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leighuf
February 7th, 2006, 11:09 AM
What was your favorite or best purchase in Hawaii? I'm heading to Hawaii in May for my first time. This topic was brought up on the Europe board and it helped me greatly during my Med cruise last October.

Thanks in advance for your replies. :cool:

Suebee
February 7th, 2006, 11:22 AM
Its always coffee for me....not that I 'visit' anymore.....I live here. But I find that stuff just collects dust. I like to get a sarong for the pool for wherever I may end up, some nice sandals....and an expensive bag of Kona coffee.

But something else that would be useful is a nice wooden bowl salad set. Or if you go to the swap meet they have these cool wooden bowl that are cut in a spiral so they lay flat when not in use but then expands to a bowl shape. Those are quite the conversation piece.

DonahCBrown
February 7th, 2006, 02:20 PM
What was your favorite or best purchase in Hawaii? I'm heading to Hawaii in May for my first time. This topic was brought up on the Europe board and it helped me greatly during my Med cruise last October.

Thanks in advance for your replies. :cool:

Foodstuffs:
Kona Coffee
Maui or Big Island wine - just for the conversation value - wine's not all that great - (or the winery tee shirts)
Kona chocolate - recently started making from locally grown cacao - very good
Macadamia nuts
Locally grown vanilla
Local white honey

Arts & Crafts:
locally made jewelry using volcanic glass
any local art that you like - a popular artist who has prints available is Peggy Hopper, there are lots of photographers doing volcano stuff - Brad Lewis is one of the better known ones, Victoria McCormick does lovely sea and landscape work.
anything made from Koa or Milo wood or bowls made from Norfolk Pine
Lauhala weavings - but make sure it is locally made - lots coming in from Southeast Asia and the Phillipines
Baskets made from coconut sheaths - the long bark type stuff from the trunks - very distinctive
Tapa cloth - this was an art form that had pretty much died out, but there has been a revival and there are some gorgeous pieces out there in some of the higher end shops
There are lots of things - from key chains to wall hangings and bronzes - made using the motifs from the petroglyphs, some are very elegant.
Hawaiian quilts are very distinctive and, if hand made here, very expensive. There are machine made knockoffs available, and there are some hand crafted smaller items using the quilt motifs that are readily available. There is also jewelry made in the quilt patterns, and a variety of small items like book marks, thimbles, pot holders, place mats, etc.
Ukeleles


Oils, perfumes, etc.
Plumeria is a popular fragrance, as is tuberose (although I find that one pretty overwhelming, personally)
Traditional oils and 'essences', both culinary and medicinal are available - kukui nut, coconut, ginger & noni are traditional - macadamia nut oil, while not traditional, is also available. Thre are a wide variety of products using these - just the straight oil, lotions and salves, soaps and creams, various culinary mixes, etc.
Lavendar is grown on the Big Island and there are a lot of widely available lavendar products from sachets to cooking herb mixes, lotions, bath salts, creams.

One of my favorite items to get while traveling is cds featuring local musicians - slack key guitar instrumentals would be a good choice here. The first Hawaiian music Grammy award went to a slack key album called Kohala. Dancing Cat Records has a lot of good slack key music, and one of my favorite artists is a local guy named John Keawe.

That should get you started, anyway!

margaretmerrill
February 7th, 2006, 04:51 PM
If you are in Honolulu, try the international market. It`s a fun place to shop, but you have to know to barter.

churee
February 7th, 2006, 05:00 PM
Two of my favorite buys were local cds. "Alone in IZ World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and "The Best of the Brothers Cazimero". I asked several Hawaiians who they would recommend and they all suggested IZ. (Also Gabby, but I never found his cd). I bought the Brothers cd because it was some of the music that was played via earphones on our Safari Helicopter flight over Kauai. (We booked it over the internet and I would give them an A+). I have been playing these cd's for the past week and love them!!!!!

We also bought a piece of fused and formed original glass art from the Big Island which we bought in Maui. The artist was Marian Fieldson. I also bought some notecards from Hawaiian artists.

Wished I had bought Macadamia nuts but didn't.

Joyce

spleen93
February 8th, 2006, 02:14 AM
I agree - if you're going to buy just ONE Hawaiian CD, then it should be something by Iz. I would have recommended "Facing Future" but "Alone" is not bad either. :)

Spleen

Suebee
February 8th, 2006, 11:32 AM
We have "Facing Future"...yep its a good one. But there are also a lot of artists with very different styles....Jake Shimabokuro, Slack Key Guitarists, vocals, Jawaiian, local pop....lots to choose from.

DonahCBrown
February 8th, 2006, 01:30 PM
We have "Facing Future"...yep its a good one. But there are also a lot of artists with very different styles....Jake Shimabokuro, Slack Key Guitarists, vocals, Jawaiian, local pop....lots to choose from.

What kind of vocal music people might like is sort of a tough call, but I've never met anyone who didn't enjoy slack key. If you're looking for Hawaiian music, try the Borders stores, as they will let you listen first and you can sample before you buy. Falsetto is kind of an acquired taste...

morriscats
February 9th, 2006, 02:05 AM
Haven't had the Big Island Wine but we love Maui Splash! Ice cold. Yumm

FnyFACEnAL
February 9th, 2006, 08:33 AM
a beautiful flowered mumu...

Spikesgirl
February 9th, 2006, 12:47 PM
Much of what used to be uniquely Hawaiian can now be found in local supermarkets, including Kona coffee and mac nuts (cheapest place on the islands is Long's Drug store). If you want something that is purely Hawaiian and will be on the Big Island, go to the Volcano Village general store and buy ohelo berry jam (or jelly if you prefer). Then walk around back and visit the quilting store - there are projects for both experienced and novice quilters, along with lots of other local gifts. Go to Volcano House and visit their stores - it's pricey, but they have very unique gifts. For something even more unique, walk over to the Volcano Arts and Craft Center. There are some beautiful bits and baubles there, along with art work, pottery, etc. You can even buy a koa wood rocking chair if you so choose.

Hawaii No Ka Oi,

Charlie

cruzincraven
February 9th, 2006, 04:03 PM
I always purchase a Christmas ornament that depicts the place that I visit. When I decorate my tree, it always reminds me of the great times I have had when traveling. I have a few Crusie ship ornaments as well.

kabookie
February 11th, 2006, 10:47 PM
I always purchase a Christmas ornament that depicts the place that I visit.


I'm not a knick-knacky person, so I've made it a practice to purchase earrings when I travel. I usually get something that reminds me of the trip or destination, and when I put them on months later, I always smile remembering where I was when I bought them.

HopkinsCruiser
February 12th, 2006, 07:29 PM
I do the Christmas Ornament thing, too, but I'm really enjoying all the suggestions. Like the salad bowl, coffee and nuts. We can't wait for our trip.

Thanks!
Tina :)
Pride of Hawaii
3/07

Middleager
February 17th, 2006, 12:45 AM
If you like to buy Kona coffee and like to buy many lbs, can consider contacting one of the coffee farms. We had 6 people and actually arranged with 2 farms. We bought 13 lbs from one and I think 15 lbs from the other. They met us at the pier at 4 (last tender at 4:30), good timing.

Both of them roasted the coffee that morning and vacumn packed that day. It was one of the best buys we had.

I've had other coffees, Blue Mountain (from Jamaica), Costa Rica, Brazil, etc. Kona coffee is very very good (and expensive, but worth it).

If you like to try yourself, can contact:
www.smithfarms.com (http://www.smithfarms.com)
or
http://www.koacoffee.com/coffeebeans.html

grannynanny
June 8th, 2007, 09:28 PM
Has anyone purchased the "key chains" with the English name on one side the Hawaiian name on the other. I lost the ones we purchased a few years ago (they make great gifts) and can't remember where I bought them. I went on line to ABC Stores and Hili Hatties, but ddidn't see them on their sites.
If anyone knows where to purchase these, I would appreciate it if you would share that info with me.
Thanks,
Nancy

jaxterry
June 9th, 2007, 12:27 AM
Red dirt tee shirts - for any men or young men. Buy them a little large as my husband's shrunk. One shop on north shore of Kauai had sign for $10 but most are about $20. (These are shirts dyed by the red dirt of Hawaii -available on Kauai and Maui at least).

robinpow
June 9th, 2007, 01:05 AM
Handcrafts are always nice.

The nut lei is very nice, cheap and easy to pack.

Red dirt t-shirts are defiantly different. As mentioned watch your prices... I saw them from $12 to $24.

As for the Kona coffee... I love the stuff, but didn't buy any. All the places I went to were charging way to much. Many of the growers sell online for about half of what the stores were selling it for. Use any search engine type "kona +coffee", trust me no shortage online.

Watch your nut prices too. Our local Walmart had (plain roasted) the same brand, for the same price.

The International Market in Honolulu, does have a couple of local craftsmen, however most is imported stuff. Tip, go out the back side and hit the Chinese restaurant... good food & cheap.

beachchick
June 9th, 2007, 04:26 AM
Foodstuff:

The absolute best and freshest Kona coffee (Kauai coffee is good too); I'll pay the price to get the good stuff direct from the coffee farms. We've actually found a few Kauai-Kona blends which have been fabulous. (Our favorites vary from visit to visit because coffee beans, like grapes, have "vintages" as well as variances in the roasting. Too bad we can't visit every season. LOL.)

Alaea Hawaiian sea salt (it's red from the volcanic rock and has a wonderful flavor; it's my sea salt of choice). Hint: buy at a market or at someplace like Ward Center's farmers market building because it's less than half the price of the fancy tourist "gift" containers at the souvenier shops (e.g., 1 lb in plain package for $3 at Ward vs 10 oz in snazzy plastic tube thing with decorations for $6 at gift store).

White honey, Lehua honey, and pretty much any other locally produced honey--Yum, yum, and yummy!

Mac nuts, but only in the flavors I can't find on the mainland (butter toffee, jalepeno, etc.)

Good jams. We like to look for ones at farmers markets or roadside stands or anywhere that it is more home-made or small-batch produced, rather than mass produced.

Various locally made hot sauces and dressings (lots of good chili sauces and pineapple dressings, etc.).

Big Island Candies goodies. Can you really go wrong with great chocolate?

Pineapple (there are several sources where you can purchase pineapple approved for export and have it delivered to the airport); papayas (must be fumigated and approved); Maui onions (must be approved)--You can't just buy a pineapple at the store or a roadside stand and take it home.


Other items:

A sarong or two, not the ones from other places, the ones made in Hawaii.

Aloha attire (Sears is a good source with good prices, especially the one in Ala Moana on Oahu).

Any of the CDs listed above (and others like them); love "Facing Future".

Fresh leis (orchid ones last well for take home; put them in a plastic bag, sprinkle with a little water, and then "blow up" the bag before tying the top or keep in the box it comes in, but still sprinkle with a bit of water).

A pretty pair of earrings, a bracelet, or a necklace. (Macy's in Waikiki on Kalakaua has some nice ones which don't cost a fortune, but are designed by Hawaiian jewelry makers. I don't go for the mass-produced ones, but there are tons and tons of things at places like the International Marketplace; those are an especially good choice for teens because they are inexpensive and fun.)

I'd love at least one piece of truly beautiful authentic Hawaiian Heritage jewelry or a really intricate Ni'ihau shell lei, but alas, the budget says no (sigh).

There are any number of beautiful pieces in various media made by local artists that are available in various galleries and shops; although we're not much for those types of souveniers, we bought a really lovely framed tile at a fair one time.

Of course there are all kinds of lotions, soaps, perfumes, and so forth. Some are really nice. (I must concur about the tuberose fragrance; it's pretty strong, just like the flowers themselves. That's why I always recommend not wearing a tuberose lei to dinner or other meals; you end up "tasting" the scent--it's that strong.) Plumeria (natural plumeria, not artificial fragrance) is one of my favorite scents.

My first trip, I bought everyone at home ornaments for that Christmas. Those were a big hit. We have a nice one for ourselves.

Aside from food items and some new aloha attire, we don't really bring home many souveniers. (I even buy CDs online at home.)

Edited: Oops, forgot my "sentimental" silly item. Must bring home one lei from Hilo Hattie to commemorate each trip. (You know, the free one they give you for walking in the door.)

beachchick

travel girl23
June 9th, 2007, 09:53 AM
The one item I always get when I go to Hawaii is their Pikake cologne and body lotion. I love the fragrance of the Pikake flower.
Our son brought back a kukui nut lei.
Grannynanny, the first time we ever went to Hawaii in 1991, I got one of those keychains. I used it for years and years. We have been going back about every other year since 2001 and I have seen those keychains but couldn't tell you exactly where. I think they had them at the Whaler's in Lahaina on Front Street. We are going back in October for a week and I will be glad to pick one up for you. Let me know if you want me to.
Also at the Whalers gift shop I got shell trivets to bring back for gifts. Inexpensive and pretty. Travelgirl

grannynanny
June 9th, 2007, 10:35 AM
Thank you so much for your offer...If I can't find them on line, I will accept your offer to purchase them for me, I only need 2. Please e-mail me at:
grannynanny21@bellsouth.net with your information, so we can make arrangements, I will be happy to send you a check in advance.

Tanks again,

Nancy

PS: Spleen93, maybe you can help me out with where to buy this item.

travel girl23
June 9th, 2007, 08:25 PM
Grannynanny, I just emailed you. Travelgirl

gwynnetx
June 10th, 2007, 01:26 AM
lol this post made me think of my last trip to hawaii and then, coming home and finding quite a few things at my local goodwill. just yesterday, in fact, i bought a really cute little dress from hilo hatti's for $5. i guess someone brought it back and then decided they didn't like it. i remember how expensive the clothing is at hh's, so i appreciate the bargain! my mom has also found several shirts form hilo hatti's at thrift stores as well.

grannynanny
June 10th, 2007, 11:37 AM
Thanks for your e-mail, I just sent one back to you.
Nancy

MommyJamiex4
June 11th, 2007, 11:54 AM
WOW is all I can say! LOL I want it all to remember my trip!! But the one thing that truly interests me is that colapsable wooden bowl. Where would I find that?

puablo
June 11th, 2007, 01:45 PM
My wife got a lei from Chinatown, it was beautiful and the smell was both strong and amazing. It didn't survive long after her wearing it all day in the sun for a couple days, but the smell made her buy up a ton of Pikake Jasmine bath products (found anywhere, like ABC or Hilo Hatties) and also the harder to find tuberose bath products, as her lei was made with both. The tuberose we found at Hilo Hatties in Kona, and also as a perfume in Macy's in Waikiki.

Also of course Macadamia Nut products, it is cheaper to buy chocolate covered madadamia pieces than whole nuts. We got a 6-pack for gifts at a price of $1.99 per box, courtesy of any of the ABC stores. I also bought my mom a plumeria flower bud, which they claim is a hardy and easy to grow Hawaiian flower (often used in leis).

As for coffee, I normally hate it, but we found that we surprisingly loved the Surfin' Ass brand of 100% Kona coffee, especially the Mauka (Medium) roast. Their store is down the main street in Kona, we are now enjoying it daily.

But really for me the single best must-buy item in all of Hawaii is the Dole pineapple ice cream at their plantation on Oahu. I WISH I could take that home!

RachieLnnn
June 11th, 2007, 04:54 PM
I always purchase a Christmas ornament that depicts the place that I visit. When I decorate my tree, it always reminds me of the great times I have had when traveling. I have a few Crusie ship ornaments as well.

Me too - I love pulling all my ornaments out every year! What sort of ornaments can you find in Hawaii?

dcikon2
June 11th, 2007, 07:50 PM
We like to collect Christmas ornaments and authentic wood carved items while on vacation. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to purchase ornaments and wood carved items?

travel girl23
June 12th, 2007, 08:35 AM
dcikon2, if you go to Lahaina, be sure to go in Whaler's General Store on Front Street. They have a little bit of everything. I feel certain they have Christmas ornaments there and also wood carved items. All those little souvenir shops on Front Street in Lahaina have lots of gift items. I have found so many neat things in that store. Have a great trip. Travelgirl

Bob-A-Loo
June 12th, 2007, 03:10 PM
Mac nut cookies from Tip Top Bakery - Lihue, Kauai - they are a MUST every time I go.

AZ Karaoke Girl
June 12th, 2007, 04:17 PM
Has anyone purchased the "key chains" with the English name on one side the Hawaiian name on the other. I lost the ones we purchased a few years ago (they make great gifts) and can't remember where I bought them. I went on line to ABC Stores and Hili Hatties, but ddidn't see them on their sites.
If anyone knows where to purchase these, I would appreciate it if you would share that info with me.
Thanks,
Nancy
I bought a gold keychain for my niece at ABC store in Kauai (Kapaa I think). It was $2.99 and said Aloha - Hawaii I think on one side and her name - hawaiian name.

I bought lots of souvenirs while I was there. I only bought one small can of mac nuts and my son & husband demolished them in seconds so I wish I had bought several.

My favorite thing I bought was a pill case for my purse that has a dolphin on it. Not really specifically Hawaiian and I could probably find something similar locally but everytime I reach for an Advil, I'll remember my trip to Hawaii and my headache will go away lol

AZ Karaoke Girl
June 12th, 2007, 05:09 PM
Almost forgot - I bought several hot pads made out of shells (could also be considered coasters or doilies). Got them at Hilo Hatties in Hilo.

beachchick
June 13th, 2007, 05:01 AM
I just thought of another good yummy. Ed & Don's various candy chews are really a nice change of pace from chocolate mac nuts. They're not expensive like Big Island Candies tend to be (for a reason--they are top-notch!), so they're good for bringing a little different and tasty goody for a gift (or for yourself). I really like the coconut chews best, but they have chocolate mac nut (it's a chocolate caramel, not chocolate covered) and Kona coffee caramels too. You can find them in many (most?) stores that carry the regular selection of mac nuts. I've bought them at Foodland and also at Food Pantry in Waikiki. I'm sure they're probably at ABC and Longs too. Just a nice little treat that's not expensive.

beachchick

JohnL1935
June 13th, 2007, 06:57 AM
A bring back favorite for us are the Hawaiian POTATO CHIPS. Great for snacking in the plane. Another different food item are their CRACKERS. They are much different than the Nabisco's we're used to and are virtually salt free. My wife opened a pack in the plane and ended up giving a package to one of the attendants.

John L.

Beach4me
June 13th, 2007, 09:44 PM
I always get a calendar for the next year. And I really like the hibiscus-dyed t-shirts from Crazy Shirts. Great color!

What I won't do anymore is drag back mac nuts. Eveyone wants them...but they are the same ones I can pick up at the Target. So that's exactly what I do. I'll be darned if I'm going to use my luggage limit on something that anyone can go buy at any grocery store, WalMart, or Target here at home. I just grab a few cans of 3 or 4 kinds and take them into the office when I get home.

The best things I ever buy are pieces of jewelry. I get everything from really expensive pieces to $5 toe rings.

Have a great trip!

chimerix
June 14th, 2007, 08:55 PM
When on Maui - pick up Maui Wowie candy bars. You can find them at the factory or at any Longs Drugs.

The coconut dark chocolate are to dye for! :D

Carolyn R
June 17th, 2007, 04:19 PM
you get what you pay for. I once bought a bottle of tuberose perfume in a high-end boutique in Maui for over $100 and it was fabulous, exactly like the flower and nothing like the cheap common version.

If you buy coffee make sure you buy 100% Kona and not a blend.

One of my favorite places for handcrafted gifts is the Blue Ginger Gallery in Kainaliu on the Kona side of the Big Island.

Another tip is if you want macadamia nuts go to the factory. They sell bags of seconds for much cheaper than the cans, perfectly good for both eating and baking.

Foodstuffs:
Kona Coffee
Maui or Big Island wine - just for the conversation value - wine's not all that great - (or the winery tee shirts)
Kona chocolate - recently started making from locally grown cacao - very good
Macadamia nuts
Locally grown vanilla
Local white honey

Arts & Crafts:
locally made jewelry using volcanic glass
any local art that you like - a popular artist who has prints available is Peggy Hopper, there are lots of photographers doing volcano stuff - Brad Lewis is one of the better known ones, Victoria McCormick does lovely sea and landscape work.
anything made from Koa or Milo wood or bowls made from Norfolk Pine
Lauhala weavings - but make sure it is locally made - lots coming in from Southeast Asia and the Phillipines
Baskets made from coconut sheaths - the long bark type stuff from the trunks - very distinctive
Tapa cloth - this was an art form that had pretty much died out, but there has been a revival and there are some gorgeous pieces out there in some of the higher end shops
There are lots of things - from key chains to wall hangings and bronzes - made using the motifs from the petroglyphs, some are very elegant.
Hawaiian quilts are very distinctive and, if hand made here, very expensive. There are machine made knockoffs available, and there are some hand crafted smaller items using the quilt motifs that are readily available. There is also jewelry made in the quilt patterns, and a variety of small items like book marks, thimbles, pot holders, place mats, etc.
Ukeleles


Oils, perfumes, etc.
Plumeria is a popular fragrance, as is tuberose (although I find that one pretty overwhelming, personally)
Traditional oils and 'essences', both culinary and medicinal are available - kukui nut, coconut, ginger & noni are traditional - macadamia nut oil, while not traditional, is also available. Thre are a wide variety of products using these - just the straight oil, lotions and salves, soaps and creams, various culinary mixes, etc.
Lavendar is grown on the Big Island and there are a lot of widely available lavendar products from sachets to cooking herb mixes, lotions, bath salts, creams.

One of my favorite items to get while traveling is cds featuring local musicians - slack key guitar instrumentals would be a good choice here. The first Hawaiian music Grammy award went to a slack key album called Kohala. Dancing Cat Records has a lot of good slack key music, and one of my favorite artists is a local guy named John Keawe.

That should get you started, anyway!

cruiseman40
June 23rd, 2007, 10:59 PM
I wish I would have bought more shirts at the Swapmeet because it's cheaper there for T-shirts as gifts. When I went to Kauai bought Tshirts there and they were a little more expensive. I bought several lava lava and sarongs from the Swapmeet and Chinatown. Great prices there. However, Hilo Hattie and ABC stores are almost none existant in all ports if you want to get last minute gifts

Pete.

P.S. Hilo H. and ABC stores almost comparible to Starbuck in abundance of stores throughout Hawaii.

Are we there yet?
June 23rd, 2007, 11:55 PM
What is a "swapmeet"?:)