Hawi, Hawaii County, Hawaii

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Hawi is a rather small but historic village located on the northern coast of The Big Island, Hawaii. It is one of 2 towns in the northern Kohala district with a small population of 938. If you enjoy ice cream then you must check out Tropical Dreams Ice Cream store. Located on Hwy 270, this upscale ice cream parlor has some of the finest flavors around! From Italian gelato style, Macadamia Nuts, Tahitian Vanilla, to sorbet with all kinds of fruits and flavors, you will find yourself coming back again and again!

Not too far from Hawi is the Pololu Valley lookout in North Kohala. Found on the northern tip of the Big Island, this scenery is well worth the drive to check out. This spectacular vista portrays the raw and primitive side of the island with four hundred foot drop leading to 15-20 minute walking and hiking trails. Talk about exciting!!

Known for its breathtaking beaches and sunshiney disposition, Hawaii or The Big Island is highly esteemed as a sun worshipper's paradise. This tropical haven, which consists of nineteen islands, is embellished with lush greens and serene waters dormantly lying on bed of white sand and even black sand. Characterized by hibiscus and vibrant blooms in wild hues, the Aloha State is indeed a cradle of interesting destination spots bursting with zest.

The city of Hawi, comfortably nestled in the historic North Kohala, is considered to be among the must-stops in Hawaii. Though the place is relatively small with a land area of only 3.2 square miles, Hawi is every inch worthy to be called paradisiacal. Like all other spots in Hawaii, this quaint town is an "unincorporated town" or a census-designated place. For the record, Hawaii remains as the only state in America that doesn't have an incorporated town; all are CDPs.

A fusion of different races makes this town diverse and even more exciting. As of 2000 census, Hawi is currently home to a thousand natives and expatriates from Asia, Africa, and Latin countries. Native Americans and Asians are particularly bountiful, as they make up almost 28% and 12% of the total population, respectively. With a population density of 299.3 square kilometers, Hawi is pretty much an intimate and populated town. There are approximately 298 households with a family size of 3.63 and average household size of 3.15. The cozy charm of Hawi never fails to attract tourists out to have a fuss-free vacation.

Hawi's History

When noble Hawaiian ruler Kamehameha the Great or Kamehameha I came into existence, this once sleepy town was brought into the limelight. Kamehameha the Great, the ruler who reigned for several decades, was credited for successfully consolidating the islands of Hawaii. As a rightful tribute, Hawi locals established the Kamehameha statue. Up until now, this spot remains to be among the town's most popular tourist destinations along with Mo'okini Heiau, a spiritual temple. Heiau, included in Kohala Historical Sites State Monument, used to be open only for fast, ritual and meditation purposes until 1979 when the historical site was declared opened for public viewing and adoration.

Hawi and distant cousin Kapa'au make up the North Kohala part of The Big Island. Both quaint towns were known for bankable and vast sugar plantations. Hawi houses the famous Kohala Sugar Plantation, founded by Reverand Elias Bond in 1863, that was a booming industry until the late 1970s. After the sugar plantations closed down, locals busied themselves with small-scale enterprises that cater to guests. By this time, cities and towns in Hawaii are fast becoming tourist destinations.

The eclipse of Kohala Sugar Plantation brought about changes in the lives of North Kohala natives, including Hawi residents. They have to look for alternatives to earn money for a living. While there are residents who chose to relocate to other cities or states, some saw it as a great opportunity to refurbish the town as a tourist spot. Nowadays, residents own and manage galleries, art shops, and other businesses.

Hawi's Attractions

Formerly called The Sugar Town, Hawi is a cozy nook perfect for couples on honeymoon or just about anyone who appreciates no-nonsense picturesque destinations. This idyllic town has the right blend of grand, historical structures and modern, exquisite restaurants, hot spots, and hotels. Mornings and windy, early afternoons must be spent visiting and adoring the three-block expanse of subtly elegant little arts and crafts boutiques which sell vintage finds and local delicacies. Tourists who want to dig deeper into The Big Island's rich history and culture can check out the Kohala Book Shop for extensive selection of books and informative knick knacks.

For some laid-back shopping experience, be sure to drop by As Hawi Turns, a vibrant little store slash treasure trove which offers curious array of colorful accessories and apparels. Women tourists, fashion fanatics or not, will surely marvel at unique dresses, hats or lounge wear with details that scream 'hawaiian punch'.

Aside from eye-candy sundry items, Hawi also boasts of gastronomic delights. Take a savory break from shopping and sight-seeing and taste-test Hawi's organic treats. Since Hawaiian fare is referred to as "original fusion cuisine," restaurants in Hawi offer local mouth-watering favorites with a zesty twist. In Bamboo Restaurant and Gallery, some Thai dishes are enhanced with tropical touches like papaya salsa and pineapple sauce. For fresh island salads and succulent seafoods, drop by Kawaihae Harbor Grill and Seafood Bar. Whether fine or casual dining, palatable and filling meals are something to look forward to when visiting this quaint town.

Hawi's Economy

With lucrative restaurants, boutiques, and inns, Hawi is currently enjoying a steady stream of income. In fact, the town's per capita income or total personal income reaches $46,406 a year. At the moment, based on census of 2000, male residents earn an average of $30,491 a year while female residents bring in an average of $27,321. Majority of residents are living with comfortable means and only 7-9% of the people are in dire need of financial assistance. Employment rate is relatively high with 4.47% and mere 3.8 unemployment rate, slightly lower than the national rate of 5%.

Hawi residents' expenditures account for food, housing, utilities, health, and transportation. Cost of living in this little town is higher than most cities in other states, 51% to be exact.A financially stable town, Hawi has a generous budget for maintaining and improving government facilities and needs. Public schools are one of Hawi's main priorities with an allotment of $5,800 for every student.

Over the years, this once sleepy town emerged as a hot tourist spot with booming industries. Today, Hawi serves as a perfect comfort zone for travelers who are seeking time off their busy schedules. In this intimate town slash sanctuary, tourists can savor the wonders of simple living. This is one ideal place where couples, friends, and families hang around in coffee shops for heart warming conversations. Even though Hawaii is generally popular for beaches and adventures, there are still some places wherein one can take things on a slower pace. Towns like Hawi remind tourists that it's absolutely alright to relax and chillout every once in a while.

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