The Best Hawaiian Luau’s From Each Island
Nick A, Senior Travelers, US
16 July 2017
When you’re visiting Hawaii, there’s always a plethora of options, tours, sightseeing, beaches, and activities that seem interesting and are pulling at your limited attention strings to try out.
The toughest part of the vacation is narrowing down the list. This decision can get even harder if you’re traveling with family or friends, and need to find something to do that everybody is going to enjoy.
But, when it comes to Hawaii, there’s one thing that is a must for every vacationer. The Hawaiian luau. Dating all the way back to 1819 in the King Kamehameha II days, Luau’s in Hawaii have been a long standing tradition for Hawaiian culture.
By booking a Hawaii Luau, you’ll be able to experience Hawaii the way it’s meant to be experienced. Getting a better appreciation for their traditions, beliefs and values, it’s an adventure you won’t soon forget.
The problem though, is that there are sooo many Luau’s to choose from (roughly 20), so it’s hard to even know where to begin. There are great luau’s on all the major islands of Maui, Big Island, Oahu, and Kauai.
After looking at pricing, reviews, what’s included, and overall experience, we’ve narrowed it down to the best Hawaiian luau’s on each island.
Your Guide To The Top Luau’s In Hawaii
If you plan hitting up a luau in Oahu, there’s really only one that should come to mind. Chief’s Luau is ranked by many reviewers as the best luau in the state, not just Oahu, and for good reason. There are over 6 luau’s to choose from on Oahu, but none of them consistently rank as high as Chief’s Luau does.
Produced by Chief Sielu Avea, who was the original world champion for fire-knife dancing, the Chief’s Luau gives you an unforgettable experience from start to finish. Set at the scenic Makapu’u Meadows and backed by tall sea cliffs overlooking the meadows, this luau provides you with stunning views as you dive into the rich heritage of the islands.
Starting at 4:30pm, you’ll be treated with a Lei greeting before indulging in some interactive Hawaiian activities such as tattooing, fire making and spear throwing. Soon after you’ll move on to a true Hawaiian Luau feast including Asian style island fish, pineapple cake, and much more.
“Hawaiian luau’s are a beautiful mix of tradition and entertainment. For a true Hawaiian experience, a luau is a must!”
Then it’s on to the show, where the Chief takes you on a journey through the Polynesian islands, so just sit back, relax, and sip on some delicious Mai Tai’s as you enjoy the show.
With an experience as entertaining and fulfilling as this, you would think it would be extremely expensive, but it’s not. Pricing ranges from $87 – $159, which is quite the deal considering all that’s included.
The main difference between pricing is how many drinks are included and your seating in relation to the show. If you don’t mind sitting a bit further away, you can save some money, but if you want to be up close and personal, it’ll be a bit more.
Real review from Chief’s Luau.
Photograph courtesy of Trip Advisor
Overall, the Chief Luau is the best luau in Oahu for all the reasons stated above. When visiting Hawaii, it’s important to get to know the heritage and the history of the island. The Chiefs Luau will give you all that and more. For more info on pricing and the different packages, go here.
Similar to Oahu, Maui has six luau’s to choose from. All of them have unique and special things about them, but only one of them gets our vote as the best Luau in Maui. The Royal Lahaina Luau is Maui’s longest running luau, and is perfect for those staying near the Royal Lahaina Resort. Even if you’re not though, it’s worth making the trip for this luau.
Located on Ka’anapali Beach, this luau, also known as the “Myths of Maui Luau”, is the longest running Polynesian Luau. Once you’re seated with an oceanfront view, you’ll be whisked away into Polynesian culture, where you’ll experience Samoan, Tahitian, Maori, and Hawaiian dancing and music.
For dinner, you be able to pick from a wide variety of delicacies as well as a special menu for children (also known as keiki). Whether it’s Kalua Pork, Asian beef stir fry, or your classic chicken nuggets for the kids, there’s sure to be something for everybody.
Of course, we can’t forget about the drinks! The classic Mai Tai is clearly the strong favorite here, but if that doesn’t suit your taste buds, there’s plenty of other tropical cocktails to wet your whistle.
With pricing for adults at $93, kids at $38, and free admission for young kids under 5, this luau is a steal. You’ll be able to get a true feeling for what the Polynesian culture is all about in an extremely fun and entertaining way that’s a blast whether you’re a group of friends or on a family trip. To book your reservations and get the party started, go here.
Big Island Luau’s
Being that it’s the biggest island on Hawaii, you’ve got to expect that any luau on the Big Island is going to pack a punch. If you’re staying on the Big Island, or just want to make the trip from another island because it’s that awesome, there’s one lua that you absolutely must check out. It’s called the Island Breeze Luau on Kona beach and it’s been around for more than 20 years.
This luau has been rated as the best on the Big Island by both tourists as well as locals since 2000 (poll conducted each year by West Hawaii Today). Sitting beachfront on the historic Kamakahonu Bay with the lights of Kona and Mount Hualalai as your backdrop, the scene is set for a beautiful evening right from the start.
The food is amazing at this luau, as you’re treated to a lavish Hawaiian buffet which includes fresh fish, kalua pork, grilled beef, and mouth watering fresh island produce. Toss in the open bar and you’ll be set for a night of fun and entertainment.
Once you’re seated for dinner, you’ll be treated to their newest production, “He ‘Ohana Kakou”, which takes you deep into Polynesian culture as well as their cousins from Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. You’ll be treated to fascinating stories through song and dance that will have both adults and children entertained throughout the night.
The Island Breeze Luau is a fantastic tour perfect for all age groups, with a beautiful breathtaking scenery under the stars. Considering you’ll be treated to Hawaiian hula, Tahitian drum dances, and the Samoan fire-knife dance, at a price tag of $97 for adults and $50 for kids (free if under 5yrs old), this is the best experience you’ll get if you decide to do a Hawaiian Luau on Big Island. For reservations and to book your tour, go here.
Last but certainly not least, we have the beautiful island of Kauai. While not as many luau’s to choose from as on the other islands, it’s not going to matter, because there’s one luau that you may want to make the trip for regardless of what island you’re staying at. The Smith’s Kauai Luau is a perennial favorite and is ranked as the “Best Luau on the Island” according to the The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook.
With 50 years of tradition and four generations and counting, the Smith’s Luau has stood the test of time. Located near the sacred Wailua River (a place once reserved for Hawaiian Royalty), you’ll be treated to a night of great food, music, cocktails, and of course the show.
The Rhythm of Aloha show is an authentic performance incorporating many different cultures: Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Phillipines, China, and New Zealand. The show is held in a torch lit amphitheater and topped off with an erupting volcano.
Before the show begins though, you’ll be treated to Kalua roasted pig, delicious teriyaki beef, mahimahi, or their well-known family bowl of poi.
The great thing about this luau is that you don’t have to eat if you don’t want to. They give you the option of coming just for the show, so you can enjoy a night of entertainment and a tasty beverage while saving some money in the process.
The Smith’s Luau brings you a night filled with Hawaiian hula, Tahitian drum dances, and Samoan fire knife dancing. It also includes amazing food, but the reason we love this luau is because they give you the option of only coming for the show if you already have dinner plans. Pricing for this luau is similar to others with adults being $98, juniors $30 (7-13yrs old), and kids $19 (3-6yrs old). However, if you just want to come for the show, it’s only $15 for adults, and $7.50 for kids (3-12yrs old).
Why Adding a Hawaiian Luau Should be a Must For Any Vacationer
Considering Hawaii offers so much rich history and tradition, you would be remiss if you didn’t include a luau in your vacation plans. There’s so much to learn, enjoy, and see when it comes to Hawaiian culture, and there’s no better way to do that than a Hawaiian luau. No matter what luau you decide to go with, we know you’ll have an amazing time and have much more appreciation for Hawaii and its people once you leave.
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