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You may be planning on moving to Hawaii and you’ve decided that Oahu, “the Gathering Place”, is your Island destination.  You’ve seen all the pictures.  Beautiful beaches, lots to do, hiking, surfing, snorkeling, blue water, tropical forest, awesome restaurants, Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Waikiki…the list goes on.  And it’s true…Oahu has all of that.

Then something happens.  You get to Oahu and you realize that there’s already waay too many people on the Island.  There’s a city, too.  And that means traffic.  Only not normal traffic with plenty of road and detours.  There is one major highway that runs west to east, a couple of other major roads…and that’s it.  There’s too many people.  Too much traffic.  Too much.  There’s too much tourism.  There is too many tour guides, vacation companies, hotels, resorts, etc.

That’s the harsh reality of Oahu.  The “paradox of paradise”, as I’ve heard it related to before.

That’s why you may actually want to move to Hawaii…the BIG ISLAND…that is Hawaii.  Not Oahu.

Revelation:  It is my honest opinion that many people decide to move to Hawaii, land on Oahu, love it, get sick of all the people, and then want to move away.  They usually move back to the mainland while some actually discover the jewels of peace that are the other Hawaiian Islands.  Seriously…I think many people move to Oahu and are highly disappointed within a year–maybe 18 months…2 years at the most.

Is the Big Island a Better Place to Live than Oahu?kaloko-honokohau-south-entrance-aiiopio-beach_edited-1  

It matters who you are and what you’re looking for.  There are lots of reasons to prefer Oahu over the other Islands and most of those pros are the opposite of the cons that I listed above:

  • More people means a better social scene.
  • A city means more jobs and industry.  That means more jobs.
  • More people, more jobs, more industry, more businesses…usually means more culture.  More of a variety of activities.   (i.e., you’d be hard pressed to find theatre, opera or sporting events on the other islands)

But, seriously, if you’re looking for the same type of Hawaii that I am then you’re best bet may be one of the other Islands, particularly the Big Island.

Pros of Moving to/Living on the Big Island:

  • Same weather…with minor variances.
  • There’s a cool volcano.
  • You still get beaches, tours, dolphins, turtles, and the like..but on the Big Island there are less kilauea-volcano-in-hawaii-2people, less crowds, less traffic, less aggravation.
  • The worlds tallest mountain from base to summit…for realz!
  • Two major residential and industry areas: Hilo and Kona.
  • No crazy traffic.  Awesome!

Cons to Living on the Big Island:

  • Same high cost of living…and higher.  Gas ran me about 20 cents more per gallon on the Big Island a week ago.
  • There’s a frikkin’ volcano.
  • Less people.
  • No sign of a city.
  • A lot less opportunity to find a job you’re looking for.
  • Two major residential and industry areas: Hilo and Kona.

There’s some valid reasons why people don’t live on the Big Island.  Honestly, besides the highest energy costs in the nation, the other reasons why not are the precise reasons that I am leaning towards wanting to move there.

Looking forward to hearing from people who currently live on the Big Island or who are thinking about moving to Hawaii. Please comment below.


  1. I will be moving to hilo this month and im so excited. I am sorta on the run from my stressful life on the mainland and want to be in a place that is filled with peace. I plan on getting my own little tiny house in the future when i have enough money to buy land. I enjoyed visiting hilo in the past because it was so calming and less busy compared to Honolulu.
    I plan on finishing my degree and working. I just wish I could find a single apartment studio cause i could only find roommate apartments in hilo. Thanks for you post!

  2. Seriously considering moving our family of four. Any way Ken could shoot us a message to ask a couple of questions?

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