From hand-carved wooden honu turtles to the islan'ds famous pineapple, these specialties make the perfect gift from Maui.
Here’s the thing about souvenirs: Through sight and sound, smell and taste—or simply through memory—they can take you back to a place that’s thousands of miles away. And Hawaii is a destination many people want to relive. Read on for our list of local, artisanal gifts from Maui that bring the island to your home.
Whether it’s Maui Mokka from Maui Grown Coffee or beans from O‘o Farm, a cup of freshly brewed Maui coffee helps start the morning off right. The coffee industry on the island is booming, and you can even find beans out at Ono Farms—located 40 minutes past Hana. For a selection of beans you can buy by the pound, visit Anthony’s Coffee Company in Paia (90 Hana Highway, Paia; 800-882-6509), and for gourmet coffee bought straight from the source, hit Launiupoko Farmers Market on Saturday.
Hand Carved Honu
If at any point you went snorkeling in Maui you probably saw a honu. These Hawaiian Green sea turtles are revered for their grace and beauty when swimming underwater, and their figure is found on Maui souvenirs, from t-shirts to jewelry and mugs. The best honu you can buy, however, are exquisitely carved from wood, and are handcrafted by locals using only a chisel and tools. To shop for hand-carved honu in Maui, listen for the sound of chisels striking wood by Lahaina’s famous banyan tree, or ask for Funaki, the resident carver, at Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel.
Ni‘ihau Shell Jewelry
Luxurious, unique, exotic—and small—Ni‘ihau shells are the most authentic jewelry you could bring home from Hawaii. Only found on the shores of Ni‘ihau, these shells are crafted into necklaces and earrings that are Hawaii’s most sought-after jewelry. On Maui, visit Totally Hawaiian or Maui Hands to check out the different offerings.
Maui has stringent agricultural rules for taking produce off the island, but pineapple is one of the few exceptions you can legally ship back home. Thanks to the taste of Maui Gold pineapple—which is sweet instead of bitter—the island operates America’s only pineapple plantation. Buy your pineapples from Mr. Pineapple en route to Kahului airport, or get a free pineapple in a take-home box at the end of the Maui Pineapple Tour.
Finally, whether you’re visiting Tuscany, Mendoza, Marlborough, Napa, Adelaide, or Cape Town, bringing home a bottle of wine is a commemorative end to a trip, and Maui is no different. Pick up some island-grown red and white blends at the Maui Wine tasting room in Ulupalakua—an historic cottage where King Kalakaua once stayed in the 19th century.
No one said souvenirs had to be expensive, and “rubbah slippahs” are one of the most popular gift people buy here. “Sandals” are “slippers” here in Maui, and the basic, rubber-soled, convenience store type are the official footwear of locals. Fittingly, the “Locals” brand has a cult-like following. They cost only $5 at Maui stores such as Long’s, but the slippers can last for over a year even with regular, everyday use.
Kyle Ellison is on the Hawaii beat for Travel + Leisure. He divides his time between Hawaii and Asheville, N.C.