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Once a thriving sugar cane production area, today the Hamakua coast is known for its small towns, laid-back lifestyle, agriculture, and a sea- cliffed coastline with a fresh ocean breeze. Hamakua is located on the Northeast coast of the Big Island and includes the towns of Pa'auilo, Honokaa, Ahualoa, Kalopa, Pa'auhau, Kukuihaele, and Waipio. Many of these "towns" are the remnants of the housing for the workers from the sugar industry. The scenic, winding drive from Honokaa to North Hilo will keep your senses stimulated, while the history of the area will keep your interest peaked. 

              The Hamakua Coast 

Things to do in Hamakua 

Honokaa is the largest town on the Hamakua Coast. The historic downtown is a walking-friendly strip packed full of small businesses ready to be explored. Honokaa boasts a movie theater from the 1930s, a weekly farmers' market, as well as several festivities throughout the year, such as Western Week.


Kalopa State Recreation Area is a 100-acre forest full of trails, picnic areas, and cabins to rent for camping. 

Waipio Valley is one of the must-dos of the island. It is the last of 7 valleys along the northern part of the island and is an integral part of Hawaiian history. In Waipio, you will find a black sand beach, hiking trails, waterfalls,  as well as the occasional wild horse. 


The average rainfall for Hamakua ranges from 75-120", however, it entirely depends on your elevation. For example, Pa'auhau is nick-named the sunniest spot on the Hamakua Coast, yet Ahualoa is reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest. The Hamakua coast falls in lava zone 8, second to only Kohala., which is lava zone 9. 


Honoka'a elementary, intermediate, and high school 
Paauilo elementary and intermediate school 
Kamehameha Pre School 


The properties in Hamakua range from quaint 1930's plantation homes on 7500 sq foot lots, to large-scale producing farms on big acreage, to more modern built homes with good-sized yards. In 2021, the average home price in Hamakua was $495,000. However, the Big Island is not a real estate market that can be generalized. Each town has its nuances and specific characteristics, which contribute heavily to the market price. 


Distance to Hilo: 50 minutes 
Distance to Kona: 1 hr 15
Distance to beaches: If you're not willing to tackle one of the steepest roads in America to get to Waipio, the closest beach from Honokaa would be about 40 minutes. 

In my opinion, Hamakua is a great place to raise a family and get away from it all. If you're looking for a quiet, country Hawaii home, the Hamakua Coast may be the place to look. 

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