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What Not to Buy in Hawaii

What Not to Buy in Hawaii

Hawaii, with its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and unique culture, is a dream destination for many travelers. While exploring this beautiful paradise, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and buy souvenirs or products that may not be worth your money or suitcase space. To help you make informed decisions, we have compiled a list of things you should avoid buying in Hawaii.

1. Pineapples
Hawaii is often associated with pineapples, and it’s tempting to bring home this tropical fruit as a souvenir. However, due to strict agricultural regulations, fresh pineapples are not allowed to be taken out of the islands. Moreover, pineapples found in local grocery stores are often not as fresh as those you can find in your hometown. Instead, enjoy the sweet taste of Hawaii’s pineapples during your stay and leave the hassle of transporting them behind.

2. Macadamia Nuts
Another popular Hawaiian product is macadamia nuts. While they are undeniably delicious, they can be quite expensive compared to what you might find elsewhere. If you’re a fan of these nuts, it’s better to buy them in bulk from stores or online retailers, where they are often available at lower prices. This way, you can enjoy them without breaking the bank.

3. Hawaiian Shirts and Dresses
Hawaiian shirts and dresses, known as “aloha wear,” are iconic symbols of the islands. However, be cautious when purchasing these items as they can be overpriced in tourist areas. To avoid paying inflated prices, consider buying them from local stores or markets rather than souvenir shops. You’ll find a wider variety of designs and better deals if you venture beyond the typical tourist spots.

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4. Sea Shells
Collecting sea shells is a common activity for beachgoers, but it’s important to remember that removing shells from Hawaii’s beaches is illegal. Moreover, many shops selling shells exploit the demand from tourists by selling them at exorbitant prices. Instead, admire the beauty of the shells on the beach and leave them for others to enjoy. If you’re looking for a souvenir, consider purchasing handmade crafts from local artisans that reflect Hawaiian culture and support the local economy.

5. Mass-Produced Souvenirs
Avoid purchasing mass-produced souvenirs that are often sold in crowded tourist areas. These items lack authenticity and are often made overseas, diluting the genuine Hawaiian experience. Opt for locally made products like handmade jewelry, traditional crafts, or unique artwork that showcases the talent and craftsmanship of local artisans.


Q: Can I bring back fresh flowers from Hawaii?
A: It is generally not recommended to bring back fresh flowers as they may wilt during transportation. However, you can purchase dried or preserved flower arrangements that can be easily packed in your luggage.

Q: Are Hawaiian coffee and chocolate worth buying?
A: Absolutely! Hawaii is known for its excellent coffee and chocolate. You can find a wide variety of locally grown and processed products that are worth trying and taking home.

Q: Are Hawaiian quilts a good souvenir?
A: Yes, Hawaiian quilts are a unique and valuable souvenir. Handmade quilts often depict traditional Hawaiian designs and can be a beautiful addition to your home.

Q: Can I bring back volcanic rocks or sand as souvenirs?
A: Taking volcanic rocks or sand from Hawaii is not allowed due to their ecological significance. It is important to respect the natural environment and leave these items behind.

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Q: Is it worth buying Hawaiian music CDs?
A: If you enjoy Hawaiian music, purchasing CDs can be a great way to bring the island vibes home with you. Look for CDs from local artists to support the local music scene.

In conclusion, while Hawaii offers an abundance of souvenirs and products, it’s important to be discerning in your purchases. Avoid buying items like fresh pineapples, macadamia nuts, overpriced aloha wear, sea shells, and mass-produced souvenirs. Instead, treasure your memories of Hawaii with unique, locally made products that reflect the true spirit of the islands.

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