develop story. Larry Rivera, the Kauai legend behind Coco Palms Resort, has died at the age of 92. His death was just reported by Beat of Hawaii and Larry Rivera’s friend Ron Wiley. The unstoppable Rivera was spotted at Cafe Portofino here on Kauai not long ago and at Gaylord’s Plantation House in October.
Rivera was the legendary Kauai artist with a lifelong passion for entertaining visitors. Many considered him Kauai’s most famous artist. His musical spanned seven decades and included playing with the likes of Elvis Presley, Patti Page and Don Ho. He was a lounge performer and guitarist at Coco Palms for half a century and performed countless Coco Palm weddings.
In addition to being the house musician at the Coco Palms Hotel on the island of Kauai, Rivera was the winner of the 2013 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award under the auspices of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.
“Uncle Larry” or “Mr. Coco Palms” was born and raised on Kauai. He and his wife Gloria had six children, 17 great-grandchildren and more great-grandchildren of whom he was very proud. He always half-jokingly said he was still on his honeymoon with Gloria.
His performances were a combination of music consisting of vocals, guitar, ukulele, humor and speaking story.
Some of his most famous hits were “Aloha Begins With Me”, “Where Is My Love”, “Beautiful Coco Palms”, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Kamalani”. You can listen to his recordings on Spotify.
He performed at Grace Guslander’s Coco Palms Resort until it closed after Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Larry started at Coco Palms in 1951 working as a dishwasher, waiter, bellhop, waiter, bartender and front desk.
“When you leave Kauai, take aloha with you and share it wherever you go. – Larry Rivera.
One of Larry’s dreams was to see his beloved 45-acre Coco Palms Resort renovated. He said: “I hope to live long enough to see this place in full swing and then I’ll just walk away and wave to him and be very happy. After 21 years of fighting we finally got the okay and in three more years you can come back and hopefully then I’ll be on the stage.” He also said, “Coco Palms isn’t about me, it’s about love and aloha… This is the heart of Kauai, and what a gift Coco Palms would be all over again if it were brought to life.”
A hui hou to the legend of Kauai, Larry Rivera.
Leading photo of young Larry Rivera at Coco Palms Resort Kauai.