With grandiose period buildings, tiled sidewalks, a gorgeous plaza and boulevards thrumming with mom-and-pop businesses, Bahía Blanca looks as if it emerged intact from a mid-century slumber. However, it remains a relatively prosperous port city thanks to a perfectly formed, natural harbor that gave life to the city, and the hordes of sailors who dock at what is now South America’s largest naval base.
In an early effort to establish military control on the periphery of the pampas, Colonel Ramón Estomba situated the Fortaleza Protectora Argentina at that natural harbor in 1828. By 1885, when the present-day port was first opened, it had become a vital link to both North America and Europe. Basketball fans take note: Bahía Blanca is also known as an incubator of Argentine talent, thanks mostly to its favorite son, legendary NBA and Olympic champion, Manu Ginobili.