Even seasoned travelers to the Hawaiian Islands may have difficulty when considering which island is best for their lifestyle when moving to Hawaii. In this last of my blog post series looking at the unique qualities of each of the Hawaiian Islands, we will be exploring the island of Hawaii, also appropriately called “The Big Island”.
Hawai’i – The Big Island
When I first moved to Hawaii and people asked me, “What island do you live on?”, I always answered, “Hawaii”. Which, of course, prompted the inevitable response, “No, what island in Hawaii do you live on?!” Due to this confusion between the name of the State and island/county, I now respond “The Big Island”. How “big” is the Big Island? Well, with an area of 4,000+ square miles, it is larger than all of the other Hawaiian Island combined and is the largest island in the United States. At 93 miles across, the Big Island also comprises 62% of the State’s total land area.
The Big Island itself is formed from 5 separate volcanoes, with Kilauea being the only active and erupting volcano today. The north and south ends of the island are anchored by the dormant Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes. In fact, Mauna Kea is considered the world’s tallest mountain when measured from the base of the sea floor – yes, even taller than Mount Everest! The two largest population centers, located mid-coast on both the leeward and windward sides of the island, are Hilo to the east, and Kona to the west. The rural paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) town of Waimea is located at the base of the Kohala Mountain Range to the north, with several small towns and villages dotting the southeast and southwestern portions of the island between Hilo and Kona.
Historically, the Big Island was home to Kamehameha I the Great, as well as their ancestral homes and the Hulihe’e Palace in downtown Kailua-Kona. Hilo, while being the seat of Hawaii County’s government and largest in population, has been devastated several times by large tsunamis in the past. Captain James Cook who is widely credited with the discovery of the “Sandwich Isles”, was actually killed during an unfortunate incident in Kealakekua Bay just south of Kailua-Kona. The island is also home to an incredible array of ancient Hawaiian heiau (temples) complexes, settlements, and physical artifacts that display the advanced culture that existed in the Hawaiian Islands prior to their discovery by Europeans.
The Big Island of Hawaii is too large and vast to attempt to describe in one blog post. I chose to live in Kona for the climate, sunsets, world class fishing, coffee, white sand beaches, and sense of community. Wherever it is that you decide to move to in Hawaii, remember that this land and sea that so many of us love is in itself the journey, and not just a destination.
This post comes from Todd Barrett, whose lifelong dream of living in Hawaii became a reality when he moved to Kona in 2000. As a Top Producing Real Estate Agent, Todd focuses on residential homes, resort properties, and permanent relocation to Hawaii. An avid saltwater fisherman and trolling lure maker, fishing for pelagic species of fish is his other full time passion. He takes the same attitude with fishing as he does with his real estate business; anything worth doing, is worth doing right! Please feel free to call or write Todd W Barrett, RS, ABR for a no obligation “talk story” about the current Big Island real estate market.
Do you have any questions about Hawaii? Is there something we forgot? Let us know in the comments below.