I did some research on Running of the Bulls and saw they were highly rated. Now I wonder if some of these ratings were the company doing the posts themselves.
First of all...the San Fermin Festival is fantastic. I chose not to go to the bullfights but the rest of the festival is more than fun enough to spend a couple of days in Pamplona. Other than the bullfights I have no problem with festival at all.
Second of all...the people I encountered from the company in Pamplona were wonderful. The people in the office and the guides who took us to the balconies were very nice and I have no complaints about them. I have MAJOR issues with the people I worked with over email to set-up the trip.
The Running of the Bulls (the company) lied to me time and time again. And most of these lies you will not be able to validate until you experience Pamplona first-hand.
Lie number one: Transportation. RotB told me that it would be impossible to get a taxi during the festival. They offered a shuttle for $75 that would drop us off at our hotel from either the train station of the bus terminal each way. I was told repeatedly that I was taking a major risk by not taking their shuttle. I chose to take that risk and upon arriving at the bus terminal...found about 10 cabs at the taxi stand. And...the cab we took dropped us off right in front of our hotel. Leaving the hotel we called for a cab which picked us up in front of the hotel and drove us to the train station. The prices for the cab rides? 11 and 9 euros. RotB wanted to gouge us for 130 euros more than we actually paid for a service we did not need. Other festival goers using RotB told us they were upset that they paid for the shuttle when it was clear they didn't need to. RotB tried to convince us to take the shuttle up until we got to Pamplona in a hard sell. I received emails from them while on the bus from San Sebastien to Pamplona advising us to take their shuttle. Until the last minute they tried.
Lie number two: Restaurants. RotB told us that we would not be able to get into restaurants during the festival. So for a fee they would get us reservations. I again declined this option. They kept warning us and advising us to take the reservation option in another very hard sell. Upon getting to Pamplona we found that Pintxo (Tapas) bar were open all over the city and getting food in a hurry was no problem. Other RotB guests told me they regretted making reservations through the company.
Lie number three: The balconies. I asked for balconies with the best unique views of the actual Running of the Bulls. I was given two locations that looked perfect. One was a long straight-away where the bulls would run right at us. The other was a hard curve leading into that straight-away. I asked for photos from each location before I committed to the two balconies. I got photos from one of the balconies (the curve) but after getting to the location I realized the photo wasn't taken from that location. In fact, RotB told me that the spot was so great that the tv crew broadcasting the event was one floor above me. The truth was...that tv camera was on our floor and they took the best view. Not only was I lied to in a photo that was from one building over and another apartment altogether...they lied about having to sacrifice the best view to a camera crew. The other balcony? RotB claimed they didn't have any photos of the balcony at all. This worried me a lot...and for good reason. They finally sent me a photo of the street location to placate me...but the photo was from the other side of the street. The reason they had no photos of the balcony and sent one from the opposite side of the street? Lamps lined the side we were on including one right next to our balcony. The view was so bad that even though you should have been able to see the bulls from 100 yards away...you couldn't actually see them until they were practically right under us. After the first day I had other RotB guests who had been on the balconies warn us about the hard curve balcony so I made sure I was the first person on the balcony and fought for my position which wound up being decent...but not in any way what they promised me.
It didn't ruin my trip to Pamplona or ruin my enjoyment of the festival because I saved money not taking their unnecessary shuttle or restaurant reservations...but the balconies really bothered me. This company lied straight to me then tried hard to up-sell me on things I didn't need. Be very careful of this company. If you aren't too concerned about the views on the balconies then it won't matter. Avoid their attempts at the shuttle and reservations as well.
But having gone to Pamplona and seen the festival I now know there are many, many other options for balconies. If I were to do it again...I would go with one of those other options.
Running of the Bulls is rated 2.0 based on
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