Above: Kona Sea Salt, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Artisanal Shopping in Kona

Kona Sea Salt, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

The western coast of the Big Island is famed for its high-end resorts, picturesque beaches, vibrant marine life and award-winning coffee. We never tire of lounging on the sand and snorkeling with sea turtles, but it’s also fun to shop for gifts and souvenirs. On this trip, we found a variety of items that highlight the best of some of the artisanal traditions of the region. While Kona coffee is always a great purchase, there are other small luxuries worthy of consideration.

Handmade soaps

Kona Natural Soap Company - Andrew Harper editor

On a hot, sunny day, the central lawn shaded by a tall kukui tree lured us to Ali’i Gardens Marketplace just south of downtown Kona. This open-air shopping space specializes in small, local vendors, and products range from hand-painted coconuts and fresh Hawaiian produce to lava jewelry and ukuleles. It was here that we came across the Kona Natural Soap Company, founded by Greg Colden and Marty Corrigan in 2005. Their handmade aromatherapy soaps incorporate kukui nut oils, citrus seeds and ground cacao and coffee beans. Many of these ingredients come directly from the owners’ coffee, lime, avocado and chocolate farm in Holualoa. The soap fragrances are subtle and balanced, my favorite being the Kokoleka Lani, scented with cinnamon, citrus and cacao. The marbled bars stamped with a honu (Hawaiian sea turtle) are attractive as well as aromatic, and the body lotion has proved surprisingly effective on bug bites.

Kona Natural Soap Company
Ali’i Gardens Marketplace, 75-6129 Ali’i Drive, Kailua-Kona. Tel. (808) 987-3131

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Above: Kona Sea Salt, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Read More from Our Trip:

A Day in Kailua-Kona The Big Island’s Best Resorts Exploring the Kona Coffee Belt