Although small stores near your hotel will provide you with some basics you have to know (you will notice soon anyway) that food is very expensive in Kaua’i. So, you can save some dollars if you buy from bigger supermarkets. We went to FOODLAND many times because it wasn‘t far from our hotel. It is located before Kapaa at Waipouli (4-771 Kuhio Highway) and have a huge selection of fresh fruits and vegetables for salads but also you can buy already cooked meals (chicken, meat, eggs and jamon for breakfast etc). Of course, there are many more, like the famous in Honolulu ABC market etc
There are also many farmer’s market on several different spots. These markets have fresh vegetables and fruits and they are lovely to see/smell anyway. On october 2009 the spots were:
LIHU’E:Monday 15.00 at Kukui Grove Shopping Mall and Friday 15.00 at Vidinha Stadium Parking Lot
KOLOA:Monday 12.00 at Koloa Ball Park
HANALEI:Tuesday 14.00-16.00 at Hawaiian Farmers Mkt, Waipa
KALAHEO:Tuesday 15.30 at Kalaheo Neighborhood Center
KAPA’A:Wednesday 15.00 at Kapa’a New Town Park
HANAPELE:Thursday 15.30-17.30 at Hanapele Town Park(behind fire station)
KILAUEA:Thursday 16.30 at Kilauea Neighborhood Center and Saturday 11.30 at Kilauea Plantation Center
KEKAHA:Saturday 9.00 at Kehaha Neighborhood Center
This is a good place to go for last minute Hawaiian shirts and magnets. Ultimately, its the same store repeated over and over again -- shot glasses, magnets, Hawaiian shirts ...shot glasses, magnets, Hawaiian shirts. Mixed in between are a few unique shops that offer specialty items like monkeypod wood, but most of the shops you will see the same products. Still, its a nice place to stop for a couple quick items, plus they have some good restaurants.
I felt like I hit the jackpot when I saw this. Dozens of local artisans, farmers, and locals come together in one big outdoor market, selling jewelry, shells, clothing, and every kind of cool wood thing you can imagine. I think I bought almost every single souvenir here -- wooden bowls, vases, bracelets, rings, etc. It is held Wed-Sun from 9 a.m.--5 p.m, just north of Kapaa. If you want cool, homemade gifts, this is the place to go! Most of the vendors are locals who have lots of knowledge and tips about the island to share with you. Since its not a store, you have some bargaining power as well. And if you are like me and show up there three times in one day (i kept forgetting stuff I absolutely needed), some of the vendors will even give you a discount :-)
Tiny pink shells (could also be white) only to be found on the beaches of Kauai. We actually saw a guy collecting them on the beach. He claimed that these shells were the only ones in the world that are considered a "gemstone". Not sure if he is correct. I didn't think much of it since we also could find them in the sand on the beach. Then we stumbled upon a Farmer's market where a woman who made the necklaces from these tiny shells was selling them from $500 - $1,300 depending on the design. She said the average time to make one necklace was 40 hours. Others at the farmer's market said her prices were very good. So, I imagine in the retail stores they must be more expensive.
I am a real sucker for soaps and good smelling candles. This shop is located in Kapaa right at the end. It is filled with beautiful scents of handmade hawaiian soaps and candles. When you visit you can watch them make the soaps or candles. There are so many scents it is hard to choose, but I went with some Hawaiian scents including Plumeria, coconut, and mango.
If you love soaps or candles you will love this shop!
Roadside fruit stands are scattered throughout the island. Usually, local vendors sell fresh pineapple, coconut, papaya, mango, macadamia nuts, & other unusual varieties of goodies. It's worth a stop to get the cheapest & freshest the island has to offer. For coffee, Kauai cookies, & other goodies...it's best if you just hit the supermarket. Lihue has a couple of decent-sized grocery outlets. For souvenirs and other local knick-knacks, Hilo Hattie's is a great store. It's basically your one-stop shopping option for just about anything Hawaiian. You can find Hilo Hattie's on the Northeast corner of Highway 56 & Ahukini Road in Lihue.
What to buy: Coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, flower & shell leis, Hawaiian apparel, local crafts, etc.
What to pay: That depends on your budget and what you want!
The Hawai'ian Islands are very expensive when it comes to things like groceries, toiletries and gasoline as a good majority of goods must be shipped in. So to help offset some of the high costs here is a tip for taking the edge off of eating out. I like to stay in a condo when visiting. Most condos are fully equipped with full kitchens and washing machines.
Big Save Market is a very well stocked grocery store with several locations on Kauai. They offer a wide variety of items you might need. I would like to point out though, their produce selection was not as good as the roadside stands for things like mangoes, pappya, pineapple and other tropical fruits.
What to buy: I bring a bag with me and I fill it with things that are expensive like laundry detergent--"Spray and Wash" makes a very portable "cube" of detergent which takes up very little room and does not add a lot of weight to your bag. I also like to bring Dryer sheets, granola snack bars, small boxes of cereal, peanut butter and trail mix. You can then buy milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, juices (I love the tropical juices) and other perishables like yougurt and cheese. I don't bring coffee since it is grown on the islands but I do bring coffee filters as there never seem to be enough in the units.
Note**When you are finished with the tote bag you brought items to the island it will be a great bag to take home all your Hawai'ian souveniers.
What to pay: Everything is expensive on the island, howeve "Big Save Market" is cheaper for most things than the smaller stores such as the "ABC and Whaler's General Stores."
Normally I would never shop at Wal-Mart on the mainland, but a good friend who was born and raised on Kauai advised us to shop there before our first trip. It's now the first stop we make after we land in Lihue. We travel to Kauai about twice a year and always "hit the Wal-Mart."
What to buy: Wal-Mart has great prices on things like macadamia nuts, coffee, and lesser priced souvenirs. Over the years we have purchased numerous wooden platters and serving dishes made from local woods in the shape of pineapples, fish, etc. I usually keep a supply on hand to give as hostess gifts, whatever. Wal-Mart also sells Hawaiian shirts and dresses, although the quality is not as nice as Hilo Hattie's (but the prices are much cheaper - I usually buy children's clothes here since I figure they'll only be worn for a short time anyway). The exact same chocolate covered macadamias, packaged coffees, etc. that are sold at Hilo Hatties and at local gift shops are about 1/3 the price at Wal-Mart. My mother-in-law loves the fabric section - they have a nice selection of Hawaiian type fabrics that she has used to make dresses for my little girl, as well as quilts and other items. She says the prices are very reasonable. They also have some cute items in the baby section such as car seat covers and cute Hawaiian theme bedding.
The other great thing about Wal-Mart is that they sell groceries, sunscreen, diapers, personal hygiene items, you name it. If you forgot to bring it or didn't want to pack it you can probably find it here, and cheaply. We usually purchase sodas, bottled water, snacks, etc. and a styrofoam cooler or one of those soft-sided coolers that we then fill with ice. The hotels will charge upwards of 1 to 2 dollars for water and sodas - better to stock up before you get there. You can also purchase items for the beach or pool - sand toys, pool floats, inexpensive towels (if you're staying somewhere - like a condo - that doesn't provide beach towels), snorkels and masks, etc. They will all be much cheaper than renting them. We usually just leave them behind or give them to another family on our last day. We've never spent more than $20 for all our beach supplies, and many places will charge that for one day's rental.
What to pay: Expect to save considerable amounts of money over the local gift shops on souvenirs, although the quality on clothing is not equal to Hilo Hattie's. Expect to save on groceries, even over Safeway or Big Save.
I suggest getting most of your souveniers at the WalMart in Lihu'e. They have every kind of macadamia nut packages, post cards, etc. All the typical trinkets you would get at the hotel gift shops but a lot cheaper.
If you forgot water shoes, shorts, towels or snorkel gear. This place has them but again, it will be less expensive than the stores that cater to the tourists.
You can also get your pictures developed here if you just can't wait until you get home.
What to buy: All the macadamia nuts to bring back for friends and family
For anything that has to do with Hawaii you can't beat Hilo Hattie. This is a chain with stores on all of the major islands and offers what is perhaps the best selection of Hawaiiana that you will find anywhere. When you enter the front door you are greeted with a free lei made of shells and offered a free shot of guava juice. If you're looking for Hawaiian clothing, gifts, foods, books, souvenirs, whatever, your best chance of finding it is here. I've been to the Hawaiian Islands four times now, and every trip I have made at least one stop at Hilo Hattie.
What to pay: Lower prices than most island shops.
It was difficult to decide whether to make this a "Things to Do" tip or a "Shopping" tip. Kilohana is both of these, as well as home to a fine restaurant, Gaylords. Kilohana is a restoration of a vanished era in what was once Kauai's most elegant sugar plantation. There is a large tudor-style mansion surrounded by 35 acres of exotic plants and gardens, and dotted with century-old plantation cottages. Horse drawn carriage rides are available around the grounds and surrounding sugar plantation, which is still a working farm.
In the manor house, built in 1935, and also in some of the old plantation guest cottages you will find several upscale shops. A few of the rooms of the mansion are still preserved much as they would have been in the 1930s. We enjoyed exploring and browsing here after having lunch at Gaylords. The shops include:
Hawaiian Collection Room
Grande's Gems & Gallery
Clayworks at Kilohana
What to pay: The shops are not cheap, but admission to the grounds and manor house are free, and well worth the stop.
While we were traveling about Kauai I told Karen it would be nice to have a CD of Hawaiian music to listen to as we toured the island. We looked in a couple of shops and found a limited selection of mostly contemporary stuff. But I wanted the "Golden Oldie" type of music, the songs I had heard as a kid when I first dreamed of someday visiting Hawaii.
We finally found exactly what I was looking for at a kisok in the Coconut MarketPlace. The very friendly and helpful man running the business was Andy Anderson, and in the accompanying photo you can see him handing me the Hawaiian music CD. Andy had an excellent selection, from some of the earliest Hawaiian music, right up to the most recent recordings. The following evening we saw Andy again, but this time he was set up in front of the Foodland in Princeville. I understand that there is usually someone working the kisok at both places.
The Hawaiian Music Store also has a location on Oahu in the International Marketplace. They claim to be the world's largest Hawaiian music store. You can also order from them online, or through the toll-free number listed below.
What to buy: More different Hawaiian music than you ever knew existed.
The Coconut Marketplace is a very nice open-air mall in the town of Kapaa, about 7 miles north of Lihue. There are more than 70 shops offering wares in large variety, but most tend to specialize in items that may be on interest to the tourist. There are art galleries featuring the works of Hawaiian artists, local crafts and souvenirs, as well as clothing, jewelry, beautyshops, restaurants and a theater. We especially enjoyed browsing through the art galleries, and Karen bought a beautiful red Kauai shirt in one of the shops.
The area of Kauai where the Coconut Marketplace is located is called the Coconut Coast, because of the many coconut palms in the area. Most of these were planted about a century ago and they are quite tall - a beautiful site swaying in the tropical breezes.
Everyone knows what a Wal-Mart is! Why pay three to 10 times as much for something when you can find the same things at Wal-mart? I found several items there that were also being sold at the gift shops at our hotel for so much less.
Actually we had forgotten about Walmart until some friends from the resort told us about his $3 t-shirt. Not two hours later we were at the same walmart buying the same $3 t-shirts!
What to buy: Same souviniers that you would find at the resorts at a fraction of the cost.
What to pay: I don't usually buy jewelry from Wal-Mart but I had my eye on a Hawaiian Heirloom ring that was being sold at the jewelry shop at our hotel for $300. I found the same ring for less than $100 at Wal-Mart.
This store just carries everything and anything! There is a mix of souvenirs, t shirts, jewelry, beach wear and Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts.
Keep your eyes open for this store! Its one stop shopping.
We bought silk leis, see my customs tip. Also, some macadamia nuts, key chains, picture frames, spoon rests and postcards!
2373 Ho'ohu Rd, Poipu, Hawaii, 96756, United States
Good for: Business
7083 Alamihi Rd., Hanalei, Hawaii, 96714, United States
Good for: Business
It was a great place, good location. However, Kauai Coast Resort business practice is desired to be...more