Hawaii Kai in East Oahu is one of the more sought after zip codes on the island. The appeal for living here with both locals and those moving to Hawaii is that they can be relatively near the ocean or marina. The area is not as crowded with people as compared to Waikiki, and the properties aren’t as dense as in Metro Honolulu. While it is approximately 12 miles from Downtown Honolulu, Hawaii Kai homeowners are typically willing to make the commute through traffic to be able to reside on this side of the island.
View of Hawaii Kai and the Marina
Primarily developed by Henry J. Kaiser and Kaiser-Aetna back in the early 1960’s, the transformation is nothing less than incredible. Their challenge was to dredge the 500-acre Kuapa Fishpond and build homes surrounding it. Although Kaiser faced many challenges over the years, this was in essence the first planned residential community on Oahu and by today’s measures he was successful.
Currently there is a pleasant mix of larger commercial businesses among the quaint boutiques and mom & pop shops, plus lots of dining and recreational options. Across Kalanianaole Hwy is Maunalua Bay, where I remember learning how to scuba dive 2 decades ago and where there is now a plethora of water sports that can be enjoyed. Boating, kayaking, fishing, paragliding, and jet skiing are common activities offered here from businesses serving tourists as well as locals alike. There is even an opportunity to explore the bay with a water-propelled jet pack…crazy! Of course the very popular Sandy Beach and Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is also close by.
View from top of Kuli’ou’ou Trail overlooking Waimanalo and the Mokuloa Islands
There are several really popular hikes in the Hawaii Kai area as well: my favorites are the Koko Crater Trail for the short blast workout going up 1,048 steps with incredible 270+ degree views to reward you, and the longer 5 mile Kuli’ou’ou Ridge Trail that takes several hours round trip, but has equally breathtaking views at the top.
View from top of Koko Crater Trail
For golfers, there’s the Hawaii Kai Golf Course featuring a fun par 3 course, or the more challenging Championship course with views of Sandy Beach across the street. At Christmas, residents look forward to the annual Festival of Lights boat parade in the marina.
Looking to Buy a Home Here?
Real estate prices are very high here, especially if you have a bigger lot, are on the marina, or have a panoramic ocean view. Homes start from approximately $800,000 for one in average condition that will likely need updates (the first homes sold for $18,750) and go up to the multi-millions for a luxury home in Portlock, on Kamehame Ridge, or oceanfront. If these properties are over your budget, maybe you would like to consider a 1-bedroom town home in the $400,000s or a 2-bedroom unit starting around $500,000.
For questions about Hawaii Kai or other Oahu neighborhoods, please contact me and I’ll be glad to assist.