If you’re planning a trip to the islands of the world, you might be wondering what to bring back home as souvenirs or gifts for your loved ones. Whether you’re visiting the Caribbean, Hawaii, Iceland, Ireland, or any other island destination, you’ll find plenty of unique and authentic products that reflect the culture, history, and nature of each place. Here are some of the best souvenirs and products to buy on each island and where to shop for them.
The Caribbean is a region of diverse islands, each with its own charm and flavor. From rum and spices to batik and sea turtles, there are many souvenirs that capture the essence of the Caribbean. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Angostura Bitters from Trinidad:
This is a secret mix of herbs and spices used as a cocktail mixer and cure-all for various ailments. It’s made in Trinidad by the House of Angostura, which also produces local rums. You can find it at any ABC Store or gift shop on the island. It’s perfect for making a Manhattan, a classic drink made with bitters, whiskey, and sweet vermouth.
Batik from St. Kitts or Andros:
Batik is a technique of dyeing fabrics with wax-resistant patterns. The Caribelle Batik Factory on St. Kitts is located in an old sugar plantation and produces colorful fabrics and clothing, from sarongs to dresses to pillow covers and wall hangings. You can visit the factory or shop at their store in Basseterre. Androsia is another batik manufacturer located on the island of Andros in the Bahamas. They have a complete line of women’s, men’s, and children’s batik clothing, resort wear, and cruise wear as well as accessories, home goods, and fabric sold by the yard.
Rum is the most famous export of the Caribbean, distilled from molasses (a byproduct of sugarcane cultivation). You can find local rums in almost every island, each with its own distinctive taste and quality. Some of the most renowned brands are Mount Gay Rum from Barbados, Gosling’s from Bermuda, Bacardi from Puerto Rico, and St. Nicholas Abbey Rum from Barbados.
Guavaberry from St. Maarten:
Guavaberry is a rare fruit that grows in the wild on St. Maarten. It’s used to make a liqueur that has a sweet and sour taste and a reddish-brown color. It’s often mixed with rum or served on ice cream or cake. You can buy it at the Guavaberry Emporium in Philipsburg or at various souvenir shops around the island.
Adopt a Turtle:
If you want to give a gift that makes a difference, you can adopt an endangered sea turtle on behalf of someone you love. The Caribbean Conservation & Sea Turtle Survival League is a nonprofit group dedicated to saving turtles across the Caribbean. For a donation of $25 or more, you’ll get an adoption certificate, a logo decal, a sea-turtle magnet, a Sea Turtle Conservation Guide, and a one-year subscription to their newsletter.
Hawaii is a paradise of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and aloha spirit. There are so many souvenirs from Hawaii that you can choose from, whether it’s something related to the volcanoes, the beaches, the flowers, or the music. Here are some of the best ones:
Hawaii is bursting with macadamia nuts, which are rich, buttery, crunchy, and delicious. Most of the world’s macadamias are grown on the Big Island. You can find them at any ABC Store or gift shop in various flavors, such as chocolate-covered, honey roasted, Maui onion-and garlic, Hawaiian sea salted or unsalted. For more exclusive brands, check out the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company on the Big Island or Mauna Loa on Oahu.
Quilting became a local tradition in Hawaii in the 1820s when missionaries introduced the technique to the women of the islands. Now these quilts are treasured items that feature colorful tropical designs inspired by plants, animals, and symbols of Hawaii. You can buy them at specialty stores such as the Hawaiian Quilt Collection on Oahu or the Kapaia Stitchery on Kauai.
Kona coffee is one of the most sought-after coffees in the world, grown on the slopes of the Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes on the Big Island. It has a rich and smooth flavor and a distinctive aroma. You can buy it at various coffee shops and farms on the island, such as the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, the Greenwell Farms, or the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation.
The ukulele is a musical instrument that originated in Hawaii in the 19th century, influenced by the Portuguese machete. It has four strings and a small body, and it produces a cheerful and melodic sound. You can buy it at music stores or souvenir shops on any island, such as the Ukulele Store on Oahu, Mele Ukulele on Maui, or Scotty’s Music on Kauai.
The aloha shirt is a casual shirt that features colorful prints of flowers, plants, animals, or geometric patterns. It’s worn by men and women alike as a symbol of Hawaiian culture and hospitality. You can buy it at clothing stores or souvenir shops on any island, such as Reyn Spooner on Oahu, Maui Clothing Company on Maui, or Sig Zane Designs on the Big Island.
Iceland is a land of fire and ice, where volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, and waterfalls create a stunning landscape. There are many souvenirs from Iceland that reflect its natural beauty, its history, and its culture. Here are some of the best ones:
This is a traditional Icelandic sweater made from wool that is warm, cozy, and water-resistant. It has a circular yoke pattern around the neck that usually depicts elements of nature or folklore. You can buy it at various stores or markets in Reykjavik or other towns, such as Handknitting Association of Iceland, Farmers Market, or Kolaportid Flea Market.
Iceland has a rich Viking heritage that dates back to the 9th century when the first settlers arrived from Norway. You can find many souvenirs that celebrate this legacy, such as helmets, swords, axes, shields, jewelry, or figurines. You can buy them at souvenir shops or museums in Reykjavik or other places, such as Viking World Museum, Saga Museum, or Viking Shop.
Blue Lagoon Products:
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular attractions in Iceland, a geothermal spa that offers mineral-rich waters that are good for your skin and health. You can buy various products that are made from the natural ingredients of the lagoon, such as silica mud masks, algae masks, mineral salts, body lotions, or facial creams. You can buy them at the Blue Lagoon shop in Reykjavik or at the lagoon itself.
Liquorice is a candy that is very popular in Iceland and comes in many forms and flavors. You can find it coated with chocolate, caramel, marzipan, mint, or salt. Some of the most famous brands are Opal, Nizza, Djupur, or Appolo Lakkrís. You can buy it at any supermarket or convenience store in Iceland.
Northern Lights Souvenirs:
The northern lights are one of the most spectacular phenomena that you can witness in Iceland during the winter months. They are caused by solar particles colliding with the earth’s atmosphere and creating colorful lights in the sky. You can find many souvenirs that depict this wonder, such as magnets, postcards, mugs, keychains, or paintings. You can buy them at souvenir shops or galleries in Reykjavik or other towns.
Ireland is a country of green hills, ancient castles, lively pubs, and friendly people. There are many souvenirs from Ireland that showcase its culture, history, and craftsmanship. Here are some of the best ones:
This is a type of sweater that is knitted from wool and has intricate patterns that represent different aspects of Irish life and folklore. It originated from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland and was worn by fishermen and farmers as protection from the cold and wet weather. You can buy it at various stores or markets in Dublin or other cities, such as Aran Sweater Market, Blarney Woollen Mills