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The Best and Worst of Living in Hawaii

Living in Hawaii for most mainlanders is kind of like living in a different country. In some ways it’s wonderful, and in other ways it’s terrible. Owning a home in Hawaii is like a dream for many, but like any other place on earth, Hawaii isn’t perfect. We call it paradise, but that’s really more about the land, ocean, and the beauty of nature in our tropical climate.

Here are the Best Things about Living in Hawaii

The ocean is everywhere, and we get in it a lot. Scuba, snorkel, surf, spearfish, water ski, you name it, we do it. And the water is about 75 degrees all year long. The best beaches are on the north shore at Sunset beach and Waimea, but those beaches have giant waves in the winter, so when the surf is big and you just want to go to a beach without waves, go to Kailua or Lanikai. The white sand is beautiful.

The surf. Most of Hawaii’s surf is on the north shore, but the south side has Ala Moana, Kewalo’s, and a bunch of spots I won’t mention, because we like to keep the crowds down. Oahu has the best surf in the world at Pipeline and Waimea bay.

The mountains in Windward Oahu are beautiful and fun to hike. The Koolau Mountain Range is truly beautiful and has been featured in many movies and print ads. From Kailua, you get an amazing view of the Koolaus just about all the time. There are other areas to hike, but Kailua is the best.

The Aloha. Hard to describe, but it’s the lifestyle, the friendliness, the kindness that Hawaii residents show to each other (usually.)

The pace. Life in Hawaii is slower than the mainland, though Oahu has a faster pace than neighboring islands, and downtown Honolulu has about the same energy as any other big city.

Hawaii is warm. All winter it’s about 70-80 degrees, and mostly sunny. I never need a jacket, and you can be outside almost every single day.

It’s a tropical paradise, but it’s still America, so you have most of the creature comforts.

Now, the worst things about living in Hawaii:

The pace of life in Hawaii is slower. Sometimes it’s a little too slow and it gets to mainlanders. However, the pace in downtown Honolulu is a lot faster than in areas like Haleiwa or Kailua. You’ll find that you can have whatever pace you like, depending on where you choose to buy real estate on Oahu. That’s why it’s important to have someone with local knowledge to help you choose the right neighborhood for you.

The beaurocracy. The government seems to have a very slow hand in a lot things. For instance, there is only one place on the island you can get a driver’s license transferred from out of state, and the line is usually 3 hours long. If you’re building a new house or adding on, you might have to drive all over Oahu to get your building permits.

Oahu is kind of small. Some people start to get rock fever after a couple years. If you get off the island a couple times a year, that helps a lot, but if you sit in Kailua and never even drive over to town, you could go crazy. I recommend driving around the entire island every now and then, because it will show you how big it really is. Oahu is a lot bigger than most towns located on the mainland.

Sometimes it’s hard to get things because Oahu is an island. Shipping things here from the mainland costs more money than you may be used to paying. Fortunately we have Costco, Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, Circuit City, Best Buy, and just about every big mainland chain store you can think of.

We have more mold, rust, mildew, oxidation, dry rot, termites, and cockroaches. We have more of these things, because the wind is always blowing the salty sea air into your house, and bugs love tropical climates. One thing though that you’ll hardly ever see here is mosquitoes. We have surprisingly few of them.

Rain. Sometimes it will start raining for a few minutes on a very sunny day, while other times there are sunny breaks between downpours. There is less rain in Kapolei and Ewa beach, and more rain in Kailua and Kaneohe. The most rain on the island is right in Manoa valley.

I’m sure I could keep going, but you get the idea. It’s wonderful in some ways, and difficult in others. The things you deal with to live in paradise are fine for most, but too much for others. My bike is rusted, but hey, I live in Hawaii!

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