The Polynesian Cultural Center is in the bright town of Lāʻie, where visitors will experience a day of beauty and culture. You will find unique cultural architecture, and meaningful designs set in serene tropical backdrops.  

This blog highlights the top 5 Instagram worthy backdrops and photography tips at the Center. Whether you are looking for stunning cultural elements or a beautiful background for your next shoot, here are the locations you won’t want to miss!  


The stone wall by the waterfall makes for a sweet photo


Waterfall on the Bridge by the Entrance 

As you enter the center and cross the bridge the first spot you will experience is the calming waterfall by the entrance. The dark rock and flowing water make for a great backdrop for any photo. 

If you are feeling warm stand close to the waterfall and you will feel a cooling mist that is perfect midday! 

A pro tip at the waterfall is to stand to the side so you and the background are easily visible. 


Rapa Nui Statues  


The Rapa Nui Statues make for a great cultural shot


If you visit the Samoa Village, go just past it and turn right towards the bridge and you will find Rapa Nui.

This replica of the Ahu Tu’u Koiha statues enclosed in palm leaves and greenery is the perfect area for single or group photos. The area is often quiet and has less traffic throughout the day making it a wonderful area to capture. 




The bridge by the Samoa Village makes a great backdrop


The lagoon is a must see at the Center. Whether walking or riding along you can scout out other great photos opportunities with glimpses of the islands on the canoe ride.  

You can stroll along the lagoon and capture parts of the various islands along the way. 

If you are looking for a creative shot, you can have your party enjoy the canoe ride and try standing on one of the bridges. This way you can capture or film them as they float by from above. 


Samoa Village  


Making fire with sticks is one of the cultural activities in Samoa village at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Photo taken by Harold Pedroso.


The Samoa Village is a great place for action shots, you can learn how to start a fire with two sticks, twirl a fire knife and cook bananas.   

Inside the village is the fale fono (meetinghouse) where you can enjoy an exciting show teaching about all the ways a popo (coconut) is used.  

The village itself has warriors that would be great for a photo opportunity. You won’t want to miss the 40-foot coconut tree climbing, check our website and app for show times! 


Iospea: The Traditional Sailing Canoe 

Capture the beauty of the Iosepa

Capture the beauty of the Iosepa


The Iospea is a double hull voyaging canoe made from Fijian hardwood called Dakua wood. This magnificent boat speaks for itself and is beautifully carved. 

Iospea was crafted from seven large Fijian logs over nine months with the help of hundreds of volunteers. You can learn more about voyaging at the Center as you visit.  

This boat is Instagram worthy and a photo you will want to share! 


Honorable Mentions


Hale Ohana has backdrops perfect for you and a bestie!


While exploring you are bound to find endless excitement and opportunities for creative photo ops. Here are other noteworthy locations you can try! 

Hale ʻOhana  

Hale Aloha 

Missionary Settlement  

As you enjoy your visit at the Center, you will find ample opportunities to learn more about Polynesia’s diverse people, culture and experience true islander hospitality.  

We know you will create memories that you will remember and keep forever through your photos.



Brooklyn MacDonald, born and raised in Canada now calls the bright town of La’ie home.You’ll find her reading, visiting and learning all about culturally historic sites wherever she goes. Her hobbies include collecting shells, swimming, traveling to experience new foods and cultures, and musicals. Her blogs highlight the dynamic heritage, culture and traditions of Polynesia. It is a privilege to share Polynesia’s living culture with others.