From the minute you step off the plane in Maui you are greeted by the warm air, gentle sea spray and fragrant smells of the flora. Maui is tropical and bursting with culture and the best way to take in some of Hawaii’s vibrant culture is by attending a luau. Aloha! Be welcomed on Maui with traditional lei greetings at Kahului Airport.
An Evening at the Old Lahaina Luau
Undoubtedly one of the best luau’s on the island is the Old Lahaina Luau. The grounds are located in the popular town of Lahaina, which rests in between the Ka’anapili area and Kihei, right on the ocean. The grounds are smaller than a lot of luau’s you can experience while on Maui and this provides an authentic, intimate experience that you will not soon forget.
When you arrive you will be directed to check in where the women are handed a small, fragrant flower to put behind their ear for the evening. Place the flower on the right side if you are single and the left side if you are taken. This is followed by the receiving of a fresh orchid flower lei and a welcome Mai Tai adorned with a fresh orchid. From the very start the experience is one of doting attentiveness and Hawaiian culture.
After being introduced to your personal waiter for the night and shown your seats, you are free to wander the grounds. You can visit the open bar or one of the stations that are setup with hula dancing, photo booths and souvenirs, all while a live band plays tropical sounds in the background. The experience continues when you witness the unearthing of the roasted pigs from the earth oven or ‘imu’.
~ Pig roast ‘Imu’ ~
These ovens are built by digging a hole in the ground and adding wood, where a fire is built. Many lava stones are then added to the fire to be heated up until they are close to red in color. At this point, the excess wood is removed, the rocks are leveled and banana stumps are put over the rocks to trap the heat.
The pigs are then placed on the banana stumps after being wrapped in large ti leaves and then covered with earth and left to slow roast over the coals for five to six hours before being unearthed. This amazing tradition will become the center piece of your luau meal.
Many attend the luaus for the feast, and this particular luau dismisses you in an organized fashion to fill your plates with traditional Hawaiian dishes at one of their four buffets. Their organization makes for short lines and an easy experience. While eating you are served refills of your drinks from your waiter, as well as, large trays of deserts to top off the already fabulous meal.
All of this is rounded off with the night’s performance of a traditional hula dance. The show at the Old Lahaina Luau tells the story of Hawaii and the hula. How the islands were discovered, how they have changed and how they have embraced their original culture through hula dancing. The show is absolutely captivating with beautiful dancers and an engaging story. You will leave the Old Lahaina Luau with a renewed appreciation for the culture that is, Hawaii.
For more information on luaus in Maui, please visit Maui Luaus Guide.