How To Move To Kauai

Tips on Relocating to the Garden Island

Are you thinking of moving to Kauai and are not sure about all the things you need to consider when making the move?  Here are some tips to make the transition easier so you can complete the move to the Garden Island of Kauai and begin enjoying life in paradise.

Choosing Your Location on Kauai

First you have to decide which part of the island of Kauai you want to live on. All parts of the island have something wonderful to offer and it comes down to personal preferences which area you will choose to call home.

As a general rule it is warmer on the south and west sides, windier on the east side and rainier on the north shore. Conversely the north shore usually has ideal temperatures, rarely getting too hot or too cold. It may be a bit rainier on the north shore but the payoff is verdant mountains and cascading waterfalls.

The west side provides close access to Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park while the south side is known for its posh oceanfront resorts. There are also many small towns such as the south side’s Kalaheo which is known as Kauai’s “upcountry hamlet.”

Making the Decision on Where to Live on Kauai

The best way to decide where you want to live is to rent a place on Kauai for a month or two and spend some time in the different areas. This will allow you to see what the towns and beaches are like and also the neighborhoods and people. The beaches are spectacular on all sides of the island and each area also offers great hiking and scenic mountains.

Employment on Kauai

In general the most jobs are on the east side in the town center of Lihue. Wailua and Kapaa to the north also have plenty of commerce as does sunny Poipu and historic Koloa town. There are potential employers in all of Kauai’s towns though in more remote areas you may not get exactly the position you desire.

Surfing on Kauai

Are you coming to Kauai to surf? Fortunately this won’t put many restrictions on where you live since surfing opportunities are excellent all around the island. There are great surfing beaches and great waves from Haena and Hanalei on the north shore to Kealia on the east shore, Poipu on the south shore and Polihale on the west shore.

During the winter months the north shore of Kauai tends to have the biggest waves, while the summer months often bring bigger waves to the south and west shores. However, the small waves that many people find enjoyable can potentially be found on the north shore in the summer as well as the south shore in the winter.

Clothing and Attire on Kauai

Casual clothing is the norm on Kauai with shorts and light shirts being the most common attire. If you are moving to Kauai there is no need to bring a large wardrobe and little use for winter clothing items including heavy jackets. These items will just end up hanging in your closet.

Renting vs. Buying on Kauai

This is a great time to buy a home on Kauai due to the current low interest rates on home mortgage loans along with the market conditions that have created a “buyer’s market.” Rents on Kauai have dropped considerably in recent years so renting a home is also a good option if you want to enjoy life in paradise.

If you are undecided between renting or buying a home on Kauai then you may want to rent a place for a month or two which will give you time to search for a Kauai home. This will also give you time to assess the different regions of the island including the cost of homes, character of the neighborhoods and the different climates.

However, if you want to purchase a home before moving to Kauai then give us a call at Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty and we can help you arrange appointments to see a variety of homes that meet your requirements.

Kauai Home Furnishings

If you are renting a furnished house or apartment on Kauai then you won’t need to worry about furnishings and this will save you a considerable amount of money. If the kitchen is stocked with utensils, pots and pans this will also help you avoid purchasing items.

If you are moving to Kauai to an unfurnished home it is preferable to purchase items on island or in Honolulu and avoid large shipping charges. This will also give you time to decide on appropriate furniture styles, and you also may find some good estate sale deals that provide everything you need at a much lower cost than buying new furniture or shipping items from the mainland.

Personal Transportation on Kauai

Kauai has a fairly good bus system though it takes considerably longer to travel on the bus than in a car due to the many stops. The bus also sticks to the main roads and so if you plan on doing lots of exploring to beaches and mountain trails then you will need a car. See the Kauai Bus Schedule for more information.

Shipping a vehicle to Kauai can cost about $1000 but the cost may be worth it if you have a reliable vehicle. Buying a vehicle on island is fairly limited outside of car dealerships, and rust is a significant problem so if you bring a rust-free vehicle you will be ahead of the game. You may also consider rust-proofing your vehicle before sending it. For more information on shipping see the Young Brothers and Matson websites.

Getting a Hawaii Drivers License

Once you arrive on Kauai one of the first things you will want to do is apply for a Hawaii Driver’s License. You will need your current driver’s license for this so make sure you have it with you when you fly. Carry it on your person rather than in checked baggage as it is too important to lose. Many local vendors, parking and services offer discounts to those who have a Hawaii Driver’s License.

Bringing Your Pet to Kauai

To avoid a long quarantine period when bringing a pet to Kauai you need to plan ahead and fulfill several requirements. The USDA website provides a full explanation of Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine and can be found at

Final Tips on Moving to Kauai

You can get a sense of the overall employment opportunities as well as rental costs by checking Craig’s List. Gasoline and food generally costs a bit more on the north shore compared to Kapaa and Lihue—most people consider this the cost of living in paradise!

Rather than paying to bring a large number of items in your airplane baggage consider mailing many of your belongings via parcel post just before you leave for Kauai. This postal method often takes about a month to arrive and that will give you plenty of time to get situated without having to haul around too much stuff before you find a permanent residence.