Green Tortoise

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A Green Tortoise tour group on a break, December 1993

Green Tortoise Adventure Travel is a bus tour company founded by Gardner Kent in 1974[1] and based in San Francisco, California that hosts tours in North America, mostly within the United States. It operates a bus line and two hostels (in Seattle and San Francisco). They cater particularly to backpackers; generally young adults and many foreigners, particularly Europeans.

Adventure travel utilitarian-style[edit]

Green Tortoise buses are customized so that passengers can lounge around informally or sleep on bunk beds while the bus is moving. This is done at night so that a new destination can be reached in the morning, saving travelers both the cost of hotel/hostel and the time of traveling so that sights can be seen during the day. The social environment on Green Tortoise buses is more communal than other carriers such as Greyhound or Amtrak. Passengers work together to cook most meals, which are often vegetarian,[2] and include fresh produce. There are usually opportunities for camping during a Tortoise trip. Itineraries typically try to avoid heavily touristed locations and prioritize places of natural and cultural interest such as national parks, monuments, forests, hot springs, or archaeological ruins.

Green Tortoise has historically made trips to a number of destinations in the United States including Alaska and regular summer coast-to-coast routes from San Francisco to Boston and back. Special trips are also arranged to popular festivals every year, including a Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans, the Oregon Country Fair and Burning Man, where they also operate a shuttle bus from the event into nearby Gerlach and Empire, Nevada. International trips have included Mexico (including the Yucatán peninsula and Baja), Guatemala, Belize, and Canada.


According to the Seattle Times Hostelworld named the Green Tortoise as one of the top ten hostels in North America in its 2009 annual awards. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gardner Kent Biography
  2. ^ Official Green Tortoise FAQ
  3. ^ "Tourism slump to hit U.S., Europe". Seattle Times. 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2009-09-17. has named two Seattle hostels and one in Portland among its Top 10 hostels in North America. The online reservations booker of budget hostels and hotels named Hostel Seattle in Ballard ... as the top-rated North American hostel. Also in the Top 10 were HI hostel in Portland, Ore., ... and the Green Tortoise ... in downtown Seattle across from the Pike Place Market. 

Free Spirits: Growing Up on the Road and Off the Grid by Joshua Safran

Further reading[edit]

  1. It was, like, real; Green Tortoise tours delivers intimate views—of your fellow travelers. (Travel) Kelly Wilkinson. The Washington Post, June 21, 1998 pE01
  2. Slow, but steady: with the Green Tortoise Bus line, getting there is half the fun. (adventure tours bus line) Steve Wilson. E, May–June 1998 v9 n3 p46(2)
  3. Tortoise on a desert run: relive the days when getting there was half the fun. (Green Tortoise bus tours) T. Kelly Rossiter. Vegetarian Times, Sept 1995 n217 p92(3)
  4. A 1990's road trip worthy of Kerouac. (Green Tortoise bus tours) Lynda Edwards. The New York Times, November 14, 1993 v143 s9 pV8(L) col 1 (43 col in)
  5. A day camp on the road. (Green Tortoise offers travel and living in a bus) Eric Hubler. The New York Times, March 8, 1992 v141 s5 pXX41(N) pXX41(L) col 1 (27 col in)
  6. Trip on the Tortoise can be hair-raising if you aren't hip; rolling remnant of the 1960s, a bus unlike Greyhound, still plies the West Coast. (Green Tortoise a gypsy bus line) Bill Richards. The Wall Street Journal Western Edition, January 14, 1991 pA1(W) pA1(E) col 4 (29 col in)
  7. Touring with Green Tortoise; this California-based company offers the ultimate in adventure travel by motorcoach. (Green Tortoise Tours) (Focus: Group Travel) Susan O'Gorman. Travel Weekly, March 31, 1987 v46 p54(3)
  8. A personal narrative about GT Baja trips. Permafrost (newspaper), Summer 2009.

External links[edit]