Finding the perfect souvenir for friends and family can be a bit overwhelming — especially in a place like Hawaii. The possibilities are endless, from aloha attire (floral shirts, anyone?) to pearl necklaces. But Molokai is changing the game when it comes to souvenirs. It turns out that sometimes the simplest ideas are the most brilliant–like mailing a signed coconut to your friends across the sea. Post-a-Nut isn’t your typical souvenir stop, but it is fun–for both the giver and the receiver.
Head to the Hoolehua Post Office, a tiny postage-stamp-sized building located in Molokai’s central town, not far from the Molokai airport. It’s hard to miss the small cinder-block building. Inside the post office, you’ll find bins of coconuts ( at times, you might have to step to the grove next door to choose one off the ground).
The post office itself provides permanent markers for decorating your coconut. The best part? There’s no charge for the coconuts, either. Select as many as you’d like to mail to friends and family, so long as you’re willing to pay the postage. In essence, you’re sending a free souvenir that recipients will not soon forget.
If the coconut feels heavy and you can hear water sloshing around when you shake it, it’s likely fresh/edible; it will also cost a bit more to mail, just because of the weight. Dry coconuts weigh less, and they won’t make a sound when you shake them. When taking your pick, keep in mind that you’ll need to provide a legible recipient address and return address; both are required for them to make the trip, so choose a coconut with a generous, smooth writing space if possible.
If you’re at all artistic, have fun adorning your coconut with plumeria, palm trees, and tropical flowers–or just scrawl your notes/messages on any available space. Word has it that you can also purchase beautifully painted coconuts to send to family and friends by contacting the post office itself; Post-A-Nut artist Teri decorates coconuts to be sent around the world.
Most coconuts cost $13-20 to mail, and at no cost for the coconut itself, it’s hard to beat sending a coconut you decorated to your friends. Most coconuts arrive within just a few days (1-3 days to the U.S. West Coast; a few more days to the East), so your coconuts might even make it to your recipients (or your own home) before you get back from vacation.
It’ll only take about half an hour to decorate and mail your coconut, so you might want to stop for lunch at the Kualapu’u Cookhouse. It’s just a couple of blocks from the post office and offers excellent local food.