What is the Real Cost of Living in Kailua-Kona?

What is the Real Cost of Living in Kailua-Kona?

If you've ever considered relocating to Kailua-Kona, the vibrant heart of Hawai’i's Big Island, you've probably imagined days filled with stunning ocean views, sunny beaches, and unique culture. However, as idyllic as it sounds, living in paradise comes at a price. Understanding the real cost of living in Kailua-Kona is essential to ensuring your relocation goes smoothly. From housing to groceries, here's what you need to know.

Housing Costs and Value

Housing is often the largest expense for anyone relocating, and Kailua-Kona is no exception. However, it’s important to remember that the value is in more than just the property itself.

  • Variety of Options: From condos with ocean views to cozy single-family homes or expansive luxury estates, Kailua-Kona offers housing options to suit different preferences and lifestyles.
  • Proximity to Amenities: Homes close to beaches, shopping centers, or cultural hubs often come with a higher price tag. However, many people find the convenience and lifestyle benefits worth the investment.
  • Outdoor Spaces: Whether you choose a home with a lush backyard or a balcony overlooking the sea, outdoor living spaces are an integral part of the lifestyle here and add considerable value.
Ultimately, the value you gain from living in such a picturesque environment and accessing unparalleled amenities can offset the initial cost.

Utilities and Services

The unique climate and location of Kailua-Kona mean that utilities and services are tailored to the region.

  • Electricity: While energy costs may be higher compared to mainland rates, the pleasant climate allows for natural cooling from ocean breezes, which can reduce reliance on air conditioning.
  • Water and Waste Management: Access to clean water and efficient waste management is essential, and service costs vary depending on the location and property type.
  • Internet and Cable: Reliable high-speed internet and cable services are available throughout Kailua-Kona, making it easy to stay connected for work or entertainment.
With sustainable living practices and smart usage, managing utilities can be both efficient and cost-effective.

Groceries and Dining

Living on an island impacts the availability and pricing of food, but it also provides exciting local flavors.

  • Local Produce: Farmers' markets are a staple in Kailua-Kona, offering fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood directly from local producers. Shopping locally can be more cost-effective and supports the community.
  • Imported Goods: While imported items like dairy or specialty products may have a higher price tag, strategic meal planning can help balance these costs.
  • Dining Out: The vibrant restaurant scene ranges from casual beachside eateries to upscale dining. Exploring local favorites can offer diverse culinary experiences at different price points.
Taking advantage of local produce and seafood allows residents to enjoy a healthy and delicious diet.


Living on an island has distinct transportation considerations, and understanding them can help streamline your experience.

  • Car Ownership: Owning a car is often necessary for getting around, particularly for errands or exploring the island. Gasoline prices may be higher than on the mainland, but distances tend to be shorter.
  • Public Transportation: The Hele-On Bus provides public transportation with routes connecting key locations, offering an affordable alternative for commuting.
  • Biking and Walking: Many areas in Kailua-Kona are conducive to biking or walking, particularly along the scenic coastline, where exercise blends seamlessly into daily routines.
Smart planning and exploration make getting around efficient and enjoyable.

Health and Wellness

Kailua-Kona is ideal for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, with considerations that come into play.

  • Fitness and Recreation: With beaches, hiking trails, and fitness centers, staying active is an enjoyable part of daily life. Memberships to fitness clubs or classes are available at a range of prices.
  • Medical Services: The region is served by healthcare facilities and specialist services that provide excellent care. Health insurance costs may vary, but comprehensive plans can ensure proper coverage.
  • Alternative Therapies: The focus on holistic health means many alternative therapies like massage, acupuncture, and herbal remedies are readily available.
Investing in health and wellness is a key part of the active lifestyle on the island.

Insurance and Taxes

The tropical location and the state’s tax structure have unique implications for residents.

  • Home Insurance: Due to the potential for natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, home insurance can include specialized coverage. Working with a knowledgeable provider ensures you have the right protection.
  • Vehicle Insurance: Insuring your vehicle is straightforward and comparable to mainland rates.
  • State Taxes: Hawaii’s state tax rates and deductions may differ from those of other states. Consulting a tax professional can help you plan for the unique aspects of the tax structure.
Proactively addressing these needs provides peace of mind in your daily life.

Entertainment and Activities

Life in Kailua-Kona provides unique opportunities for fun and adventure that go beyond traditional entertainment.

  • Outdoor Activities: With world-class beaches, golf courses, hiking trails, and water sports opportunities, much of the entertainment is free or low-cost.
  • Local Events: Festivals, cultural events, and farmers' markets offer rich experiences that celebrate the island's heritage and community spirit.
  • Day Trips: Exploring nearby attractions like Volcanoes National Park, waterfalls, or charming towns makes for unforgettable day trips.
Prioritizing outdoor adventures makes the most of the island's natural beauty.

Community Connection

Perhaps one of the greatest values of living in Kailua-Kona is the deep sense of community.

  • Aloha Spirit: The welcoming and friendly spirit of the community makes new residents feel at home quickly.
  • Volunteer Opportunities: Many local organizations offer ways to get involved, from environmental conservation to cultural education.
  • Cultural Integration: Participating in local traditions and cultural practices provides a deeper connection with the community and island life.
The connections and friendships made in this environment are truly priceless.

Plan Your Budget Carefully

Living in Kailua-Kona may require a larger budget than some areas of the U.S., but the quality of life can be well worth it. A well-thought-out financial plan that accounts for housing, utilities, transportation, and leisure expenses will help ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

If you’re considering moving to Kailua-Kona, reach out to Mike Despard for expert advice on finding your dream home and navigating the local real estate market. With his assistance, you'll be better equipped to manage the cost of living and start your new adventure in paradise.

Work With Me

With over twenty-three years of experience in the world of real estate, design and construction, I am ready to help you buy or sell your slice of paradise on the beautiful, big island of Hawaii.