Lihue is Kauai’s “big city.” Here, you’ll find the deep Nawiliwili Harbor where cruise ships and barges port. These ships unload their cargo, and it’s all transported to the city’s big box stores. Essentially, Lihue is an industrial town where islanders purchase essential goods. It’s not really worth a visit unless you need to pop into Walmart.
There is one gem that hides in Lihue. On the back end of the city, just off the main road, you’ll find the historic Kilohana Plantation.
Hawaii’s past is deeply rooted in agriculture. For decades, the island’s eco systems were exploited for sugar and pineapple. Now the economy has transitioned to tourism, but the agricultural infrastructure still stands. And you get a peek into that history at the Kilohana Plantation.
The plantation is worth a visit. You’ll find locals selling handmade wares out of stalls, and you’ll be able to indulge in a fine dining experience at the plantation’s Gaylord’s Restaurant. But it’s the Luau Kalamaku that is the big draw at this historical site.
The opulent luau serves high-end traditional Hawaiian fare, and you’ll be able to enjoy the lavish food while you experience an immersive and interactive show.
You’ll be greeted at the entrance with a lei. The fragrant flower necklace is a celebration of friendship, and it adds a pleasant scent to the humid air. Feel free to roam about the plantation, head over to the bar for a drink or you can choose your seats for the event. You’ll find massive communal dining tables on the grounds, and seating is first come, first served.
The meal kicks off with the unearthing of the Kalua pig. A whole hog has been wrapped in banana leaves and placed on hot coals in the ground. The underground oven is called an imu, and you get to watch as men in traditional Hawaiian garb unearth the succulent pork.
This kicks off the buffet-style feast where you can try a little bit of everything. Make sure to taste poi, lomi lomi, lau lau, chicken long rice and the kalua pig. You’ll then be able to sit down to enjoy the meal and the show.
Live music plays as dancers act out the history of Hawaii in dance. It’s a captivating and tribal experience, and it’s all capped off with a fiery show. And you’re sure to make friends with those sitting around you. It’s a joyous and unforgettable occasion.