Districts and Communities on the Big Island
Hawaii island population 171,191 according to 2006 estimate)
- North Kohala - Rural in nature, in this part of the Big Island sprawling ranches and upscale developments co-exist with small farms and plantation-style homes. Charming Hawi and harbor town Kawaihae both have good shopping and restaurants, with many small art galleries and shops. Schools are located in Hawi.
- South Kohala - is home to many of the large resorts on the Island. Dry and sunny, it is also a choice location for golf, retirement and corporate condominiums, and vacation retreats. Waikoloa Village and Waimea are the major communities here, with shopping and restaurants. Waimea has both public and private schools, and a good hospital (North Hawaii Community). Famous white sand beaches are found on this coastline.
- North Kona - is the most populated district in West Hawaii. Kailua-Kona stretches south to Keauhou with properties available of every description: vacation condominiums and retirement homes are available, as well as "Hawaiian/local-style" dwellings with no A/C, etc. Jobs, schools, restaurants, shopping and a variety of entertainment are within a short drive. Holualoa, a beautiful little artists' colony in the "Kona Coffee Belt", overlooks Kailua Bay at the cool elevation of 1200 ft.
- South Kona - Lush and beautiful, South Kona has managed to retain its rural feel, despite its increase in population. Independent coffee, macnut and flower farms are found here, interspersed with small communities. The largest of these are Kealakekua and Captain Cook. Schools and shopping are found in these communities. There is a hospital here, too (Kona Hospital).
- Hamakua - Clean, green and refreshing, the Hamakua Coast receives cooling trade winds and ample rainfall to sustain agriculture in abundance. Small farms and homes on large lush lots are available. Honoka'a is the largest community in this district, with shopping and schools. It is the gateway to the incredible Waipio Valley.
- North Hilo and South Hilo - This is the "wet side" of the Island with jungles and waterfalls (Rainbow and Akaka Falls to name the two best known), and the amazing Hawaii Botanical Gardens. Farming and flowers are a large part of the economy. Hilo is the largest community on the Island, and has the largest deep water port. Homes and land are available in all price ranges. Schools, restaurants, shopping and entertainment make Hilo a great place to call home.
- Puna - has long been considered one of the best values in land in the state. It is still largely rural although it has more than doubled in population since the last census. Land and home prices are generally lower than in most of the state, but are rising as more commerce moves into the towns of Pahoa, Kea'au, and Kurtistown. Some commute to Hilo from these towns.
- Ka'u - is the largest and least populated district on the Island. Population is starting increase in this area, as real estate prices are relatively low. In the northeast corner of the District, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the adjacent small village of Volcano exist side by side at roughly 5,000 feet. Cool and lush, flowers and farming are part of the economy here. At the southwest corner, Discovery Harbor and the more arid Ocean View communities were created for people who are looking for affordable year round living. There is much less of a "touristy" feel in the Puna and Ka'u areas.