Sending Aloha: The Best Hawaiian Gifts to Remember Your Trip

Last Updated:  August 18, 2018

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Hawaii is full of things you can’t take home, like pearly white coconuts, fiery red lava, and iridescent triggerfish. Fortunately, each of the main Hawaiian islands also sports a booming community of craftspeople, artisans, and foodies that make the absolute best Hawaiian gifts.

Whether you’re looking to send a little piece of the islands to friends and family back home or just know someone who loves all things Hawaiian, you’re sure to find your island makana here!

The Best Hawaiian Gifts!

1. Screen Prints and Posters by Nick Kuchar ($25)

Best Hawaiian Gifts - Original Travel Posters
With 50+ original travel posters, Nick’s got something for everyone.

You don’t have to have a tiki bar in the basement to hang one of Nick Kuchar’s excellent travel posters on the wall. And you don’t have to be sitting on a beach to use one of his stylish “Party Wave” coasters for your coconut mojito.

Fans of mid-century modern design will appreciate Nick’s eye for sensual lines, creamy colors, and perfectly balanced compositions. His original art is happy, wistful, and somehow evokes both the past and the future at once.

Everything ships from ‘Ewa Beach on Oahu.

2. 100% Kona Coffee from Mokulele Farms

Hawaiian Gifts - Kona Coffee Beans
This just might be the best coffee in the world. Really.

True Kona Coffee is expensive because only beans grown along a narrow swath of land in the mountains above Kona can legally use the moniker. You’ll see lots of Kona blends out there at lower price points, but they’re just a sad watered down version of the real thing. Mokulele Farms is as authentic as it gets. They’ll ship you a one pound bag of hand-picked freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee beans at a fair price in a stay-fresh bag. It feels good to know every dollar goes to the farm, doesn’t it?

$31/lb Etsy >

There’s also a monthly Hawaii coffee tour subscription for true coffee nuts.

3. Men’s Koa Wood Watch

Hawaiian Gifts - Men's Koa Wood Watch
Leave it set on Hawaii time and you’ll be fashionably late for everything.

This watch tells time all right, but it’s the silky smooth and nicely grained koa wood that steals the show. Koa is native to Hawaii and only the dead trees are harvested after a lifespan of 50-80 years.  It’s particularly plentiful on the Big Island, where forests of koa used to dominate the middle elevations. Over time, the word koa came to mean “warrior” since it’s solid enough to use for carving weapons.  It’s also the material that the first surfboards were made from. This simple and subtle watch honors the long history of Hawaii’s most famous species of tree.

$165 Etsy >

4. Temporary Tattoos from Kauai

Hawaiian Gifts - Temporary Tattoos
You’ll get a solid week of sparkle out of these stylish temporary tattoos.

Take a turtle and some island waves home with you! Tats 4 Now honed their design skills on Kauai and takes inspiration from native Hawaiian art with a little bit of hip-hop mixed in for good measure. Their 5 x 7″ sheet of glittery silver and gold temporary tattoos is chock full of island-themed glam. Who knew “ALOHA” could still read as “ALOHA” upside down? Ships from Kapaa on Kauai.

$7.00 Etsy >

5. Tropical Sugar Cookies by Melissa Burns

Hawaiian Gifts - Tropical Sugar Cookies
Check out her other sugar cookie listings for hula dancers, surfboards, and palm trees.

If the reviews are to be trusted, these are among the freshest and most delicious cookies in all of the Pacific. The fact that they’re meticulously decorated in tropical island themes and packaged up beautifully for shipping to the mainland is a total bonus. Melissa’s Etsy shop, A Little Bit of Paris, makes everything to order and then ships promptly anywhere in the world from Kea’au on the Big Island of Hawaii. Sets of 12 cookies arrive fresh, intact, and ready to devour!

$40 Etsy >

6. Vintage Hawaiian Shirts

Hawaiian Gifts - Vintage Men's Shirt
It’s worth spending a few extra bucks to get real Hawaiian aloha wear shirts from the 60s and 70s.

I still have the first real Hawaiian shirt I ever bought, from a thrift shop in Honokaa on the Big Island. It’s the real deal, circa 1962 with marvelous wooden buttons and a faded blue print that only gets more faded with time. Thanks to the internet, you can now order up your very own vintage Hawaiian shirt from thrift shops like Pele’s Treasure Trove and Chic Vintage Hawaii. No Tommy Bahama impostors here!

$30+ Etsy >

7. (Dehydrated) Macadamia Nuts

Hawaiian Gifts - Macadamia Nuts
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill Mauna Loa macadamias!

If you’re used to eating the typical roasted and salted macadamia nuts you find at Trader Joe’s or your local grocery, then you’re missing out on the real deal. We had our first taste of dehydrated unsalted macadamia nuts south of Kona on the Big Island, and they are without a doubt more crispy, more delicious, and fresher tasting than their more processed brethren. The dehydration process locks in the natural oils and produces a snappy crunch that’ll keep for up to six months when refrigerated. Try ’em and you’ll never again buy regular old macadamia nuts!

$15 Etsy >

For flavored and otherwise sweetened, spiced, and dressed up macadamia nuts, it’s hard to beat Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company’s incredible selection.

8. A Fresh Flower Lei

Hawaiian Gifts - Fresh Flower Lei
Don’t panic! It’s (sometimes) okay to pay more for shipping than the gift itself.

It’s no secret that your sense of smell is intimately linked to your deepest memories and emotions. When you drop a fresh flower lei on someone, there’s no telling where their mind may wander. This tropical sensory experience used to be reserved for Hawaiian royalty but it’s now available to anyone with a credit card and a mailing address. Aloha Island Lei has a colorful selection and a reliable shipping program that’ll get your leis to your doorstep looking and smelling as fresh as the moment they were strung.

$9 (+25 shipping) Etsy >

For a masculine look, check out the Deluxe Kukui Nut Lei.

9. Hawaii In Paint Wall Art

Hawaiian Gifts - Hawaii Islands Wall Art
Each island is painted in subtle hues to match its unique flora.

This limited edition print by Denise Wong nicely captures the fleeting colors of the Pacific Ocean and the improbable volcanic islands that interrupt its vast blue expanse. Hawaii in Paint is printed on archival paper with deluxe pigment inks for vibrant colors that last longer than memories. It’s available framed and unframed in many sizes, from a simple 5 x 7 all the way up to a show-stopping 54 x 40 inches.

$100 (more or less), Minted >

Instagrammers will love this sun-drenched shot of Waikiki.

10. An Authentic Hawaiian Ukelele

Hawaiian Gifts - Ukelele
There’s so much more to the ukulele than Tiny Bubbles!

If you ever find yourself in Hawi at the very northern tip of the Big Island, definitely drop by a little shop called Hawaii Cigar & Ukelele. They have one of the finest selections of vintage ukeleles (and Hawaiian shirts) in all the islands. Then be sure to hike the Pololu Valley trail. It’s short, steep, and makes you think you’re on Kauai for a spell.

$500+ Hawaiian Cigar & Ukelele >

11. Manta Ray Necklace

Hawaiian Gifts - Manta Ray Necklace
Kailua-based designer Ted Dailey perfectly captures the fluidity of the manta ray.

Manta rays are among the least understood and most graceful creatures that plumb the depths of the Pacific. Their gentle demeanor is perhaps surpassed only by their amazing ability to glide silently underwater at speeds up to forty miles an hour. There are few places on Earth where you can swim with manta rays, and the Big Island is one of them. Celebrate these gentle giants with a sterling silver necklace made right in Kona.

$45 Etsy >

12. A Vintage One-of-a-Kind Find

This vintage license plate is probably gone by now, but surely some new tropical ephemera awaits.

You never know what strangely amusing piece of Polynesia you’ll discover when you duck into a thrift shop or vintage store in Hawaii. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy a plane ticket to poke around Mauna Kea Galleries in Honolulu. They post some of their most unique and original finds to their Etsy shop and their shipping costs to the mainland are exceedingly reasonable.

$5 to $1,000 Etsy >

13. Hawaiian Music Playlists

Hawaiian Gifts - Spotify Playlist
With 700+ songs, you’ll never run out of island tunes.

Gone are the days when you could tee up your twelve favorite songs, record a mixtape, and handwrite a sweet note on the inside cover. In its place, are ungodly long Spotify playlists put together by serious connoisseurs of just about every genre under the sun. Luckily for you, that includes plenty of Hawaiian music, from traditional to more hip-hoppy fare. Here are our favorites:

To send someone a Spotify playlist as a gift, navigate to the playlist in the app, click on “Share” and then use the “Send To” tab to enter their name. Finally, add a short gift note and send away.

14. Give Them A Little Poke

Hawaiian Gifts - Poke Cookbook
Just add some really fresh fish!

This is the one book I’ve taken with me on just about every trip to Hawaii. To the newly exposed, the raw fish dish known simply as poke may seem simple and easy to execute. But there’s much more to poke than fresh ahi and soy sauce. Sam Choy gets all the details right in this tiny tome. Who needs to order that $19 tuna tartare appetizer when you can make a pound of poke at home for the same money?

$8 Amazon >


Did we miss one of your favorite Hawaiian gifts? E kala mai iaʻu! Let us know about it in the comments and we might include it in a regular post update.