This beautiful island is known as the “Garden Isle” for its verdant, tropic landscape encompassing thousands of flower and bird species. The oldest island in the chain and the fourth largest, Kauai sports both an extinct volcano, which has the distinction of being the wettest spot on earth, and the dry Waimea Canyon, often called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

This is where Captain Cook first landed in 1778. After the island was settled by the Polynesian people, much of Kauai’s history is that of European discovery, missionaries and sugarcane plantations. Sugarcane has given over to macadamia nuts and tourism as the staples of Kauaian economy, although taro is still grown. In 1864, the small island of Ni’ihau, 17 miles off the leeward coast, was purchased by the Robinson family from King Kenekeneha V. They established a thriving cattle and sheep ranch and closed the island to the public. From 1864 until 1987, no one but a member or guest of the Robinsons was allowed on it, and it became known as the “forbidden island.” Today, the only population of true native Hawaiian people live there and are employed by the Robinson ranch. Although still owned by the Robinson family, Ni’ihau helicopter tours are now available.

Currently County of Kauai zoning laws govern Kauai’s development, ensuring slow, high-quality growth. Each of the Hawaiian islands are counties within the state of Hawaii`, America’s 50th state. The St. Regis Princeville Resort on the north coast has world-class golfing and a background mountain peak nicknamed, “Bali Hai.”  Movies such as South Pacific, Jurassic Park, the Descendants and Raiders of the Lost Ark were filmed here on Kauai.

Kauai offers an endless array of water sports, hiking, golfing, fishing, and pristine beaches as well as beautiful scenery and glorious sunsets. In fact, did you know there 64 beaches on the island of Kauai.? You can also check in for the water and surf conditions on our island at Kauai Explorer.

Food, except for pineapple, is higher than on the mainland because much of it is shipped in to the islands. Milk, eggs, and fresh vegetables cost twice as much as they do at home. But, if you don’t have to count pennies, there are fewer parts of the globe as idyllic and sublime as the Hawaiian Islands.

Some questions to consider before making a retirement move to Kauai..
Do you like living in a small community where everyone knows what you’re doing?

Would you mind living in a place where most nightlife is non-existant after 11pm( remember I said most, not all).

Will you be too far away from my family and grandchildren?
Will you be contented with permanent spring and summer, miss the four seasons?
Do you like eating fresh vine-ripened fruits and vegetables all year long from local growers?

I think you see where we are going. A slower pace of life, a vibrant and artistic community, the aloha spirit, and a place where people love to help each other. If this type of lifestyle resonates with you, this small, “Garden Isle,” could become your personal Eden

Some Kauai Island Statistics

Climate:  Mt. Waialeale, an extinct volcano, is the wettest spot on earth with an annual rainfall of 40 feet, but the lowlands are much drier. There, rainfall averages only 43 inches annually. Mild temperatures, averaging 60-85 degrees, prevail year round with easterly trade winds. Beautiful rainbows occur somewhere on the island nearly every day.  Severe weather is rare, but on Sept. 11th 1992, Hurricane Iniki caused millions of dollars worth of damage.

Cost-of-Living:  Above the national average. Housing prices and food are expensive but transportation, property taxes, health care, and recreation are below the national average.

Education:  Kauai Community College is the island branch of the University of Hawaii. KCC offers various low-cost courses. The University of Hawaii has campuses on Oahu and the Big Island where tuition and general student fees are waived for residents over 60 years of age.

Health Care: Kauai has three major medical facilities and numerous clinics around the island: Kauai Medical Clinic, Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, Mahelona Medical Center, which has special programs for the aged and disabled, and Wilcox Hospital, part of the Hawaii Pacific Health medical system. There’s an unusually high percentage of alternative health providers. Naturopaths, Chiropractors, Accupuncturists, Massage, and many alternative modalities can be found in abundance.

Housing:  The cost of an average, 3 bedroom house is $320,000.  Property taxes average $2,165 and utilities $1,750 per year.  A home in the upper tenth of the market averages $402,000.

Population/Location:  Kauai’s population numbers were just under 68,000 with a growth rate of 14.8% in the last decade. The northernmost major island in the Hawaiian chain is 95 air miles from Honolulu. With over 1 million visitors to the Garden Island in 2012, there are roughly 83,000 visitors a month who come here as their vacation destination. At any time time there can be 15,000-20,000 vistors on island

Safety:  Kauai’s crime rate is lower than three-fourths of the rest of the country. Violent crime is very low. Burglary and theft are the most numerous property crimes.

Recreation:  Kauai has 9 golf courses, dozens of  very good restaurants and one, four-screen movie theatre with a second multi-screen to arrive in 2012.. It has three federally protected areas and ten state recreation areas, as well as 63 sq. mi of Pacific coastal water where 64 beautiful beaches abound. Hiking is popular here as well as snorkeling, body surfing, fishing, and various water sports.

The Koke’e Museum in the uplands offers natural history displays of Kauai’s past. The National Tropical Botanical Gardens on the west side of the island, and Limahuli on the north, are dedicated to saving endangered tropical plants. The Kauai Museum in Lihu’e, Kauai’s County seat, offers classes in weaving and lei-making and displays the work of local artists. While Kukui Grove is Kauai’s largest mall, Kauai sports 8  shopping centers are scattered throughout the islands, from north side to west side. Numerous sight-seeing and special interest tours are available; and it is now possible to take a helicopter tour of, previously off-limits, Ni’ihau Island.

Music & the Arts: Kauai’s population is rich with creativity. There are musical activities year-round. There are 3 jazz festivals, one songwriter’s festival, and countless cultural events for Hawaiian Music, Hula, Dancing, and Slack Key guitar. You can check out the local music scene for ongoing activities at both the Kauai Festivals site and Kauai Music Scene

Taxes: Hawaii has a sales tax of 4%. Personal income tax is spread over 8 brackets and is based on the Federal rate. The lowest bracket is 1.6% of the first $1,500. The highest is 8.75% over $20,000.

Transportation:  The Kauai Bus provides service to the island of Kauai from Kekaha to Hanalei.  Taxi service and car rental are also available. Except for multi-day cruises among the islands, all inter-island travel is by plane. American, US Air, Alaska, Delta and United all fly direct to Lihue, Kauai. Hawaiian, Mokulele and Island Air provide interisland air routes. Private landing arrangements may be available in Lihue or at Princeville’s small north shore airport.

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