Don’t Move To The Big Island of Hawaii
So you are thinking about moving to the Big Island of Hawaii, we are going to talk about some of the negatives and positives about the island of Hawaii.
Well to begin with the, island of Hawaii is not all rainbows and unicorns. Its not sitting on the beach all day long and sucking up a Mai Tai under a palm tree. Yes, it is like any other city, it has its pros and cons, but the island has some unique things that you must be aware of before you make the jump across the pacific ocean
So let’s talk about the weather.
Weather, what can be wrong with the weather in Hawaii you ask. It is warm all the time, we have 8 of 13 ecosystem zones on the island and you can always find something different to explore. Well to some people that can be a negative.
Moving here like most people you might be coming from an area that experience the 4 seasons, Winter, spring, summer and fall. You may even be coming from a colder climate that has snow in the fall and winter along with the color changes of the leaves.
Well, that is not the case here on the island of Hawaii. It stays between 75 and 85 degrees all the time. our leaves never change colors and you start to forget about the change of seasons because it is green here 365 days of the year. Even though we are in the middle of the pacific ocean on an island, we do have snow at times on top of Mauna Kea where the Observatory is located
When you move here, You can eliminate a large portion of your wardrobe and empty your closets before you hop on the plane because you do not need coats and sweaters, your daily wardrobe will probably be shorts and flip flops
One item that gets discussed here in Kona is VOG. Vog what is that. Vog refers to the hazy air caused by Kilauea our volcano which is mixture of water vapor, carbon and sulfur dioxide. We get Vog periodically and it is probably somewhat similar to Smog.
The next thing you need to be aware of is our Moisture.
Yes we live on an island in the middle of the pacific ocean and get a sizable amount of rain throughout the coastal portions of the island. Hilo is the rainiest city in the United states averaging over 142 inches of rain annually, whereas Kona only gets about 27 inches of rain and Waikoloa area only gets about 9 inches of rain annually.
With moisture comes the possibility of mold and mildew along with rust from all the salt air. Yes there are ways to combat the moisture by keeping good air flow, making sure you have great ventilation and ensuring you seal all exposed areas along with wood from the elements. Moving here from Arizona was a bit of a change at first, but I enjoy the mild humidity on the Kona side of the island along with the weather.
Who doesn’t like blue skies and sun shine year round.
I think you will find more mildew issues on the Hilo side of the island because it is so rainy
Another unique thing to the island of Hawaii is a large number of homes do not have municipal water on their property.
What NO Water. Well with the amount of rainfall that the island receives annually there is a sizable number of properties that only use catchment water sources for their daily use. Catchment what is that you ask.
Catchment systems capture the rain water into a large holding tank that then it is piped into your home just like any other water source. It is pretty common in the southern portions of the island on both sides. Some people feel the catchment rain water is better for their skin and hair since there are not chemicals added to the water like could be with municipal water sources.
Depending upon the weather and the amount of water you use, some of my clients have had to purchase water while on catchment because of lower amounts of rain on occasion, and that is not unusual and the cost is not that expensive. You just need to be mindful of this if you are on catchment
People who are catchment tend to be located away from the municipal areas of Kona, Hilo, Waimea and Waikoloa. So if you are looking at these locations, you more than likely will be on municipal water versus catchment
Yes we live in a tropical climate and we have our fair share of bugs. Ants, flies, mosquitos, roaches, 2 kinds of termites and centipedes. Since we have no change of seasons, our bugs flourish all year long and don’t die in the fall or winter.
The good news we have no natural predators here like snakes, bears, mountain lions or crocodiles here unless you go to a zoo. So you don’t have to fear hiking just about any place, but you might run into our feral pigs in the forest
Sewers, not all properties are connected to a sewer system.
So what do you have on the island of Hawaii to dispose of the poop. Well the most common source throughout the island are Cesspools. What’s a Cesspool
A Cesspool is basically a big hole in the ground that all your toilets and sinks feed into. Our volcanic soils is such that the waste gets filtered out and never enters the ocean. When I first got here I was nervous about this waste disposal system, but it works well with no issues. The county of Hawaii will be requiring property owners who are on cesspool systems covert them to septic systems by the year 2050. So when you hear about properties being on cesspools versus city sewer, don’t freak out it is an Hawaii thing
Hawaii is closer to the Equator and it has a higher UV index than many other states. Our island community is exposed to higher than average levels of UV radiation that increases our risk of sunburn and skin damage. That means we need to take sun safety serious. When I lived in Arizona I was used to the sun every day and knew about UV protection, but since moving here I definitely make sure I use enough sun screen especially making sure I use reef safe sun screen to protect our ocean environment.
Transportation is another item that you need to be aware of when moving to the island of Hawaii.
First off, we have NO freeways to navigate. We have a 2 lane road that runs around the entire island and even though we have a public bus service on the island it is not like what you would experience on the mainland in larger cities.
With that being said, a car in a necessity because you need to drive to just about everywhere, unless you are living in Kona town or Hilo proper, a car, truck, motor scooter is a must. If you like to put the pedal to metal, this is not going to be a place for you. Everyone one drives at a slower pace and are on island time and not in a hurry. It is not uncommon to see bumper stickers saying slow down this ain’t the mainland.
Natural disasters are next on my list of cons.
Lava, tsunami, hurricanes and earthquakes are all issues that can impact life on the island of Hawaii We live on a island with 2 active volcano’s that have caused some serious destruction over time. We have 9 lava zones on the island and zones 3 through 9 are the least concerning. With zones 1 and 2 being the riskiest to live in. When searching for a home make sure you are aware of which lava zone the property is located since you can not get a mortgage for lava zone 1 and lava zone 2 can be a challenge for some lenders with mortgage and home owners insurance To learn a little more about this item check out my video on Lava zones.
Being in the middle of the pacific ocean we get tsunami and hurricane warnings all the time. Since moving here I have not experienced those disasters, but was here for the Volcano disaster in 2018 where Kilauea destroyed over 700 homes in lava zone 1.
With regards to earthquakes, we have them frequently but have not felt or experienced a large quake. Mostly just small tremors from time to time.
With all that being said, this is a tropical paradise and you just need to be mindful of our island life and respect the island.
If you desire an urban lifestyle, filled with a cornucopia of restaurants, shopping and night life, the island of Hawaii is not going to be a place for you.
While on the mainland, I lived in San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and Scottsdale and enjoyed the abundance of choices I experienced in all those cities when it came to restaurants, shops and entertainment.
When I moved here I knew that the island of Hawaii was going to slow me down, allow me to enjoy the other things in life like, hiking, gardening, swimming, snorkeling, boating, pickleball, and the serenity of living in paradise. Since moving here, I have not missed the mainland or lifestyle that I once enjoyed. I appreciate the ocean breezes, the warm tropical environment, no traffic to speak of, no road raged drivers, no lines, no stress, living the Aloha spirit.
Yes, people in Hawaii have the highest age expectancy in the United States and I can tell you moving here was the best thing for me and I love the island of Hawaii.
Hoped you like the information I shared and some of the negatives of moving to the island of Hawaii as well as the positives. There are probably more that could be said, but feel these cover items you need to be aware of at least moving the move across the pacific.
Let me know if you have any questions. Call or text me at 808-300-9393 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Stephen Proski