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Hawaii Kai encompasses a large area of Oahu and sits in the southeast corner of the island and is bordered by Kuliouou Beach Park (west), Koolau mountains (north), Maunalua Bay (south) and Koko Crater(east). It surrounds the west side of the Koko Crater, a tuff cone that forms the eastern edge of Maunalua Bay. Because of its proximity to the water, it is considered one of Hawaii’s premiere marina communities.
Developed in the 1960s, Hawaii Kai covers about 6,000 acres with a population of Hawaii Kai is about 30,000 within about 10,000 households. Along with homes, the area is filled with shopping, restaurants, and a large marina taking about up about 500 acres.
Anyone living in Hawaii Kai can attest to the fact that this part of Oahu is a boater’s paradise. In terms of activities and things to do, much of it is centered around the water whether it’s boating or another watersport. After all, this is Hawaii and this community is situated on the water.
When driving through Hawaii Kai, it is easy to see how much of the layout is set up so that residents are able to get on the water even though they may not live directly on it. Within the center of Hawaii Kai are canals with boat ramps scattered about to provide easy access. There is a bridge under which watercraft must go to get out into Maunalua Bay that has a 13-foot clearance. Additionally, for the residents, there are strict codes regarding the use of the accesses as well as the marina to prevent overcrowding within the neighborhoods.
The conditions on the area waters are usually perfect for most any watersport. Because of the waterways throughout the area, boating is the most obvious activity along with jet skiing. As for other sports, the waters are ideal for most anything. Calm waters that are perfect for paddle boarding and kayaking are typically found close to the Maunalua Bay Beach Park; snorkeling and diving are ideal by Hanauma Bay; and, the other big Hawaii sport, surfing, takes place by Sandy Beach.
The Hawaii Kai Boat Club, a private club and marina, is a popular place for residents. There are tons of activities centered on the water including kids’ sailing camps and instruction. It is a great place for beginners who want to learn how to sail or even windsurf.
Since Koko Crater has not erupted in over 30,000 years, it is safe to say that the trails, parks, and Botanical Garden developed within it are a great place to go. People from all over the world and just around the corner love spending time walking along the Koko Crater Trail or tackling the Koko Head Trail to the top. At the Botanical Garden, there is a two-mile loop that meanders through the basin of the crater and features some of the most beautiful, tropical flowers, trees and more. It is a very serene place to go which is why it is so popular with the locals.
In Hawaii Kai, it is easy to keep all of the shopping local. Koko Marina Center is situated at the mouth of Maunalua Bay and is somewhat the hub of everything to do in Hawaii Kai. In addition to being able having access to most any watersport equipment, there are shops, restaurants and even a movie theatre there making the center appeal to everyone – water rats and land lovers alike.
While in the vicinity of Koko Marina lies the Kona Brewing Company – think Longboard Island Lager and Castaway IPA. What goes better than living in an island paradise like Hawaii Kai than a nice cold beer brewed practically in the backyard.
And what would any area be like without a Costco? In Hawaii Kai, Costco is located directly across Kuapa Pond from Koko Marina and next to Hawaii Kai Town Center – home of Safeway and a slew of other retailers, restaurants and businesses.
There are neighborhoods within the Hawaii Kai neighborhood. Each has its own special character that appeals to different buyers and, yes, the list prices in each neighborhood depend on the view and the neighborhood’s proximity to the ocean.
With Hawaii Kai encircling waterways, it offers a unique attribute that most other neighborhoods do not. This is a community where people can either go from one place to another by boat or car. It is very common for residents to go to Safeway by boat just because it is easier.
This perk and the others that come with living in Hawaii Kai come at a price – the price of Hawaii Kai real estate that is. Hawaii Kai offers some of the best real estate in all of Oahu simply because of its location. Homes either sit at a vantage point of having water views – large and small views – or overlooking Koko Head, or both.
Depending on the neighborhood, Hawaii Kai real estate features list prices starting in the upper-$500s to low-$600s for condominium properties in Mariners Valley or Kalele Kai and the low to mid-$800s for single family homes in the Koko Head Terrace and Kalama Valley. On the other end of the spectrum, list prices can go as high as $15 million for oceanfront homes found on Portlock Road. For the most part, list prices range between the $1 and $3-million-dollar mark in neighborhoods like Triangle, Kamehame Ridge communities and Napali Haweo.
When considering a relocation to Hawaii Kai, the main consideration is about the marina. Residents living here choose this part of Oahu because it revolves around the water much more so than many of the other areas.
Kids grow up here with a different kind of attitude about everything. They have simpler needs and when not in school, they want to be outside either on a boat or other water equipment doing what they love.
The schools in Hawaii Kai are excellent. Public schools have some of the highest ratings and the private schools are second to none. Depending on what part of Hawaii Kai residents live, their children have several elementary schools from which to choose including Haha'ione Elementary, one of the most highly rated schools in the area as well as one middle and high school.
For those living in Hawaii Kai, suffice it to say, they live in paradise. It may be a little difficult to go to and from work in Honolulu or Waikiki, but the atmosphere and experience of living here makes it 100 percent worth it calling Hawaii Kai home.
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