If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the spirit of aloha, look no further than a luau.
Centered around food and culture, it’s essentially a combination of a traditional Hawaiian feast, hula performance, and interactive storytelling all packed into one fun-filled night.
There really is no better way to experience the magic of Hawaii – keep reading to learn more about the best luaus on Big Island!
Flexing their cultural chops four days a week, the Voyagers of the Pacific Luau is a staple amongst Big Island luaus.
Venture into the Royal Kona Resort when your schedule aligns, just in time for the sun to set over Kailua Bay.
Shell lei are laid over your head to kick-start the evening, but you’re welcome to try your hand at lei making at their workshop.
Later, the savory scent of roasted pig draws your eyes towards the Imu ceremony, then to the flickering flames on stage.
As many reviewers have commented: it’s a treat to dine on traditional Hawaiian foods while learning about Hawaii’s various identities through dance.
From the all-you-can-eat to Mai Tais and Samoan fire knife finale – it is as if you’re voyaging through the Pacific.
Tip: VIP seating is absolutely worth the stage views.
Tucked away behind the tennis courts and golf course of Fairmont Orchid’s Plantation Estate is one of the best luaus on Big Island.
Hawaii Loa Luau may not be near water, but set on ancient land where Hawaiian kings and chiefs once gathered, this luau channels the tradition and history steeped within the South Kohala Coast.
Your 3-hour experience begins with fun for children and adults. The performers walk you through traditional games while explaining their cultural significance.
Only when evening descends on the estate do you take your seats for fantastic music and dances.
A passionate MC chimes in with historical and cultural explanations between the performances, which round off with a highly-praised flame-throwing sequence.
Unlimited food and drinks are offered to soothe your throat after enthusiastic cheering.
For a small, intimate experience under the stars, this unique Big Island luau takes you out onto Waikoloa Beach Golf Course.
It’s hosted by the award-winning Mai Grille restaurant, so you bet the meal is up to par.
But before you get to the dining and daring displays, you first engage in crowd activities like Hula lessons.
Men, women, and children alike will pick up some steps along the way.
Once you’re hyped, the performers launch into the tale of Pele; the fire goddess who traveled through Polynesia to seek a new home.
Follow her journey as she comes across the Maori people and Samoa warriors, only settling down when she meets her match in Kamapua’a the demigod.
By the end of her story, you too, will find that you’ve traveled a long way to reach this Hawaii home.
The Lu’au Grounds of Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort become the stomping grounds for the Sunset Luau every Monday and Wednesday.
Those who sign up for Premier seats (as you should) are shuffled right before the stage after the requisite floral lei gifting.
Children five and under get to tag along for free, and most sit riveted at the motions on stage.
Songs and dances recall how Hawaiian people first came together through Tahiti, New Zealand, Hawaii and Samoa.
The world champion fire dancer then takes the spotlight to wow you with fiery tricks.
The menu is very much rooted in local efforts too.
Farm to table, popular dishes include Waipi’o Valley poi, Pulehu steaks, Keahole shrimp and chicken grilled with Hamakua mushrooms.
There’s even an open bar that serve cocktails for adults, and mocktails for kids.
It wouldn’t be one of the best Big Island luau without the scenic backdrop and immersive show.
Outrigger’s Feast & Fire Luau takes you into a secluded 22-acre estate along Keauhou Bay, where the magic happens under the hala trees.
Your first dose of culture comes through Hawaiian arts and storytelling before dinner.
The torch-lighting ceremony signals the beginning of your night, where you’re literally blessed by royalty.
Hula dancing to the sound of conch shells and Polynesian drums is the famous Lim Family of Kohala; royal descendants with a lineage full of musicians.
The Luau feast is just as grand as the performance, serving up kalua pork, taro rolls, Kona coffee treats and coconut pudding.
To complement, there’s a full bar of Mai Tais, beer and wine.
Sharing Hawaii’s history and legends since 1960s, the Mauna Kea Luau is great for those who prefer smaller-sized gatherings.
It’s set in a rather intimate space to offer up oceanfront views while retaining that community vibe.
You’re welcomed with a Mai Tai and led to tables laden with island fish, lomi salmon, kalua pig and tropical fruits.
Share friendly greetings with the MC (who has plenty of flair) and admire the performers’ beautiful costumes.
The show itself moves away from intense choreographies to focus on cultural history – expect plenty of commentary!
A presentation of royal court customs is included to explain certain traditions passed down through the decades.
Under swaying palms and starry skies, one of the most popular luau on Big Island recounts epic tales via ancestral songs and hula dance.
Legends of Hawaii Luau invite you into Kamehameha Court every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday.
Before the pulsating drums and flames are Olelo Hawaii language lessons and fun hula sessions that make you feel part of the community.
The following torch run-ups the beat, followed by a blessing to open festivities.
Feast like King Kamehameha on Polynesian delicacies: kalua pig, roast chicken garnished with green peppercorn sauce, fresh seafood and island-style desserts.
Then, Coconut Husking demonstrations offer a sneak-peek into Hawaiian living, which transitions smoothly into the epic show.
To commemorate your night, pick up hand-crafted goods by local artisans.
Island Breeze Luau is a crowd-approved Big Island luau, ‘Best of West Hawaii’ since 2000.
Set on the shores of Kamakahonu Bay and Ahu’ena, Kamehameha the Great’s former estate, its location yields ocean panoramas and royal roots.
Drawing on the rich history of the property, the luau welcomes the Royal Court on stage.
Greeted by the Court Conch Herald and Court Chanter, they then demonstrate rituals, hula and mo’olelo storytelling.
When the cultural lessons are over, the rhythm picks up so you get the whirling fire dances you’ve been waiting for.
Don’t forget the 22-dish Hawaiian buffet dinner either! Feast on catches of the day, grilled chicken with garnish, fresh produce and fruit; the open bar is a great companion.
The Pilikana Luau at the historic Kona Inn is as the name suggests, a production focused on ‘family ties’.
The local-style experience isn’t as grand as some hotel-run shows, but in return, you get original compositions and choreographies.
Pull into the location an hour before the show proper – the pre-show activities are popular among families with kids.
From temporary tattoos to Polynesian drumming, hula lessons and watching fire knife demos; you can try your hand at ancient Hawaiian practices.
Only when the conch shell blows do you sit for the stories. From Pele to Polynesia’s first settlers, every dance reveals glimpses of Hawaiian ancestors and their Polynesian journey.
Note that the dinner buffet is catered by Umekes Fish Market Bar & Grill, so you’re in for seafood treats.
There’s so much to love about luaus on Big Island – and Voyagers of the Pacific Luau is a summary of everything this Hawaiian island hopes to express.
Royal Kona Resort sweeps you off your feet with their luau venue, depositing you right by the Kailua Bay oceanfront.
You’re welcomed warmly with shell leis and photo ops, followed by arts and crafts demonstrations.
Traditionally, you’d also watch the unearthing of the pig from the Imu; this is bound to drive anyone to the all-you-can-eat buffet!
Unlimited dining on traditional Hawaiian fare and local specialties plus complimentary cocktails is always welcome.
The evening then culminates in a dramatic show. Travel through the Pacific via island stories and dances, then stand up to applaud the finale: the Samoa fire knife ritual.