Men and women performing a dance on stage at Toa Luau on the north shore of Oahu.

Toa Luau Review: Is This One of the Best Luaus in Oahu?

Are you considering going to the Toa Luau in Oahu but unsure of what to expect?

Well, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll take you through the different experiences and activities you can enjoy at the luau. We will also help you decide if the Toa Luau is worth a visit and provide some tips to help make your experience even more memorable.

The Toa Luau is undeniably one of the best luaus in Oahu. It’s renowned for its energetic performances and a wide array of activities to enjoy. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be welcomed with a traditional lei greeting before the immersive performance of songs and dances from Hawaii and other Polynesian Islands that are sure to leave you mesmerized.

Why should you trust us? We’ve spent several hours researching and gathering consumer feedback on the best luaus in Hawaii and Oahu, but most importantly, we’ve been to almost all of the luaus on Oahu and have seen the Toa Luau several times. We know all about the food, entertainment, and activities that make this one of the top-rated luaus on the island.

Women performing a Polynesian dance at the Toa Luau at Waimea Valley.

Before we begin, let’s answer the big question below:

Is the Toa Luau Worth It?

The answer is an absolute YES! The Toa Luau offers a unique and immersive experience you won’t find at many luaus. We highly recommend it to anyone looking for an unforgettable time in Oahu.

Who Should Choose the Toa Luau?

The Toa Luau is perfect for those that want an intimate experience with a touch of nature. This luau is much smaller and more personal than other luaus, which many will find more pleasant.

Also, if you want to support local businesses, this is the luau for you. Compared to some big luaus like the Polynesian Cultural Center and Paradise Cove, a local family owns and operates the Toa Luau.

Men and women performing a dance on stage at the Toa Luau.

Toa Luau is the only luau on the island that offers a day and an evening show. This is especially important if you have kids or are coming from Waikiki and do not want to stay late.

Also, this is an excellent option if you are already staying on the North Shore.

The team on stage at Toa Luau after the show.

Side note: Going to Oahu and looking for another luau option? Check out our review of the Chief’s Luau—another top-rated medium-sized luau in Hawaii.

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About the Toa Luau

Note: The below ratings were obtained from Google reviews

RATING: 5 Stars (2,033+ reviews)

When you combine a traditional show with undisturbed natural beauty, you get the Toa Luau at Waimea Valley on the North Shore of Oahu. This is a small and intimate family-owned luau that allows its guests to get up close and personal with Polynesian culture.

Men and women performing a dance on stage at the Toa Luau.

The Toa Luau provides a strong connection to the land and its traditions, offering an incredible experience for anyone who wants to learn more about Polynesian culture.

Women performing the hula show at the Toa Lua at Waimea Valley.

As an added bonus, you can hike to the nearby Waimea Falls and the lush botanical gardens surrounding it before you attend the luau.

If you want to tour the garden and hike to the waterfall, get there at least 1.5 hours before the luau to give yourself enough time to walk back. Admission to the garden is $20, but you get free entry with your luau purchase.

When is the luau? 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm (day show); 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (evening luau), Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday

Toa Luau Transportation: How to Get There

Location: 59-864 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa, HI (at Waimea Valley)

Visitors have two main options to get to the luau. You can also take the public bus, but we don’t recommend it, especially if you’re coming from Waikiki.

Drive: It’s a great option if you have your own car. Parking is free for luau guests at Waimea Valley. The drive from Waikiki is about one hour, so plan ahead.

Taxi/Uber/Lyft: This is an easy option for those who want to avoid driving. Keep in mind that transportation on the North Shore is a challenge after 7:00 pm. If you choose this option, we recommend the afternoon luau instead of the night luau. More on this later.

Toa Luau Tickets

Note: we only included the adult prices. Click one of the links to check additional price options.

Packages: There are three different packages to choose from:

  • Silver ($125.33/adult)
  • Gold ($158.02/adult)
  • VIP ($190.71/adult)

All packages include a flower lei, umu demonstration, luau dinner, kava ceremony, cultural activities, a Polynesian show, and drink tickets.

The main difference between the packages is the assigned seating and the number of drinks. The VIP package will have the best seating closer to the stage, then gold, followed by silver.

Me wearing my flower orchid lei at the Toa Luau umu ceremony.

This is a small luau, so I wouldn’t worry about the seating unless you need to be seated front row for some reason. 

I sat in the back and could see perfectly fine since the venue is relatively small and the back section is elevated.

As for drinks, the VIP package comes with three drink tickets, gold has two, and silver has one.

I opted for the silver tickets because I didn’t care much about the drinks, and since we knew this luau was smaller and more intimate, we didn’t feel the need to upgrade. 

If you care about all the bells and whistles, then the VIP package is for you.

When to Book

We suggest booking your tickets ahead of time, especially if you plan on going during peak season (May-August) or any holiday. Tickets are often sold out, so get yours in advance.

If you need to cancel your ticket for any reason, Toa Luau has a good cancellation policy. 

All full refund requests for 1-15 people must be made at least 24 hours before your reserved date. 

The policy is different if your group is larger than 15 people, so check the policy online before booking.

Toa Luau Itinerary: What to Expect

The luau venue is located inside Waimea Valley, past the visitor center and the cafe. There will be signs pointing you in the right direction.

Me taking photos with one of the female dancers at Toa Luau.

Check-in begins at 12:20 pm for the afternoon luau and 4:50 pm for the evening luau. Everyone will receive a flower lei and drink vouchers based on the package purchased. 

The bar is located to the left upon entering the luau.

People in line at the Toa Luau Bar.
Me holding my mai tai at the Toa Luau in Oahu.

A member of the team will then take you to your assigned table. The tables are banquet-style, and you will be seated next to other guests if your group does not fill a table. 

This was the case for me since I was traveling alone on this particular occasion. I ended up sitting with a lovely group of friends from Canada who made me feel at home.

The Venue

The venue is a covered open-air pavilion with a grassy area to the right where cultural activities take place. This space is perfect, especially for kids, since they can run around and play.

Guests sitting at the banquet tables at Toa Luau while others perform in cultural activities outside.
People at their tables at the Toa Luau Venue in Oahu.
The open air pavilion at Toa Luau in Oahu.

If you don’t have children and are worried about the luau being full of kids, don’t worry. Most people attending were adults, and while the kids were there, it wasn’t that noticeable.

Pre-Show/Cultural Activities and Demonstrations

Once settled, the pre-show activities start on the grassy area to the right side of the pavilion. These activities include poi ball spinning, headband weaving, coconut tree climbing, a cooking demonstration, and more.

Man climbing a coconut tree during the cultural activities at the Toa Luau at Waimea Valley.
Guests making headbands at the Toa Luau in Oahu during the cultural activities.

I loved that they included the coconut tree climbing since most luaus on the island don’t have this option. It was an enjoyable and unique experience!

Guests participating in the cultural activities at Toa Luau.

Kava Ceremony

Afterward, you will participate in a Fijian kava ceremony where you drink a ceremonial drink made from a natural sedative called kava. It has a slight numbing sensation and is said to bring good luck, connections, peace of mind, and help people make decisions.

Traditionally, kava is served in half a coconut shell, and you must clap before drinking it. It has a distinct taste that some people may not like, but I thought it was okay!

Guests participating in the cultural activities at the Toa Luau. A little girl is drinking from the coconut they just opened.

Umu Demonstration

Next, it’s time for the Samoan umu demonstration, which is an above-ground oven that uses hot volcanic stones. 

Here you’ll get to learn about how traditional Pacific Islanders would cook their food and also learn about how to start a fire.

Man teaching guests how to start a fire at the umu ceremony at Toa Luau.

This was a great way to immerse in the culture and understand their cooking techniques. 

Men performing the umu ceremony at the Toa Luau in Oahu.
Men showing us how to make coconut milk from the coconut at Toa Luau.
Man showing guests how to make coconut milk at Toa Luau in Waimea Valley.

Due to safety regulations, visitors do not get to eat the food cooked in the umu. It’s meant for demonstration purposes only. 

Men showing us how they cook their food at the Toa Luau in Oahu during the umu ceremony.

While it wasn’t your typical imu ceremony with the pig being roasted, it was still very educational.

Men showing us how to cook food at he Toa Luau. This is the final step where they cover the oven with banana leaves.

Overall, the cultural activities and demonstrations are a great way to learn more about Polynesian culture. Toa Lua does an excellent job of highlighting different cultural aspects, which will keep you entertained along the way.

Men showing guests the cooked food from the umu.

The Feast

The food is your typical luau food, but they bring it to your table instead of having a buffet which I preferred. After attending so many luaus on the island, this felt the most sanitary. 

Also, this moved much faster than waiting for everyone to get their food at the buffet—bonus points for this.

If you want more food, you can make your way to the buffet or ask a server to bring you seconds. 

Men preparing food for guests at Toa Luau.

The food was good, in my opinion, but don’t expect a 5-star meal here. You are at a luau, after all.

A plate of food from Toa Luau with kalua pork, chicken, poi, haupia and some fruit.

Toa Luau Menu

  • Green salad
  • Mac salad
  • Kalua pork
  • Lomi tomato
  • Grilled shoyu BBQ chicken
  • White rice with furikake
  • House-made haupia
  • Local fruit
  • White cake with coconut frosting
  • Beverages: Water and iced tea

Toa Luau Show 

After dinner, it’s time for the main event—the show! If I’m being honest, this is why most of us go to luaus.

The owner and his family participate in the performance, making it much more personable. The show is about an hour and 15 minutes long, but the time seemed to go by so fast.

Men performing a dance on stage at the Toa Luau.

The Toa Luau is something special—it’s not just another luau where they go through the motions to entertain visitors. From the moment it starts, you can feel the love and passion they put into their performance.

Women performing a dance on stage at the Toa Luau.

The show features traditional Polynesian dances from Tahiti, Samoa, New Zealand, Hawaii, Fiji, and Tonga. Each dance is explained in detail throughout the show, so everyone knows what’s happening.

Men performing a dance on stage at the Toa Luau.
Women performing a dance on stage at the Toa Luau.

The show was intimate, educational, and entertaining. They finished with the fire dance show, which was good, but don’t expect a spectacular Broadway kind of show since this is a small luau. 

Men performing the fire dance show on stage at the Toa Luau.
Men performing the fire dance show on stage at the Toa Luau.

Also, if you attend the day luau, the fire dance show might not be as vivid since it’s still bright outside.

After the fire show, they honored those celebrating an occasion such as a birthday, honeymoon, or anniversary, which I loved.

What to Love About the Toa Luau

  • Flower lei: Everyone gets a free flower lei. It’s a great touch since most luaus charge extra for them! 
  • Fun activities: While this is a small luau, the cultural activities before the show were fun, entertaining, and educational.
  • Coconut tree-climbing demonstration: This was a fun experience, not something all luaus offer. 
  • Table service at dinner: They bring food to your table.
  • Free admission to Waimea Valley
  • Day show option on top of the night show
Man climbing a coconut tree during the Toa Luau cultural activities.

If I had to pick a small intimate luau to go to in Hawaii, Toa Luau would be my first choice.

What’s Not to Love About the Toa Luau

Located on the North Shore: This luau is situated on the North Shore, so if you are staying in Waikiki and don’t want to add a 2-hour total drive to your day, this might not be your best choice. 

Expect a small production show: This is a small luau, so the show at the end is less grand and theatrical than some of the larger luaus. 

Toa Luau Vs. The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC)

Comparing the PCC with Toa Luau is like comparing apples and oranges. They couldn’t be more different, with the PCC being a big production show and Toa Luau being an intimate luau experience.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is the biggest and most popular luau in Hawaii. It’s worth noting that the PCC Luau is different from other offerings on the island because it’s more than just a luau.

It’s an entirely immersive cultural experience! Guests can learn about Polynesian history and culture through hands-on activities, visiting the six re-created villages, exhibitions, and interactive performances.

The Toa Luau, on the other hand, is more relaxed and intimate, catering to a smaller crowd. It’s the perfect choice for an authentic luau experience.

The PCC is perfect for those that prefer a high-production show with lots of opportunities to learn about Polynesian culture but are okay with big crowds. 

What to Wear at Toa Luau

There are no dress codes at most luaus I have been to in Hawaii. You can wear whatever you want. We recommend wearing whatever makes you comfortable, but if you get cold easily, remember to bring a sweater or jacket for the nighttime since it can sometimes get chilly.

Most women usually wear dresses or skirts, and some men wear regular t-shirts or aloha shirts with shorts. You can also wear matching outfits with your partner if you want to go all out. 

There are multiple shops around Waikiki, including the ABC Stores, where you can purchase matching outfits.

Note: I hope this goes without saying, but if you plan to swim in Waimea Falls before the luau, please remember to bring a change of clothes, as bathing suits are prohibited at the luau.

Final Thoughts

The Toa Luau is a great way to experience the culture and history of the Polynesian Islands. It’s intimate and educational, and you get to spend time with locals who will share their stories with you.

Although it is located on the North Shore, the drive was worth it! I highly recommend the Toa Luau if you want a traditional luau experience in Oahu.