Kauai is a land that places immense importance on its history and cultural roots. This is evident from the presence and careful preservation of numerous historic landmarks that grace the Garden Isle.
One such place is the Kilohana plantation, developed by the sugar baron Gaylord Wilcox in 1935. Besides being a historic landmark and a great example of the plantation era architecture, the Kilohana plantation is highly popular for its bi-weekly cultural event- The Luau Kalamaku.
Started in 2007, Luau Kalamaku has been attracting visitors from all over the world. The show is performed on a center stage with ‘in-the-round’ seating that provides great views from every seat in the house. The performances shed light on Kauai’s ancient history and place the island’s age old traditions in front of you.
‘Kalamaku’, in Hawaiian, means ‘flaming torch’. It signifies the passing of the torch from one generation to another, as they journeyed from Tahiti to the Hawiian island of Kauai.
While there are many other luaus to be enjoyed in Kauai, what makes luau Kalamaku stand out? Mainly, it is the fact that this is Kauai’s only theatrical Luau. By theatrical, don’t just assume an applaudable performance. This luau beams with a combination of graceful hula dancers, traditional fire knife dancing, fire poi-ball exhibition, torch lighting and imu ceremonies combined with Tahitian music and Hawaiian style food and drinks. All these are designed to treat visitors with the best island experience they’ve ever had.
The evening starts with a dramatic torch lighting and imu ceremony, where the main course is unearthed from a traditional underground Oven. The menu includes authentic Polynesian cuisine such as Lomi Lomi salmon, kalua pork cooked in imu, taro rolls, fresh tropical fruit and much more. A variety of desserts and cocktails seal the buffet dinner in a grand fashion. After enjoying some Hawaiian games, music and dancing and the luau dinner, the main show of the evening begins.
The story of the Hawaiian islands and the original Tahitian voyage are translated into captivating performances on stage and nailed to perfection. The attention to detail that goes into luau kalamaku becomes evident by the fact that the drums used for the performances are handcrafted by the musicians themselves.
Luau Kalamaku offers three flexible options to visitors to choose based on personal preference:
- The Hawaiian Luau Package: Along with a lavish island buffet and an immersive luau show, you’ll be able to explore shops and cultural demonstrations that reflect Hawaii’s lifelong traditions.
- The Plantation Owner’s Evening: This package offers the privilege of exquisite dining in the Gaylord’s restaurant located inside Kilohana plantation’s 60 acre orchard and park. The dining is followed by a premier seating at the luau show.
- The Show Only: As you’ve rightly guessed, this is the most cost effective package and is perfect for those who just want to witness the enthralling luau Kalamaku show.
The luau is operated every Tuesday and Friday.
Exploring the Kilohana Plantation
Visiting the plantation early gives you time to take a leisurely afternoon walk and explore the craft demonstrations.
Besides luau Kalamaku, the 104 acre Kilohana plantation is a well known visitor destination for its agricultural park, the plantation railway, Gaylord’s restaurant, Koloa Rum Company and much more.
You can have a unique time exploring Kilohana’s ancient mansion which is now converted into grand shops and lounges for modern day visitors.
The plantation railway is a great way to explore the entire stretch of the well maintained plantation. The conductor narrated tour traverses through fruit orchards, exotic flowers, forests and animal Pasteurs. You’ll even get a chance to feed the pigs, goats and sheep.
This 40 minute long tour is undoubtedly one of the best and most economic adventurous activities you can experience on the island.
After the tour you can spend a refreshing time at the Mahiko lounge. Cherish their hand-crafted glass of Mai Tai along with other specialties prepared out of farm grown produce. The ambience transports you to ancient days with its teakwood furniture and black and white photo displays.
If you are visiting on a sunday, you can enjoy a delicious brunch at Gaylord’s. The dining area around the Manor’s original courtyard offers views of Mt. Waialeale in the distance as you munch on the delicious seafood.
Although Kauai is a quaint little island, it is slowly being swayed by modernization. Most of the olden day traditions that were followed by the native Hawaiians are lost today. The luau Kalamaku and the Kilohana plantation help to preserve Kauai’s cultural essence and allow you to take an intimate look at the heart of the Hawaiian heritage.
Plan your Kauai vacation to accommodate ample time to explore the Kilohana plantation. An evening spent at the luau Kalamaku with the fire dancers, graceful hula and some delicious island food under the beautiful Kauai night skies will prove to be one of the best evenings you’ve ever had. This is an event not to be missed.