Ewa Beach's name, according to legend, was coined one day when the gods were playing a game called ula maika on the beach; one of the stones rolled astray, which led to the beach being named Ewa, meaning 'astray'.
Ewa Beach, on the western coast of Oahu, has one of the best climates anywhere in Hawaii: hot, sunny and dry, with little annual rainfall to speak of. It is one of the quieter places to live in on Oahu, lacking the touristy feel of places like Waikiki or Honolulu, instead having more of a residential vibe. The beaches are less suitable for swimming due to the presence of a reef close in, but are perfect for surfing and snorkeling, and as such, are less busy than the sandy beaches in other areas along the coast.
Tips for renting in Ewa Beach
Here are some tips to help you find your feet in Ewa Beach:
Be prepared for sticker shock
You will find little difference in cost between two-bedroom apartments for rent in Ewa Beach and three- or even four-bedroom apartments in the same area, and rental prices are significantly lower than in nearby Kapolei. That said, the cost of living is still significantly higher than the national average, so what is a reasonable cost by Hawaiian standards will likely still give you sticker shock if you're new to the area.
Consider your commute
Depending on the time of day, your commute will either be a leisurely drive or a crazy-making crawl. Traffic is very congested during rush hour, so if your work is outside of Ewa Beach and during standard hours, you may want to consider public transport or working from home. However -- if your work is local, your hours are non-standard or your office is your home, traffic will not affect you, so it's all relative.
Read the fine print
Some studio apartments or one-bedroom apartments for rent have utilities included in the rent. Not only is this a way to reduce your cost of living, it also ensures that you have no nasty surprises when managing your budget. Not to mention, it may mean you can afford a slightly nicer place.
Drive around and check out the wider area
Before you commit to that fab little house to rent, do your homework. Don't just look at the house and the street, take a drive around the wider area and pay attention. Since there are no distinct neighborhoods in Ewa Beach, it's even more important to be sure of the future area you're going to be calling home before locking it down.
Be prepared to get social
Community is very important in Hawaii, so be prepared to participate in your new community and become an integral part of it. Attend social events, accept invitations and reciprocate them you can. Learn some basic Hawaiian phrases and vocabulary -- while you can get by fine with just English (it is the most widely spoken language on the island), Hawaiian is one of the official languages of the island and your efforts to learn it will be appreciated.
Life in Ewa Beach
Ewa Beach, once known for its sugar plantations, is a pleasant, relaxed beachfront community. Its industries include coffee, pineapple, maritime commerce, rice and sugar, and its history is strongly linked with that of the Hawaii Railway. It is not the business and trade hub that nearby Kapolei has become, nor is it as costly to live in; but with only a 12-minute drive to Kapolei and 33 minutes to Honolulu in non-rush hour traffic, it has easy access to the amenities and lifestyle offered by the bigger cities. Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake might take surfing lessons in Oahu, but your chances of running into them at laid-back Ewa Beach are probably slim to none.
Living in Ewa beach, you have several golf courses (Barbers Point Golf Course or Hawaii Prince Golf Club) to choose from for your Sunday morning tee hop, and numerous parks to relax in, sip your Starbucks, or go for a leisurely walk or an energizing run. Wander down to Restaurant Saito for a delicious wafu steak or visit the Ewa Seed Company for some shaved ice on a hot day. Have a night out (karaoke anyone?) at Ting's Place and catch some awesome headliners in concert at the aptly named MayJah RayJah in Waipahu, just north of Ewa Beach. Set yourself up with some snorkeling gear or a surfboard and join the locals in the surf on your days off. Or ask the locals for tips on the best sandy spots and swimming holes in the reef - they're a little hidden, but they're there, and being hidden means they aren't overrun with a zillion other swimmers.
If you've decided that Ewa Beach is the (hot and sunny) place for you, let your fingers do the walking and get to organizing your big move!! It's all there waiting for you, so carpe diem!!