North Kona

Live on the Big Island Blog

Your Big Island Real Estate resource, by Annette Mejia

North Kohala vs. South Kohala: Where to Buy Your Big Island Home

They may be neighbors with similar names, but North and South Kohala present two very different versions of life on the Big Island—with contrasting vibes, climates, attractions, and real estate options to consider.  

In the midst of a search of Big Island homes and wondering which area is right for you? Here are a few key differences between North Kohala and South Kohala (a.k.a the Kohala Coast) to help you decide.

Climate and Geography

Both North and South Kohala are found on the west coast of the Big Island.

big island home

Photo credit: Andrew K. Smith on Flickr.

In North Kohala, the thumb of the Big Island, rolling green hills are misted with rain and bridged by vibrant rainbows. Lush forestland swells with water, including dozens of waterfalls and a manmade—and kayak-able!—irrigation ditch once used to carry water to North Kohala’s sugarcane fields.

Cattle and horses graze here, including at nearby Waimea’s sprawling, 225,000-acre Parker Ranch, creating a rural, pastoral vibe.

Meanwhile, on the Kohala Coast/South Kohala, a wet climate gives way to a dry one, with rugged red and black lava fields and some of the Big Island’s best beaches (and best beach resorts).

big island home

Photo credit: Brad Coy, Flickr.

Also called “The Gold Coast,” South Kohala can brag about places like Hapuna Beach State Park with its warm, foamy waves and soft sand—a perfect setting for waterbound activities like snorkeling, bodyboarding, and swimming.

Activities: Choose Your Own Adventure

Say it’s a gorgeous, leisurely Saturday morning. Pick your poison:

Teeing off on meticulously landscaped greens in view of the cobalt blue Pacific, followed by a hot stone massage?

Or, strolling the streets of a quaint Hawaiian village before taking a gorgeous backcountry drive to a picnic spot perched on a breathtaking overlook?

big island home

Photo credit: taylorandayumi on Flickr.

If option one strikes you, South Kohala might be the place for you. A year-round resort playground, South Kohala encourages you to live life on permanent vacation. World-class golf greens, glittering swimming pools, fine dining, flour-soft sand and swaying palms await you here.

If option two is more your speed, look to North Kohala for your search of Big Island homes.

Big island home

Photo credit: Trevor Williams, Flickr.

In North Kohala, the small village of Hawi charms with art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and the colorful remnants of its sugar plantation history. Enjoy a cup of 100% local Kona coffee as you stroll the streets.

Then, head east from Hawi and arrive at the Polulu Valley Overlook, a startlingly beautiful spot for a panoramic photo op and a cliff-side picnic.

Real Estate in North and South Kohala

Some of the best Big Island homes are found in North and South Kohala, including resort-style living in some of the Island’s most desirable communities.

Have more questions about the differences between North and South Kohala and the homes for sale in these distinctive and stunning areas?

Please feel free to contact me, Annette Mejia, a Big Island real estate expert who lives and breathes the Big Island. I’d be happy to help!

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