As I sat in my evil lair and began my cunning plans for an island invasion, I needed to decide which island would be the lucky one to enjoy my visit. In the Hawaiian chain there are basically 5 islands where one can realistically settle in, at least someone of my age and on my budget. Thanks to the inter webs I was able to spend many an hour pouring over maps, websites, and other info to help decide which island paradise I would settle into. Eventually I want to visit as many as I can but I had to settle on one to live for now.
Kaua’i is the northwestern most island, and one of the more quiet places. There is not a lot there compared to the other islands although there are some small towns and it is well noted for it’s beautiful beaches and touristy adventures. I didn’t find much in the way of affordable housing here although there were a few spots. Being without a vehicle I needed to be near a bus line or have some other means of getting around and this island just didn’t have what I needed.
Oahu is probably the most popular. The island is dominated by the city of Honolulu. It’s a small city but crammed with over 1 million residents. It has all the things you would expect to find in a big city: shopping, affordable housing, public transportation, vibrant night life, lots to do along with a high crime rate, a big time homeless problem, noise, traffic jams, and lots of stress. I’ve had my fill of city life so I passed on this island even though there are some areas away from the city which look nice. I will visit there sometime this winter when some relatives come by, but to live there, no thanks.
Molokai is a small island between Oahu and Maui. There ain’t much there except the old leper colony. If I wanted to deal with lepers I would have stayed in the old trailer park in Key West.
This left Maui and the Big Island as my two main competitors and it was a very close call.
The Big Island is about 50 miles across and has two main towns, Hilo and Kona. Both have airports, shopping, and bus service. I was surprised to find the housing here a bit cheaper than the other islands along with the flights also being slightly cheaper. There are some out lying areas in the tropical forests and along the active volcano, but one would need a vehicle to get around. Something I am not ready to do yet. I could see eventually moving there just to see how it compares to Maui. Maybe a bit less crowded, but for now, I have settled on Maui.
Maui is the most popular tourist island in the chain. It’s also known as the Valley Isle. There are two mountains, one on the north, and a dead volcano on the south. In the middle is the valley running across the island. On the east side is the city of Kahului. It’s pretty much the center of attention on the island. It has the airport with direct flights to the mainland, all the main shopping, and is the hub for most of what goes on here. All the busses come there to a central point so you can get to other parts of the island easily.
Quick side story: I ran into the manager at said Harley dealer about 20 years ago when I was at the annual dealer convention. He offered me a job, all I had to do was get out there. At the time I was stuck in a mortgage, motorcycle payments, and other debts. I had to pass. See what owning shit does to you? It keeps you from fulfilling your dreams.
Anyways, To the south east are some small villages and a scenic highway called the Road To Hana. Cross the valley to the west and you’ll pass through sugar cane fields. To the north west is the town of Lahaina. It is a real touristy town right on the water. It has lots of little shops, restaurants, and stuff going on.
To the south is the village of Kihei, where I am currently residing. It’s about 4 miles long and sits right on the beach with a nice view of sunsets, and whale watching in the winter, so I’m told. Kihei has some grocery stores, banks, farmers markets, lots of restaurants, parks, and resorts, along with lots of housing.
Coming to Maui was a fairly easy choice. The island is even more better in person than any photos can depict. It has all one would need to live, plenty of shopping options, good public transport, and fantastic weather. The people are friendly and I have had a good vibe ever since I landed. I’m very happy with my choice.
I’ll get into more details about the island in future posts but I wanted to give some general info, in case anyone was thinking of coming this way for vacation or extended stay. It is expensive, especially the food, I’m finding out, but with a minimalist attitude and some common sense, it’s definitely affordable to stay for awhile.