I am all about collecting memories, not things and I rarely buy anything while I am travelling to bring back with me for family, friends or myself. BUT, every once in a while I do bring back a small token of my appreciation.
So if you are in need of souvenirs while in Hawaii, here are a few options:
They are like convenience stores on steroids and located in almost every corner of Waikiki. You can find just about anything here: a cold beverage, pre-packaged lunch, t-shirts, coffee, chocolate, macadamias and other types of souvenirs. I even found fried cricket. Yes, that is something you can buy at an ABC store. Go figure!
Dole Plantation Store
On a previous post I mentioned how surprised I was to find so many products at the Dole Plantation store. It’s where I found most of my souvenirs- Hawaiian quilting fabric for my mother-in-law and a leather bracelet for my niece with her name written in Hawaiian. They also had jewelry and your many, many food products. You can also have them ship you some pineapples.
The family that owns the Kualoa Farm also rents land to local makers to sell their products. If you are driving up to the North Shore or to Kualoa Farm for a tour, stop by and try different types of macadamia, coffee and chocolate. We brought back several flavors of Macadamia nut and coffee. This is a good place to support the local farmers.
You can also feed the local birds the raw macadamia nuts. They love it!
I am a sucker for a good market or street festival. They are at the center of what makes a city tick and give you a sense of the local flavor that you can’t usually get anywhere else, so every time I travel somewhere, I have to visit at least one.
I had heard about the Aloha Market (Swap Meet) in Oahu. It’s outside a stadium and even though it was a little far from things, I had to give it a shot.
Upon arrival, I saw a fresh fruit stand and coconuts and made a beeline for it. I learned two things right away. Don’t judge a coconut by its size and appearance, the brown and small ones are super sweet, and two, some Hawaiians are not much for chit chat.
Here is how the conversation went with the man selling me the coconut:
Me: I am so glad I found you. I love coconut water!
Me: I will have one please! A big one!
Silence. The man starts to open a small coconut with a cigarette in his mouth.
Me: Where do you get the coconuts from? I have been all over the island and haven’t seen any coconuts.
Silence. The cigarette is still hanging from his mouth.
Man: You just need to know where to get them.
Hey! You can’t win them all, right?
Anyway, the Aloha Market is for those seriously souvenir shopping. It is less a farmer’s/craft market and more an over-sized, outdoor ABC store. There were t-shirts, swimwear, household knickknacks, food items, ukuleles and wood carved products.
All in all, I don’t think it was worth the drive and I couldn’t find a unique gift, but if you need to buy in bulk- for the whole family, this may be the place for it.
Here is some info about the market:
Hours: 6:30am- 3:00pm on Sundays
Location: Aloha Stadium
Entrance Fee: U$1
Additional tip: Get there early to avoid the blistering mid-day sun and crowds and enjoy some fresh fruit and coconut water!