Puako… a Residential Enclave of “Old Hawaii” on the Kohala Gold Coast
Okay, I admit it up front – I’m inclined to wax fantastic about Puako Beach – it is, after all, my ‘hood. And it’s special. How do I know, besides the fact that I chose to live in this exact spot on the planet after spending a few years checking out the rest of the world?? Because in 2006, when I briefly lost my mind and put my empty 16,000sft lot on the market, at least a call a day would come in from a tourist driving down the street – they were certain that no one else had “discovered” this community and their surprise at the high property prices was palpable. Everyone that drives, walks, bikes, runs, scoots or otherwise gets themselves into the community of Puako Beach falls in love with this place, it’s hard not to.
It’s believed the first Polynesians arrived in Puako sometime between 750 and 1000 AD, and that Puako has been a thriving community since about 1250AD. Why am I not surprised? From wars to salt, from commerce to a vacation spot for Ali’i, Puako hypnotizes with her singing birds, ocean waves and gentle breezes. Life is just a little slower, and more relaxed here.
Ric Rocker, a real estate Broker who has spent his career selling luxury homes along the Kohala Gold Coast shares my affinity for this very special neighborhood. During mango season when we meet to see one of Ric’s listings, he always has a Puako mango or two for me. Ric is the listing agent for what may just be my most favorite property on the island: Puako 78. This very special, historical property was the very first place we ever rented in Puako, and where I will never forget the sight of a huge humpback whale jumping high into the air, perfectly framed in the bedroom window – WOW! Nature on steroids.
Here is an excerpt from a blog post of Ric’s regarding the original subdivision of Puako Beach (reprinted here with his permission, of course).
In 1952, the Territorial Government subdivided Puako into 163 house lots half on either side of the newly built dead-end road that separates the Makai (oceanfront) lots from the Makai (mountain) ones.
Originally auctioned for $1,000 for the oceanfront lots and $500 for those across the street with the caveat that a home of a value of at least $1,500 (yes there are only 2 zeros) would be constructed within 5 years.Â Many of those originally homes remain today mixed with a generous interspersing of more modern and luxurious properties that have been added over time.Â This has created not only a unique blending of architectural styles but also a similar mixture of cultural and sociological ones as well.Â It is the only community on the Big Island where multi-million dollar homes sit next to Hawaiian-style fishing cottages and where wealthy mainlanders socialize comfortably with the local community.