Moving to Hawaii: Living in Honolulu

Posted by Kinga Mills on Sunday, March 13th, 2016 at 9:13am.

Islands of Hawaii

Moving to Oahu

The state of Hawaii is made up of 6 major residential islands: Hawaii Island, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai.  Each island is different, and depending on your preferences, you will have a love or a need for one over the other.  Oahu is not the largest island in the chain, but it is the most developed of all the islands and the most populated island.  Residents can enjoy quiet beaches and beautiful scenery, and also have all the amenities and luxuries of a large city. Let’s explore what to expect when moving to Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Explore the beauty of Oahu

The People of Hawaii

The spirit of Aloha is in every business, area, and community.  Residents of Hawaii  are some of the nicest people you will encounter anywhere!  Despite the diverse backgrounds, home towns, or countries, the residents who live in Honolulu, love the city and the lifestyle. People who call Oahu home, do so because of pure love for Hawaii.  People are respectful and welcoming.  No matter where you end up living, shortly after moving to Hawaii, you will soon find yourself being invited to events, BBQ, and to the many beaches by new friends and neighbors.  People are genuinely friendly.

The Amazing Honolulu Weather

Most people that consider moving to the Hawaii, consider the weather as the top reason to relocate.  Hawaii weather is warm and beautiful year round.  July is on average the warmest month of the year with temperature highs in the high 80’s in Honolulu, and January is on average the coolest month with highs of low 80’s to mid 60’s.   Living in Honolulu, could be hazardous to your fancy wardrobe, as shorts, t-shirts, summer dresses, and tank tops, and aloha shirts, will overtake your closet.  Suits, fancy dresses, and other “uncomfortable” attire, will likely never be worn.  See weather statistics from  (Image of weather patterns courtesy of



Hawaii Life

Living in Honolulu

Honolulu although the largest city in Hawaii, has a small town feel.  Yes it can be busy, but the trip from one end to the other, only takes minutes….well, depending on the traffic that is.   Honolulu, unlike many cities on mainland US, is expanding up vs out.  Real estate on Oahu is limited, especially in Honolulu where many of the exiting communities are already built out, with not much room for expansion. The nice thing is that the existing communities are well established and within close proximity to services, shopping, and the beach.  The spirit of Aloha exists in every neighborhood and residents often get together for BBQs, and informal get togethers.  As real estate goes up, literally up, as in the case of Ward Village in Honolulu new communities are forming.  Weekly and monthly events, like movie nights in the park, ice skating (literally), and resident events, are a part of the condo and community development.  The goal is maintain and to develop close nit communities and not just add buildings.


Shopping in HonoluluAla-Moana-Shopping

If you love shopping, Honolulu is definitely the place to live in Hawaii.  Honolulu is the home of the largest outdoor mall in the state, Ala Moana Center.  Located in the residential beach front neighborhood of Ala Moana, the shopping experience doesn’t stop there.  Honolulu residents, enjoy shopping at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Kahala Mall, and numerous smaller stores throughout the city.  

If you are used to ordering online, be prepared for some hurdles.  Not all online retailers ship to Hawaii. Some shipping rates can also be higher. It's a small price to pay for living in Paradise!


Honolulu Restaurants


Foodies rejoice!  Honolulu has everything from food trucks that Eat the Street, tiny privately owned restaurants with menus from all over the world, to famous chefs preparing amazing meals nightly.  For those who enjoy going out, don’t have time to make dinner, or simply don’t like cooking, the food possibilities are endless.  From casual dining to elegant beachfront restaurants, Honolulu offers it all.   

Life in Hawaii

Hawaii is about living outdoors.  Since it's generally warm enough to keep the windows open, it's easy to merge indoor and outdoor living.  In fact many Honolulu homes and condos are specifically designed to extend the indoor living area to the outside without a defined break in the space, making the transition from the inside to the outside seamless.  The warm Honolulu weather also allows for year round activities.  People enjoy year round jogging, surfing, camping with friends and families at parks, and outdoor dinners. 


Ocean Sports

Ocean, and natural beauty everywhere.  Living in Honolulu is truly paradise.  For hundreds of thousands per year, Honolulu is a vacation destination spot for a chance to spend a few days on a beach, to swim in the warm ocean, go hiking, and enjoy water sports that at least in the winter months, are not an option in cooler climates.  Practically all Honolulu neighborhoods are either by the beach, or within a few minutes to a beach. See Oahu Beach Guide.  Residents of Kakaako, Waikiki, and Diamond Head, can leave their condos, and head straight to the beach to enjoy a swim, paddle boarding, or surfing.

Hawaii Boats and Yachts


The great thing about living in Hawaii is the opportunity to take a ride on the boat all year round.  With the trade winds gently blowing, and the rolling swell of the ocean, boating is one of the fun activities to enjoy on the water.  Owning a boat is amazing.  Being able to use it whenever, is a privilege many don't have.  Marina slips are limited on Oahu.  Just like Honolulu real estate, boat slips are highly sought after.  Ala Wai Boat Harbor in Waikiki can have wait lists up to 5 years for slips, depending on the size of the vessel.  Check availability and apply early.  Kewalo Basin Harbor in Kakakako, also has limited spots.  Ko Olina Marina on the West side of Oahu is about 40 minutes away from Honolulu. They too can be full, so careful preparation to move a boat to Hawaii is key.  

Hiking Oahu

Another extremely popular activity in Hawaii an be done without leaving the city limits.  Manoa Falls Trail is in the heart of Honolulu, Diamond Head Summit Trail is the prestigious Diamond Head neighborhood.  Heading east, Koko Head Railway Trail also easily accessible from Honolulu residential area called Hawaii Kai. There are many more hiking trails all around Oahu, and within a short drive from Honolulu.  Enjoying the outdoors is a big part of living in Hawaii.  It may rain once in a while, but it is never really cold.

Hawaii Golf Is What Golfers Dream Of

Honolulu is golfers paradise.  Beautifully maintained golf courses are everywhere.  Select a public course or a private course, and enjoy the sport year round.  Even in the rain, the greens are amazing as seen in the Oahu Country Club rainy video below.


Oahu Real Estate

Honolulu Homes For Sale

The beautiful thing about living in Honolulu are the amazing views of the mountains, the city, and the ocean from many of the properties.  Honolulu offers amazing homes and condos, with plenty of variety for everyone’s taste and budget.  From studio condos Waikiki, multi-million dollar luxury homes in Diamond Head, to upcoming condos in Kakakaako, it’s all here in Honolulu.   West Marina where owners can keep their boats at their private docs.


Honolulu Luxury Condos

New luxury Honolulu condos are taking over the Honolulu real estate market.  Buyers are drawn to the new features, amazing views, and luxury amenities of the new buildings, and are renovating existing units with high end features.  Luxury buyers love the opportunity to acquire amazing Oahu real estate, with ocean views rarely found in other parts of the world.  

 Park Lane Ala Moana Condos

Park Lane Penhouse Honolulu


Honolulu Real Estate:


Schools in Honolulu

Honolulu has a wide variety of school options.  K-12 comes in the form of Public or Private Education. When moving to Hawaii it is important to contact the schools to find out when their application deadlines are and what the process of enrolling a child is. Honolulu has many wonderful schools, however acceptance to the schools can at times be challenging due to high demand. Private schools can be quite expensive, and budgeting to enroll in Private education, if desired, should be considered as part of the pre-planning prior to moving to Hawaii.

Public Schools

Private Schools


University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University, are well known universities offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, and one of the most amazing school settings in the nation.  Students come to Hawaii from all over the world, to learn, to enjoy Hawaii, and to have the best college years of their lives.  The University of Hawaii campus is located in a Honolulu neighborhood called Manoa, and the Hawaii Pacific University campus is in Downtown Honolulu, with a second campus on the Leeward side in a tropical lush setting.  Depending on the program of studies, students will attend classes in one or both of the locations. 



The Oahu commute may be a sore subject with some, however it’s all relative to where a person works and lives.  For the people working and living in Honolulu, the commute will be similar to any city commute during rush hours.  View traffic cameras 

The city has a phenomenal bus system called TheBus. Download the app and ride stress free all over Oahu. 

Honolulu also has a bike program and dedicated bike lanes. 

The most rewarding way to get where you are heading is simply enjoy the outdoor scenery, by walking, jogging, using a wheelchair, or a motorized scooter.  Most Honolulu neighborhoods have well designed sidewalks for easy commuting.


Hawaii Quarantine


Moving to Hawaii with Pets

Moving to Hawaii with a dog, cat, or any other animal, is a little more complicated.  Hawaii prides itself on being rabies free, and prior to any pet arriving on the Islands, pets have to undergo, typically 120 days of quarantine. See link to the Hawaii Quarantine Information Page  Skipping this process will result in the pet being detained at the airport and quarantined prior to being allowed to come home with their owner.

Living in Honolulu with a Pet is easy with a little planning.  Honolulu is a pet friendly city with many buildings having designated doggy parks, and with many dog parks all over the city. It is best to research specific park rules, and city and county guidelines.  While dogs are allowed in many locations, they are not allowed everywhere.  

While pets are welcomed in most Honolulu communities and many condos, renting a property with a pet is a much harder process.  Prior to moving to Hawaii, it is strongly advised to not only begin the quarantine process, but also to do a lot of research on pet friendly buildings and rentals. Even though the building rules may allow pets, individual property owners offering their home of condo up for rent, may not.K


PCS to Hawaii

Oahu has several military bases located all over the island, and Hawaii is an amazing location to be stationed at for a few years.  It will be an envy of many, especially come winter time.  Moving to Hawaii doesn't come with some challenges.  There are typically weight restrictions on household goods being shipped to Honolulu.  Anyone receiving orders to Hawaii should check moving requirements and limits on what the military movers will move and what the over the allowable weight charges may be.

Depending on the base location, some popular Oahu real estate areas to consider:

PCS to Hawaii with Pets

Also, Pet Quarantine rules apply, so start the process early.  For individuals and families wishing to live off base, either renting or buying a home or condo in Honolulu or other areas of Oahu, will be an option.  

VA Loans Hawaii

VA loans allow military personnel to purchase homes or condos with $0 down financing. VA loans come with special requirements but are an amazing benefit and a great way to purchase real estate in Hawaii.  For detailed information on requirement and assistance with a VA home or condo purchase, contact Kinga Mills with Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties


Aloha Living!

Moving to Hawaii, whether it is Oahu, Maui, or any of the Islands, is an amazing opportunity.  Living in Honolulu is like living in an urban paradise.  Seeing how this metropolitan city changes over the next few years with the expansion of beautiful condos, will be interesting to see.  Amazing things are happening now, and the future is looking bright.  Honolulu is an exciting city with big city amenities, and small city feel.  It offers food choices envied by many, beaches that have been visited and photographed by millions, consistent warm climate, year round outdoor activities, and spectacular real estate choices. Life in Paradise! #luckywelivehawaii

For information on Honolulu real estate, and the BUYING or SELLING process, please call Kinga Mills, RA RS-75728 at 808-597-5572 or contact us with your questions today. Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties