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Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

Playa del Carmen...
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Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

The key service that the Posse provides is accommodations in Pamplona. Here is my experience on accommodations and a few other aspects of their service.

The two key factors to consider with accommodations are location and condition.

Location

The location of our apartment was one block off the main ave where the Bull Run took place. Once we walked outside our apartment we were on the street right in the middle of the party! This is great if you want to participate in the 24/7 party but bad if you plan on sleeping at any time. Others in our group were farther away which was much quieter but entailed a walk to the activities. There are a number of hotels within a 1 mile radius of the main festivities. Read the next section on the condition of the accommodations and think about whether a hotel would be better even if it costs a bit more.

Condition

Regardless of the location the Posse uses apartments that are owned by locals to accommodate guests during this week. There will be clothes in the closet, dishes in the dishwasher, and personal items in the bathroom. It’s someone’s home and they just go away for a week. The number of people that are crammed into these apartments boarders on slum accommodations. In our apartment there were 10 people in a small apartment (1000 sq feet maybe) and ONE BATHROOM. The room we were assigned was VERY small. It contained one small bed (my friend who is six feet tall touched both the head and foot board) and small foam mattress thrown on the floor for me. The sheets had not been changed from the last crew so it was intimate to say the least. The shower did not work so a sponge or sink bath was the only way to get clean (when you could get into the bathroom). No towels or toiletries were provided but we did bring our own so this was not a problem. We were only there three days but with the many people in that small space the place got very smelly and dirty fast. There were mattresses on the floor everywhere so sitting or walking the living room was impossible. (Think high school slumber party) Our fellow tenants were college age students so as you can image it was noisy all times of the day and night. Nobody disturbed our items but they were not exactly secure in the room. Our friends were in a similar situation with 15 people in one small apartment with one bathroom. I would rate the condition over all of slightly worse than a bad hostel.

Walk Through

One of the big selling points is that the leaders of the Posse will walk you through the course and show you how to run. I agree that we did meet with this goal in mind. What really occurs is more of a bragging session about how many times they have run or what recent radio interview they have given. The information provided is not completely accurate, incomplete and not all that useful. You can find better youtube videos with better information. Most runners’ get no information and they somehow survive which the Posse will lead you to believe is impossible. In fact of you listen to then you would believe someone dies all the time on the course.

Shirt/Scarf pack

The posse will bombard you with emails telling you must buy these ahead of time or the vendors will harass you during your stay. NOT TRUE. My friend didn’t buy the pack and he was NOT approached once during our time there. What is true is that there are at least a hundred shops where you can get the tshirt/pants/scarf/sash for less money, with more choices that what you get from the Posse. Keep in mind that virtually everyone in the entire town is wearing the garb during the festival so it is likely you will join in. My advice is to wait until you get there and check out the stores on your first day and get something local.

Information

The posse will fill your email with “newsletters” months before you arrive. Unfortunately they contain very little information and alot vulgar rants about loose women and monkeys. They don’t tell you how to get to and from the festival. They don’t tell you about the ceremonies. They don’t even tell you about their own closing party (more to come). No information about what to do before or after the run. No information on the nightly fireworks. No information on simple things like if you try and take pictures immediately before/during the run the police will ban you from the run. No information about eating, Wi-Fi or virtually anything useful. But you will get a story a day and lots of nonsense about monkeys and drinking.

BullFight

Most tourists that travel to Pamplona for the run also attend a Bull Fight. I won’t comment on the ethics of doing so I simply will provide feedback on the tickets the Posse provided. They will tell you that “shade” seats are best. Keep in mind that the bull fight is at 6:15 PM and lasts about 2 hours. “Shade” seats are better known as “nose bleed seats”. The “shade” seats the Posse got us had a reasonable view despite being very high up. We paid about $125 per ticket only to discover the face value was $19. I know you are thinking that perhaps the tickets are hard to get… On the way into the ring we were offered numerous tickets for good seats for about $50 each.

Pickpockets

If the Posse tells you once, they will tell you a million times that the area is terrible for pickpockets. Based on what I saw, this is bunk. True you will need to carry a bit of cash for meals and drinks during your visit but unless you plan on passing out on the street with you cash sticking out of your pockets (some people actually were) then you don’t have anything to worry about. Act like you are in any other foreign large city and you will be fine.

Staff

The Posse staff were nice enough even though a little disorganized. The three main guys are from England, Scotland and the US. They have a groupie of girls that get free accommodation and drinks to handle most of the actual work. They are nice guys, entertaining, lively and friendly. Despite being great folks you will get the distinct impression that your dollars and the Posse is not so much a business as it is a way to fund their week long party in Pamplona.

Maps

The posse did provide a couple great town maps we used until we got used to the town.

Posse Party

Quite by accident we discovered that the Posse has a closing party for guests. (We talked to one of their volunteer employees about what we could do before the actually closing ceremony) and she said well you could come to our party. Don’t bother to go… The leaders of the Posse didn’t even know who we were but they included us nevertheless once we told them we were their customers. They served a number of mystery drinks, flashed the surrounding people with their bare backsides and burned their chest hair for entertainment. Perhaps if you have had enough to drink you will find this entertaining but likely not.

There are lots of facts about the entire Pamplona trip I have not included in here and you are welcome to contact me for more details. Overall I recommend the trip, the festival and the run highly but I do not recommend that you use the Posse to organize it unless you are under 25 years old, plan to drink so much the rest of the rip won’t matter and you have money to burn

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

A little more research would have served you better. It will be interesting to see the responses...

Edited: 18 July 2011, 03:04
Playa del Carmen...
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2. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

Actually I did do some research and even corresponded with two travelers here on TripAdvisor. They recommended the Posse. I guess what they wanted was significantly different than what I was looking for in my experience.

3. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

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Removed on: 03 September 2012, 14:14
Toledo, OH
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4. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

To anyone reading posts on this forum........

Please note the number of posts, or better yet, the number of reviews before believing what is written here. You will notice many posters who have one post or only talk about one company in ALL of their posts. They are really trying to sell their own services. I travel a lot and am disgusted by what I've read here on the Pamplona forum. You will also see one-time-posters coming on here to tear down a competitor, as well. You will be contacted by private messages trying to sell you services, too. ksiddel is an example of someone you can believe. He or she is obviously not a competitor putting down another tour company.

5. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum guideline limiting each user to a single forums screen name.

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Removed on: 03 September 2012, 14:14
Toledo, OH
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6. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

Wow! Even more disgusting! The Pamplona Posse representative just answered 18 old posts yesterday, July 20th, moving this post off of the front page and giving him 18 more posts. He should have answered our questions BEFORE San Fermines, not afterwards. Let's make sure we keep this on the first page. Robert, you need to get control of this board. Ask tripadvisor what can be done.

7. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

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Removed on: 03 September 2012, 14:13
8. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

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Removed on: 03 September 2012, 14:13
9. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

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Removed on: 03 September 2012, 14:13
Playa del Carmen...
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10. Re: Pamplona Posse: What you NEED to know before you book!

I have received an email from Pamplona Posse indicating that I should remove my post here. I think it only fair that any business owner get the opportunity to respond to a negative review of his or her business. I posted my review so that future travelers can make an informed decision when making traveling plans to run with the Bulls. I have provided information on MY personal experience only and this information may or may not be valuable to others. Please note you can check my profile to see how much I have traveled and the type of travel I like. Keep in mind I am traveling typically over 200 days per year.

Below is the email from the Posse and my responses. Happy Travels!

The shower head had been dropped by a previous guest and was repaired as soon as possible after.

RESPONSE: It was broken during our entire stay.

We do not cram the apartments full, some have greater capacity than other but virtually all the apartments in Pamplona only have one bathroom.

You put foam mattresses on the floor of a room so small you could only move sideways. You put foam mattresses on the living room floor where people had to step over sleeping guests to move through the room. You don’t think this is “crammed full”?

We also try in the newsletters to manage peoples expectations as regards the accommodation and we describe it as basic.

RESPONSE: Basic is a bed, shower and private room. NOT kids sized foam mattress on the floor, dirty sheets and no shower

Hotels in the centre of town are very very expensive. What we do focus on is location as all our apartments are right in the centre of all the action, a by-product of being in the centre of all the action is as you are in the middle of the party it can be loud at times.

RESPONSE: Agreed but again our friends stayed in one of your “apartments” it took 20 minutes to walk to the action. On the way we walked past at least four hotels.

In our opening letter to potential posse members we explain that we are not a chocolate on the pillow type of place to stay.

RESPONSE: True but you didn’t tell us you were a sleep on the bench at the bus station, and wash in the public restroom either.

The walking tour Most people think this is a very valuable experience, we are the only people that do this. It is not intended as a bragging session, we use film that we have shot and show it on an ipad to illustrate some of the dangers. Most of the youtube videos that are on the internet about the run, we have put up. As for your statement below I would suggest that it is straying into the realms of defamation. “The information provided is not completely accurate, incomplete and not all that useful.”

RESPONSE: I stand by my statement completely. I met a number of people who used the videos on youtube (no they are not yours) and had a better experience than we did. After running ourselves I can testify that not all your information is accurate.

The other thing that confuses me concerns your friends staying further away from the action. We did not have any apartment further away which had 15 people in it. Were your friend staying with the Posse?

RESPONSE: Yes they paid the posse for the accommodation, yes I walked to their apartment (20 min) and yes they had 15 people.

The T-shirts and scarfs packages are available to buy, people can chose to buy them or not.

RESPONSE: True and I am recommending that people wait because they can get a better deal and product.

The same applies to bullfight tickets, we have to by them from scalpers and the prices we charge are the same as all the other agents in Pamplona. Yes you can scalp them yourselves cheaper but there are associated dangers. The same applies, we offer the tickets people are free to buy or not and we provide lots of information about them on our website.

RESPONSE: As I explained you charged 125 Euro for a ticket that ha a face value of 19 Euro and could be bought on the street for 50 Euro. I’ll let the reader conclude who is doing the scalping.

We do give a lot of advice and we sent over 30 different articles about the fiesta and we have a lot of good information on our website.

I agree you sent a lot of articles but these articles focused on how people felt about the run and their experience running. It did not contain information that would be useful to a scheduled runner. You provided lots of stories and very little information.

RESPONSE: Below is an example of your information. I have XXXX the words that would be inappropriate for Tripadvisor

We have still got people just deciding now that they want one of the T-Shirt packs and the Monkey is starting to hot his head against the spreadsheet on the computer at having to add one t-shirt everyday. Although since I unlocked the drinks cabinet, things have got more relaxed back here. We have had to increase our intake to make up for the two lost nights. I have promised not to stare at the Monkey’s sister and he has promised to try to fix me up with the aupair’s friend. Last night we went on a three legged blindfold pub crawl, to simulate what it would be like in Pamplona after the third day of drinking. Yes we were rather unsteady on our feet and our visibility was non-existent, but we did manage to make it to five pubs before the first fight. And it was not really our fault, it is difficult ordering beer with a blind Monkey tied to you leg, but the real problems comes when you need a quick XXXX. It was 30 seconds before I realised I was XXXXXX myself into some guy’s pocket and another 30 seconds until he realised. Luckly the sight of the blind Monkey tied to my leg must have distracted him, I can only surmise this as at the time I was also blindfolded. As we fell out of the toilet, I screamed that the guy had flashed his XXXX at my Monkey, the doorman threw us all out but the Monkey managed to XXXX the poor innocent stranger in the confusion. I must get him more counselling as he still has issues where his social skills are concerned. After that we decided not to visit the men’s toilets again in case of a similar incident, from then on we only used the ladies toilets. As you might have guessed our pub crawl only lasted to the 6th pub, when the police were called, unluckily one of them recognised the Monkey from previous incidents. So we are now bailed to appear next week. I am seriously questioning the wisdom of leaving the drink training planning to the Monkey.

We are sorry about the fact you did not enjoy the Posse experience and if you feel you have overpaid for your accommodation I am happy to discuss some type of partial refund. We are only interested in happy clients.

RESPONSE: It is kind of you to offer a partial refund and this does demonstrate your desire for satisfied customers. I am not requesting a refund because as someone pointed out I should have done more research and asked more questions.

I am sure that you are aware that anything that could be described as fair comment is acceptable to post on the internet. However if something is factually inaccurate and leads to a business loss then there are certain steps that I have to consider taking.

RESPONSE: I could explain the legal ramifications of this statement to you but I will allow your attorney to do so.

The kitchen in the apartments are designated the communal areas and so there is no living area as such.

RESPONSE: The apartment we were in had a room with a couch, TV, chair and coffee table. It was clearly the living room (I have a picture if you like). These pieces of furniture had been pushed against the wall to make room for the foam mattresses.

The walking tour guides ask if there are any questions and certainly are not inaccurate, incomplete and it would be outrageous to describe them as being not useful.

RESPONSE: I stand by my comment.

Your posting has serious inaccuracies and its posting even for a few days can have a detrimental effect on the financial well being of the Pamplona Posse as an organisation. You have the ability to mitigate this by removing the posting.

Lastly as to the cost of our T-shirt packs and bullfight tickets, they are special Pamplona Posse T-shirts only available from us and people willingly bought them from us, in fact many people were disappointed when we ran out.

RESPONSE: I stand by my comment

Yet again I am sorry that you are unhappy about the service you got, but we do try to make things clear as to the basic, location based package we are offering. If you could please email me and address the points above that would be great.

yours

Graeme Galloway