By BAY OLIVER
Published: June 20, 2009
The Green Tortoise Hostel in San Francisco may not be the flashest or newest hostel in town, but it certainly is the most fun.
At first glance the rooms may seem a little older, and the "ballroom" (a communal dining room with kitchen attached) somewhat worse for wear, but looks can be deceiving.
Three times a week the Green Tortoise Hostel serves up free dinner (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). The first thing that might pop to mind on hearing this is a bowl of pasta with bottled tomato sauce. But, the Green Tortoise's meals are both delicious and healthy; burritos with all the fixings, pesto pasta with garlic bread and salad or roast potatoes with a stack of toppings are the three selections served. On top of this all the meals are vegetarian friendly.
The communal meals are a fantastic way to meet fellow travelers. You might go down with the intention of eating and running, but more than likely you will stay chatting for quite some time. And, when the meals on Wednesday and Friday are followed by "Beer Olympics" and a pub crawl respectively, it's hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere.
Hostel patrons are asked to volunteer to help prepare the meal, and while this seems like work, again, it is a great way to meet people and have a chat.
There is also free breakfast every day that consists of bagels with a variety of toppings, fresh fruit, coffee and tea. The coffee and tea are available all day, making the ballroom a lively place at any time.
The Green Tortoise Hostel in San Francisco offers a variety of other activities throughout the week. It is centrally located to all areas of San Francisco, just on the edge of the Italian district, with dorm beds starting at $25 and privates at $59 (plus tax).
Their sister company, Green Tortoise Adventure Travel, offers a huge array of tours throughout the United States at excellent rates. Many travelers staying at the Green Tortoise Hostel end up making spur of the moment trips to at least one of the locations on offer.
Other bonuses of staying at the Green Tortoise include: