The 3 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Kukio

The 3 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Kukio

When discussing luxury real estate across the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu, the state's most populated land mass and home to Honolulu, and Kauai, the most geographically and environmentally diverse and naturally resort-like land mass, often grab the majority of headlines.

But venture over to the Big Island of Hawaii, and you'll discover plenty of luxury estates and oceanfront compounds on par with some of the world's most opulent homes.

One region in particular is doing its best to corner the market on breathtaking homes and stunning plots of land on which to build breathtaking homes — the North Kona coastal enclave of Kukio.

A Big Island gem

A landscape strafed with hardened lava flows and outlined in stark-white beaches, it's an area as spectacular as any in the state, if not more so. Long a hidden gem playground for billionaires and their families and friends, an influx of new homeowners are discovering Kukio's lofty lifestyle isn't wholly out of reach.

Gazing out into the emerald-blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, it's easy to justify this sliver of coastal perfection as a just reward for a lifetime of success.


Spread across roughly 1,100 gorgeous acres of the North Kona coastline, Kukio Golf and Beach Club is a private residential club featuring three distinctive neighborhoods — Kukio, Kaupulehu, and Maniniowali — and an unparalleled luxury lifestyle.

Though the entirety of the development sits to the north of Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Highway 19), the northernmost community of Kaupulehu sits apart from its sibling neighborhoods on the far side of Four Seasons Hualalai Resort.

To the south of Kukio, on the opposite side of Highway 19, is Kukio's Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole championship golf course. Sculpted from the hillside overlooking the Kukio community and the Kona Coast, the stunning 7,419-yard layout is one of two courses exclusive to Kukio residents (the other is the 10-hole Fazio-designed short course at the heart of the Kukio neighborhood).

Though only Kukio homeowners and their accompanied guests are afforded access to the community and its amenities, residents enjoy easy access to neighboring areas on the Big Island's northwest coast. Kona International Airport is less than 15 minutes from Kukio. The shopping and dining of Kailua-Kona are an additional 10 minutes further south on Highway 19.

Along with the adjacent Hualalai Resort, the Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea resorts further north along the coastline, and Kailua-Kona to the south, this region is collectively considered Hawaii Island's Gold Coast.

Kukio neighborhoods

For the uninitiated, the excellent news about attempting to choose which Kukio neighborhood is the best is there are only three from which to choose. The bad news is that deciding between the three sites is nearly impossible, considering the beautiful location, magnificent homes, stellar amenities, and infinite ocean views. It's a good problem to have.


The namesake neighborhood at the heart of the entire development, Kukio is the first choice of many homebuyers thanks to its numerous lifestyle options and proximity to several of the development's top amenities.

At 675 acres, Kukio is the largest of the development's three neighborhoods. It includes 143 home sites and 31 cottages that meander around the 10-hole Tom Fazio short course. Residents in Kukio also have direct access to most of the club's amenities, including the Beach Club, spa and fitness facility, dining area, and concierge and member services.

In addition, both Kukio and Maniniowali residents can directly access the 18-hole Tom Fazio golf course and clubhouse, including the wonderful dining room, by car or golf cart via a tunnel under Highway 19.


Separated from Kukio's other two neighborhoods by the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort, Kaupulehu is a starkly majestic enclave hugging the Pacific Ocean coast. It's not unusual to get up close and personal with the ocean wildlife, with whale and dolphin sightings a common occurrence.

Home sites are carved from ancient lava flows, a defining feature of this region of Hawaii Island. Though you're a minute's drive from the heart of the Kukio neighborhood, Kaupulehu features a greater sense of seclusion versus the other two developments. It's a noteworthy amenity that more discrete buyers appreciate.

Not entirely left to fend for yourself, Kaupulehu has its own beach club, which includes twin pools, a full dining room and bar area, and lush events lawn overlooking the Pacific.


Overlooking its namesake beach and Kua Bay just beyond, Maniniowali is the southernmost of the Kukio communities. With its tiered, aesthetically pleasing layout, the majority of the neighborhood's 135 home sites feature sweeping ocean views.

There's also a wide variety of homes for would-be buyers to consider, with roughly 80% of sites accommodating estate-level residences, with a third of those up to three acres in size.

For those searching for a more modest footprint, several well-appointed villa homes occupy a swath of land adjacent to Kekaha Kai State Park and Maniniowali Beach.

Maniniowali is also home to Kukio's sports complex. The nearly five-acre facility is designed with young and old in mind. It includes a pool with a winding 45-foot slide and children's wading ledge, four tennis courts, three pickle ball courts, standard size, half-court basketball court, and a grass 50x100 yard multi-purpose athletic field.

And the winner is…

As we said at the top, it's a definite tie.

There isn't a wrong choice here. When comparing various levels of lavishly spectacular oceanfront living, one can't help but return to the fact that all three neighborhoods are spectacular.

  • Kukio is the original and most mature of the developments, with phenomenal luxury home options and direct access to many community amenities.

  • Kaupulehu offers a peaceful, secluded setting with magnificent homesites, endless ocean views, and an outstanding on-site beach club.

  • Maniniowali is an ideal landing spot for more active homeowners with direct access to the beach, Kekaha Kai State Park, the 18-hole championship golf course, and the superb sports complex.
When choosing one of these amazing communities to call home, the best one ultimately comes down to what's best for you.

Discover even more of the Big Island's Gold Coast

Are you interested in additional information about the Kukio Gold and Beach Club? Or is another of North Kona's outstanding high-end luxury communities piquing your interest? Contact Carrie Nicholson today and allow her experience and expertise to be your guide to North Kona real estate and Big Island luxury properties.


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As the luxury division of Hawai’i Life, HL1 has the opportunity to share exceptional Hawaii properties with a select group of people. HL1 is design, quality, and total service; a natural evolution in representation.

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