A Guide to Moving to Kona and Living in Big Island Gem

Have you ever thought about living on an island formed by volcanoes? And not just on any island. It’s one of the most beautiful because it belongs to the Big Island of Hawaii. That’s why moving to Kona might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And if you’re ready to enjoy the sun, beaches, snorkeling, or fishing all-year-round, this is a destination to be.

Known as The Aloha State and Paradise of the Pacific, Hawaii is the only state outside North America, the only island state located in the Pacific Ocean, and the only state in the tropics. The Big Island comprises two main living areas – Hilo and Kailua-Kona. How to live in another country and how to choose the right place? That depends on your preferences and needs. So, if you’re already tired of moving stress and moving overseas, Kailua-Kona, or just Kona by locals, might be the right choice for you. It is located on the dry side of the island. Its name means “leeward” – the side that’s sheltered from the winds. This lively tourism hub is packed with restaurants, bars, and commerce. But, don’t worry, the rest of the island consists of small villages and towns perfect for putting roots in your dreamland. So if you decided to turn a new leaf and start from scratch, we’d help you find out more information about Paradise of the Pacific and Kona before moving to Hawaii.

Is It Safe to Live on the Big Island of Hawaii?

Even though The Island of Hawaii consists of three active volcanoes (Mauna Loa, Hualalai, and Kilauea), you can start gathering your documents needed to travel abroad, thinking about relocation questions to ask employer, and researching some expat communities without worries. Residents say it’s very safe to live here. Still, volcanoes can erupt at any time, and residents are aware of potential hazards in case of a major eruption. However, you shouldn’t be scared of Hawaii’s volcanoes – the risk of injury is far lower compared to other natural disasters, like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and fires.

Things to Know About Volcanoes

Believe it or not, being near volcanoes brings several benefits to people of the Aloha State, such as:

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the state’s number one visitor attraction – actually, it helps the thriving tourism industry,
  • Volcanic soils are some of the most mineral-rich globally – this affects the agricultural industry positively.

Still, if learning a language abroad is something that resonates with you, and you’ve already figured out how to keep in touch with friends, moving abroad will be a challenging but inspiring adventure. Of course, you should be aware of the fact that volcanoes can change and turn your safe area into a risky one. Yet, this means living in paradise. It’s good to know that even eruptions occur, they probably won’t have a crucial impact on your current and future life.

You just can be distracted by the vog (volcanic smog), particularly if you have respiratory problems (asthma). Luckily, the predominant tradewinds blow the vog away from the islands, unless Kona winds happen (from the southeast) blowing towards the island. This place is actually located on Hawaii’s west side, where vog is less like, so you can rest assured that you won’t have these kinds of problems there.

How Much Money Should You Save Before Moving to Hawaii?

When it comes to moving internationally, there are several things to consider. When hiring an international moving company in order to relocate to Paradise of the Pacific, make sure you count in all related expenses. Here comes the list of the most important expenses when wondering how to live abroad. Since the cost of living in Hawaii is a factor that should be planned properly, our tips can help you prepare for the big day:

  • Housing expenses – if you decide to rent, you’ll have to provide for the first month’s rent, a security deposit, and management fees,
  • Utilities,
  • Renter’s/Homeowner’s insurance,
  • Relocation expenses – DIY move or professional assistance,
  • Whether you’re moving to another country for love or relocating with dogs, consider having enough to cover expenses for a couple of months as well as proper care for your dog or cat before settling down (rabies vaccination, OIE-FAVN blood test, microchip implantation, mandatory waiting period, documents and payment). It’s good to know that Hawaii is the only rabies-free state in the country.

Is Kona a Good Place to Live?

This is a large and sunny moku (district) on the West of the isle, famed for its coffee and the Ironman World Cup Triathlon. It is composed of North and South Kona District that are both specific in many natural beauties, endless shopping, dining, and entertainment options. This tourist haven boasts a slow pace of life and amazing white beaches. The open-air farmers market along the waterfront and a “holiday feel” all-year-round are the cherry on top.

Pros and Cons of Living in Kona, Hawaii

It’s not everything as great as it seems, even in this tropical paradise. There are some cons you should become familiar with before selling your house and relocating here. Knowing what to expect when stepping out of your comfort zone is a practical matter. So, we’ve narrowed down several shortcomings, such as:

  • The cost of living is high here,
  • This is one of the worst places to start your own business,
  • Public schools usually sit near the bottom of national rankings, so parents often choose pricey private education,
  • Pay is below national averages,
  • Traffic is a real nightmare,
  • It is not bike-friendly.

There are two sides of the same coin, so the same goes for this paradise haven. As we already mentioned, some of the significant pros when living in The Aloha State are weather and natural beauties. Still, there are plenty of them that should be added to your checklist, such as:

  • The unique Aloha Spirit represents an innate feeling (kindness and understanding),
  • A casual outfit is a common thing here,
  • Excellent food,
  • An easy-paced lifestyle makes you feel humbled and grounded,
  • Family is sacred here,
  • You can hike all-year-long,
  • Farmers’ markets are common throughout the year.

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Kona, Hawaii?

According to Salary.com, the cost of living here is 58.1% higher than the national average. Here are average monthly expenses you should put aside, based on data provided by Numbeo:

  • Rent per month – from $1,800 to $4,000 (depending on the size of the apartment and its location),
  • Utilities – $340,
  • Transportation (monthly pass) – $120,
  • Sports and leisure – $80,
  • Childcare – from $1,600 (preschool or kindergarten) to $18,000 (international primary school, per year).

Keep in mind that food price is going to be one of the highest expenses. Between 85 and 90 percent of the state’s food is imported, and another key factor is the price of electricity. The fact is that electricity is more expensive in The Aloha State than in any other state.

There’s a Big Gap Between Monthly Incomes and Expenses on the Island

Paradise of the Pacific is considered America’s happiest state. You’ll need about $122,000 to live comfortably here, but it might be unattainable with an average salary of $65,000. Luckily, there is some good news: an average property tax rate is 0.35%, one of the nation’s lowest rates. That being said, depending on the certain lifestyle you’re used to, you should be ready to make a few sacrifices when it comes to international moving. Furthermore, with practical ways to save, you’ll achieve the right lifestyle:

  • Shop at Costco; it offers the cheapest gas,
  • Electric vehicles are popular here, so incentives are provided for owners, such as free street parking and HOV Lane use,
  • By using solar panels, you can save big on electricity.

After Moving to Kona, Where to Live?

Despite its modern amenities, this is a rural area, with plenty of historical landmarks, coffee farms, and a calm sea. If you’re looking for a place to your liking, know that this region is separated into two districts – north and south. Depending on your preferences, you can choose the area – for those who prefer more fun and lots of activities, the North part is a place to be. On the other hand, if you enjoy nature and historical sites, the South area is a perfect district for you.

North Kona

The north part will be a hidden gem for people who like to spend their time in restaurants and historical walking tours. Kailua-Kona Town, a bustling village, is located here, as well as Mokuaikaua Church, Ahuena Heiau, and beautiful Hulihe’e Palace. Suppose you’re relocating with kids and looking for the best places to live abroad with family. In that case, you will be thrilled with the fact that North Kona is home to a national historical park, Kekaha Kai State Park, the notorious Billfish Tournament, and Ironman Triathlon, famous worldwide.

South Kona

This part is packed with coffee farms, national parks, and Captain Cook Monument – this is the spot where Captain James Cook first landed on the isle in 1778. Beaches and water are just perfect here due to Mauna Loa’s mountain that represents a natural shield from the winds. If you’re a snorkeling-lover who likes playing with dolphins and green sea turtles, this area will make your dreams come true.

Job Opportunities on the Island

When relocating here, the best option is to have secured employment. Still, if that’s not the case, you should take a look at some of the biggest industries to give you some ideas what might be the best choice for you:

  • Hospitality and tourism,
  • Foodservice,
  • Retail,
  • Healthcare and social assistance,
  • Educational services,
  • Construction.

Rely on Your Own Car Instead of Public Transportation

You’ve probably already heard that getting around The Big Island is challenging, whether you have your own car or using public transport. The reason for that is constant traffic jams throughout the week. Still, if you can choose between a car (rental will do the job too) or bus service, you should opt for a car because a bus often doesn’t make regular stops at some sites.

Education and Healthcare in Kona

When it comes to the educational system, parents can choose between public and private schools. Since public education doesn’t belong to the top-rated schooling in the nation, you can enroll your kids in several private institutions. According to statistics, nearly 20% of the Aloha State children attend one of the 130 private schools. There are four top private schools here, and they will provide better methodology and knowledge in many fields.

Of course, for better service, you need to be ready to pay higher. Homeschooling is another option for parents who can’t cope with increased costs but want to support their children in further education. Paradise of the Pacific is known for its shortage of doctors. Still, there are three urgent care centers in the Kailua-Kona region:

  • Urgent care of Kona,
  • Aloha Kona Urgent Care,
  • Keauhou Kona Urgent Care Center.

If your condition is severe or you’re going to have a procedure, you can go to Honolulu. It’s useful to know that most people use Kaiser, a healthcare coverage that pays for your flight to Honolulu both for you and your significant other.

Entertainment, Nature, and Things to Do

Known as paradise both for tourists and the Hawaiian population, you can rest assured that you won’t be bored here. We’ll help you find out how to steam some energy off after settling down:

  • Go fishing on Pahoehoe Beach,
  • Epic snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay is a must,
  • Surfing on Kahalu’u beach,
  • Visit Marine Life Conservation District,
  • Shopping in Konna Inn Shopping Village, Ali’i Gardens Marketplace, and Kona Coast Shopping Center,
  • Trying delicious specialties,
  • Learn about history by visiting national parks or ancient Hawaiian temples.

If You Want to Move – The Aloha State Is Waiting for You

Whether you’re moving overseas due to new job opportunities or looking for the cheapest places to live in Hawaii, finding a professional international moving company is one of the essential things which are to be done. Because everything starts with top-notch packing services, storage units, and overseas vehicle shipping, moving to Aloha State means beginning a new life in mesmerizing surroundings. For that reason, your international moving by sea needs to be a flawless task. After doing your research about your future home and becoming familiar with its all pros and cons, make sure to avoid scam movers and hire a reliable and trustworthy overseas moving company. It will help you achieve your goals and start your journey with an Aloha state of mind.