Souvenirs from Hawaii

I’ve just finished reading this very humorous look at souvenir shopping for friends and family.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at this excerpt: 

Whatever made me think my tough-talking Teamster dad would enjoy sipping his Folgers from a commemorative Prince Charles and Lady Di engagement coffee cup? And what possessed me to consider my best friend, Pam, when I bought that clock in Germany? The one that bellowed “COO-COO” every hour, on the hour? In Heidelberg, it was cute. In Alameda, it was an annoying sleep disturber that turned a quick buck in her next garage sale.

So, reading that article inspired me to share some of my thoughts on souvenirs from Hawaii.  What I like to bring back for friends and family is a selection of goodies that I like to call a little “taste of Hawaii”.  The following items have always been a big hit:

  • 100% Kona coffee (make sure it says 100% and not “10% blend”)
  • Coconut Syrup (which is so yummy on pancakes!)
  • Macadamia Nuts (yeah, I know you can pick up macadamia nuts in almost any grocery store, but there seems to be a wider flavor  selection and much better prices in Hawaii.  My suggestion is to skip the nicely packaged box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts that you find in typical souvenir shops, as they are usually way over priced and to be honest, they never seem to taste as great as the Mauna Loa nuts. 

The good news is that you can find all these items at discount department stores like Wal-Mart or K-Mart and save a bunch of money.  All of them are relatively small and easy to pack, though I would wrap the coconut syrup inside a plastic bag.

Some treasured souvenirs that I have brought home for myself are prints of the Kapalua golf course and Hanalei Bay from various artists.  I also have a nice signed Gary Reed book of Paintings of Hawaii. 

I hope these ideas have been helpful and not made you too hungry in the process of reading them.  😉

  1. I agree entirely that K-mart and WalMart are good places to shop for standard souvenirs in Hawaii, especially T-shirts. Some of the supermarkets have nice souvenir sections as well. One particularly nice selection is at the Foodland supermarket in Waimea on the Big Island. Worth a stop if you are touring the Big Island by car.

    Here’s another tip from a Hawaii resident (moi!).

    If you are looking for good quality aloha shirts, for yourself or to take home as gifts, drop in at Costco. Yes, really. They carry quite a good selection of ‘name brand’ aloha shirts, including the popular “reverse print” shirts made by Cook Street. These are not junky ‘souvenir quality’ shirts. They are nice ones — the kind that local business people wear to their offices. Costco also sells nuts, coffee, and similar products at very good prices — but since it’s Costco, they’re sold in 8-packs, and 12-packs, of course.


  2. How can I get in touch with a vendor to order several “reverse print” shirts made by Cook Street? I lived in Hawaii for 13 years but have been away for several years. My Aloha shirts are wearing out.

  3. I always bring home magnets—usually like a surfboard one. They are inexpensive & cute!
    We bought dry coconut syrup mix–much easier to bring home & tastes delicious!
    Also brought Kauai Coffee Company coffee home. My friends loved it!

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