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We are planning to move to Kauai but are uncertain about where. Looking at the Kalaheo/hanapepe area or around Kapaa. Any thought or pros/cons about these areas. Also need a recommendation of an apartment real estate agent we can work with from the mainland. Thanks for the help!
do you have to commute to a job. these two towns are far apart. your best bet would be for at least one of you to be on island to get your housing and transportation settled. these things are not easily handled by the net and telephone. what looks good on paper or on the net is not always as nice in person.
Thanks for your response. We will be retired there and only working part time if at all. We plan to go there for a month in advance of the move but would still like to get a sense of the places before going for the advance trip. We have been to Kauai before but only as touristourists.
Kalaheo is a group of smaller neighborhoods nestled in the southern foothills, cooler, wetter, and some areas windy. That does make it the "lush" area of the south side, which otherwise tends to be hotter, drier, and not-so-green. Kalaheo has some restaurants, a nice cafe, school, parks, fire station, but no bigger stores. You'd need to go to Koloa or Hanapepe ('Ele'ele) for groceries. The beach is a 15-20 minute-drive to either Poipu or Hanapepe. There is a cheap 9-hole golf course which I don't think is highly rated golf-wise (they even let me play), but the views are great.
Hanapepe has 2 neighborhoods on the bluffs, and one in the valley, which is the town itself. It's a bit smaller and less neighborly than Kalaheo, but it does have the grocery store, Ace hardware store, and strip mall. It gets hot enough in the summer to require A/C, unless you find a house exposed to the wind.
Kapaa is the largest and most spread out population center on the island. It has the most and biggest grocery stores, including 2 health food stores if you want organic. It has a few smaller and older neighborhoods (where the houses are smaller and older) by the ocean, but much of it is inland, up to 4 miles. While that doesn't sound like much, the roads are twisty and slow, and there are only convenience stores there, so again you're driving 10-15 minutes for groceries. Also, Kapaa has the worst traffic, and unlike Lihue, they are not putting in 4 lanes anytime soon. So that can double your driving times. The coastal area is sunny, but it can be overcast in the interior. You can swim at Kealia and Lydgate, close to either end of town, and sit on the beach in Kapaa town, but these are not world-class beaches like the North Shore.
Kapaa is more centrally located, if you intend to visit the whole island frequently. It is 1 hour to the north end of the road and 1:30 to the other end, either Kokee or Polihale. Our friends in Kalaheo don't go to the North Shore that often, and when they do, I don't envy their drive.
I don't know how much time the real-estate agents are willing to spend with non-residents--you'd have to call them. We worked with Sleeping Giant in Lihue, they tend to sell the more-luxury homes in the Kalaheo-to-Kapaa area, but they did help us buy a modest home. Many of the real-estate websites give you access to the local MLS, so you could narrow down your search that way. I also recommend using google satellite view to get an idea of the neighborhood (street view coming one of these days). Then if you have any questions about specific streets or neighborhoods, maybe we can help you here.
Thanks for the responses.
We are a ways from making any decision on location and probably won't decide until we are on-island. However any help in narrowing the field would be appreciated.
We are coming from the overcrowded and traffic-jammed area of northern New Jersey so we are not terribly concerned about the traffic around Kapaa. Because of health issues I would prefer a drier area of the island.
As a retired chef access to fresh produce is important. Are there good farmers' markets? Is it possible to buy fish directly from the fishermen?
We are probably going to rent rather than buy but still would like access to an outdoor area for grilling etc. How are the non-tourist condo complexes?
Any other thoughts/observations would also be appreciated.
Again, thanks for your help.
The "dry" areas of the island include Koloa (barely), Poipu, Hanapepe, Waimea, and Kekaha--the SW quadrant. These are also the hottest in the summer (and it's not just the heat, it's the burning tropical sun). The coastal area in Kapaa isn't as rainy as the interior, but it is more humid. There are farmer's markets all over the island with fresh, local produce. The ones on the north side, all the way down to Kapaa have organic, the ones in the south not as likely. I've seen signs by the road for fishermen selling their catch from the back of their truck, so definitely available, just I don't know what varieties. If you hung out at the boat ramps and chatted it up with the fishermen, I'm sure you could get more leads and more fish.
There is only one non-tourist condo complex in Lihue and one in Kapaa, and both are inland, no views or anything special. All the others in Poipu are predominantly visitor rentals, those in Kapaa, mixed though more visitor-oriented, those in Lihue, mixed and perhaps more resident oriented. Princeville is mixed too, but you weren't asking about the north shore. I'm pretty sure all of them have communal BBQs, that seems like a standard amenity--but always best to ask.
Very wise to rent first, explore, and then see whether you want to commit to buying if you see the right place or stay flexible and rent. However, for renting you are not limited to condos, there are plenty of houses with more-or-less land for rent all over the island.
Again, thanks for the helpful comments.
We have some more questions (what a surprise!).
We had excluded the north shore because of reports of colder and windier weather. Is the difference really meaningful?
We don't want to be surrounded by tourists but don't mind some. How is Koloa in that regard?
Are any areas more anti-white than others?
How is the Lihue area? There seem to be alot of apartments around there.
Any areas particularly bad with drug dealers?
We really appreciate the help. Hope to meet you on Kauai to reciprocate. Thanks.
stevecar, you need to visit, preferrably all islands, before committing to any island. I often assume people who ask about moving to Hawaii have visited and fallen in love. But from your latest questions, it sure doesn't sound like it.
The kind of questions you are asking now could be answered by visiting. Your questions are subjective, so the answers really depend on you, what you like, what your attitude is, and many other personal factors--that you have. If I try to explain all the nuances, it'll take me forever. If you visit, you filter everything you see and hear to get your immediate personal impression of each place.
For some of your questions, I have some ideas, but if and when you start working with a real-estate agent, they will have more up-to-date info for you.
Thanks for the response.
We have been to Kauai 5 times. Always in the Poipu area and usually in a hotel although we did rent a house one of the times. We absolutely love the place but whenever you think about moving 6000 miles away, lots of questions come up.
We will certainly question real estate agents but I am unsure about how reliable they are as a general rule. In my experience they often have an agenda (make the sale) and limited time (not much commission on a rental).
Any info or observations on the locales described in this thread would be appreciated.
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