Land in Hawaii and Kauai- Kuleanas and How to Buy Them

Ever wonder what kind of obstacles you might encounter when acquiring a piece of “Kuleana Land” on Kauai?  A Kuleana is a fee simple parcel, but it is land locked inside another larger parcel.  We do sell them, but it is good to know the details of what will be in store.

Kuleana lands were deeded to native Hawaiian families by the Hawaiian Kingdom in the mid to late 1800's and today these unique parcels of fee simple land are available for sale.  Most Kuleana lots lack conventional access.  Although it may not be landlocked, and on paper it appears to be accessible, the access may be by way of a foot trail only.  The asking price is usually substantially cheaper than other improved vacant lots because of the access and utility issues, however, the surrounding views are generally very natural and untouched, with the feeling of Old Hawaii Nei. 

Buyer Beware!  Paying cash or doing an Agreement of Sale is the easy part; one should do his or her due diligence to check on the availability of building permits. In additon you may have trouble financing new construction.  Be advised that the cost of a Title Search may be surprisingly higher than anticipated.  Title companies generally have  to do a "long search" with a Kuleana,  and the documents in the chain of title may still recorded in the Hawaiian language. 

I have sold Kuleanas in the past and can help you with your purchase or sale. Email me at or call me at 808-639-8909.

About the Author

Terisita Kaluahine ,


Teri, a life-long resident of Kauai, began her career in real estate on the island over 20 years ago. She specializes in residential sales, vacant land sales, land + new construction sales, and most especially first-time buyer sales, which she considers to be the most rewarding of all. In 1992 Teri received her GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute) designation, and in 1996 received her CRS (Council of Certified Residential Specialists) designation. The council awards the CRS designation, the highest credential award, to Realtors who have completed its advanced educational and professional requirements in residential sales. Teri remains intensely focused on service and integrity, making her a highly respected professional in the industry. Currently a volunteer preparing hot meals for our local Emergency Homeless Shelter, Teri also has over ten years experience as a Therapeutic Foster Care Provider and has provided “Kinship Care” through the State Foster Care Program. Teri is also a major supporter and advocate for the disabled. Teri enjoys the unspoiled nature and beauty of Kauai, and takes advantage of the year-round sunshine through biking and swimming. She is a 1975 graduate of Kapa’a High School, mother of two, and proud grandmother of her first grandchild, Chloe Ihilani Hatsuko Kaluahine.

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