the day on the beach while your home has snow is a perk.

Job Market

Another con for Big Island living is that the job market isn’t great. The population is ever-growing, and although there has been more development (for example, the new plaza in the Waikoloa Beach Resort area), finding a job that pays the bills is not always easy. Virtual work is always an option, although you must remember we are several hours behind even California, which can be tricky if you have to work with people on the mainland.


The weather we enjoy is great for us, but it’s also great for the bugs. With no real cold weather, the insects don’t get killed off over winter like in other areas. Keeping your home clean and ensuring that there are no small gaps where bugs can enter (check your door seals, for example) can help ensure they don’t make your home their home.

Your Big Island Realtor

There are pros and cons to living anywhere, but I’d like to think the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii has more on the pro side. If you are interested in purchasing here, I am an expert in the Waikoloa Beach Resort area and Waikoloa Village and can help you find the right home for you. Contact me today, and we’ll see what’s available.

with the warmest aloha,

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Kathy Awai

September 1, 2022

You forgot to mention the lack of Drs; that’s a biggie! Especially if your Buyers are purchasing a property as their primary residence and more so if they are 50 and over.

Leeana Runningbear

September 1, 2022

> Aloha Kathy,

Great point! We are indeed lacking doctors on this island.



September 1, 2022

Where is the beach in the top photo? This looks fantastic.

Leeana Runningbear

September 1, 2022

> Aloha Chris,

The main photo, the featured photo, is of the Mauna Lani Beach Club located in Mauna Lani Resort.

The first photo in the blog is of Kekaha Kai State Beach, near the Kona Airport.

So many beautiful places on the Island to take pictures of!

Thanks for reaching out, Chris and reading my blog.

with aloha,

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