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Big Island The Island of Hawaii
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:23 PM
38 posts, read 107,600 times
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For those considering relocating, What is Kailua Kona like?
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:08 PM
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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Why are you considering relocating to a place that you've (apparently) never been to?

Kailua Kona is basically a small town. It does have Costco, WalMart, Target, if those are the kinds of things you are concerned about. It's got a variety of housing spread out over a fairly large area. Resorts with white beaches are located to the north about 20 to 40 miles. Lots of touristy places along the waterfront. I don't know what else...........what specific questions to you have?
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Old 11-20-2010, 11:09 PM
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Thumbs up My take...

Kailua Kona is quaint. 'Main Drag' runs right along the water front w/a very scenic seawall near a 'harbor port'. Lots of activity both tourist and local.
Many community events are held on this stretch of road. The first church ever built in Hawaii (I think) is located here, across from a Palace. Please forgive me for not using the actual names but I totally butcher the spellings.
There is also a large open-air Farmers market that is really nice. I believe it is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Many nice restaurants and local eateries as well as terrific art galleries and the usual 'touristy' traps, not many though.
Several large and very nice resorts on either end of the stretch. Some beaches good for swimming, a few notorious for dangerous situations, though.
'Up the hill' and way out of sight is the Walmart which is serviced regularly by a shuttle from the harbor. There is a Safeway, a Lowes and of course...a Starbucks...it is warm and still...no traffice to really speak of. Lots of aloha in that little town. It's really charming.
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:07 AM
Location: Hawaii-Puna District
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Cons: Hot, occasional Vog issues, lots of tourists, bad traffic, tough parking unless at the big box stores, higher rental and overall housing prices.
Pro: More shopping options, better beaches in the area, better restaurant options, higher quality housing.
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:35 AM
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Wink More pros than cons...

Mahalo md3andboys for your positive approach to life on the BI, we can always count on you to encourage growth and prosperity for the communities. Yes, there are VOG issues, that is no secret and yes, it does get warm, but it's the tropics...what ya gonna do but put on a pair of shorts and slippahs and head out to the water, yeah? Kailua Kona is lovely and has many options for enjoyment. I'm sure if you consider 7 cars at a traffic light...heavy traffic...then I suppose so.
I'm sure the OP will have no trouble enjoying life on the BI.
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Old 11-21-2010, 03:29 PM
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
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It's hard to complain about much here (local gov't aside). Beautiful climate, small town atmosphere, friendly people, low crime (most is related to domestic violence or drugs, car theft seems to be somewhat popular right now) some nice places to eat, neighbors that help out. We love it. It is expensive so to have a life that isn't stressed out by trying to make even frugal ends meet, bear that in mind.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:26 PM
Location: Waikoloa, HI
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I lived in Kona the past 2 years and never experienced "bad traffic" or "trouble parking." The only time I experienced bad traffic was when there was a wreck on the lower road and we had to turn around and take the upper road in.

Also, as for the heat, that is only if you live in lower Kona. We lived in Palisades and it often was quite chilly up there. I actually had to buy a sweatshirt and socks after moving up there to help keep warm. But it was quite refreshing after spending all day at beach to head home where it much cooler. You could feel the temperature dropping as you headed up the hill home.

The housing prices are much higher in Kona though than we were willing to pay, so we moved to Pahoa. For less than we paid for an ohana in Kona, we now have our own house and a huge private yard.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:55 AM
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Well, on the plus side, rent is pretty affordable, unless you have pets, in which case be prepared to pay out the wazoo. And utilities can be reasonable depending on the way your house is situated. Screen windows and high elevation are your friends - but beware, too high and you'll get mold.

From my experience, Kona is hands-down the eyesore of the Big Island. It was very hard for me to live there - I spent a lot of timing driving up and down the main ugly highway strip to work, or to the big box stores, when I had rarely driven or shopped at a Costco prior to arriving. When the monotony got to me, I would take upper Mamalahoa Highway home, just to get a taste of the scenery that had attracted me to the island in the first place.

Yes, jobs are scarce, but if you show a lot of gumption and convince prospective employers that you're in for the long haul, there are some to be had. You will have to fight the "locals only" prejudice of some employers, more than anywhere I've ever lived, but it can be done.

The sun is often hidden behind the vog, which seems to settle on the side of Hualalai and clear out about twenty or so miles north of the airport, where there is less development/congestion and the beaches are more idyllic. The heat can be oddly oppressive, probably due to the effects of vog and humidity, since I never experienced temperatures much higher than the mid-eighties.

There is little in the way of public transportation, bikeability, medical services, furniture stores and clothes shopping, just for starters. And forget ordering online - many stores do not ship to Hawaii, so people travel to Honolulu for their shopping. If you're not wealthy or prepared to change your lifestyle, you'll be in for a shock. It's rural, and you can't just drive an hour to the big city.

As if I needed reminding how rural Kona is, I saw a surprising number of pickup trucks and pit bulls - felt more southern than exotic sometimes. I'm a hiker, and there were "no trespassing" signs everywhere.

A lot of transplants hated Kona, and I couldn't understand why until i became one of them. I had done A LOT of research and thought I was prepared for small-town life. I never got rock fever, I got a job right away, I got a decent apartment... I just didn't belong there, and that's soemthing I wasn't prepared for. And it's a huge risk when you move yourself and your pets (don't get me started on that) to the middle of the Pacific. I still love the island... just not to live there. I actually recommend Hilo over Kona, though I think the rain would get to me. But it's pretty, and authentic, and though it's smaller it just seems more real. Kona is pretty repulsive to me now, but so many people there talk constantly of "paradise" and "living the dream"... but to me, it was hicksville. And there's an element of recklessness in the air - beer, weed, meth, tourists, vespas, choppy waters, and dark country roads - something about that combination makes for a lot of nasty accidents.

That being said, it's like nowhere else, and the Hawaiian people are generally nice and laid back. It's like another country in some ways, and for that reason it's unseemly to criticize their way of life. But you asked for opinions. I hope I haven't offended anybody. And when you get out of Kona, it's just the most phenomenal landscape anywhere.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:23 AM
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Kona is a good transition town from mainland to the Islands. "Traffic" is relative; most traffic here does not compare to the mainland traffic snarls of most cities. It's small enough to feel like you know a lot of people and large enough where you don't feel totally isolated.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:38 AM
Location: Kailua, Oahu, HI and San Diego, CA
1,178 posts, read 5,791,734 times
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Originally Posted by mypost View Post
For those considering relocating, What is Kailua Kona like?
From the "Sticky" thread "City by City" at the top of the list:

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