Waimanalo, Honolulu County, Hawaii

Waimanalo (pronounced as WEI-MAH-NAH-lo) is a little, sleepy-looking town, which seems to remain rooted in the pleasures of rural life, accepting only a minimal dose of globalization. A town that only has one traffic signal may seem backwards for some, but for those who want to relax and break away from the noise and crowds of the city, Waimanalo is indeed a slice of paradise.

Within just a mere 30-minute drive from Honolulu International Airport, lies a peaceful and rustic town of Waimanalo. With its wonderful tropical climate, long stretch of white-sand beach, and crashing surf, Waimanalo is indeed a postcard-perfect village for people who are used to live in the noisy and congested city. The towns nearest to it are Kailua and Waimanalo Beach east. Waimanalo has a land area of 0.4 square miles and an elevation of 25 feet.

Waimanalo is a tiny community in the city of Honolulu in the island of Oahu. Its name means 'potable water,' because of the ponds used for irrigation of the farms. The place is known for their large agricultural areas that extend from the center of town, and is also popular for many plant nurseries and farms.

As a small community, tradition is easy to preserve in Waimanalo. Community events and activities are among the recreation and interaction of its residents. There are also people of different races living in Waimanalo. Of its population, a large percent of them are Asians, followed by Hispanics or Latinos, and other races. Its population is estimated to be at a figure of 3,664. Waimanalo's families are roughly around 832 in number, 38.9% of which have children below 18 years. Meanwhile, 59.4% are married and living together, 21.0% are households without the presence of a husband, while 11.5% is comprised of non-families living together.

Waimanalo's History

Waimanalo has been the home of native Hawaiians even before the arrival of foreigners. The descendants of the Polynesian and Tahitian settlers have been taking advantage of the areas as well as the place's conducive climate for the cultivation and planting of crops. Soon, the Europeans arrived and Waimanalo began thriving with the new technology and methods the foreigners have introduced to the locals.

In 1840, Captain Thomas Cummins, an English shipping merchant arrived in Waimanalo to raise beef, cattle, and sheep. However, the dairy produce began to dwindle and as the cattle industry gradually went on a decline, agriculture went back in favor with Hawaii's land resources; this is particularly evident in the opening of the Waimanalo Sugar Company.

The sugar industry became a huge success and thus, gave way to other innovations in the area. For instance, the use of railway tracks and locomotive were due to the boom of the sugar business. Soon after, the prevalence of the sugar industry attracted not only the local workers of Hawaii, but also of other places, near the Hawaiian islands and even as far as Asia. In fact, a significant number of immigrants from Asia and other places arrived to take advantage of the opening of mills and farms. The arrival of these Catholic immigrants helped in the spread of Christianity in Waimanalo. One chapel called Saint George Catholic Chapel is among the oldest parishes in Waimanalo. This was built in 1842 and it has a sizable congregation for the Portuguese and the Filipino workers of the sugar company.

Waimanalo's Attractions

Not to be outdone by other villages with their vacation hotspots, Waimanalo has several parks and beaches to visit for that summer getaway feel. Among these are the Waimanalo Waterfront, Ocean Drive, and the Waimanalo Beach Park. The thing that makes them special is that tourists and guests are allowed to camp along the sand, something that expensive and more popular resorts do not usually allow. The wide expanse of clear sand and rows of shady trees, plus the considerable distance away from private structures and property, set the mood for long, solitary walks, picnics, and sleepovers. You can choose other outdoor activities like paragliding, horseback riding, and cycling. You can also engage in hiking up to the legendary Makapuu Lighthouse or in visiting the Sea Life Park. Mornings are magical with an exceptional view of the sunrise and on what local residents call Waimanalo's Rabbit Island and Flat Island.

Despite its rural image, Waimanalo has a few hotels, lodging inns, and rental villas. All of them have more than the basic amenities that contribute to the comfort and relaxation of its tourists. Golfers would find Waimanalo's golf courses to be well maintained and equipped for maximum enjoyment of enthusiasts, hobbyists, and first-timers. Waimanalo also has art galleries, featuring works of local artists. For the food lovers, Waimanalo has several restaurants for tourists that range from mainstream fastfood chains like Jack-In-The-Box, McDonalds, and Subway Sandwiches, to local restaurants that offer a unique sample of their cuisine.

Not to be missed is a trip to vegetable farms in Waimanalo where you can watch local farmers grow their products. Of course, after being tempted by those delicious veggies, you can always buy them before you go.

Waimanalo's Economy

Because of its small community, Waimanalo only has a small business district, which is situated in the Kalanianaole Highway. Agriculture plays a large part in the Waimanalo economy, as the tropical climate enables farmers to have a year-long farming season, and adds a more pronounced and intense taste to the vegetables. The soil of Waimanalo is very rich in minerals because of the volcanic loam soil. Among the products commonly grown are corn and green vegetables for salads like peppercress, spinach, arugula, asparagus, and sea greens. Waimanalo vegetables are even bought by hotels and restaurants from nearby cities because of its delicious taste. An interesting thing about the farmers of Waimanalo is that they grow their corn in complete darkness. This is done by taking corn kernels, leaving them immersed in water for about four hours, placing them on the ground, watering them, and storing them in a darkened closet until harvest time after three weeks. The result of this process are sweet, tasty, and bright yellow corns.

Aside from tourism, Waimanalo's economy and income are mainly dominated by the retail trade, particularly of their agricultural products. This is followed by finance and insurance, information, wholesale trade, manufacturing, and professional, scientific, and technical services. With Waimanalao's wonderful view of the sea, waterfront properties are fast becoming the rage. Locals and new residents are taking advantage of the opportunity to buy a house that has a spectacular view. The estimated household income per year in Waimanalo is $47,594, and a house is roughly valued at $201,400.

Waimanalo Statistics:

Population: 3,664
Households: 849
Median resident age: 30.2 years
Median household income: $47,594
Median house value: $201,400
Land area: 0.4 square miles
Elevation: 25 feet
Latitude: 21°21'N
Longitude: 157°43'W
Zip code: 96795
County: Honolulu
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