Our Favorite Lihue Luaus
Whether you arrive by sea or sky, all travelers to Kauai are first greeted by Lihue’s lush environs. Serving as the governmental and commercial core of Kauai, Lihue offers visitors a peek into modern island life while honoring the traditions and people of the past. The area is punctuated by Hawaiian landmarks like 1,000-year-old fishponds and regal plantation estates. As a result, it is only natural that Lihue is home to some of Kauai’s most iconic luaus, from Luau Kalamaku’s spectacular production at the Kilohana Plantation to the generations-old Hawaii Alive Luau near the waters of Kalapaki Beach.
Luau Kalamaku isn’t your average backyard luau. Located in the historic Kilohana Plantation, Luau Kalamaku ignites stories of ancient Polynesia through spectacular costumes, fiery dances, and a state-of-the-art media system. Discover what makes Luau Kalamaku one of the most captivating productions on Kauai.
Luau Kalamaku’s location at the Kilohana Plantation is an attraction in itself. The plantation is shrouded in history, once home to a sugar plantation and one of Kauai’s most eminent families. Luau guests are encouraged to arrive early to explore the plantation’s many shops and 2.5-mile railway line.
The show is prefaced by a Polynesian feast of epic proportions. The hollow sound of a blown conch shell signals the unveiling of the imu, followed by a grand Hawaiian buffet. Expect traditional favorites like poi, kalua pork, teriyaki chicken, potato mac salad, fresh fish, and chow mein. While you feast, enjoy live music and traditional hula.
As darkness falls, the stage lights come up, and the audience is transported back over 1,000 years to when Polynesians made their first voyage to Hawaii. Luau Kalamaku’s show is unique in that the performance follows a narrative, weaving Polynesian song and dance into the story. The meticulously designed costumes, interactive stage, and enchanting storyline breathe new life into the traditional luau experience. The show is offered Tuesdays, Fridays, and select Thursdays.
Hawaii Alive Luau – Royal Sonesta Luau
In operation for over 50 years, Hawaii Alive Luau is one of the longest-running productions in Hawaii. The Punua family of Halau Na Punua o Kauai have been at the helm of Hawaii Alive Luau for three generations. This epic showcase of Hawaiian culture takes place every Monday night at the Royal Sonesta Kauai.
When it comes to hula and Polynesian dance, the Punua family are professionals. In fact, the family’s halau (hula group) has won several awards and even taken top honors in multiple statewide competitions. But it doesn’t end there— the Punua family is also lauded for their Polynesian drumming and singing. Collectively, the family’s talents form one of the top Polynesian showcases on Kauai: Hawaii Alive Luau.
The evening kicks off with a Hawaiian buffet— a recent addition to Hawaii Alive Luau. Guests can have their fill of Polynesian eats like poke, poi, Mahi Mahi, kalua pig, sweet potatoes, and more.
Illuminated by stage lights, tiki torches, and the glow of the stars, the Punua family guides the audience through multiple acts showcasing Hawaiian history and Polynesian culture. The show culminates with a memorable Samoan fire knife dance. The Hawaii Alive Luau takes place in the Royal Sonesta’s open-air courtyard, but inclement weather can force the event to move indoors.