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In Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, Catussaba is the name for laidback luxury

By William K. Wolfrum, Contributor

Travelers have long looked to Brazil as an exciting destination. And while Rio de Janeiro is the place most associated with Brazil tripping, more and more visitors are choosing the beaches, history and people of Salvador da Bahia.

Catussaba Boat
At Catussaba Resort Hotel, you'll find yourself mere footsteps from the ocean.
Catussaba BoatBeach vendors

Salvador is known for its seaside, but, surprisingly, there's only one resort offering immediate beach access: Catussaba Resort Hotel, where luxury meets laidback and the ocean is just a few steps away.

At Catussaba, you'll find yourself at a secured beach community just minutes from many of Salvador's numerous attractions.

Less than 10 minutes by car from the modern and spacious Salvador airport, Catussaba is set up to make fun, activities and relaxation readily available. The 256 rooms funnel toward the Atlantic, surrounding you with the sensations of the deep. All rooms are air-conditioned and spacious, with a hammock ready for your supine form on the adjoining deck.

From these peaceful amenities it's just a short walk to all the action. An impressive pool - actually four separate, interconnected pools - hosts most of the non-ocean activities.

From the pools, it is a literal hop and jump to Itapua Beach, which acts as a natural extension of the resort. Mornings and evenings find surfers plying their trade on strong South Atlantic waves; during the day the beach is full of relaxing sun worshippers.

Vendors spread out throughout the beach area offer a variety of traditional Salvador clothes and other items that can be most kindly described as "touristy." Add a level of difficulty to your shopping by haggling with the vendors, a common activity in Brazil.

"You need to haggle with the vendors," said driver Joao de Deus Sant' Ana. "I have spoken with Europeans that paid 50 euros for items they could have bought for five."

The resort's two restaurants offer a choice between sit-down and buffet dining; both will tempt you with authentic Brazilian and Bahian dishes. In keeping with the national cuisine, beef, pork and chicken predominate, but Bahian dining doesn't ignore the sea, with sushi and fresh, locally caught fish available.

The centrally located resort's staff is quick to help set up trips around the former slave-trading town, including jaunts to the giant Mercado Modelo, one of the largest markets for handcrafts in Brazil.

In the end, however, it will be the ocean that draws your attention. Catussaba offers a cruise-like vacation, on solid ground.

Fast fact

Unlike many other big resorts in the Salvador area, Catussaba is privately owned by one family.

William K. WolfrumWilliam K. Wolfrum, Contributor

William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.

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