Paradise Cove Luau has everything you would expect in a traditional Hawaiian luau. The luau is held right on the beach so you get to enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian scenery, the entire evening is family friendly, and the luau showcases numerous aspects of Hawaiian culture.

Paradise Cove luau right on the beach
Enjoy a traditional Hawaiian luau on the beach

Paradise Cove Luau Location

When you’re on the west side of Oahu it feels like you’re on a completely different island. Away from the busy streets of Waikiki you get to see a different side of Oahu…literally and figuratively.

The west side is less crowded, more remote, and more scenic. Instead of towering hotels you can see the Waianae mountains as you drive out to the Paradise Cove Luau. If you drive like we did, be sure to give yourself plenty of time—from Waikiki it could take up to an hour or more with traffic.

The Waianae Mountains tower over Oahu's west side
The drive from Honolulu to the west side provides stunning views of the Waianae Mountains

Pre Luau Activities

Luckily we got there on time despite hitting rush hour traffic. Once we checked in, we waited anxiously for the doors to open.

This wasn’t my first luau but I was excited to experience a beach luau. Plus, I was with my fiance and this was his first luau, and we were accompanied by his mom and sister—it was their first luau as well.

Photo Ops on the gorgeous property

Before even getting into the pre luau activities, we had to take a million photos. We didn’t even make it all the way through the gates before stopping for a group picture.

The grounds were absolutely gorgeous. As we entered the luau there was a man-made waterfall and pond, which made the perfect backdrop for a family photo.

Perfect setting for photos
The setting at Paradise Cove is beautiful

In addition to the natural beauty of the beach, overlooking the ocean was a lovely landscaped lawn, filled with palm trees and fragrant Hawaiian flowers.

We got our welcome lei and Mai Tai and…continued taking pictures. Pictures by the palm trees, pictures by the lagoon, pictures with a plumeria, pictures with our drinks. So many pictures of a memorable evening. And that was only the beginning.

So many good photo opportunities at Paradise Cove

Spear throwing…Don’t try this at home!

My favorite pre-luau activity was the spear throwing, not necessarily for the activity itself but for the pleasure of watching everyone try to hit the target. The activity was more challenging than I thought.

The targets weren’t that far away and the wooden spears weren’t too heavy. Just like everyone else in line, I thought for sure I’d hit the target. Boy was I wrong.

When I got to the front of the line for my turn, I studied the target for a second, adjusted the spear in my hand, and then threw with complete confidence. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself when the spear went passed the target about two feet off to the right.

Pre luau activities at Paradise Cove are fun for the whole family
Spear throwing was entertaining to try…and to watch

You get more than one chance to throw, but even when I did hit the target, there wasn’t enough force behind my throw to make the spear pierce the target and the spear fell to the ground. It was hilarious.

Everyone in line was laughing and having a good time, enjoying the challenge and watching everyone try to hit the target.

At one point the Polynesian gentleman who was supervising the activity jumped in to show everyone how it’s done. He threw 3 or 4 spears and each one hit the target near the center. He’s definitely had some practice.

Shower of flowers ceremony

Once we had all tried our hand at the spear throwing, we headed over to the lagoon to watch the shower of flowers ceremony and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The shower of flowers was even more impressive than the warrior-like spear thrower. I’ve always been an avid tree climber, but I’ve never climbed a tree that had no limbs…

I was amazed by how fast he was able to climb this tree
Climbing to the top of a tree that has no limbs takes serious skill

The impressive thing about the shower of flowers wasn’t the shower itself but how it was done. In order to shower the flowers above the crowd, Polynesian guy climbed a palm tree with his bare hands and feet while carrying a bag of flower petals.

It probably only took him 15 seconds to get from the ground to the top of the tree. The way he climbed reminded me of Mulan climbing to the top of the tower to get the arrow, only this guy was a lot faster. It was so cool.

Once he got to the top he held himself up with his legs while he opened the bag of flowers and showered them onto the crowd. As the flowers slowly fell to the beach you could smell their strong fragrance. It was like being showered with aloha perfume.

Paradise Cove Luau Feast and Show

After we were showered with plumeria, the sun began to set and it was time for dinner. The buffet at the Paradise Cove Luau had traditional luau cuisine, including everything from pork to pineapple.

Though my mother in law is vegetarian and I’m vegan, there were plenty of options for both of us. My favorite dishes were the stir fried veggies and noodles…I had to go back for seconds.

A plate full of traditional luau cuisine

At some point during the dinner my attention was drawn away from my plate to the stage. The main event was getting started. Hula dancers filled the stage and began their choreographic tour of Polynesia. Before going to a luau I had no idea what hula actually was and that there are so many different types of hula.

As the sun sets, the feast and performance begin

Hula and fire knife dance performances

With seamless transitions, the dancers take you on a journey through ancient Polynesia. The journey includes the traditional dances of Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, and of course Hawaii. It’s probably safe to say that the most popular and impressive dance is the fire knife dance.

The fire knife dance is always my favorite part of the luau

Holy moly the fire knife dance is incredible. I’ve been to several luau and the fire knife dance never gets old; I always feel like I’m seeing it for the first time. We were sitting one section back from the stage and we could feel the heat of the fire.

Watching the fire knife dance always gives me this exhilarating rush of adrenaline. It’s a combination of being mesmerized by the twirling fire while sitting there with an unwarranted fear of “what happens if he drops it or something?”

But in all the luau I’ve attended, I’ve never seen a fire knife dancer drop the flaming baton…thankfully! Yet I still sit there with that thought in the back of my mind. I guess that’s part of what makes it so impressive.

From the warm aloha welcome, to the delicious food, and extraordinary dance performances, Paradise Cove Luau will give you a piece of paradise to remember forever.

Browse packages and reserve your seat to the Paradise Cove Luau at Ko Olina Resort today on the HawaiiActivities website.