Nine “Need To Know’s” about the La Tomatina Festival of Buñol
Updated: Dec 30, 2020
The Virus may have successfully been able to put our travel at a pause, but not our plans. An avid traveler like me will still continue making travel plans for happier and safer times ahead!
Remember the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara ? yes that pretty much inspired my husband and me and maybe hundreds of other Indians to do the tour dé español.
I recently did Spain and it was truly, uniquely beautiful. However, the highlight of our tour dé español was undoubtedly the much talked about La Tomatina festival. The Tomato fight is just CRAZY in the entire sense of the word. So since there is so much curiosity because of the hype, I decided to write this post.
I will not be getting into the history of it, you can find that anywhere. What I am going to take you through is some ‘need to know’ / ‘good to know’ information just to prep you, and not spoil the whole surprise element and the excitement you hold for it.
First. If you think that the tomato fight happens in a large open area…nah, it’s like our Gali wala Holi only with tomatoes. The festival takes place in this single long street in Buñol, a small town in Spain 60 kilometres off Valencia.
Second. What to wear you ask? Comfortable always works. People like me prefer wearing white so you can show off how red it got after the event. But yes anything is cool. Also, there’ll be water spraying from a caged containment too so it depends on whether you want or don’t want those oops moments.
Third. For some reason, I kept thinking that the tomato war happens for throughout the day. But it is only for 1 hour from when the first bell rings at 11 am to the second bell at 12 pm. But you can arrive early to witness the climbing on the greased pole to grab the meat steak which if anyone succeeds to, the tomato fight starts immediately. There are also open bar counters and party music that gets you soaked in the vibe.
Fourth. Better prepped than sorry. Avoid carrying any valuables especially jewelry (This one guy lost his wedding ring. Not kidding.). DO NOT carry anything in your pockets. Find a cross string pouch for your phone and cash so that you can wear your t-shirt over it. You can buy those water proof sealed covers for your phones at the venue or well in advance.
Fifth. Don’t forget your swimming goggles otherwise you’ll only get hit because of the blinding from the tomato purée flying around. You can find these goggles again at the venue as well.
Sixth. You may think that wearing a raincoat is a smart move as you can both have fun and not get sauced too much . Got a few compliments there for the idea. But only when the fight started did I realize how my idea was backfiring as I got targeted more because of the Raincoat. Lol.
Seventh. Since rules are meant to be broken, sadists especially will not squash the tomatoes. So be ready to take some hard hits on the face.
Eighth. If your old parents are young at heart, then don’t discourage them to go. I was so inspired by this couple in their late 60’s. They completely soaked in the vibe and the tomatoes too. With kids, I saw a handful of them all at the safe areas near the exits. Each parent took turn to enter the war zone while the other took care of the kid. So, plain and Simple, If having fun is the objective you’ll find a way no matter what.
Ninth. Lastly, we had purchased close to 20 liters of water to wash up in the end which was a waste. There are these kind hearted Spanish people at the exits who stand with a hose and help you clean up ( some may charge a max of 2 euros). You can carry polythene covers to prevent your seats from getting soiled and then go to your hotel rooms to completely rid yourself of the tomato debris.
Well, some do say that the La tomatina is over-hyped. I say NO. Not at all. Go with your girls, your boys, your partner, your family. Make sure you completely drench yourself in the madness. It's definitely a once in a lifetime experience that you’d want to check off that list.