Living In Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Living on the Big Island – Kailua Kona, Hawaii



Hi! After much research and not finding a ton of information on living and moving to Kailua Kona, HI – I decided to blog about me and my families experience during this exciting new journey in our lives. My hope is I can give some insight into living in paradise and hopefully provide some good information and links to help you out if you are also moving to Hawaii.

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  1. Avatar January 31st, 2011 at 6:15 pm Keri Miller Says:

    Hi! I am following your blog and wanted to thank you for the great information! we are hoping to move to Kona next year. My brother-in-law moved about a year ago, and is loving it.

  2. Avatar January 31st, 2011 at 6:42 pm admin Says:

    Thanks Keri.
    I wasn’t sure anyone read my blog. I hope you find it helpful. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask. I sometimes get stuck on what to write – so any ideas would be great! I hope you have a great move next year!!! I have to say – I really do love this place.
    Thanks again for your response!!!

  3. Avatar February 5th, 2011 at 2:41 pm Amelie Says:

    I’m following, too! I’m so glad to have found your blog- my family and I are moving to Waimea next week (!) and my anxiety level is pretty high right now (mostly because of the packing/transit/hoping- I- have- dotted- every- i- for- the- animal- quarantine situation). We’ve been researching the possibility of moving to the Big Island for over a year, and I agree, so much of what is in the forums is negative, it’s great to read about what you’ve been through with such an honest and positive attitude. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences- it’s very helpful right now!

  4. Avatar February 5th, 2011 at 10:21 pm admin Says:

    HI Amelie.

    Good luck with your move. Don’t stress to much. Your moving to Hawaii!!! Waimea is beautiful. Your right in the middle of Hilo and Kona. If my husband didn’t work in Kona I would like to live in there.

    Please let me know how your move goes. Especially with the dog. Our dog is coming over in March – I am also in the process of doing all the paperwork and hoping I don’t mess anything up.

    Have a great move. You can’t ask for a better place to live.

  5. Avatar February 19th, 2011 at 11:36 pm Wanda Says:

    Hi, I love your info. I just got back from Kona yesterday. My boyfriend proposed at Green Sands Beach during our vacation there. I loved Kona and would love to move there. I live in the Chgo area and am an RN, but after looking around a bit online….. am discouraged that a move to the island and finding a job might be almost impossible. I m jealous of your move. Please keep us updated with how you and your family are doing……

  6. Avatar February 20th, 2011 at 11:16 am admin Says:

    Hi Wanda.


    Don’t be do discourage (don’t believe everything you read). If the BI is the place for you guys – it can happen. Just like it did for us.

    Good luck!

  7. Avatar April 9th, 2011 at 5:41 am Ron Says:

    Just found your blog and find it to be very informative. I am hoping to move to Hawaii in about two years after I retire(at the age of 53) from my job here in Illinois. I come to the islands every year for two weeks and I have been alternating islands for the past 8 years. Was just on Maui in February and will be on the Big Island either this September or next February…. I am just counting the days until I can move over to the islands. Hope you continue to blog about your experiences.

  8. Avatar April 17th, 2011 at 10:19 am admin Says:

    HI Ron.

    Thanks for responding to my posts! I wish you great luck in your move to Hawaii! As you know – it is a truly beautiful place to live!!

  9. Avatar May 17th, 2011 at 7:25 am Linda Says:

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG I am 60 and my sister is 56 – we are looking into moving to Kona in the near future …yet wanted to learn from someone who moved to Kona recently to gauge the “climate” of Kona and the positive and negative issues to determine if this plan would work for us….we have been to Kona and fallen in love with it and now looking for a condo near Kona …your experiences have revealed many areas that I had not considered but am grateful to you and your diligent committed efforts to inform many who are considering a move to the big island of Hawaii…thank you so very much and I will continue to be in touch with your blog ….how are the church “communities” near Kona? thank you again I appreciate your information

  10. Avatar May 21st, 2011 at 3:49 pm Jackie Lyons Says:


    I found you blog the other day doing research to move to BI / Kona area. I have enjoyed it. I never thought about shipping USPS, what a great idea. Did you leave all your furniture and only ship USPS? We are considering that. We are about 6 months from moving and have a long way to go to sell stuff and get all the money together to move. Do you have any info on moving a large dog. I am having trouble finding an airline that takes dogs over 85#’s. I would love to read more on your blog. Maybe about how you all are adjusting to your new home and how work is going. We are a family, we have a 14 year old son, he is very excited about the move. It seems the BI is very family oriented.
    Thanks for writing your blog, it has been helpful. We have started a blog about our adventure.

  11. Avatar December 12th, 2011 at 7:40 pm Jama McKinney Says:

    So glad to have found your blog!
    My husband, daughter and I will be visiting Kona in a couple weeks. December 28-11. We are so very excited.
    It’s a fact finding mission. We hope to experience the island and gauge whether or not it’s a good fit for us. We even purposely rented part of a house to see what living in a real neighborhood would be like.
    I’ve enjoyed your posts, they have given us good information.
    I am most curious about your experience with your daughters Montessori school. Our daughter has always been in a Montessori environment and we would love to continue should we decide to
    move. What I have researched about the schools on the Big Island has not been favorable. Perhaps this is an idea for a future post?

  12. Avatar December 13th, 2011 at 12:27 pm admin Says:

    Hi Jama.

    I think it is great that you are coming to visit and renting a house. That should help give you a taste of what it like to live here. The tourist/hotel experience of the Big Island is much different then where people live and work. Just make sure that the house you are renting is in the same neighborhood you could afford to rent in on a monthly basis.

    I know the Montessori school offer tours if you call them and make an appointment. I would recommend you go to the school yourself and see what you think. I don’t have anything bad to say about the school but I don’t have anything positive to say either. I went to Montessori when I was a child and have great memories of it. I was hoping to give my daughter the same. For some reason that school and my daughter were not a fit. She cried for 3 months straight everyday I dropped her off. Before we moved here she had been in preschool before so she was use to being dropped off and at school for the day. After three months I couldn’t take it anymore – she just wasn’t happy at that place. That is why I moved her to Creative Day. The second day I dropped her off there – she kissed me goodbye and didn’t cry or anything. She loves where she is at now and I really couldn’t be happier with Creative Day. The owners and teachers are amazing and they truly care about the kids – not the money. The one thing I would research and ask about the Montessori school is if the teachers are Montessori trained.

    I hope your family has a great trip out here. Let me know what you guys decide.

  13. Avatar July 13th, 2012 at 12:29 pm Jody Says:

    I agree, it is hard to find info on moving to Hawaii. Thank you for doing this! I have questions about access to health and dental. How easy is it to access these services and what would you say prices are comparable to?

  14. Avatar July 13th, 2012 at 5:31 pm admin Says:

    Hi Jody.

    AS far as dental and health care cost. They are about the same as the mainland. I haven’t noticed a difference – the three big insurance companies here are Kasier, HMAA and Blue Cross. As for general care all services are offered. I have noticed if you need a specialist though – you have to go to Oahu. If you are really sick you want to be on Oahu.

    Thanks for reading my blog and let me know if you have anymore questions.

  15. Avatar August 23rd, 2012 at 2:35 pm Debra Says:

    You have answered so many quesitions for us, my daughter is thinking of transfering from Safeway here in CA to the store in Kona to provide a healthy enviroment for her 18 month old son to grow up in. You brought up so many things we NEVER thought of like the price of electric / gas / car insurance/ groceries, since she only has $5.000 saved so far it sounds like its not going to happen any time soon.
    Keep posting and we will keep reading :)

  16. Avatar August 25th, 2012 at 12:06 pm admin Says:

    Hi Debra.

    Thanks for your comment. If your daughter does want to move here – it sounds like she is one step ahead of the rest if she has a job already. That is the hardest thing once you get here – finding good work. I know a few people who work at the Safeway in Kona and overall they seem to like working there. If she did really want to make it happen with what she has saved – she could do it. It would just have to be on a tight budget. There are a lot of furnished studios for rent for anywhere around $500 – $ 900 a month. Craigslist is the best place to look for rentals to get an idea of what is out there. The hardest thing about craigslist is learning all the names of cities and where they are located. There are certain areas I would avoid living in – like Oceanview. The rent is cheap but the commute is far and the not greatest town to live in for many reasons. As I stated in one of my post – do not rent anything sight unseen. Try to find a temp rental for the first month or two – so you can go see places yourself. I can’t stress that enough.

    Looking back – if I was to do it over again – I would of just brought a few suitcases over and then put everything I thought I wanted in storage on the mainland – ready to be shipped. Then in 6 months – if I still was missing those things I would have a friend or family member ship the boxes over to me. I have found that I didn’t need a lot of the things I shipped and would of been fine without them. With so many places to rent that are already furnished – you really don’t need much. The things you might need are probably cheaper to buy them here then the cost of shipping them over. I think the biggest expense is the car – if it is worth the $1000 to ship your current car or buy one here. I will say the prices of used cars here are expensive. It is probably a really good idea to look on craiglist for cars for sale – so you have a idea of what you get for your money before you decide if you ship or buy once you get here.

    If you have any questions – let me know and I will try to answer them the best I can.

  17. Avatar November 3rd, 2012 at 8:07 am Evita Says:

    I am so glad to find your website. So, how are you and your family doing now in late 2012? Anymore info you can share with us newbies?
    We are planning to move around Kailua Kona – Kealakekua area. Our questions are:
    1. What would be a good area to raise a family around Kona Community Hospital in Kealakekua?
    2. Is commuting between Kailua Kona (on one of those condos on Alii’s Drive to be exact) to Kealakekua every day is possible to do? How is the traffic?
    3. Can we walk to grocery store if we live in Kailua Kona?
    4. Is it possible to live in one of those condos by Alii’s drive for long term or are those just vacation condos?
    5. What are your thoughts between houses, apartments and condos, renting and buying there?
    6. I know you mentioned before about not liking to live by the ocean condos, can you give me some input please?
    7. Can we find a house to rent around 1200/month or less in the area?
    8. Is there a good affordable (cheaper than the groceries) farm market close by?

    Mahalo! Your reply is much appreciated.

  18. Avatar November 3rd, 2012 at 11:25 am admin Says:

    Hi Evita.

    Thank you for reading my blog. I created new post answering some of your questions. I hope you find it helpful.

    Please let me know if I can answer anything else for you.

    I wish you nothing but the best moving here.

  19. Avatar January 3rd, 2013 at 1:54 pm Alison Says:

    I too am grateful I stumbled upon your blog. This is the brutally honest info I was looking for! Since you’ve stressed so much not to rent anything unseen, can you elaborate more on finding a temporary house/apt? You’ve mentioned Craigslist, but are there real estate companies that can help with this? Mahalo! Looking forward to your reply.

  20. Avatar January 4th, 2013 at 1:00 pm admin Says:

    Hi Alison.

    Craiglist is a good place to look for a temporary rental. also is great website for temporary rentals. I do know people who have rented condos for short-term – I believe they found them on craigslist. There is also Clark Realty – but I am not sure if they do short term rentals – I know they will not rent long-term unless you are on island to see the property. They might be able to offer some suggestion if you call them.

  21. Avatar January 6th, 2013 at 5:04 pm Sharon Says:

    Hi, I’ve been reading your blog. There is a job opportunity for my husband that could have use move to Kailua Kona. (We currently live in the middle of the US.) I’m getting a little scared about the cost of living there. We would be moving for the job and the job would help with moving expenses. I just was wondering what kind of salary one would have to receive to ‘make it’ there ok. Thanks!

  22. Avatar March 25th, 2013 at 9:34 am Alana Says:

    Your blog is excellent, as it contains great day to day information. We are considering moving to Hawaii. We love all the islands; however, I especially like Kailua Kona, while my husband really likes the island of Maui. We are retired and looking for simple dwellings and would look forward to volunteering wherever we settle.

    Two Questions:
    !) Big concern, however, is the centipedes. Are they really a serious issue? Are they found in certain areas? We had them in New Jersey/New York, but they were rather small – still didnt’ like them or any bugs. I haven’t seen any in Delaware, but I am told they are small. I do not like using pesticides!
    2) Do you really need a car? Do folks share rides to stores?

    Thanks again for a great blog and best wishes!

  23. Avatar March 25th, 2013 at 12:43 pm admin Says:

    There are definitely centipedes on the islands. We have lived here for about 2 1/2 years now – and I have probably found close to 20 in the house so far. I am also not a big fan of pesticides – but between the cockroaches and centipedes – you have to spray. I didn’t spray when we first moved here but have found you have to – to big of problem otherwise. I do know people that live on the second floor or higher don’t seem to have as many issues with bugs though. I am not sure if that is because the first floor sprays or if they just don’t make it that high. I have also heard centipedes are worse in some areas then others but I think for the most part – they are apart of living in Hawaii.

    In my opinion, unless you live right in town – you need a car. At least on the big island – things are spread out. I have never heard of people doing ride shares but I am sure it happens and you can probably find people to do that with.

  24. Avatar September 7th, 2013 at 7:13 pm Rod Quartararo Says:

    Really good thoughts. You commented on all the right things. We are moving over in 2 moths to live in the Kona area. We have just about sold our home of 30 years, are now empty nesters. We are coming from Santa Cruz *born and raised” and I think there are similarities between the two areas and at the age of 60 we are ready to make a change….why not. I remember moving back home from college back in the 70s’ and learning that I had to give making the adjustment between where I lived while going to school and for a few years after (Los Angeles) took a good 6 months, but I and my family made the adjustment. The central coast of California is expensive and as for food, I agree, we are all a little wasteful and it is not that difficult to cut corners, be a little more aware of what you are buying …. bring a list and be careful.

    Utilities….the home we are selling is 110 years old so the cost of our utilities has always been a good 75% higher than everyone elses so I am ready for the additional costs over there. My biggest challenge will be “slowing my wife’s urge” to purchase. I am all for getting to know the area for a while, do a lot of looking, and rent first for a short time.

    Best of all, we are leaving our 4 children and 6 grandchildren on the mainland (I don’t mean this is good), but they are spread out all over Calif. now and I can’t imagine anywhere they would rather viisit than Hawaii…after all, we aren’t moving to North Dakota!!

    Again, thanks for your input.

  25. Avatar September 16th, 2013 at 12:37 pm Allon Says:

    Aloha,why not move to south florida or florida keys?food cost same as california

  26. Avatar September 16th, 2013 at 1:18 pm admin Says:

    Hi Allon.

    If the only thing that matters is being by the ocean then south florida would be a good option. We choose Hawaii not only for the ocean but the community and lifestyle. Living here is very different from living in south florida. If you surf then there is no question why Hawaii over south florida. I just think it all depends on where you are drawn too because the lifestyles are very different.


  27. Avatar September 19th, 2013 at 2:35 pm Allon Says:

    Mc Donald restuants in hawaii,on the one dollar meals are cheaper than mainland.

  28. Avatar September 22nd, 2013 at 8:31 am Kona Colin Says:

    Great to read all of these comments. There is some good info shared and interesting questions. We are in the midst of a relocation to the Big Island from the east coast. We have researched for over 4 years and have a really good idea of neighborhoods, schools, daily life, work, play, natural life.

    The greatest thing that we have learned is that a successful new life in Hawaii requires a chance of life style. We just can’t live the same way affordably. This just means making changes of what we need to survive based on what is available locally. Sourcing daily needs that have to be shipped in isn’t the best choice as these items will cost more. Clearly some things have to be, but we can limit that as best we can.

    Another thing to consider is living up in elevation where there is no need for heat or a/c, further reducing expenses. Those that do not like the warmer temps might consider life above 2500′ where you might wish to have a wood stove for the chilly nights.

    Be mindful of property taxes and other expenses as these vary widely depending upon where you choose to set up your new life.

    Above someone mentioned renting first to see the lay of the land. This is brilliant. There are many rental options furnished or otherwise. No need to spend big money on a vacation rental. Get something affordable so you can spend enough time shopping for your home.

    Aloha to all.

  29. Avatar October 28th, 2013 at 5:43 pm Lili Says:

    Hi. Thanks a lot for the great information. I wonder if you are still living there and what is your option regarding the cultural diversity in this area? can you compare it a city or town in the mainland?

  30. Avatar January 10th, 2014 at 6:55 pm Hilo Girl Says:

    I love this blog, my husband and I permanently moved to Hawaii 6 months ago, that is after going back and forth for 3 1/2 years. The question of why Hawaii and why not Florida? We had initially thought we would end up in Florida, so we purchased property there. Hands down Hawaii is my choice, Hawaii offers the life my husband and I have craved. Florida was way to busy and fast for our liking. Here on the east side of the Big Island we have a slow life that we enjoy. I would recommend that anyone that is considering moving somewhere tropic, to consider Hawaii and my favorite of the islands (The Big Island).

  31. Avatar April 24th, 2014 at 6:21 pm Mehgan Says:

    Hi! I recently came across your blog as my husband and I are looking into moving to the Big Island. We are specifically interested in the Captain Cook area. I am just wondering if you are still living in Hawaii and how it is going now several years later. I don’t see any recent posts from you. How has school been for your child? Do you have any regrets now or changes you would make?

  32. Avatar July 16th, 2014 at 1:33 pm andy nguyen Says:


    Just recently subscribed and loving all the information. If I may ask, my wife and I are looking to move to Kona. We’re taking a trip there in a few months and curious what are the must sees. I particularly love tropical fruits, so im curious where to go for that. :) thanks and keep up the good work!


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