The idea for this article came to me when 3 dudes from a minimal security, work-release facility on Oahu didn’t come back one day.  They eventually did come back or were captured and I remember the radio host one morning joking about how they may have gotten hungry.  I remember thinking, “Dang, if you can’t live off of the land in Hawaii, then you’re pretty sorry.”  I mean, right?  Don’t even consider yourself at the top of the food chain if you can’t find scrumptious vittles in Hawaii!

Don’t get it twisted.  While there’s nothing in this article that’s untrue, I’m not suggesting that you can just pack a sleeping bag, fly to Hawaii and live in the wild.  Actually, you could do just that but I don’t want anyone to think that I’m telling them to “go homeless or go home” in Hawaii.  We have enough homeless in Honolulu and Waikiki as it is.

Hawaii:  If You Plant, Release, Lose it or it Escapes…it can Thrive!

BUT…never say that you can’t move to Hawaii because the food is too expensive in the stores and restaurants.  While it is true that the food and cost of living in Hawaii (especially on Oahu) is high, you can pretty much feed yourself from the land.

I’ve said it before somewhere on this site that because of Hawaii’s perfect, tropical climate anything can grow here.  If it gets loose, released, planted or lost…it will thrive.  (Wish I could convince my kids of that.  J )

Not only can you find fruits, vegetables and fish pretty readily anywhere you go in Hawaii, I’d bet that anything you’d find will be mad healthy for you, too.

How to Move to Hawaii Guide to Living off the Land

Fruits in the Wild and on the Street and on the Trails

Mangoes, Papayas, Tangerines, Pomegranates


I mean, this is too easy!  They’re in residential areas as well as growing sporadically on hiking trails. Just walk the streets and, without making a scene and while being ever so gracious, you can pick the low hanging fruits off of trees on as they grow.  I’ve gotten my fair share of mangoes and pomegranates this way.

Even the Moanalua Valley Trail has a few mango and guava trees.

Note:  People don’t take too kindly from people walking in their yard and grabbing fruit off the tree.  You can ask and sometimes they’ll say yes.  Stick to sides and the stuff that’s growing in public areas, though…just to be safe.

Lilikoi (Passion Fruit)


Passion Fruit can be found by recognizing the white flowers, tangle of vines and green oval shaped fruits.  The fruit will have a purple skin when ripe and the inside will be yellowish with crunchy seeds…eat away.  Delish!

Mountain Apples


These grow on tall trees and the fruit will be pinkish red.  It’s not my favorite fruit to be found in Hawaii but it is by no means bad.  It is a taste that takes getting used to.  It’s a cross between chewing rose petals and a grainy apple…I think?  The skin is red when ripe and the inside fruit is white and creamy.

Ulu (Bread Fruit)


It’s spiny or dimpled, green exterior can confuse some into thinking it’s not the greatest thing around…and it isn’t.  I don’t get down with it anyway.  It’s edible and, while I’ve never tried it, I have read that you cook it over an open fire and that it has the texture and consistency of soft, sliced bread.

Nuts and Stuff



Besides making a coconut bra and loin covering when you’re living in the Hawaiian “wild” coconuts are pretty much everywhere on the Island.  You may have to climb (careful) to get a good one but on occasion you can find an intact, ready to go coconut on the ground.  Just smash that sucker open with a rock and the sip the juice and eat the flesh.

Kukui Nuts


WARNING:  Only eat the kukui nuts if you’re really hungry, stranded, or someone dared you to do it.  Kukui nuts are poisonous when eaten raw.  When roasted, yes they are edible but eating too many will give you diarrhea.  Not my thing…but if you’re hungry…you gotta’ do whatchoo’ gotta do…

Don’t Forget to Eat Your Vegetables



I’ve never done it.  Don’t know how to prepare it.  I’m not going to try and guide you through it.  Instead, check this edible seaweed guide out.  There are a couple varieties of seaweed that people eat prevalently in Hawaii and I’m sure it’s good.

Proteins of the Wild Seas and Hawaiian Jungles



Shore fishing can result in a lot of edible salt-water fish and it is probably the best source of protein if you’re living off the land in Hawaii.  Akule and Oama can be caught with hook and rod or just a net in deep water around the coastal beaches of Hawaii.

The Akule is a sort of mackerel that is real good eats when roasted over and open fire.  I’ve been on spearfishing forums, snorkeling forums, and scuba forums that are highly trafficked by locals and visitors alike, and they pretty much all say the same thing:  You can eat any fish that is reef or coastal caught EXCEPT for PUFFERFISH and BOXFISH…they have toxic flesh.

Something that is supposed to be real tasty but hard to find these days is the Opihi.  It is a flat clam that is almost cone shaped (it’s like someone stepped on a cone).  They’re rare because of over-fishing but you can find them in certain spots.  How to cook them?  No need.  Turn it over, dig it out and eat it raw.

Jungle Fowl (Wild Chicken)


The population of “wild chicken” is growing in the Islands.  If you can catch them and you don’t mind a chewier, gamier experience with chicken…then this is another great source of protein.  I have an article here all about the Jungle Fowl.

Okay, that’s it…but do you really need anymore?  I mean you have proteins, fruits and veggies (seaweed)…you have seafood and fresh game.  Hell, if you want to get real cute you even have your “grains” with the breadfruit”.

So, don’t go spending all that money if you really don’t want on expensive groceries.  Live off the land for a few days if you’re living in Hawaii.  I bet it would be a great lesson for the kiddos.

Like I’ve said before:  If it gets lost, escapes, released,  or planted in Hawaii…it can survive and thrive off the land and in the climate.  Even people.

(Except for those escapees.)

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  1. Nice article 😀 I’m looking to buy a one way ticket. I’m wondering if there are places to set up tent.

  2. Hey maria have you made the trip? Email me. I wanna know how it ls going. Im hoping to move there with a one way ticket to.

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