For the average tourist a trip to Hawaii might involve a crowded Honolulu beach, some fruity drinks, perhaps a flower lei. But for those with bigger bank accounts and perhaps the right connections, a completely different Hawaii paradise awaits.
Carved into the lava of the Big Island’s Kona coast, Kukio is Hawaii’s most exclusive neighborhood. The enclave grew out of the adjacent development to the north called Hualalai, when property owners decided they wanted to form an even more restricted community. While Hualalai has a Four Seasons Hotel and welcomes day-trippers, Kukio is open only to homeowners and their guests–you can’t even enter its gates without the express permission of a homeowner. Many of the owners travel from the Bay Area, where a private flying club dubbed the “Kona Shuttle” whisks them to the island and on Thursdays and back again on Sundays.