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Leilani Estates is a residential community located on the eastern tip of Hawaii’s Big Island, in the Puna district of the County of Hawaii. It sits at the base of the Kilauea volcano in a region known for frequent volcanic activity and lava flows.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Leilani Estates is located about 25 miles from Hilo, Hawaii, on Highway 132 at mile marker 12, nestled against thick rainforest on Kilauea’s lower East Rift Zone.

Location and Geography

Position on Big Island

Leilani Estates is located on the eastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii, in the Puna district. More specifically, it lies on the lower East Rift Zone of the Kilauea volcano. This prime position means residents live amongst lush rainforests and volcanic features.

Proximity to Kilauea

In fact, Leilani Estates is extremely close to the Kilauea volcano – just a few miles away. This proximity allows residents epic views of the volcano and brings them closer to its volatile nature. In 2018, lava from Kilauea flowed through Leilani Estates, destroying over 700 homes.

While the danger has passed for now, the community’s location keeps it under threat.


Reaching Leilani Estates requires some effort given its remote location. The community sits off Highway 130 and is located about 25 miles from Hilo. This drive takes around 45 minutes along winding, narrow roads. Leilani Estates is also accessible from Volcanoes National Park in about 1 hour.

So while it takes commitment, the payoff is living amidst Hawaii’s most dramatic landscapes.

Community Details

Type of Neighborhood

Leilani Estates is a quiet, peaceful residential neighborhood nestled on the eastern side of Hawaii’s Big Island. It’s located just a few miles from the lively town of Pahoa, but feels worlds away. Lush rainforests and picturesque lava fields surround Leilani Estates, imbuing it with a serene, natural beauty.

The neighborhood itself comprises around 700 houses dotted along winding roads under a canopy of trees and other tropical foliage. It’s an idyllic place to live for those seeking sanctuary from busier parts of the island.


According to the latest census data, Leilani Estates has a population of around 1,500 residents. The neighborhood attracts a mix of retirees, young families, and those passionate about connecting with Hawaii’s landscapes.

The median age is 43, with a near even split between singles and married couples. Around 60% of residents were born in Hawaii, with most others relocating from mainland US states like California, Washington and Oregon in search of a more peaceful way of life.

There is great ethnic diversity, with Caucasian, Native Hawaiian, Asian and Hispanic groups all well-represented.


Leilani Estates might be tucked away from larger towns, but residents still enjoy excellent amenities. Within the neighborhood itself is a charming local farmers’ market open on weekends, allowing people to pick up fresh tropical produce.

There is also a popular cafe serving organic fair trade coffee and hosting community events. Just minutes down the road in Pahoa are grocery stores, restaurants, art galleries and yoga studios catering to Leilani Estate locals.

The excellent Pahoa Regional Park offers sporting facilities as well as walking trails through an old lava flow. And of course, residents revel in the natural amenities right on their doorstep – walking in rainforests or watching the sunrise over lava fields never gets old!

Environment and Climate

Volcanic Hazards

Leilani Estates is located on the eastern rift zone of Kilauea Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. This means residents face increased risk from volcanic hazards like lava flows, volcanic gas emissions, and earthquakes.

Since 1983, there have been multiple eruptions along the rift zone, with lava covering over 50 square miles of land near Leilani Estates. The most recent 2018 lower Puna eruption destroyed over 700 homes in the area.

While beautiful, living next to an active volcano carries serious risks that residents must be prepared for.

Lava Flow Risk

Due to its location, Leilani Estates has a high risk of lava flows. Since 1983, lava flows have covered parts of the subdivision 8 times, with multiple fissures opening up within the community itself.

The 2018 lower Puna eruption was especially destructive – fissures opened in Leilani Estates and sent lava towards the occupied areas of the subdivision. Over 700 homes and structures were destroyed by the lava flows and residents had to evacuate with little notice.

There are still fissures and cracks visible throughout Leilani Estates today. While beautiful, these serve as reminders that residents continue to live in an active lava flow hazard zone.

Rainfall and Weather Patterns

Rainfall and weather vary across Hawaii due to the trade winds and the islands’ location in the tropics. The windward sides of the islands receive much more rain while the leeward sides are drier.

Leilani Estates has a tropical rainforest climate, with substantial rainfall. Average annual rainfall is around 100 inches per year, with rain falling consistently throughout the year. While there is no true wet or dry season, rainfall does peak in winter months.

Temperatures in Leilani Estates are mild and consistent year-round, with average highs of 86°F in the summer and 79°F in the winter. Record lows have dipped to around 50°F during winter storms.

The consistent temperatures and rainfall help contribute to the lush, tropical landscape surrounding Leilani Estates and much of the Puna region.


In summary, Leilani Estates is situated in a beautiful but complex environmental region on Hawaii’s Big Island. Its location comes with scenic views and a strong community, but also natural hazards from the active Kilauea volcano.

Understanding this context helps appreciate both the appeals and challenges of living in Leilani Estates.

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