Finding Your Hawai’i Island Home | Part 4

What better way to discover everything Hawaii Island has to offer – and perhaps discover the
precise area you’d like to make home – than exploring the incredible sights from north to south
and east to west?

In this four part series, I’m more than happy to share my must-see-destinations in each of these regions together with brief descriptions of the surrounding residential communities. In part one, I detailed the best of North and South Kohala; part two explored North and South Kona; part three focused on Ka‘u District and Volcano; and this last in the series takes you to Hilo and the Hamakua Coast.


tunnel of green tropical plants at hawaii botanical garden

Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, a 40-acre nature preserve and sanctuary, is located in Hawaii Island’s Onomea Valley about 5 miles north of Hilo. The garden is home to more than 2,000 plant species, numerous trails, streams, waterfalls, a bird aviary and orchid garden. The well-maintained trails through tropical foliage offer stunning ocean vistas and more than 200 species of palm trees. Enter the garden via a 500-foot wooden boardwalk that leads you to the trail heads. Take the excellent self-guided tour (slightly over a mile round trip) which takes about 90 minutes and provides a great overview of the garden. Open Daily 9am to 5pm; fee $20 adults, $5 ages 6-16; free children under 6.

Property opportunities in and around Hilo, the island’s capital and largest city, are bountiful and diverse. Prices here on the east side of the island also are more moderate than the west side. Offerings range from re-imagined historic cottages and contemporary cliff-side estates to farms, lagoon-side condos and the occasional bed and breakfast inn.

Hamakua Coast

waterfall at akaka falls state park

Akaka Falls State Park

The Hamakua Coast stretches from just north of Hilo to Waipi’o Valley on the northernmost end of the Hawaii Island. The drive along the Hamakua Heritage Corridor is one of the most scenic in the state with its craggy rock cliffs edging the blue Pacific, deep verdant green gulches, rainforests and awe-inspiring water falls. In fact, two of the island’s most renowned waterfalls, the 442-foot Akaka Falls and the 100-foot high Kahuna Falls are located in Akaka Falls State Park just 11 miles north of Hilo. By following the easy Loop Trail (0.4 miles) you view both falls while passing through lush tropical rainforest. This is a must-stop for the entire family!

Real estate opportunities along the Hamakua Coast are primarily comprised of farm lands – much of the island’s prized produce is cultivated in this region. As you travel further north, cattle and goat ranches appear. Honaka’a, a small (population under 3,000) rural town just south of Waipio Valley, offers charming, renovated cottages – many built in the late 19th and early 20th century during the area’s plantation era – set on expansive, acre+ properties. Of all the small towns along the Hamakua Coast, Honaka’a is the largest, offering a number of dining options, boutiques, art galleries and cultural events throughout the year.

More Information

For information on these attractions or about Hawaii Island real estate opportunities, please
contact Ben Slough (S), Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, (808) 854-3375 or

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Sharon Reamer

September 22, 2022

I’m moving to Hawaii next year and am trying to decide between Oahu and the windward side of the Big Island. I’m interested in single family homes primarily, because I have dogs and will always have dogs (HA!), but a townhome isn’t a deal-breaker. My duplex will have to sell first and right now is estimated at $625,000.00, which I find very difficult to believe. I’m trying to stay in the $450,000 range right now, but that may certainly change next year. 2+ BR, 2 BA, move-in ready, yard space for this retiring, dog-loving veterinarian. Any suggestions?

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