Big Island

Mauka or Makai? – Which One is Right For You?

Makai Living

Are you considering moving to Hawaii Island? If so, there are different locations to take into consideration. One of the great things about living on an island is being near water. When considering relocating to Hawaii Island, keep in mind micro-climates. With so many beautiful locations on the Big Island, your first decision may be choosing between living mauka (up mountain), or makai (toward the ocean). Here are a few variables to take into account when making your decision.

When most people think of moving to Hawaii, panoramic sunsets and swaying palm trees often come to mind. Digging your toes in the sand with a tropical cocktail and sleeping to the sound of waves are enticing characteristics of living in paradise. Living near the water has its obvious and delightful perks.


It’s difficult to find a downside to living near the ocean; however, there are a few details to be aware of. Let’s start with cost. Generally speaking, the closer you get to the water, the more expensive the land becomes. Everyone loves an ocean view, and the better the view, the more desirable the location, and the bigger the price tag.

If privacy is an important factor in determining your perfect location, keep in mind there is no such thing as a “private beach” in Hawaii. By law, all oceanfront property must have public access, and the public has the legal right to be there. However, since Hawaii Island’s coastline is especially rocky, there are not many sandy beaches. As a result, foot traffic is fairly light along most shorelines.

Then there is the ocean water itself. Maintenance is key when living near salt water as it can do a number on furniture, clothing, cars and electronic equipment. Living near the water also makes a home more vulnerable to the elements of nature, such as storm damage and tsunamis.

Considerations aside, there’s nothing like living near the ocean in Hawaii. It’s a dream come true for many. If living makai side is your dream, let’s make it happen!

Mauka Living


If cool mountain breezes sound enticing, then living “up mauka” may be perfect for you. It can be cool and rainy in higher elevations of Hawaii Island. For those wishing to get away from the crowds and spend a cool morning snuggling under a light blanket, the mauka areas of the island offer cooler temperatures and more affordable land. A downside of living in rainier areas is they are more likely to experience mold problems. For those with mold allergies, the drier, warmer climate of sea level may be more appealing. If you still enjoy throwing on a sweater occasionally, let me help you find your perfect mauka home!

Contact Julie Edens at

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Robert Schwartz

January 22, 2018

I’ll take mauka. I’m looking for acreage that is secluded, with a stream if possible, off the grid but electricity is nice. I’m an avid Gardner so a lot of rain is ok. Privacy is important. I like the birds and bees and a jungle like setting.
Hope you can find something!

Beth Thoma Robinson

January 22, 2018

Elevation isnʻt a criteria many people have in mind when they start their search, but it makes such a difference on an island where the climate and lifestyle differ so much when you go just a little higher. Great topic, Julie.

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