Most Hawaii hikes take adventurers high up into the mountains, where a panoramic view awaits – satiating their optical cravings for a tropical Paradise. After the much needed visual refuel, you should consider filling your tummies before the long downhill trek. Apple bananas are common finds for Hawaiian hikes.

It’s most likely that you have already packed stuff like water and energy bars, but have you ever tried the Hawaiian version of “trail mix?” The flavors depend on the trail you take, while the “mix” part is up to your personal preference. Best of all, everything included in this trail mix is free for the taking and completely natural.

Look for one of these delectable trailside delights on your next hike. Pick some to snack along the way or put it in your backpack for a post-hike treat. I’m not suggesting hikers go around Hawaii trails, and eat everything in sight though. Stick to this list below to be safe, but if you’re still not certain about something, then don’t try it. Follow the lilikoi vine to a wonderful, edible surprise!

Guava (Waiawi, pronounced vaye-AH-vee) – Strawberry guava or the bigger, yellow ones. The strawberry guava, however, have become an invasive species in the Islands, so be careful not to spread their seeds further. Dispose in trash bins.

Mountain Apple (Ohia ai, pronounced oh-HEE-uh-EYE) – Pear-shaped and smaller than a regular apple. Can be a mixture of reddish, pinkish and white colors with a thin, waxy-like skin.

Thimbleberry (Ūlei, pronounced OOH-ley) – Similar in color, shape and taste to a raspberry. Grows on a small bush.

Passionfruit (Lilikoi, pronounced li-lee-KO-ee) – Purple or yellow lilikoi can be sweet and sour. Seeds are edible. Used to make jams and syrups.

Lychee One of Hawaii’s most exotic fruits that’s best eaten fresh. Peel off the skin to find sweet, juicy white edible insides.

Ōhelo Berry (pronounced oh-HELL-oh) – Mostly found on the Big Island, these berries are related to the cranberry plant. They can be bright yellow, red or orange and have a tart taste. Don’t confuse this berry with the Akia plant, which is poisonous. The Akia has a single large seed while the ohelo has many tiny seeds.

Coconut (Niu, pronounced nee-YOOH) – You’ll find these on the beach or at a farmers market. Cut open the green ones for juice or the drier ones for coconut meat.

Banana (Maia, pronounced mai-UH) – Apple bananas are much sweeter but a little stumpier than most bananas.

Avocado – Can be large or small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Dark green ones mean they’re ready to eat. Don’t chew into the skin. Cut in half and take out the seed before digging into the creamy fruit.

Photo Credit: Serena Kaldi


  1. We love to eat the banana pokas on our hikes up on Hualalai. Actually a member of the lillikoi family but they look like a small banana. There is an effort here on the big island to remove them because they are such an aggressive invasive species.

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