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Kokololio Beach Park on Oahu

On our way back to Waikiki from the Polynesian Cultural Center, my travel companion and I stopped at Kokololio Beach Park, 30 miles and a world away from the most famous beach on the planet.

Though we could see a couple of other people on the beach, they were hundreds of feet from us, and the park felt nearly undiscovered. Trees separate it from the sight and sounds of King Kamehameha Highway a few yards away.

Not a ship spoils the intimacy of the nose-rub between the indigo waters and the periwinkle sky.

No snack shacks and sundry shops salt the boardwalk it doesn’t have.

No lotion bottles and pastel blankets blemish its sand.

No beach balls or rubber rafts litter its waters.

Unburdened by the people and plastics that pepper what usually passes for paradise, the beach felt like she welcomed her visitors. As my feet sank into the soft sand, her incoming waves tugged at my ankles, like warm mittened fingers.

Since we faced eastward, we couldn’t see it, but we knew that the sun was setting on our last day in Hawaii. And though the beach felt ante-lapsarian, staying till dark in an unknown area didn’t seem smart for two tourists alone, and so we left, more sated than sorrowful.

All in all we had only about 15 minutes at Kokololio, but they made one of the best quarter-hours of our five-day trip. In these days of facebook, twitter, and YouTube, it’s easy to get one’s promised 15 minutes of fame many times over. Fifteen minutes alone is much more rare, and much more rewarding.

Resources to help plan your trip to Oahu

Book flights.  Oahu’s major airport is Daniel K. Inouye International in Honolulu; its code is HNL.

Reserve accommodations. lists dozens of four- and five-star hotels on Oahu.  My companion and I enjoyed a satisfactory stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.  If you prefer a private house or apartment, VRBO lists hundreds on Oahu.

Secure ground transportation.  DiscoverCars is a good site for comparing rental options.

Find tours and attractions.  Viator offers hundreds on Oahu.  A GoCity pass can save you up to 50 percent on fees at sites including:

Make dinner reservations.

Use the right rewards credit cards.  Some good options that pay you cash-back or travel points:

  • Bilt pays 3 points/dollar on dining and 2 points/dollar on travel.
  • Capital One Quicksilver pays 1.5 percent cash-back on all spending.
  • Capital One Savor pays 4 percent cash-back on dining and entertainment.
  • Capital One Venture X pays 2 miles/dollar on purchases.
  • Discover pays 5 percent cash-back on categories that rotate quarterly and 1 percent cash-back on other spending.

Join Rakuten.  The program pays you cash-back for booking through its portal.  As of this writing, Rakuten is offering up to 10 percent cash back at Booking, GoCity, Tripadvisor, VRBO, and Viator.

Join Priority Pass.  The program offers members access to lounges and discounts on restaurants at airports.  At the Honolulu airport, you enjoy access to:

  • the Pulmeria Lounge in Terminal 1
  • the I.A.S.S. Hawaii Lounge in Terminal 2

Protect your peace of mind with:

Read reviews.  Not sure about something?  Tripadvisor has lots of real-people reviews for things to do on Oahu.

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