The northernest island of Hawaii is Kauai. Known as the “Garden Isle,” it’s rich in dense forests, lush mountains, pristine beaches, and overall stunning natural beauty. It’s home to the Waimea Canyon State Park, considered the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, with its colorful valleys, soaring mountaintops, and sweeping views. Despite being a popular tourist destination, it maintains a more rural and untouched atmosphere. This is the ideal landscape for those who want a deeper connection to nature and love exploring the outdoors.
Kauai offers a relaxed and laid-back lifestyle, colloquially referred to as "island time." The slower pace of life and sense of aloha contribute to a more tranquil and stress-free environment. It features a range of luxury properties, grand mansions, and upscale condominiums. You’ll find large estates on picturesque hilltop locations, custom-designed residences, and resort-style communities. Residents and visitors also have access to high-end shopping and dining, world-class spas, and exclusive country clubs. The island truly embodies the idyllic coastal paradise. So what is the real cost of living in Kauai?
Kauai home prices are the highest in the state
Median household income and salaries
Electricity costs are the highest in the country
Several factors contribute to the high electricity costs. Hawaii relies heavily on imported fossil fuels, mainly oil, for electricity generation. Because the state is isolated, it’s challenging, time-consuming, and more costly to transport fuel. The transportation and storage expenses are passed on to consumers. In addition, Hawaii's unique geographic location and topographic terrain pose challenges for infrastructure. It’s more costly to establish and maintain reliable transmission and distribution.
It’s also important to understand that Hawaii's population is relatively small compared to the mainland, so there’s a smaller customer base to distribute out the costs of infrastructure and maintenance.
Costs for food, groceries, and dining out
Kauai has numerous fine dining establishments, including Tidepools at the Hyatt, JO2 Natural Cuisine in Kapaa, and Red Salt at the Koa Kea Hotel. A restaurant dinner with drinks around Kauai can cost $100 per person or more, while a standard casual meal might be about $44 per person.
In Lihue and Kauai, overall, gas prices are higher than the national average. The island’s remote location and dependence on imported oil mean higher gasoline and diesel prices. There are also few public transportation options. While there is a public bus system, The Kauai Bus, frequency and routes are very limited. Most residents must rely on private transportation.