Moving to the Big Island in 2018 – 5 Things You Need to Know to Make this the Year
If this is the year you are finally ready to take the plunge and follow your dream, here are 5 things you need to know to make your move a success.
1. It’s Big
At just over 4,000 square miles the Big Island is bigger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined. That still doesn’t come close to conveying the scale of the Big Island. Mauna Kea, one of five volcanoes that make up the Big Island is more than 4,000 feet taller than Mount Everest when measured from its base on the ocean floor. Mauna Kea’s sister peak, Mauna Loa, is the most massive mountain on the planet. Estimated to contain 10,000 cubic miles of rock, Mauna Loa is nearly 10 times more massive than Mount Kilimanjaro.
What this means to someone moving to the Big Island is that you need to get out there. If you plan to take a look at some Big Island real estate, take yourself on a circle island tour. Take a few days and don’t rush. Head to the luxurious resorts of the South Kohala Coast to Waimea and take in the rolling green ranch lands. Stop by the small community of Waikoloa Village and play a round of golf among the neatly tended homes and condos. Wander over to the windward side and travel past the many quaint plantation towns as you follow the breathtaking route once traversed by the sugar cane train along the Hamakua Coast. While you’re getting a sense of the place don’t miss the spectacle of the lava-filled caldera of Halemaumau in Volcanoes National Park.
2. The Weather is Diverse
The sheer size of the Big Island gives it a host of unique characteristics. The Kona cloud that hangs over the coffee plantations of South Kona is one particular effect. The abrupt change in the weather from the wet side to the dry side of Waimea town is another example. In all, 8 (some say 11) of the World’s 13 climate zones exist on the Big Island.
While traveling around the island you will often experience several dramatically different climate zones in the space of only a few hours. Climbing to the summit of Mauna Kea you can experience the arctic tundra. As you head through the desert of South Kohala you pass the manicured golf courses, shimmering beaches and some of the most coveted resort homes for sale on the Big Island at the Mauna Kea Resort. Just a few miles further and you cross into the tropical rainforests of North Kohala that surround the quaint plantation town turned artist’s haven at Hawi. The variety of scenery and climate that you can choose to surround yourself with is truly amazing.
3. The Roads are Narrow
The pace is also slower. You’ll notice a lot of “Slow Down This Ain’t the Mainland” bumper stickers, and that sums up the experience of traveling around the Big Island. Driving 20 miles through the country homes and coffee plantations of South Kona does not take 20 minutes. If you do it island style it could take all day. There are fresh flowers to drop off at your Auntie’s house and she’ll have fresh vegetables to take over to cousin Don. None of these cousins and aunts and uncles are related to you by blood but in Hawaii family or “ohana” extends far beyond bloodlines.
Whether you choose Hawi for the small town life in North Kohala, live on a rolling upcountry acreage in Waimea or prefer a yard full papayas and macadamia trees among the coffee plantations of South Kona, you will need to plan on a little more time to get where you need to go. Regardless of where you live, you’ll regularly find yourself headed for North Kona and the shops of Kailua Kona town. If you love the Big Island lifestyle but also like the convenience of being close to shops and services, you’ll find many of the condos for sale on the Big Island are located along Alii Drive in Kailua Kona.
4. The People are Friendly
When going about your daily routine you’ll need to plan on 15 minutes to “talk story” with anyone you may even remotely know. And on the Big Island, you will know a lot of people. Even with the growth of areas in West Hawaii like Kailua Kona town and the development of Big Island real estate in the resorts along the coast of South Kohala, the sense of community remains strong. Locals mix freely with visitors and you’ll often find yourself in fun and friendly conversations with perfect strangers.
If you are looking at homes for sale on the Big Island be prepared to get to know your neighbors. While gated communities like those at the Mauna Lani, Hualalai and Waikoloa Beach Resorts offer some privacy, public access to the shoreline is the law. All beaches have some form of limited public parking nearby and visitors, seasonal residents, and locals are all drawn to enjoy the warm waters of the Kohala coast. Even vacation rental owners who are only part-time residents enjoy the sense of community that permeates the island lifestyle
5. The Language is (Sort of) English
Hawaii is unique in being the only state with two official languages. While the official languages of Hawaii are English and Hawaiian, the lingua franca is a hybrid called pidgin. It is a language that grew out of the ethnic diversity of the plantation workers and is proudly spoken among the locally born and raised population. While loosely based on English, the dialect often substitutes words and phrases, like “he no stay” for “he’s gone” or “he went.” It also includes many colorful idioms like “broke da mouth” meaning something is so tasty you eat (grind) until you can eat no more.
Big Island real estate offers a fantastic diversity of climate and accommodations. While the lifestyle you prefer will influence where you decide to live there will always be the laid back vibe and sense of community that makes so many people want to call the Big Island home. If 2018 is your year to take the plunge into Big Island real estate, call or drop me a note and we can “talk story” about making your dream a reality.