Big Island

Living in Waimea (Kamuela), Hawaii — From Ranches to Resorts

Waimea is one of the oldest, most established communities on Hawai‘i Island. The town sits at 2,600 feet above sea level. The Waimea/ Kamuela area is characterized by sweeping views and grassy rolling hillsides set against the breathtaking backdrop of the summit of Mauna Kea itself.  Given the altitude, the air is cooler up here, and far from any major cities, this cozy community is friendly and familiar.

Given Waimea’s proximity to the summit of Mauna Kea, it’s a haven for scientists who study the stars from one of the many observatories there. Today, you’ll find ranchers and cowboys (paniolo) rubbing elbows with some of the world’s most renowned astronomers.

Waimea (Kamuela) Real Estate

The real estate market on Hawaii Island is booming and the price of homes was up almost 30% in the third quarter compared to last year.  The median list price for a property Waimea (Kamuela), Hawaii is $2.125 million for single-family homes and $1.56 million for condominiums (as of October 11, 2021).

The area is home to many exclusive, high-end residences in the many resort communities along the Kohala Coast, including Mauna Kea ResortYou can view Waimea listings here.

However, Upcountry Waimea properties are often listed at more reasonable prices. Many residents choose to live closer to Waimea and commute down the green slopes to work in the many resort communities along the Kohala Coast. Waimea offers not only a unique and beautiful geographical landscape, but there’s also a distinctive lifestyle and culture that stems from the town’s rich history.

Thursday morning, May 31, 2018 – Waimea (Kamuela), Big Island of Hawai‘i. Photo credit: Bob Chancer

Waimea has a long cattle ranching and Hawaiian cowboy tradition that dates back to the establishment of Parker Ranch more than 160 years ago. Parker Ranch now spans more than 250,000 acres and is one of the biggest cattle ranches in the United States. To honor Samuel Parker, the town of Waimea is also called Kamuela, the Hawaiian language equivalent of Samuel.  Of Native Hawaiian heritage, Parker played a central role in local politics during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Waimea (Kamuela), Big Island of Hawai‘i. Photo credit: Julie Keller

You’ll find plenty of wide open spaces, amazing farm-to-table dining, and farmers’ markets. Waimea is also home to some of the best private schools in the state, including Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy and Parker School. The former is a boarding school with an exceptional athletic department, as well as digital media and performing arts programs. It has an excellent theatre space for local and school productions.

The latter boasts an unrivaled fine arts program which offers studies in choreography, filmmaking, playwriting, conceptual art, installation art, dramaturgy, stage management, and songwriting. For young designers, Parker School offers avenues in fashion, graphic, lighting, costume and set design.

Waimea is thought of as ground zero for Hawaii’s farm-to-table and ranch-to-table movement and Hawai‘i’s flourishing regional cuisine. The local farmers’ markets are top-notch, unrivaled in Hawai‘i for the quality, freshness, and variety of the produce and products on offer. Residents from the nearby Kohala Coast make the trip to Waimea for the delicious fare, rubbing elbows with Waimea town’s local astronomers, ranchers, teachers, young families, and retirees.


Learn More About Waimea (Kamuela), Hawaii

We’ve just opened our seventh office on Hawaii Island. You can read about how to find us in our recent article Welcome to Our Newest Office in Waimea, Hawaii. To learn more about this unique part of Hawaii, read some of our agents’ recent articles.

Resort Membership (Mauna Kea) = Golf, Beach, Pool + More

Mauna Kea Resort August Market Update: Featuring a New Listing in Wai’ula’ula at Mauna Kea Resort

The Enduring Charm Of Waimea’s Ranching Past Meets an Increasingly Modern Vibe

The Two Sides of Waimea on Hawai’i Island

mauna kea beach

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