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The Big Island of Hawaii is known for its rugged volcanic landscapes, black sand beaches, and laid-back lifestyle. For those seeking an escape from city life, the town of Pahoa offers a unique blend of affordable living, artistic culture, and proximity to nature.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Pahoa is an eclectic small town on the Big Island of Hawaii that offers a low cost of living in a beautiful natural setting, along with a vibrant artistic community, relaxed pace of life, and access to beaches and volcanoes. Highlights include weekly farmers markets, quirky shops and cafes, and surrounding hiking trails, parks, and hot springs.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about living in Pahoa, Hawaii, including an overview of the town, climate, cost of living, housing, employment, education, healthcare, transportation, arts and culture, dining, and things to do in the surrounding area.

An Overview of Pahoa, Hawaii

Location and History

Pahoa is a small town located on the eastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is situated approximately 30 miles southeast of Hilo, the island’s largest city.

Pahoa is known for its unique and vibrant community, surrounded by lush rainforests and beautiful beaches.

The town has a rich history, dating back to the early 1900s when it served as a hub for the sugar industry. Today, Pahoa is a popular destination for those seeking a laid-back and scenic lifestyle.

Also read: Where Is Hilo, Hawaii?


Pahoa enjoys a tropical climate, characterized by warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. The town experiences abundant rainfall, especially during the winter months, which contributes to its lush greenery.

The average temperature in Pahoa ranges from 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C), making it an ideal place for outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and exploring the nearby volcanoes.

While the weather can be unpredictable at times, the natural beauty of Pahoa is unmatched.


Pahoa has a diverse and multicultural population. The town attracts a mix of locals, mainland transplants, and international residents, creating a unique and inclusive community.

The population of Pahoa has been steadily growing over the years, with a current estimated population of around 1,340 residents.

The town offers a range of amenities, including schools, healthcare facilities, and recreational areas, making it an attractive place to live for families and individuals seeking a slower pace of life in a picturesque setting.

Also read: Which Hawaii Island Is Best For Families? A Comprehensive Guide

The Cost of Living in Pahoa

If you’re considering a move to Pahoa, Hawaii, it’s important to understand the cost of living in this charming town. While Pahoa offers a unique and laid-back lifestyle, it’s essential to factor in the expenses that come with living in paradise.

Let’s dive into the various costs associated with living in Pahoa.

Housing Costs

One of the biggest factors in the cost of living is housing. In Pahoa, you’ll find a range of options, from cozy cottages to spacious family homes.

The median home price in Pahoa is around $350,000, which is relatively affordable compared to other parts of Hawaii. Renting is also an option, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment being around $1,200.

It’s worth noting that these prices can vary depending on location and amenities.

Healthcare Expenses

When it comes to healthcare, Pahoa has a few options for residents. The Pahoa Community Health Center provides a range of medical services, including primary care, dental, and behavioral health.

Additionally, there are nearby hospitals and healthcare facilities in Hilo, which is about a 30-minute drive from Pahoa.

It’s important to have health insurance to cover medical expenses, and the cost of insurance can vary depending on your age, coverage, and pre-existing conditions.

Food, Utilities, and Other Costs

Food and utilities are other important factors to consider when calculating the cost of living in Pahoa. The town has a variety of grocery stores and local markets where you can find fresh produce and other essentials.

On average, a family of four can expect to spend around $600 to $800 per month on groceries.

Utilities such as electricity and water can vary depending on usage, but the average monthly cost for a small apartment is around $150.

Other costs to consider include transportation, entertainment, and personal expenses, which will depend on your lifestyle choices.

For more detailed information on the cost of living in Pahoa, you can visit websites such as Best Places, which provide data and comparisons for various expenses in Pahoa and other cities.

Remember, the cost of living in Pahoa may be higher than in some mainland areas, but the unique lifestyle, natural beauty, and sense of community make it worth considering.

It’s important to budget and plan accordingly to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable life in this tropical paradise.

Also read: How Expensive Is Hawaii? A Detailed Look At The Costs

Employment and Education in Pahoa

Job Opportunities

Pahoa, Hawaii may be a small town, but it offers a variety of job opportunities for its residents.

The local economy is primarily driven by tourism, agriculture, and education. With its beautiful beaches and natural attractions, Pahoa attracts a steady stream of tourists throughout the year. This creates a demand for jobs in the hospitality industry, such as hotels, restaurants, and tour guides.

Additionally, the agricultural sector in Pahoa provides employment opportunities in farming, including the cultivation of tropical fruits and flowers.

For those seeking employment in education, Pahoa has several schools and educational institutions that offer teaching and administrative positions.

The Pahoa School Complex, which includes an elementary, intermediate, and high school, provides job opportunities for educators and support staff.

Moreover, there are also private schools and early childhood education centers that contribute to the local job market.

If you are looking for job opportunities in Pahoa, it is advisable to check local job boards, community bulletin boards, and online job portals. Networking within the community can also be beneficial, as word-of-mouth is often an effective way to learn about job openings in small towns like Pahoa.

Also read: Is It Hard To Get A Job In Hawaii?

Schools and Education

Education is an essential aspect of life in Pahoa, and the town offers a range of educational opportunities for its residents.

The Pahoa School Complex, part of the Hawaii Department of Education, consists of Pahoa Elementary School, Pahoa Intermediate School, and Pahoa High and Intermediate School. These schools provide a comprehensive education from kindergarten through high school.

In addition to public schools, Pahoa is home to private educational institutions. These schools often offer specialized programs and smaller class sizes, providing students with a more personalized learning experience.

Furthermore, Pahoa has early childhood education centers that cater to the needs of young children, offering a nurturing and stimulating environment for their development.

It is important to note that Pahoa’s education system is constantly evolving, adapting to the changing needs of its residents.

To stay updated on the latest developments in the education sector in Pahoa, it is recommended to visit the official website of the Hawaii Department of Education at

This website provides information on school calendars, enrollment procedures, curriculum, and other relevant information.

Also read: Where Does Hawaii Rank In Education?

Lifestyle and Culture in Pahoa

Pahoa, located on the eastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii, offers a unique and vibrant lifestyle that is deeply rooted in local culture.

With its laid-back atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and strong sense of community, Pahoa is a place where residents can truly embrace the spirit of aloha.


In Pahoa, the preferred mode of transportation is often a car, as the town is spread out and public transportation options are limited.

However, Pahoa also offers a charming downtown area where you can walk or bike to shops, restaurants, and local attractions. Additionally, there are several taxi services available for those who prefer not to drive.

Also read:How Much Are Rental Cars In Hawaii?

Arts and Entertainment

Pahoa is known for its thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries and studios showcasing the talent of local artists.

The town also hosts regular art events, including art walks and exhibitions, where you can explore and purchase unique pieces.

In addition, Pahoa is home to several theaters and performance venues, offering a variety of live shows and cultural performances throughout the year.

Dining Scene

Pahoa boasts a diverse and exciting dining scene, with a range of culinary options to suit every taste and budget.

From casual local eateries serving traditional Hawaiian dishes to gourmet restaurants offering international flavors, there is something for everyone in Pahoa.

Don’t miss the opportunity to try the fresh seafood and tropical fruits that the island is famous for.

Things to Do

There is no shortage of things to do in Pahoa and its surrounding areas.

Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring the nearby lava fields, waterfalls, and hiking trails, while beach lovers can soak up the sun on the beautiful black sand beaches. Pahoa is also a great place for water activities such as snorkeling, diving, and surfing.

For those interested in Hawaiian history and culture, there are several historical sites and museums to visit, providing a deeper understanding of the island’s rich heritage.

Also read: Which Hawaiian Island Is Best To Visit? A Complete Guide


With its laid-back vibe, affordable cost of living, access to nature, and thriving artist community, Pahoa offers a unique way of life on Hawaii’s Big Island.

For those seeking an escape from crowded cities and a chance to live surrounded by beautiful landscapes, Pahoa provides an ideal setting to enjoy island living to the fullest.

From weekly farmers markets to quirky shops to pristine beaches just a short drive away, Pahoa has something for everyone looking to make a life in this Hawaiian paradise.

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