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  • James T. Morrison R(S)

Big Island vs. Maui: Which Island is Right for You


When it comes to choosing a place to call home or invest in real estate, the Hawaiian islands offer a variety of options for buyers. Two of the most popular islands among buyers are the Big Island and Maui. Both islands offer beautiful beaches, lush landscapes, and a laid-back lifestyle, but they also have their own unique characteristics that set them apart. So, which island is right for you?


North Kohala Coast, on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island, is the largest of the Hawaiian islands and offers a diverse range of landscapes and communities. From the sunny beaches of Kona and Kohala to the lush rainforests of Hilo and the volcano-covered landscape of Puna, the Big Island has something to offer for everyone. It also has a growing luxury market and is a popular destination for retirees.


Maui

On the other hand, Maui is known for its scenic Road to Hana, which takes you through lush rainforests, towering waterfalls, and charming small towns. It is also home to the famous tourist destination of Lahaina, a historic whaling village and a popular spot for dining, shopping, and entertainment. With a more active tourism industry, real estate on Maui is often more expensive than on the Big Island.


In terms of living and lifestyle, the Big Island has a more laid-back and relaxed vibe and the cost of living is generally lower than on Maui. However, Maui has a more developed tourism industry, which can provide more job opportunities for those who work in hospitality and service.



Both islands have their own unique characteristics and it's important to research and understand the local market and lifestyle before making a decision. With the help of a local real estate agent, you can find the perfect property on either island to suit your needs and preferences.


Maui and the Big Island are both popular tourist destinations in Hawaii, but they have different types of tourism offerings.


Maui is known for its luxury tourism, with a focus on high-end resorts, spas, and activities such as golfing and snorkeling. It's also home to the famous Road to Hana, a scenic drive that takes visitors through lush rainforests and past towering waterfalls, and the historic whaling village of Lahaina, a popular spot for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Maui's tourism industry is well developed and is a major economic driver on the island.



The Big Island, on the other hand, has a more diverse range of tourism offerings. It is home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is a popular destination for visitors to see the active volcano and learn about the island's geology and history. It also has beautiful beaches, such as Kona, Kohala, and Hapuna, and offers a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, snorkeling, and golfing. The island also has a growing luxury market and is a popular destination for retirees.



In general, Maui's tourism is more focused on luxury, while the Big Island's tourism is more diverse and offers a wider range of options for visitors. Both islands have their own unique characteristics and visitors can find a variety of activities to suit their interests on both islands.


The job opportunities on the Big Island and Maui can vary depending on the industry and location. Both islands are popular tourist destinations, and as such, the hospitality and tourism industry is a significant source of employment. However, the type of jobs available can differ between the two islands.


On Maui, the tourism industry is well-developed and is a major economic driver. As a result, there are a wide range of job opportunities in the hospitality industry such as hotels, resorts, restaurants, and tour companies. The jobs in this sector include front-line positions such as front desk agents, servers, housekeepers, and tour guides as well as management positions.


The Big Island, on the other hand, has a more diverse range of job opportunities. In addition to the hospitality and tourism industry, the island also has a growing agricultural sector, particularly in the coffee, macadamia nut, and cattle industries. The island also has a growing healthcare sector, with several hospitals and clinics located on the island. It also has a growing luxury market and many retiree's choose to move to the island, which creates job opportunities in the real estate industry.


Since covid, many have found that working from home means that can relocate to Hawaii

The island also has a thriving arts and culture scene, with many artists and artisans living and working on the island, providing job opportunities in creative fields such as graphic design, photography, and marketing.


Overall, both islands have a variety of job opportunities, but they can vary depending on the location and industry. It's important to research the job market and opportunities in the area you're considering to ensure that you can find a job that aligns with your skills and interests



The night life on the Big Island can be few and far between, with Hilo and Kona offering the best late night entertainment

Maui and the Big Island have different nightlife scenes, depending on the location.

Maui, particularly the towns of Lahaina and Kihei, have a more developed and active nightlife scene, with a variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from. Lahaina, in particular, is known for its historic Front Street, which is lined with bars, clubs, and restaurants that stay open late. The town also has several art galleries, museums and other cultural activities. Kihei, is known for its beach bars and beach parties that attract visitors and locals alike.


The Big Island has a more laid-back and relaxed nightlife scene, with a focus on outdoor activities and cultural experiences. The island has a few towns that offer nightlife options such as Kailua-Kona, which has a variety of bars, pubs, and restaurants, but it is not as active as Maui's nightlife. The island also has several cultural events and activities, such as traditional Hawaiian music and dance performances, hula shows, and cultural festivals that take place throughout the year.


Overall, Maui has a more active and developed nightlife scene, with a wide range of options for visitors and locals to enjoy. The Big Island has a more laid-back and relaxed nightlife scene, with a focus on outdoor activities and cultural experiences. Both islands have their own unique offerings, and it depends on what type of nightlife you are looking for.



The public and private school systems on Maui and the Big Island have some differences in terms of the options available and the quality of education.


In terms of the public school system, Maui has a larger and more developed system than the Big Island. The Maui district has more than 30 public schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools, serving around 17,000 students. The schools in Maui are known to have a higher level of academic achievement and are considered to be well-funded and well-staffed.


The Big Island has a smaller public school system, with around 15 public schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools, serving around 8,000 students. The schools on the Big Island are considered to have a more diverse student population and are known for their strong programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).


In terms of private schools, Maui has a wider range of options available. It has several private schools, including Montessori, religious, and international schools. The private schools on Maui are known for their small class sizes and individualized attention to students.


The Big Island also has a few private schools, but the options are more limited than on Maui. It has Montessori and religious schools. The private schools on the Big Island are known for their strong academics and their focus on outdoor education and community service.



Overall, both Maui and the Big Island have public and private school options available, but the options on Maui are more developed and diverse. Both islands have schools that are considered to be of high quality, but the academic achievements and class sizes vary by school. It's important to research the different schools in the area you're considering and to visit the schools in person to get a sense of the atmosphere and the education provided.


There are several reasons why some people may prefer to live on the Big Island of Hawaii over Maui. Here are a few key factors to consider:

  • Cost of living: The cost of living on the Big Island is generally lower than on Maui. This can include the cost of housing, food, and other necessities.

  • Lifestyle: The Big Island has a more laid-back and relaxed lifestyle, with a focus on outdoor activities and a slower pace of life. This can be a better fit for people who prefer a more relaxed lifestyle and a slower pace of life.

  • Natural beauty: The Big Island offers a diverse range of landscapes, from the sunny beaches of Kona and Kohala to the lush rainforests of Hilo and the volcano-covered landscape of Puna. This can be a draw for people who appreciate diverse natural beauty and outdoor activities.

  • Job opportunities: The Big Island has a more diverse range of job opportunities, including the growing agricultural and healthcare sectors, in addition to the hospitality and tourism industry. This can be beneficial for people looking for more diverse job opportunities.

  • Nightlife: The Big Island has a more laid-back and relaxed nightlife scene, with a focus on outdoor activities and cultural experiences. This can be a better fit for people who prefer a more low-key nightlife scene.



It's important to note that these are generalizations and the best place to live depends on the individual's preferences and priorities. Both islands have their own unique offerings, and it's important to research and visit the island to determine which one is the best fit for you.

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