Are you a morning person? Up before the dawn? Then you may want to roll out of bed, jump in your car, and head down to Sandy Beach Park (about an hour from the Ko Olina Beach Villas).
Due to the massive shore breaks, this southern beach is popular with experienced bodysurfers. President Obama has been known to frequent this special locale. You can watch the sun rise from the beach or head down to the tide pools as the waves come rolling in.
The beach is located between Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Park to the west and Makapu’u Point to the east along Kalanianaole Highway.
Looking to add more outdoor adventure to your Ko Olina Beach Villas dream vacation? Perhaps a relaxing bike ride taking in the tropical views sounds good to you? Or you may prefer to practice your balance atop a paddle board while watching the fish swim beneath you in the cove? Or sitting down and paddling in a kayak as you soak in the waves, sun, and fun is more your speed? Any or all of those options are available to you.
You can contact a gear rental company who will deliver to and pick up from the resort. Hawaii Gear Rental will deliver bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, and more. For more information, visit http://www.hawaiigearrental.com/.
If you are specifically looking for bikes, you may find better prices and a wider selection from Hawaii Bikes. They also deliver to and pick up from the resort. For more information, visit http://www.hawaiibikes.com/islandwide-delivery.
You can also go to the Disney Aulani and rent a paddleboard by the hour. For more information, visit https://resorts.disney.go.com/aulani-hawaii-resort/activities/aulani-beach/makiki-joes/.
The famous Hula Pie at Duke’s Waikiki, about 45 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas, has become a social media superstar. According to Instagram’s rankings, Duke’s Waikiki is the most geo-tagged restaurant in Hawaii.
The legendary Hula Pie is a colossal wave-resembling slab of macadamia nut ice cream pie over a chocolate cookie crust, topped with whipped cream, drizzled with fudge, and topped with even more macadamia nuts. It’s the perfect dessert to share with one or more people. Just don’t forget to share a picture of it on social media before it disappears.
For more information about the menu, hours, and location, visit http://www.dukeswaikiki.com/.
The Ukulele Picnic, about 35 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas, will offer two stages of live entertainment featuring well-known Hawaiian and Japanese ukulele performers. On February 12, 2017, entertainers will share their talent and aloha from 9 AM until sunset.
Admission to the picnic is free. Along with the all-day entertainment, exhibitors will show ukulele-related displays and guests can explore booths featuring Hawaiian crafts, food, activities for kids, and a luxury ukulele raffle.
Parking is available and free shuttle service will be provided from Waikiki. There will be inflatables for the kids and all are encouraged to bring mats for lawn seating.
For more information, visit http://www.ukulelepicnicinhawaii.org/en/index.html.
Each year, about 30 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas, Chinatown opens its doors and streets to host a Chinese New Year spectacular. Enjoy a parade featuring the traditional lion and dragon dance, Kung Fu exhibitions, music performances, and countless ethnic dishes made especially for the occasion.
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii hosts the event at Chinatown Cultural Plaza (100 N. Beretania Street) on Friday, January 20 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, January 21 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
This year, Chinese New Year is on Jan. 28, and 2017 is the year of the Rooster.
For more information about the celebration, visit https://www.hawaii.com/event/chinese-new-year-celebration/.
The Ko Olina Marina Activity Center offers an array of ocean adventures, and a pick-up service from the Ko Olina Beach Villas. You may struggle to decide which experience to try first – whale watching (December to March), snorkeling tours, private fishing charters, or a romantic sunset cruise.
Whale watching excursions leave twice daily (morning and afternoon). Get your cameras ready, because you’ll be seeing whales, dolphins, green sea turtles, and flying fish. When you do meet up with the dolphins and whales, the captain will stop the boat so you can enjoy their antics while the knowledgeable crew tells you everything you want to know about these amazing and beautiful creatures.
While on a snorkeling tour, you may see and snorkel with some of Hawaii’s endangered species and natural sea life (monk seals, sea turtles, spinner dolphins, or spotted eagle rays). You will enjoy exceptional snorkeling along the Wai’anae Coast’s untouched coral reef teeming with beautifully colored tropical fish.
If you fancy yourself a fisherman, here’s your chance to book a private charter and reel in aku (skipjack tuna), aku (yellow fin tuna), ono (wahoo), marlins, or swordfish. The thrill of reeling in one of these fish will be unforgettable.
Experience a stunning Oahu sunset from your boat – dripping red and orange that makes the ocean look as if it is on fire. It is truly awe inspiring. Add in snorkeling among some of the world’s most colorful fish, dolphins, turtles and a wonderful buffet, you will know you’re in paradise.
For more information about activities available at the Ko Olina Marina, visit http://www.koolinamarina.com/activities/.
The Kealia Trail is a series of 19 switchbacks above Dillingham Airfield, about 45 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas. As you ascend, you are surrounded by beautiful “fallen rocks” and fauna, leading you to a covered picnic table at its climax. Each switchback allows you to see breathtaking vistas of the airfield and surrounding mountainous area.
The trail is not crowded, dog friendly, and provides some shade along the way. Some spots are exposed to the sun, so a hat and sunblock is smart. Remember to bring lots of water and a snack to enjoy when you reach the covered picnic table.
After the picnic table, you can continue up the service road (this road connects with the Kuaokala Access Road) to have a view of the west side of the island. But if you just hike the Kealia Trail, there is a beautiful view of the north shore.
For more information about the Kealia Trail, visit https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/trail/kealia-access-road–trail/163.
Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline, about one hour from the Ko Olina Beach Villas, is famous for its heavy swells that can reach up to 30 feet, breaking over shallow, rocky coral reefs at high speeds to form barreling curls of water. The season for Hawaii’s big wave surfing is in the winter, from November to February. Head to Pupukea, a town on Oahu’s North Shore, to revel in the spectacle of those who take on the pipeline.
Top surfing professionals take on the waves every year in the Van’s Triple Crown, which is a professional surfing title in Hawaii to set apart the three Hawaii events from the established international professional surfing circuit. These events honor the best surfer in Hawaii’s big and powerful surf. The three events are the Pipe Masters, the World Cup of Surfing, and the Hawaiian Pro.
For more information about the Van’s Triple Crown surfing competitions and their calendar of events, visit http://www.vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com/2016/calendar.
The Diamond Head Cove Health Bar is always serving awa, also called kava in English, about 45 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas.
Awa is made from the root of the Piper methysticum plant, which is harvested, ground, pounded, mixed with water, and strained. The resulting drink is full of kavalactones, which basically slow the body down; it’s the opposite effect of a caffeine high. The drink will tingle/numb your tongue, reduce anxiety, and create a relaxed feeling. Drink it and you may achieve the experience your Hawaiian vacation promised, relaxation.
At the Cove, you can walk in and for $5 get a coconut shell full of awa. On the heels of a native cultural renaissance, heading to the awa house has become another way to live like a Hawaiian.
For more information, visit http://www.diamondheadcove.com/kava.htm.
The Hale ‘Aina Awards are the state’s most prestigious dining honor. The 2017 Restaurant of the Year, The Pig & the Lady, is operating at the highest level of quality and offering Hawai‘i’s most delicious and innovative dishes – about one hour from Ko Olina Beach Villas.
The Pig and the Lady started as a pop-up restaurant, and then spun off into a wildly popular farmers market stand selling Vietnamese sandwiches and noodles far beyond the usual banh mi and pho. Next, it opened on King Street in Chinatown, and the crowds followed.
Building on the success of its farmer’s market stands and pop-up dinners, this culinary collaboration between chef-owner Andrew Le and his mother, Loan “Mama” Le, melds formal technique and homespun skill to create contemporary Vietnamese cuisine with global accents.
For more information or to consult a menu, visit http://thepigandthelady.com/.