Luaus and Hawaiian vacations go together like peanut butter and jam or, to keep it Hawaiian-themed, spam and rice. Luaus are a festive cultural experience that combines outstanding dishes with superior performances. Generally, the question Hawaiian visitors are asking is not whether to go to a luau at all, but rather which of the many highly rated luaus would be best for their party. The Ka Moana Luau is a great choice for those looking for an updated venue and performances focusing on Hawaiian history.
The Ka Moana Luau has an outstanding reputation for its stellar luaus on the island of Oahu for many years now. But even when you’re on top, you can do with some improvements and that’s just what the team behind Ka Moana Luau did in 2023. At the start of this year, they changed their location. Where before performances were held in northeast Oahu at Sea Life Park, they are now operating within the oceanfront historic grounds of Aloha Tower lighthouse. This is an incredibly convenient location as it lies in the harbor district of downtown Honolulu. Yet, while it is within a bustling part of the city, the team behind this Oahu luau carefully created the private outdoor stage and seating area to create an immersive experience.
Upon arriving at the Ka Moana Luau, you will be greeted with a colorful lei and Mai Tai cocktail and then left free to stroll around the grounds before seating for the main event. During this pre-show time, you can enjoy buffet appetizers, take part in a professional photo session, or check out cultural stations like spaces where Hawaiians are making coconut leaf headbands or showcasing how to play traditionally-made instruments.
Dinner is served buffet-style, with many of the entrees being sourced from local producers as well as local waters. While you will line up to fill your plate, and you can refill as desired, there are also servers that come around to offer additional assistance and provide that little extra attention often missing in other luaus on the island. If you want to skip the buffet entirely, you can even upgrade here to a VIP Package and enjoy full table service. Popular dishes here include grilled and blackened island fish and fresh, organic fruits sourced from nearby farms.
Then there is the performance. Different luaus across Oahu and the Hawaiian islands will feature different subjects or have different ways of performing. At the Ka Moana Luau, the show encompasses a more linear look into Hawaii’s history that includes the Polynesian journeys across the oceans to these islands. Popular highlights during this show include a thrilling Maori war dance complete with drumming and an exciting fire dancing show that takes place at the event’s closing.
All of the performances at Ka Moana Luau take place atop a state-of-the-art stage that features an innovative digital screen at its backdrop. This screen makes it possible to change backdrops. Such as adding crashing waves or a murderous volcano, as the performances and the stories change. However, this setup as well as the new location does mean that this Hawaiian luau does not have a very natural backdrop. So while Ka Moana Luau should be a top pick for those wanting innovation, easy access, and beautiful storytelling, you might look for another luau if you prefer a location on the beach or with an otherwise more natural naturally scenic backdrop.
-If you’re booking during one of the island’s busy seasons, you’ll find yourself unable to book a premium seating package. We recommend booking the standard seating package if your dates aren’t flexible. You can always check the box to be upgraded whenever an opening happens.
-Location really is one of the big perks about this luau. Many area hotels will include their own shuttles to popular locations like this. If yours doesn’t, you can add transportation (to and from select area locations) to your ticket price for a nominal fee.