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The Right Island
07-28-2012, 03:33 AM
Post: #1
The Right Island
Hello all:

We are in the beginning stages of deciding if a move to Hawai'i is right for us. We currently live in Dakar, Senegal in West Africa, but will be returning to the U.S. later this year and trying to decide where to settle. After residing in Dakar, where we enjoyed a tropical climate most of year, our hearts are leaning towards Hawai'i. However, the biggest challenge I am finding is simply deciding which island to settle on.

We are a self-employed couple with no children. We thoroughly enjoy the arts and spend lots of time visiting museums and galleries. However, we also enjoy the outdoors and love being in the water, hiking and bicycling. We also offer photography and art workshops and retreats and would love to continue this after our move.

We have lived without owning a car since 2005 and enjoy the financial freedom not being tied to car ownership brings.

I've done a bit of research and find that I am being drawn to Kauai, but I have not ruled out other islands as well. From what I read Kauai is one of the less tourist islands, but we are guessing it could be a great place for our workshops and retreats.

Could the community share their stories on how they decided where to settle and suggestions you could provide for us based on the short info I provided above? Is Kauai a good place if you depend on public transportation? Where can we find a diverse offering of museums and galleries?

Thank you in advance for your contribution!
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07-28-2012, 07:47 PM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2017 03:08 PM by eleakai.)
Post: #2
RE: The Right Island
Aloha trotter and welcome to our forum! Yes, I can understand that it's tough to decide which island to settle on. I have visited them all and can't say which one is my favorite. They are all unique and special! If you don't want to buy a car and only get around using public transportation, then definitely the island of Oahu is the best choice. Oahu is where most Hawaii residents live (currently over 950,000 people). It's a densely populated island (it's an interesting fact that Oahu has more residents than the entire state of Alaska, which is huge compared to tiny Oahu). That's why traffic jams happen on Oahu every day. The public bus system is good on Oahu compared to many other places in the U.S.

The second best island for public buses is Maui. Kauai has a public bus too, but it doesn't run very often (I think only once an hour for many routes) and it doesn't cover many areas on the island.

When it comes to museums and art galleries, I also don't think Kauai is the best choice. The islands of Oahu and the Big Island have more to offer, see here:
https://www.to-hawaii.com/oahu/museums/
https://www.to-hawaii.com/big-island/museums/

Since you said Kauai is your top choice as of now, let me give you my impression of this island. I loved Kauai when I visited. It is very lush due to an abundance of rainfall in the winter months and many of the island's beaches are beautiful. Kauai feels much smaller than Oahu. There are no big towns and there is no nighttime entertainment to speak of. The only thing I was surprised about during my visits is how busy the roads are. Yes, there are traffic jams here too during rush hour, especially around Lihue and Kihei. But even on the north shore, the road was busy. Maybe in the past it wasn't discovered by tourists yet, but now it certainly is! Also what I noticed on Kauai is that some local residents are not so friendly towards tourists, especially in areas that are off the beaten path.

But it's a great island if you are into hiking and anything outdoors. Actually, all the Hawaiian islands are! I just wouldn't recommend bicycling on Oahu because I don't think it's safe. Too many cars on the road. The Hawaiian islands are a photographer's paradise in my opinion!
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07-28-2012, 09:38 PM
Post: #3
RE: The Right Island
kaniamea, thank you so much for the info you provided. Since I posted yesterday, I did some more research and feel pretty confident we will start off with Oahu and see how we like it there first. Although your final note regarding biking is a bit discouraging, but I'm sure we can find safe areas for recreational biking when we want to go out. Maybe at public parks?

Thanks again. You were extremely helpful!
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07-29-2012, 01:57 PM
Post: #4
RE: The Right Island
Yes, Oahu is the perfect island where to start. The island has it all - all the conveniences (shops, restaurants, museums, entertainment, etc.) as well as remote areas with fewer people and beautiful nature. Yes, you can bike at public parks. However, many parks are beach parks and don't have long bicycle paths. I personally wouldn't use the streets. I have a bike myself but only use it to go shopping or to the beach. But I don't drive on the streets, only on sidewalks (which is allowed except in Waikiki and business districts if you drive slowly). Many drivers here are not used to share the road with bicyclists. They may overlook you. Honolulu is not a bicycle-friendly city.
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07-30-2012, 01:17 AM (This post was last modified: 07-30-2012 08:04 AM by kaniamea.)
Post: #5
RE: The Right Island
More good info to know. Thanks again for the bicycling insight. It's too bad so many cities are more auto than bike friendly isn't it?
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07-31-2012, 09:38 AM
Post: #6
RE: The Right Island
Yes, that's true Sad
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