La Tomatina is a traditional festival in Bunol, Spain. The town brings hundreds of tomatoes into the town square and people throw them out at each other for an hour. It’s a squishy, red mess and lots of good fun. It’s definitely one of my favorite moments as a traveler as I was wadding through tomato guts and tossing pulp in people’s faces.
Must Haves: goggles, cheap hat, change of clothes and shoes, a few euros for food, NO VALUABLES (met a girl who brought her passport and, of course, lost it. Yes, a few GoPro died that day so I wouldn’t try bringing that) Your clothes the day of should be a ratty shirt and some shorts you don’t mind throwing away later. Anything you wear will get stained so either be prepared to hand wash it or toss it. Make sure you have closed toed shoes because your feet will get stepped on. Some people had flip flops and used rubber bands to fasten plastic bags over their feet, that is also a decent option. Wear a swimsuit under your clothes because you have to change in public.
I booked a tour with PP Travel. I would try to book a few months in advance so you get the best deal. I booked a month in advanced and many tours were already sold out. It is possible to show up the day of and book a tour at a hostel for a discount. It’s a gamble and you miss out on the pre-party.
My package included pre-party, post-party, transportation to everything, entry to La Tomatina, a shirt, hotel and breakfast. My hotel was in Valencia, Spain. It was very nice! I was traveling alone so it was great to have a group to latch on to and have a great time. It was ~$230. I really liked it. I feel like I got the full, red carpet treatment.
Schedule Run Down
So the first day, you check in and grab a quick snack then we go to the official pre-party around 7 PM. Umbracle is a nightclub inside The City of Arts and Sciences. The city lit up at night is breathtaking. Then we went home on the drunk bus a bit early at like 1 AM.
Then for the day of, we woke up so early, we had to be in the bus at 7 AM. Before the event we shuffled through the crowd and watched people try to climb a greased up pole to grab a ham at the top (It’s part of this strange tradition). Most people grab a drink or hydrate. The bathrooms get gross quickly though. The actual event is 11-noon. The actual event is violently throwing red mush at each other, a lot of pushing, slipping and wadding through tomato juice. It was so fun! I lost my group completely during the one hour hustle.
I’m so glad I wore a hat because I probably would have been knocked out. And finding random goggles in my hostel was a blessing because I probably would have been blinded without them. It was pretty dangerous. I saw a few people faint, slip, break some bones and sprains some ankles. I was so happy I left unscathed. I attribute it to wearing old tennis shoes with some good grip, goggles and a hat.
Then around 1 PM the gross, wet masses search for locals to hose us off, grab a drink, get some food, take a piss etc.… Then we get to our bus around 3 PM.
We get back to the hotel by 4 PM then off to the official after party, around 7 PM. It was at this giant club on the outskirts of the city. There were pools, a dance floor and drinks. We danced until like 5 AM. Taking the drunk bus back was a mess. There was puking. It was a mess. Then everyone checks out in the morning around 11 AM. I booked a few more days in a cheaper hostel so I could be hungover and rest up.
It was an amazing experience. I would definitely recommend it if you are in the area! Screw running with the bulls, tossing tomatoes is so much better. The only people that get hurt are consenting adults. Also, I don’t think anyone has died at La Tomatina while 15 people have been gored at Running of the Bulls. Either way, happy travels!