Formally known as Kamuela, the town of Waimea is called such by locals despite its official designation as “Kamuela” by the U.S. post office. While this can sometimes be confusing for tourist, the reason is simple: another town by the same name already exists elsewhere on the Hawaiian islands and the post office won’t allow two towns to have the same name within the same state. Among residents, however, the town is and always will be known as Waimea.
Waimea’s Cowboy History
Waimea town has a proud cowboy history, dating all the way back to the founder of Parker Ranch, John Parker. Much of what is known today as Waimea was once known as Parker Ranch, with the ranch covering 500,000 acres of the town’s land. This cowboy heritage has stuck with Waimea, with many people in the town still being actively involved in farming and ranching. In addition, a life-sized statue of Ikua Purdy can be found in downtown Waimea, paying tribute to the first Hawaiian to win the 1908 word champion steer-roping contest in Wyoming. Therefore, anyone who lives in Waimea can expect to hear quite a bit about ranching and to be included in the celebration of the town’s cowboy history.
Finding What You Need in Waimea
With a population of just around 10,000, Waimea is the largest town in North Kohala. As such, it offers everything needed for day-to-day living, and it is all within relatively easy reach. In fact, practically everything you need is within walking distance. This includes supermarkets, health food stores, coffee shops, clothing boutiques and hairdressers. A variety of services are also available in the town, including a post office, doctors’ offices, dentists, car repair services and even a hospital. Professional services such as website designers, architects and interior decorators are also found in the town, as is a small local newspaper called the North Hawaii News.
Working, Schooling and Socializing in Waimea
Waimea is also home to several employers, meaning residents do not have to travel far in order to find work. In fact, Keck Observatory and the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope are both headquartered in Waimea. Outside of work, several social organizations are located in Waimea. These include the civic clubs of Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, the Waimea Community Association and a Rotary Club. Several excellent schools, including Parker School, Waimea Country School, the Hawaiian Kanu o Ka Aina charter school and the Hawaii Preparatory School are also found in the town.
The Waimea Lifestyle
Since it is located 2,600 feet above sea level, Waimea tens to be cooler than those communities that are located along the coastline. Nonetheless, the town is only a few minutes away from some of the best beaches the island has to offer. With its mountain views, the town also boasts award-winning golf courses and spas along with ample cultural activities. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival in February and the Parker Ranch July 4th rodeo both attract large crowds every year.