A Comparison of Luaus on the Big Island

by Paul Joseph  |  Updated December 4, 2023

One of the most popular ways to spend an evening on Hawaii’s Big Island is attending a traditional Polynesian luau, featuring live music, dancing and lashings of food and drink.

(Photo: GetYourGuide.com)

Lent its commonly-used nickname owing to its status as the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, Big Island is a magnet for visitors thanks to its white sandy beaches, pristine waters, swaying coconut palm trees, and warm nights lit by tiki torches. What’s more, the island is also home to some of the best luaus you’ll find anywhere in the Pacific State. We’ve compared them below.

Voyagers of the Pacific Luau with Buffet

Transport yourself to ancient Polynesia and experience Hawaiian culture in an enchanting oceanfront setting on the glimmering shores of Kailua Bay. Indulge in an island-inspired, all-you-can-eat buffet complete with a captivating luau show and thrilling Samoan fire-knife dancing. The evening kicks off with an aloha shell lei greeting and craft demonstrations, and, soon after, the chance to feast on a buffet with traditional Hawaiian dishes made with local ingredients. Then, as drumbeats build, the show unfolds on stage, inspired by Polynesian stories told through live music, song, and dance, culminating in a fire knife dance finale. From $177 per person.

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Island Breeze Luau

(Photo: Island Breeze Luau / Courtesy Viator)

Located downtown and set against a backdrop of paddlers, boaters and Hualalai volcano, Island Breeze luau is widely considered one of the best luaus the island has to offer. Kicking off late afternoon and running for up to three hours, the event features a full Hawaiian buffet paired with an open bar, and shows from around Polynesia, with performances ranging from Fijian war dances to traditional Hawaiian hula. One of the highlights is the royal procession, during which a performer dressed as King Kamehameha (the first ruler of Hawaii) arrives in an outrigger canoe and performers offer an “oli”, or chant, while others blow on the conch. The evening is capped off with a Samoan fire and knife show. From $180 per person.

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Hale Hoaloha Luau at the Mauna Lani

(Photo: Haleo Luau / Courtesy Viator)

Held in the scenic environs of Mauna Lani, Auberge Resort at Kalāhuipuaʻa, this luau is awash with historical significance, set amid the same area of land on which ancient Hawaiians mastered the art of aquaculture and where King Kamehameha came to recuperate and work in the fishponds. Guests are welcomed with a cocktail and a traditional “Oli” before the show begins, complete with story telling, music and dancing. Later, a roasted pig is taken out of the traditional imu pit before being prepared for the Hawaiian buffet. The event culminates with a performance of traditional and modern Hula dances, along with a spectacular fire knife dance. From $235 per person.

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