Best Luaus In Oahu, Every Luau Rated So You Can Find The BEST

For many visitors to Hawaii visiting a Luau is one of the top activities they wish to experience while on the Islands. The Traditional Hawaiian Feast and After Dinner show is steeped in Hawaiian Tradition. While these shows have taken on a much more “Cliched” and touristy feel they are still right up on most people’s lists. We still always attend a Luau during any visit. It’s just not Hawaii unless you experience a Luau. Like anything popular, there are always a large number of options as competition grows. Not All Luaus in Oahu are Equal so we endeavor to show you the Best Luaus in Oahu in our complete guide.

With so many on offer, they all try and have their own unique selling point so they stand out from the crowd so the best Luau on Oahu for one may not be for another so we do our best to point out the pros and cons of each.

What exactly is a Luau? What to Expect.

Best Luaus in Oahu

A luau is any Hawaiian Party really but the tourist industry has spawned a more specific expectation of what a Commercial Luau should be. It often has little to no connection with how Hawaiians would celebrate. However, it is still steeped in tradition and filled with many traditional foods and activities.

A Typical Luau will start with you registering and being presented with a lei (Traditional Hawaiin Garland worn around the neck). Some offer flower leis others only a Shell Lei. Almost all VIP options have Flower Leis. The lei is an important part of the greeting ritual and we always feel just a tough short-changed if we don’t get a real flower lei.

Then you are often offered a welcome drink. Typically a Mai Tai. You are then free to explore the Luau Grounds. There are many different activities going on, all traditional Hawaiian or Polynesian in nature such as Lei Making, Poi Pounding or. There is no need to get involved but it helps get you in the spirit. There may also be Hawaiian Games to play to keep you and the kids entertained. Some even go as far as Net Fishing demonstrations and traditional canoeing.

At some point, you will be invited to share the Imu Ceremony. All will be explained but you are watching your dinner being unearthed. An IMU is a large underground oven and inside for most of the day, there has been a whole pig slowly roasting. The IMU Ceremony is where the Staff unearth it ready for its final prep to be served. It’s a very important part of the feast and a must-attend. Don’t be too off-put, it doesn’t always look that appetizing on unearthing but we can assure you the finished kalua pork is delightful.

You will then take your seats for the feast. Where tables will take turns to visit the buffet and help themselves to the fare. This is a great way of doing it as you can try small amounts of as much as you like to sample. Remember you can always go back for more once everyone has had a turn.

Then near the end of the feast, or just after, the Show will start. This is a mix of hula and traditional dance that will tell the story of Hawaiian isle’s, how they were populated and the myths and legends the ancient Hawaiian people believed, a story of gods, demigods, and royalty. Expect loud vibrant dancing and music. Finally, near the end you are often invited/coerced to get up and dance yourselves, before the end of the evening where you head off into the night, hopefully, a little tipsy…or maybe that’s just us.

If that doesn’t sound like your kind of thing…maybe think twice about spending 1-200 per person attending one? We think a lot of negative reviews of Luaus come from people not really knowing what to expect. Remember your entry fee is for the whole event, show, wait staff, performers, and meal, etc… If you expect a $1-200 Meal you will be disappointed. If you embrace the whole event for what it is and take in the locale and the ambiance as well as the food, drink and then we think they (or some) are quite good value, for an entire evenings entertainment and Dining.

What Food is served at a Luau?

Traditional Luau Food

Most Luau’s offer a very similar Menu with varying degrees of quality. The food is intended to be traditional Hawaiin Luau Feast fare but it also caters to a more American palate, offering the chance to taste traditional food but often not requiring it to fill you up. We would always suggest sampling as much of the traditional fare as possible but understand some people can be fussy eaters, but they shouldn’t go hungry. Traditional food items include the following and are available at nearly every Luau:

Kalua pig (Kālua pork)

Cooked underground in an IMU the Kalua Pig is a traditional Hawaiian staple available all over the island. However, it is rarely cooked inside an IMU except for at Luaus. Reminiscent of Pulled Pork but saltier and less sweet. The underground cooking method adds a light smoke rather than the heavy smokehouse taste. Every Luau must have a Kalua pig…It’s not a Luau without.

Poi

With the look and texture of Wallpaper paste, only purple. It tastes worse than it looks. But you just must try it. Why? we had too and we want you to feel our pain. Apparently, it’s some god-awful root mashed up (the Root of the Taro Plant, which actually makes nice chips!). Pounding it in the arts and crafts displays beforehand is fun, and for those that have already been subjected to its nastiness, you can take some of the hate out on it!

Poke

Even better than Kalua pork is Poke. Marinated, cured seafood, preferably Tuna (Ahi). It’s like sushi but with bags of taste. It’s becoming more available outside Hawaii now. But it’s not the same without an untouched tub of poi next to it.

Laulau

Meat, Often Chicken or beef, but traditionally pork, Steamed in leaves. It’s not always the tastiest dish but is a nice safe option for most. As really it’s just steamed meat!

Hawaiian sweet potato

Like regular Sweet potatoes only Purple. Because, Like Hawaii, Purple is just better.

Lomilomi salmon

A delicious Salted Salmon and tomato salad. It’s as fun to say as it is to eat!

Tropical fruits

Being in a tropical paradise you have to expect a pretty impressive tropical fruit platter for dessert, Most Luaus come up with the goods.

For More information on the Culinary Delights on the Hawaiian Islands Check out this post on what to Eat in Hawaii!

Is the VIP Experience worth it?

VIP Luau Upgrade

As with any “is it worth it questions” it’s always hard to answer. Typically an Upgraded experience offers a few different features. You may get extra drinks included, Better seating, Upgraded leis, and a first attack at the buffet.

Rarely is it worth it JUST to get extra drinks as the prices range from $20-80 that’s an expensive 1-2 drinks! The buffets are plentiful so you don’t need to be first. Online reviews often complain of Food running out but this is rare. As when it does happen people rush to bad-mouth the company, whereas happy full customers don’t bother. The Seating can be great as these are not HUGE elaborate shows like Cirque de Soliel. They are much more intimate affairs so getting close is a good advantage, however, basic seats can be really good too, Check out the seating charts and arrive early! Most people want a flower lei so this may even swing it. It can be an expensive way to get a few flowers though.

Overall, If only one or two of the benefits are important to you, the basic experience is probably fine. If 3, 4, or more are important it may well be worth the cash? But it really is a personal choice. We tend to think if you are reading about what you get and are already feeling disappointed with the basic, Upgrade. It’s an expensive Evening try and makes the best of it. We, on the whole, tend to only pay for the basic, but then we go to a lot of Luau’s, if this is likely to be your one and only the super VIP might well be worth the money!

Just about every Luau offers an Upgraded experience and often a super upgrade. They come up with all types of crazy names for them, so when we list prices we stick with VIP and Super VIP. It will be very obvious when booking which is which.

Who to Book With?

Currently, our old partner is no longer trading due to the effects of the pandemic. We are looking for a new partner but need time to assess and make sure they offer the best price and top service we expect. For the time being the best be is simply to go direct to the Luau and book tickets that way.

The Hawaii tourism really needs our support in this most challenging of time! Maybe haggling for a few $’s off is not a priority.

Location

There are two main locations for luaus on Oahu. Honolulu and Kapolei. These are the two main Tourist locations so it’s unsurprising the competition is fierce. On top of these, there are three outliers, which we will deal with first. The Polynesian Cultural Centre in Laie, the Ka Moana Luau at the Sea Life Park, and the new Toa Luau at Waimea Valley.

Most of the Luau’s in Kapolei offer transportation from most Waikiki locations so you can easily utilize this if your intention is to fully appreciate the Mai Tais’ and cocktails. For anyone who likes a drink, it’s highly recommended or you are going to need a designated driver. Prices are quite reasonable at around $16-20 round trip, they will pick you up and bus you out and then bring you home. If you are staying in Kapolei We recommend just attending a Luau around your area as the Waikiki luaus are not as accommodating (they don’t need the numbers).

Visitors staying at the Turtle Bay Resort are advised to Visit the Luau at the Polynesian Centre as it’s really quite close and the hotel will lay on transportation for you, but also the Family themed Toa Luau is right on your doorstep too.

Map Of Oahu Luau’s

Enough talk, let’s get on to the individual Luau’s themselves.

Outliers – Luaus outside of the Main Tourist Areas:

Polynesian Cultural Centre – Ha – Breath of Life – Laie

The Polynesian Cultural centre Luau
  • Cost – $169.95 Adults  – $135.96 Children (4-11) Super VIP + $73
  • Drinks – No Alcohol Served!
  • Perfect for – Experiencing Hawaiian Culture
  • Rating – 9/10 – Possibly the Best Luau in Hawaii

The Polynesian Cultural Center offers probably the best Luau Show on the Island. The HA – Breath of Life Show is far more than the regular Hulu shows most Luau’s offer. This combined with a very high-quality Feast, Served Buffet Style and includes entry to the Centre itself. Simply visiting the Centre is an Oahu a Must do and a full day’s activity costing $69.95, to combine it with a great feast and incredible show makes the cost of this luau far more reasonable than it first appears. The one thing that may put you off slightly is the fact no alcohol is served or may be consumed on the grounds.

The Other thing going against the Breath of Life Luau is the Location. While for Guests of the Turtle Bay resort it’s very convenient, for everyone else it’s a bit of a trek. This is a good choice for those with a car though as the lack of alcohol averts the problem of needing a designated driver. The Centre does provide transport at a cost of $25 per person, with limited hotel pickup options from the tourist areas (or a more expensive Kerbside Pickup option). While that does add to the costs, it does solve the problem of getting there and back if you don’t have a car. And still, when you consider what is included in your ticket it’s still good value.

Alcoholic drinks are not allowed, but a large selection of Non-alcoholic drinks are available and included. Overall we think this is the Best Luau on the Island, probably the whole state! In terms of spectacle, grandness, and added extra’s it really does shine. The Show is phenomenal, the feast grand and authentic, and the cultural center and ground an absolute must-see. If you can get there and get over the fact you cannot drink it is a fantastic Event!

There is now the discounted Gateway Buffet Option. This is a reduced-price Option that offers a Buffet Dinner at the Gateway Dining Hall. This is not quite the same as the full Luau Buffet but offers similar foodstuffs. But the Gateway Buffet feels a little more Cantina than Luau Feast. You also get the most basic seating option and no lei on arrival. The Alii Luau Package offers Flower Lei, premium seating, and access to the real Luau Feast with authentic Imu Presentation and Luau Seating in the lush gardens of the Center.

The Super Ambassador is all the bells and whistles with two Lei Presentations, Nut and Flower, Exclusive VIP Tour of the Center, front row seats at the Show, and royalty treatment throughout your visit. It is eyewatering expensive but you really get the royal treatment,

Finally, this Luau is VERY popular and sells out really quickly sometimes months in advance, so get booking early!

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Ka Moana Luau – Sea Life Park Hawaii

Ka Moana Luau
  • Cost – $104 Adults  – $89 Youths(13-17) – $77 Children(4-13) – VIP +$24 – Super VIP + $65
  • Drinks – 1 Included
  • Free Entry to Sea Life Park
  • Perfect for – Great Family Luau
  • Rating -8/10

The Ka Moana Lua is from the Same people that brought you the regular Diamond head Luau. This is a high-end Luau Experience with good food and a great show with excellent performers. It’s in the high-end price-wise, but far from expensive given the experience. Entry into Sea Life Park Hawaii is included in the price. This can make for a very entertaining day out visiting the park before spending an evening at the Luau. As the Park is located a fair way from Waikiki it can make getting there challenging. The chance to enjoy a couple (or more) Mai Tai’s is part of the joy of a Luau so Driving should be avoided unless you are not drinking. for $25 per person, Transportation is provided from Waikiki so everyone can enjoy the Drinks.

The Sea Life Park Entry can either be enjoyed on the day or up to seven days after so you can choose between a full day out or two great trips here one evening of fun and another exploring the fantastic park.

The Luau Feast is fairly typical with everything you expect but nothing to make it really stand out but it’s a good feast. The Show is again pretty standard. It’s a real Vibrant and loud production out in the open air with the ocean in the Background which shows some wonderful color as the sun dips down.

Overall it’s a really strong offering and when you include the Sea Park Entry then it really is good value too.

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Toa Luau – Waimea Valley

Toa Luau
  • Cost – $115 Adults (13+) – $95 Children(5-12) – VIP +$25 – Super VIP + $60
  • Drinks – 1 Included
  • Free Entry to Waimea Valley
  • Perfect for – low key Authentic Luau
  • Rating – 8/10

Get a Glimpse of the Real Hawaii, the one that existed for Centuries before the British and Americans came to ruin the party. There is not much of this way of life left on the islands, especially the big four, And the Waimea Valley and the Toa Luau are a little slice of that culture hanging on in the midst of modernization.

The Waimea Valley is a lost world, feeling a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. It is in fact almost as far from the city as you can get and still remain on the island right up on the north shore. The deep valley walls separate the alley from the real world giving the sense of stepping back in time. The Valley is now an auditorium and botanical gardens, devoted to growing the island’s stunning tropical plants in the traditional fashion. There is a Stunning Waterfall at the end of a 3/4 mile hike where you can take a dip in the tropical waters, or head down to the secluded beach for a dip in the ocean.

It is amongst this stunning tropical paradise that the Toa Luau is set. Admission to the ark is included so arrive early and enjoy the day before heading to the luau as the sun begins to dip. The Luau is a really small intimate affair, billed as family-style luau and far more reminiscent of the real Luau Partys that would have taken place around the islands in the past.

The pre Luau activities are far more engaging and interactive than any other Luaum and are far more than demonstrations but hands-on, take-part activities. Coconut Husking, Hot Rock Cooking, and of Course Poi Pounding. The Buffet feels very limited initially, however, the Crowd sizes are very small so a huge lavish buffet would be wasted, Instead, you get a smaller selection of fantastic food cooked with real love.

The Luau is the smallest and most intimate affair on the island and as such is never going to rival the likes of the Breath of Ha at the PCC. The show is very intimate with the performers crowding the small stage. Expect more crowd interaction and feeling more a part of everything.

The Silver package gets you back row seating and one alcoholic drink, With each level of VIP (Silver, Gold, and VIP) moving you forward a row and adding on an extra drink. With the Setting so intimate you get a good view of whatever level you get.

Overall it is really nice, remote, and personal family Luau, far from the big-budget shows and spectaculars found elsewhere and all the more charming for it. If you go with the expectations of the bigger feasts you will be disappointed, if you go expecting a less flashy, more homely feast in a secluded paradise, you will be over the moon.

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Best Luaus in Honolulu and Waikiki

Diamond Head Luau – Waikiki

Diamond Head Luau
  • Cost – $159 Adults  – $139 Youths(13-17) – $89 Children(4-13) – VIP +$30
  • Drinks – 2 Included + Welcome Mai Tai
  • Perfect for – Money No Object.
  • Rating – 9/10

Currently Closed Due to Covid

The Diamond Head Luau was always a premium Luau but now it’s transformed itself into a Gourmet Farm to Table ultra Premium Luau. With all ingredients sourced locally and of very high quality it is a true gourmet experience. While Luau food has always been typically fairly low-quality Buffet style food the Diamond Head Luau now bucks this trend offering a fantastic gourmet offering.

The Show remains the same and is one of the best on the Island. Vibrant and entertaining throughout with top-quality performers. The drinks included are of great quality and the location of the Luau is perfect for anyone in Waikiki. Located at the Waikiki Aquarium you are also free to have a look around the exhibits during Luau Hours. Really there isn’t much we don’t like about this top-of-the-shelf Luau…There is the Eye-watering Price of course! $159 for a Luau is an incredible amount to ask for. Sure it’s worth every penny with the Farm to Table feast that is really a unique experience. Still that $159 would buy a lot of good dinners in normal restaurants.

If you are after money no Object extravagant evening of fine dining and fantastic show in a very intimate environment then you really can’t do any better. The more budget-friendly version of this Luau is now hosted at the Sea Life Park Hawaii called the Ka Moana Luau and can be found above in the Outliers section of this page.

Hale Koa Luau – Waikiki

Hale Koa luau pig
  • Cost – $67.95 Adults  – $25.95 Youths(11-17) – $15.95 Children(5-11)
  • Drinks – Non-Included
  • Perfect for – Budgets, Families
  • Rating – 8/10

Currently Closed

The Hale Koa Luau is put on by the Hotel of the same name and while it falls short of some other Luau’s on the Island it also massively undercuts them from a price perspective as well. It is far and away the Cheapest Luau in Waikiki. The Food is not the standard Buffet set up but instead a table service that may suit some but really it provides a more limited selection than most other Buffets. It’s not exactly the best food either. It’s perfectly edible but lacks the WOW people might be expecting.

Again the show isn’t as flamboyant as others and lacks a little traditionality with a more cabaret feel to it. But it’s still entertaining and gives you a good feel for the culture. While clearly not the finest Luau in town it will still leave you feeling you have had a great Hawaiin evening and won’t completely break the bank either.

Waikiki Starlight Luau – Waikiki

  • Cost – $111 Adults – $67 Children(4-11) – VIP +$30 Super VIP + $50
  • Drinks – 1 Mai Tai Punch
  • Perfect for – People Staying at the Hilton.
  • Rating – 7/10

The Starlight Luau at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is another high-end Luau. Being a resort-based Luau you can expect very high-quality food, but lacking a little in authenticity as it is prepared in the Hotels modern kitchens. The show is excellent and its unique selling point is it is completely outdoors. Which is good when you are basking in the starlight, less great if it’s raining, when it will be moved indoors.

Overall it’s a very strong offering but there is little to make it stand out. The pricing is fairly reasonable but only includes a welcome drink. The Price upgrades to VIP quickly ramp the price upwards to the very steep mark and you could attend one of the higher-end Luaus such as the Diamond head which already includes 2 Premium Drinks.

Royal Hawaiian Luau, ‘Aha’aina – Waikiki

  • Cost – $187.43 Adults  – $105.76 Children(5-12) – $20.94 Children (under 5) VIP + $21
  • Drinks – 3 Included
  • Perfect for
  • Rating – 6/10

The Royal Hawaiin Luau is a top rate affair but at an eye-watering $187.43 it’s hard to justify it over the more affordable options. The Diamond Head – farm to Table has it beaten in terms of gastronomy and has a better show in our opinion. There are lots of drinks included which is a plus point. but at this price, we struggle to not expect an open bar.

Don’t get us wrong we really like the royal Hawaiian it is a fantastic offering, but It is just too pricey for us. It’s geared more to hotel guests who don’t bother looking elsewhere.

Kuhio Beach Hula Show

  • Cost – $FREE
  • Drinks – None
  • Perfect for – Budget
  • Rating – 10/10

Ok, this is not a Luau. It’s a Hula show. No food is included no Drinks either but it’s FREE. And at that price point who can argue. Simply show up and enjoy a free hula show every Tuesday Thursday and Saturday evenings (6:30 – 7:00 pm).  The show is pretty basic, don’t expect the elaborately choreographed spectaculars at some of the Luau shows but for a bit of free culture, it’s great. Perfect if the whole Luau thing just seems a bit too Cliched but you still want to experience some authentic Hula.

As it’s free it has to be a 10/10!

The Big Kahuna Luau – CLOSED

The Big Kahuna Luau was a popular event held up in the hills overlooking Waikiki but has now been closed down. We have left it here as many travel sites still allude to this Luau. Its popularity may mean it returns one day, but not for now.

Kapolei

Paradise Cove Luau – Kapolei

Paradise Cove Luau
  • Cost – $102 Adults  – $90 Youths(13-20) – $80 Children(4-12) – VIP +$33 – Super VIP +$80
  • Drinks – 1 Mai Tai Punch + $12 card that can be used towards drinks
  • Perfect for – Luau in a Paradise setting
  • Transportation available from Waikiki for $16 Roundtrip
  • Rating – 9/10

The Name of the Luau may suggest this Luau is set in a beautiful cove, reminiscent of paradise, blue waters, soft sands, Turtles swimming in the bay while the sun slips below the waves. And as luck would have it that is pretty much what you get!

Paradise Cove is a truly wonderful location and ranks highly on any to-do list or beach guide. Turtles are almost guaranteed and the sunsets beautifully out to sea as the evening goes on. It’s a very special location for a Luau. And the Luau is a pretty good one at that.

It’s not quite up to the level of some of the ultra-premium offerings in Waikiki, but then the price is nowhere near that either. And with the location on offer, you really won’t care. Food is a decent standard and quite varied and it’s a good show with talented performers. But you can get better elsewhere. But not the location. We advise getting there early like lunch! and spending the day at the cove. Get public Transport out there and use the Laua to get back if traveling from Waikiki.

The Paradise Cove Luau regularly wins awards for Best Luau in Hawaii, but it’s not for the show or food, just the fantastic overall experience. It is similar to the Polynesian cultural center’s luau and feels very authentic. Like you are really part of the history of the islands.

Germaine’s Luau – Kapolei

Germaines Luau Hawaii
  • Cost – $108 Adults  – $98 Youths(13-20) – $88 Children(4-12) VIP +$33 – Super VIP +$70
  • Drinks – 1 Included
  • Perfect for – Relaxed attitudes
  • Transportation Included in Price
  • Rating – 8/10

Germains Luau is what is called a Backyard Style Luau, What this means is it’s a more laid-back approach than many and meant to replicate more how real Hawaiians celebrate rather than the Royal feast of the traditional Luau. Really it’s not that different to the other offerings on the island but that’s not a bad thing really. The pricing is very competitive and is the second cheapest on the island. While the Backyard Style is this Luaus selling point really what stands out for us is the beachfront setting. It’s not quite Paradise cove but it’s a really Laid-back beautiful setting right on the beach.

Chiefs Luau – Kapolei

  • Cost – $99 Adults  – $88 Youths(13-20) – $77 Children(5-12) Vip +$30 – Super Vip +$75
  • Drinks – 1 included
  • Perfect for – Family Fun Day Out
  • Transportation available from Waikiki for $16 Roundtrip
  • Rating – 7/10

Situated at Wet And Wild Hawaii This is a great Luau to visit following a day enjoying the park. The Luau itself follows on the fun theme by not taking itself too seriously. It’s hosted by the Chief who keeps things fun and entertaining throughout. The Chief is often described as the best thing about the Luau. And that’s not meant in a derogatory way. The Chiefs Luau is a solid offering and competitively priced. It’s hard to recommend making the trip just for the Luau, it’s good but we would prefer Paradise cove anyway. But if the whole family are at Wet and Wild it makes sense to stay on and continue the fun.

KA WA‘A, a Luau at Aulani – A Disney Luau- Kapolei

  • Cost – $139 Adults  – $89 Children(3-9) VIP + $40
  • Drinks – None
  • Perfect for – Disney Guests
  • Rating – 6 / 20

The Luau at Aulani is a pretty good offering. It’s provided by Disney so as you would expect everything is to a very high standard. However, there isn’t really a lot to make it stand out above the rivals. The Hotel has a nice Captive audience of guests staying at the Disney resort and as such, we feel this is mainly designed to take advantage of that. We feel you can do better by venturing away. for those looking for maximum convenience while staying in the Aulani, it’s hard to beat and really it is a pretty solid luau. It just doesn’t excite us enough considering the fairly substantial price!

Germaines Luau Hawaii

Have Your Say

Have you been to a Luau in Oahu? Which did you go to? How did you rate it? Let us know in the comments below? Or if you have any questions or require a personal recommendation just leave us a comment. We are always happy to talk Luau.

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36 thoughts on “Best Luaus In Oahu, Every Luau Rated So You Can Find The BEST”

  1. Wow, great timing. We are going to Oahu for spring break and my wife has been wanting to take in a luau. I am going to share this with her, but I have my eye on Diamond Head Luau – Waikiki. What a great atmosphere to experience one of the great events. I can’t wait for the food! Do you know what is included in the VIP package? Once again, thank you for sharing this, your timing is impeccable.

    Reply
    • Hi Steve,

      Excellent glad we could help out. Hope your trip is amazing, we will be just across the water in Maui! The diamond head is a clear winner from a food perspective! With a great location, very intimate and good show also. The standard experience is very high quality with all the usual VIP Extras thrown in, Flower Lei, 2 Premium drinks + Welcome drink. So the VIP Option only gets you premium seating front row. There are only two rows however so Standard seating is pretty good anyway. Honestly we are not sure how much value the VIP gives you as the standard offering here is so good.

      We would probably save the $60 for more drinks!

      Have a great time.

      Reply
    • Hi Amy,

      Unfortunately, we are not overly familiar with the Toa Luau. It only opened in October and we haven’t had a chance to look into it yet. It is keenly priced and seems to be leaning towards and very traditional theme. It’s pretty far from anything but the Waimea Valley (free entry included) is very beautiful and the remoteness could really add to the atmosphere. But as we said it’s so new we can’t really comment at the minute.

      Maybe you could check it out and report back?

      Thanks for reading

      Steve

      Reply
  2. Hi Steve

    this is nice if I had I seen this article early my last trip to Oahu would have been better but me and my family would be going again next year and I would love to go to Chiefs Luau-Kapolei. But I would love to ask what is included in the super VIP package. Thanks a lot for this article you are the best steve

    Reply
    • Hi David

      Sorry, you didn’t find the article before your last trip but hope it is useful next year!

      Chiefs a really good and very popular Luau over in Kapolei which is a really beautiful part of the Island! With the Super VIP, that they call the Royal Package, you get 3 alcoholic drinks (1 and 2 on the lesser packages) a freah flower Lei on arrival (instead of Nut and Shell Leis) You also get premium seating for the show and first go at the buffet. along with a souvenir and pork tasting once the Pig is unearthed. It costs a rather steep $175 ($135, $99) But gets you the best experience.

      Thanks

      Steve

      Reply
  3. Hi Steve,

    Wow, this article is what I was looking for. We are traveling to Oahu this winter to visit my ante, my mother’s sister. She lives there for years now, and we thought it would be great to go for a visit:). We didn’t know what to do there, so this article is convenient. The Hale Koa Luau in Waikiki seems to be fun. I’ll show this tour to my children and my husband. I am sure they will love it. Just a question, is there a tour on the water to watch whales? My kids want to see whales and dolphins in Oahu. Are there any?

    Thank you, and looking forward to hearing from you!

    Reply
    • Hi Daniella!

      Glad you found what you were looking for! Hope you and your husband and kids enjoy the Luau!

      We must say we are very jealous of your auntie, living in Hawaii is a real dream of ours!

      As for whales, they are seasonal so not always in Hawaiian Waters, however you say you are going in winter and Whale season is Nov-Apr So they will certainly be there! Maui is the best place to go to see whales but there are whale watching trips from all the islands including Oahu.  

      https://www.tombarefoot.com/activities/i-cat/oahu/3/whale-watching-tours/36/4252

      Dolphins are plentiful and present year-round any water bases activity can see dolphins, you may even see them from the shoreline! Check our Oahu Beach guide for details (you might find it useful anyway!)

      Best Beaches in Oahu

      Have a great trip

      Steve

      Reply
  4. Hello Steve!

    Interesting to find out about what a Luau is. Indigenous traditions (kitchen included) should be re-discovered and made known to the rest of the world, and this goes as well for the Amerindian, Polynesian and Aboriginal Australian people’s customs (as much as these populations are still alive now)

    Also, I think tourists find the Hawaiian food delicious. And maybe it is healthier than other kinds of meals and foods the “civilized world” is used to.

    When you say about their food that “it also caters to a more American palate”, do you mean plate?

    Anyway, visiting these places would be an unforgettable experience to people who pay a fly to Hawaii.

    Best regards,

    Peter

    Reply
    • Hi Peter,

      We think the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau would really suit you as this is devoted to the REAL Hawaiian and Polynesian Culture. 

      Hawaiian food is certainly healthy, focused on fresh natural ingredients. However, the introduction of more western influences can mean it is still easy to overdo it! Obesity can be a problem within the Hawaiian people!

      By Palate we mean Palate, according to the dictionary defines as “a person’s ability to distinguish between and appreciate different flavors.” We mean what tastes and aromas you are used to, Hawaiian food can be a little exotic for some Americans but there are usually more familiar foods there too for those who struggle experimenting.

      Thanks

      Steve

      Reply
  5. I have always wanted to go to a Hawaiian Luau and the only thing I probably wouldn’t enjoy is the steamed pork. Everything else you have described sounds magical. 

    Can you recommend the best ones to attend or are they all pretty much the same? I think this is the type of event one needs to attend with a crowd. 

    Reply
    • Hi Michel, 

      You should definitely try the Kalua Pork unless you are restricted from doing so for dietary or cultural reasons. If you just don’t like pork it is a very different style and definitely worth trying as it is very integral to the Luau ritual. And it’s some of the best pork in the world!

      Our Favourites are the Diamond head, which has the best food, or the Polynesian Cultural Center that is the most authentic. But most are fairly similar and all are very enjoyable.

      Have a great time

      Steve

      Reply
  6. I haven’t had a chance to visit Hawaii yet and I have only heard a little bit about Luaus, so this information is both interesting and helpful as I plan to travel to Hawaii next year for a wedding. From your choices I really like the sound of the Diamond Head Luau. I like the fact that this Luau went from premium to farm to table with a gourmet experience. For such a fantastic experience the price is actually pretty fair I feel. Another show I’d actually like to catch after a day at the beach is the Kuhio Beach hula show. These are some fantastic options that I’ll share with my traveling companions and I’ll definitely save your post for when it’s time to book my Luau. Thanks for the awesome recommendations!

    Reply
    • Hi Pentrental,

      Hawaii is the most perfect place for a wedding and a Luau a great shout for a big family and friends get together before the big day! For a special event like that the Diamond Head is a really good choice, it is seriously upmarket now! 

      Hope you have a great time!

      The free Kuhio Beach shows are really good fun to get to grips with hula dancing, make sure you do this first as there will be a chance at the Luau to showcase your skills! 

      Steve

      Reply
  7. It’s been over a year now since you said Tao Luau opened. Do you have any more comments or feedback on it? Also, how many people does the Diamond Head luau seat? I think smaller is better.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Unfortunately, we have not made it to the Toa Luau yet, General feedback has been excellent, and most people are seeming to really enjoy it and at least on Tripadvisor, it is seeing nearly all 5Star reviews. It is very high on our must-visit next time we are on Oahu.

      Diamond head seating is dependent on numbers but is one of the smallest. The VIP seating is a row of up to 9 tables of 6 and the regular seating is behind up to 11 tables of 10-12 people. This varies day to day but gives a good rough idea. It is a more intimate affair than others but this supposed to be a celebration feast and a traditional gathering so if it were too intimate it would miss the point!

      Thanks for reading

      Steve

      Reply
  8. My wife and I have been planning to visit Hawaii for a long time and really we think Honolulu might be the best option. Hopefully, in the coming year, we will make it finally. 

    Our Daughter will be 4 by the time we go and hopefully will appreciate the Luaus by then? What do you think?

    The food looks so amazing and we can’t wait to sample it all along with the traditional and customs of the Luau. 

    Reply
    • Hi,

      The Luau show will certainly be a really memorable highlight for a 4-year-old the Colors, Sounds, and music are so Vibrant and eyecatching they are perfect for younger audiences. The food may be a little lost on her, but there are many options at most Luaus for young or fussy eaters and loads of healthy options for health-conscious parents! 

      Get there early as the many activities and games available beforehand are perfect for the little ones. Especially Leu Making!

      Two potential issues to be aware of is the Luau grounds can be a little hot and sticky which can make for grumpy kids and the shos run pretty late so make sure she can cope with that, especially factoring in Jet Lag, if coming from the mainland leave the Luau as late in the trip as possible to ensure you are acclimatized to the time zone.

      Hope you make it out there and Have a great trip

      Steve 

      Reply
  9. Ha what a coincidence, I was just advising a friend yesterday to stop off in Hawaii for a few days on her way to the states. She has not done much travel and I think she would love to do a Luau. I will pass on your website. 

    Some of the food you describe is similar to what the Maori (New Zealand) call a Hangi. The difference is that all the food is cooked in the ground. They have traced the Maori as originally coming from Islands close to Hawaii. They also do tourist shows to show traditional food and cultural dances etc. It’s a good way to enjoy an introduction to a culture in an entertaining way. 

    Reply
    • Hi Deb,

      Great hope she finds it useful and helps her pick out the perfect Luau!

      Yeah the whole Polynesian island chains share a lot of cultural similarities and share a lot of ancestries, as the islanders spread out and mixed, it is a huge area of the earth but only pockets of inhabitable area, and it created a really vibrant and wonderful culture.

      Most luaus are fairly mixed Culturally with dances, foods, and activities from, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, etc…

      Thanks for commenting

      Steve

      Reply
  10. Wow😍! This article clearly painted the beauty of the Hawaiians tradition. It will put an endless smile on my face if I finally gets the chance to visit Hawaii and attend the amazing Luau party, taste the various traditional meals they’ve got there. Also I’ll like to learn about their historical background.

    Reply
    • Hi

      Hope you get to visit a Luau soon, The variety of food is excellent and you really get o taste all the different Hawaiian Cuisine. The Show itself is a history lesson, telling the story of how the Islands came to be in the manner they have passed the stories down for generations, although a lot of it is more myth than history, there is plenty of historical background in there too. 

      Have a great time when you finally get to Hawaii

      Reply
  11. Hi, Great article

    We are heading to Oahu soon and obviously we want to do a Luau, we were going to just ask our Concierge but were worried they would just send us to the one they get the biggest kickbacks from!

    Love the look of the Polynesian Cultural Center, But the Diamond head Luau looks AWESOME and is just so much more convenient! Plus we want to hit the Mai Tais! 

    Thanks again, just reading this got us really excited for our October trip!

    Leo

    Reply
    • Hi Leo,

      Thanks for reading,

      Bet you can not wait until October, Warm Sany beaches, endless sun, and Luaus!

      We are heading over in October too (well hopefully, everything crossed Hawaii are accepting visitors by then)

      The PCC is probably the best show o the Island and the Buffet is really good, but the Diamond head is a real treat and we get what you mean about convenience, he PCC is a trek back to Honolulu after the show. It’s much easier if you are staying on the north shore though.

      Thanks for reading and enjoy your trip

      Steve

      Reply
  12. Hey Steve, I will be travelling with an individual who has a difficult time getting around and while we will be renting mobility scooters for our normal getting around in Waikiki we are expecting that she will be using a walker when we go out for dinner or specific events. Can you tell me if the Diamondhead farm to table luau is on even ground that’s NOT sand? She has issues walking on uneven ground. Thanks in advance and thank you for the seriously informative article as well.

    Reply
    • Hi Jimmy,

      The diamond head Luau is located at the Waikiki Aquarium. As such there are a network of good pathways navigating the whole area. The Luau itself is on a well manicured lawn. We can no reason your wife would struggle at all.

      While the luau is seafront there is no beach as such in this location but a concrete promenade instead.

      Its a little way out from Central Waikiki, probably too far to walk if you have trouble walking, but nothing a cab/uber wont fix!

      Hope that helps you, and hope you have an amazing time

      Steve

      Reply
  13. We are looking to head to Hawaii now the Travel restrictions are being lifted! Do you know if the luaus will be open for business in November? 

    What changes will there be and are they still worth visiting, We can’t imagine Hawaii without a Luau! It really is one of the highlights if our Trip! 

    Thanks

    Jake

    Reply
    • Hi Jake, We are looking into this. We are not on the Islands at the minute so we are waiting for up to date info on the Luaus. We are sure they will be up and running as soon as possible. With Table service and outdoor seating, there is no reason the Luaus cannot be COVID Secure. 

      We will let you know more when we do! 

      Steve

      Reply
  14. I visited  Hawaii  sometime around last year and fortunately  for me it was the time thery were doing luau festival,Luau is one of the top activities i enjoyed to while i was on the islands. The Traditional Hawaiian Feast and After Dinner show was just so wonderful and hopefully am gonna be there for the next feast thanks so much for this post 

    Reply
    • Hi Rose,

      Actually, Luau’s are no longer a seasonal thing and they run all year as a tourist attraction. You can find a Luau most nights on any of the Hawaiian Islands any time of the year! 

      So good news for your next trip you will definitely be able to visit a Luau again!

      Steve

      Reply
  15. We have been dreaming of a Hawaii vacation for years and we were booked to go this august Staying on Both Oahu and Maui. That dream was dashed by the coronavirus! But we have moved our dates to next year!

    We can’t wait, hopefully, the Luaus will be back up and running by then? what do you think?

    Love the article on the Oahu Luau’s, if we were to do just one, which island do you think has the best Luau’s? Oahu or Maui? 

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Jeff, 

      You and me both! Our plans to visit the Hawaiian Islands were scuppered also this year, along with all our other trips! The covid has been an utter nightmare for us! 

      Luaus are in the process of starting up again. They are still closed for now but we are sure they will open up with social distancing really soon. Maybe the buffet will be replaced with table service but there will be back soon enough!

      We prefer Maui’s Luau’s, mainly for the Unlimited drinks, but there are some super Luau’s on Maui 

      The Old Lahaina Luau is one of our favourites in all of Hawaii and is more authentic than most, but you do lose a few “inauthentic” elements that people love! 

      Hope you have a great trip

      Steve

      Reply
  16. Are the discount links no longer active? I attempted to book a luau for my vacation in a few months through your affiliate link, but it still showing the same price. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Sorry, no the discounts we used to receive are no longer valid.

      we are in the process of finding a new partner to offer the best discounts. Toms Barefoot tours are no longer trading and the page that is still up just links you directly to the vendor.

      Your best bet the minute while we find a reseller who offers good discounts and we can trust is to just go direct. The Hawaii tourism industry had has brought time with almost a year of near-zero trade so it needs our support now more than ever!

      We will work on getting this reflected on the page asap,

      Sorry about that

      Steve

      Reply

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