Young Larry Rivera at Coco Palms Resort Kauai

Larry Rivera, Legendary Coco Palms Performer, Has Died

Developing story. Larry Rivera, the Kauai legend synonymous with the Coco Palms Resort, has died at age 92. His death was just reported by Beat of Hawaii and Larry Rivera friend Ron Wiley. The unstoppable Rivera was seen performing at Cafe Portofino here on Kauai not long ago and playing in October at Gaylord’s Plantation House.

Larry Rivera, Legendary Coco Palms Performer, Has Died

Rivera was the iconic Kauai performer with a lifetime passion for entertaining visitors. Many considered him to be the most famous of Kauai performers. His musical spanned seven decades and included playing with the likes of Elvis Presley, Patti Page, and Don Ho, among others. He was a lounge performer and guitarist at Coco Palms for a half-century and performed countless Coco Palm weddings.

Not only was Rivera the house musician at the Coco Palms Hotel on Kauai island, but he was also the 2013  Winner of a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award under the auspices of the hawaiʻi 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 even more great-grandchildren in which he took great pride. He always half-jokingly said he was still on his honeymoon with Gloria.

His performances were a combination of music comprised of singing, guitar, ukulele, humor, and talking story.

Some of his best-known 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 was shuttered following Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Larry began at Coco Palms in 1951, where per served as a dishwasher, busboy, bellhop, waiter, bartender, and at the front desk.

“When you leave Kauai, carry Aloha with you and share it wherever you go. — Larry Rivera.

One of Larry’s dreams was to see his beloved 16.4 acre Coco Palms Resort renovated. He said, “I hope to live long enough to see this place in full swing and then I will just walk away and wave to it and be very happy. After fighting for 21 years, we finally got the OK and in three more years you can come back and hopefully I will be there on stage.” He also said, “Coco Palms is not about me, it is about love and aloha… This is the heart of Kauai, and what a gift Coco Palms would be once again if it were brought to life.”

A Hui Hou to the legend of Kauai, Larry Rivera.

Lead Photo of young Larry Rivera at Coco Palms Resort Kauai.

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34 thoughts on “Larry Rivera, Legendary Coco Palms Performer, Has Died”

  1. just saw this met this beautiful man in 2014 when we came to Hawaii Rest In Peace beautiful your songs will carry on . xxx

  2. We saw Larry in Nov at the site of the Coco Palms and my husband and I saw him about 7 years ago on the same tour. Such a pleasant and talented man who loved his island and all his wonderful memories. Rest in Peace, you will forever be missed.

  3. I think that there needs to be a statue at the entrance to the Lihue Airport of Larry welcoming people with his guitar to his beautiful island of Kauai.

  4. I think Uncle Larry realized that Coco Palms drew many to learn Aloha and that had value. It’s not meant for a select few, be they entitled or squatters, but for all the people.
    Larry saw that the commercial aspect of Coco Palms help to feed a “learning” of generation of outsiders to the value of Aloha, the spirit, music, and dance.
    While we argue about the property let us remember what he was able to see about All the values of the land.


  5. I am so sad to hear this news. I met Larry with my uncle that’s a friend of him 10 years ago and I’ll always cherish my memories of him. I think of his family today and will always keep him in my heart.
    Love and light!

  6. Our hearts are filled with love for Uncle Larry Rivera and his wonderful family. In 2019, I gave Uncle a big hug and thanked him for all the years of beautiful music. Mahalo nui loa, Uncle Larry! A hui hou kakou.

  7. I met Uncle Larry, in 2003, when he was my patient, for something minor. Like anyone else that meets Uncle, you can’t help becoming his friend. His stories were the best. When I moved to Kauai, from The Big Island, the Coco Palms was already closed. When he heard I was an Elvis fan, he showed me around the grounds. I’ll never forget that. I moved to California, in 2006, and miss Kauai. I’ve thought about Uncle Larry, many times, since I moved away and lost touch with many friends. I thought of him, this evening, so I watched Blue Hawaii. When I finished the movie, I googled Uncle’s name, and found out that he passed away, today. I guess Blue Hawaii was his way of saying Aloha, to me. A Hui Hou Uncle Larry

  8. Kauai and the state of HI needs Larry Rivera now. There is a very great artist named Brudda Joe on Kauai. He could bring back the aloha. Pray for him, maybe he will hear

    1. There is/was only One Larry Rivera! He lived aloha. He passed that legacy to his family and all of Kauai,and the world, shared his love of others. Comforting Prayers for all.

  9. Uncle Loui died a few years ago. He was not famous in the same way as Larry Rivera, however, he was a local legend around the salt ponds. He had a sign on the highway welcoming all and he would spread aloha around the salt ponds welcoming visitors and giving gifts of fruit. Kauai needs Uncle Loui.
    Uncle Loui RIP I remember


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