Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
Cell Phone Policy: The GLA cell phone policy is currently in place this summer to help foster meaningful connections between students. This means your student’s phone will be collected every day and returned to them after activities are completed to have with them through the night. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location and time zones. During designated ‘tech time’, your student may use their phones as they wish. Please note that your student may not always choose to use this time to get a hold of their parents. If you are not hearing directly from your student each day, you can assume that no news is good news! We strongly recommend you follow the blog to follow your students’ experience without talking to them every day. If you are a parent and would like to get in touch with your student directly, you can call us at +1-619-758-3031 and we can set up a formal time for you to connect with your student.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 12
¡Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!
Hola a todos,
We are so excited to have received our first group of students last night and today for Marine Conservation and Turtle Expedition!
After swim tests and health checks, students took opportunities to establish connections by playing games, enjoying pool time, and gathering for delicious spaghetti as we wait for our full group.
Another group arrived a bit after dinner on a delayed flight (second group photo). Students are tired but here! Later this evening we’ll be welcoming Bani, Cassidy, Megan, Brooks, Jack and Theo. And Nora joins us tomorrow to complete our community!
It will be an early start for us tomorrow as we leave from Alajuela for Montezuma where our first service site is along the beach. It will be a change of pace and I look forward to getting to know each other more, orienting ourselves to the program, learning about the local culture and conservation efforts, and enjoying the natural beauty of this part of Costa Rica.
Familias y amigos, we’ll keep uploading blog posts to keep you up to date about the adventures of this amazing group of young leaders.
Chelsea, GLA International Director
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 13
Cheers to our first full day on the program! We woke up with the birds this morning to leave at 6am for a long bus ride + ferry that took us across the Gulf of Nicoya for our first leg of our journey to Montezuma. Everyone was a champ for being on time, packed and ready to go. (Especially Theo, who arrived at 4am after a crazily delayed flight!)
Students fit in the same bus so it was a ride filled with goofy games, long snoozes, and lots of chatting. I wish I had taken a picture of our other van packed with all the luggage. It was quite something!
We arrived in Montezuma just in time for lunch in our beautiful new home base: La Cascada hotel. Our afternoon of orientation focused on more games to build teamwork and getting to know each other, the program, and of course, the Code of Conduct :).
Free time before dinner allowed for tired students to rest and others to go explore the beach with Mentors. Despite the sun hiding behind clouds as the group went out the door, they seemed to find lots of interestings things and enjoyed themselves.
And great news: we are finally a complete group! After a long travel day, our 23rd student, Nora, joined us just in time for Pura Vida Circle (our announcement time) and dinner. I think we have a pretty awesome group of students and I’m looking forward to the rest of our time together. As I write this, there’s a rousing game of Mafia happening in the hammock space.
Tomorrow we begin our leaders of the day! Kicking us off are Kenzie and AJ. They will be in charge of the blog amongst other things so look forward to hearing from them tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 14
Written by Leaders of the Day: AJ and Kenzie
Today, we woke up for an early breakfast at 7:00 am to get our day started. Right after breakfast, we went on a long walk to our surfing location. What was said to be a 20-minute walk turned into an unexpected 1-hour walk through sand and rocks. Although the walk was the high reward of surfing at the end of it in which we were able to learn the basics of surfing. After this lesson, we ate fruit consisting of watermelon, pineapple, and coconut. We then walked back to the hotel and ate lunch, which was burgers and fries, which we were very excited to eat.
After lunch we took a trip to one of our volunteer sights: a local sea turtle hatchery. There we learned about the work we would be doing as well as its impact. This was a very educational experience for us and made us excited for the volunteer work to come in the following days. After this, we headed back to the hotel, where we had free time. In this, a group of us went to the local town and spent time looking through the market. Finally, we ended the night with dinner and spent time with our mentor groups and did our pura vida circle, where we played various games and talked about the following day’s work.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 15
Written by Leaders of the Day: Caroline and Devan
Today, we had a delicious breakfast of eggs, toast, avocado, and fruits followed by three hours of service work on the beach. We were working to refill the turtle hatchery with clean sand. It was really tiring but worth it because we knew we were helping out a lot! After service, we played in the waves for a bit, which was really fun. We got home and had a lunch of chicken fried rice, plantain chips, and salad. It was very tasty!
After lunch we had a leadership activity where we debated on the topic of sea turtle conservation and protection laws. It taught us that voicing our opinions is good. Soon after, we departed for bioluminescence kayaking. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm struck and we were not able to go kayaking. It is fair to say that we made memories eating tuna pasta salad in a very small room and watching the lightning. We finished the day off with a Pura Vida circle where we came together as a group for the last time today and discussed our plans for tomorrow! Overall, it was a very fun and productive day full of service and adventures!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 16
Written by Leaders of the Day: Nora and Brooks
Hola Amigos! Today was quite an exciting day. We started off the day with a tasty breakfast of banana pancakes. Following that we headed down to the beach for some service. We started by clearing large piles of logs and sticks from the beach. This is very important for the turtles because this debris is at the edge of the sand where the turtles lay their eggs. After 3 hours of cleaning these nesting áreas, the group enjoyed lunch. HOT DOGS!
Heading into the afternoon the group split into two. One group hiked to a stunning waterfall and enjoyed a fresh wáter dip. The other group headed into town and enjoyed ice cream and snacks. After adventuring around, the group met up to play some volleyball with the locals and soccer. Next we got ready for dinner and had spaghetti. The troops rallied to a late night patrol (walking down the beach looking for nesting turtles). In a rare event we actually saw a turtle! This was a great way to end an eventful day.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 17
Written by Leaders of the Day: Chaylen and Ross
Today, we had an amazing breakfast that consisted of egg, rice, and beans. We then left to go to a nature reserve. The drive was 30 minutes of fun; we then split into two groups and went into the forest. Both groups had a ton of fun and enjoyed the trip. On the hike, we saw birds, monkeys, guinea pigs, and bats. We then drove back home to rest before lunch of asado, which had rice and chicken in it. We also had a salad to go with it. Both were great. After lunch the fun continued and we were surprised with some free time for the beach. So, the whole group packed their bags and made their way down to the beautiful local beach. There were vendors selling all sorts of items, a beach volleyball court, some swings, and of course, the beautiful blue water. Everyone enjoyed floating in the water as the tide went in and out, sweeping us onto the beach.
Although lunch and breakfast were fantastic, snacks are always a plus, so as the beach time started to settle down, the group made their way into town where we all bought snacks, and some much-needed ice cream. Flavors ranged from chocolate all the way to strawberry sorbet, making it the perfect midday snack as well as the perfect way to cool down. Then, after we all were full, we made our way back to the home base, where we started our leadership activities. This consisted of attempting to understand the perspective of another culture. For example, some groups were required to talk and interact with others in ways such as touching, or not making eye contact, or even waiting 10 seconds before answering any questions. The groups gained the ability to comprehend the different ways particular cultures live, and how they communicate with each other.
After a short break, the group broke up into mentor groups and proceeded to work amongst themselves on a variety of things, from trust falls in an effort to get us to trust each other, to writing about the trip so far, and what we would like to happen in the future. And of course, those snacks didn’t last long, and dinner was served. Dinner consisted of chicken, brats, ribs, and some tomato, cucumber salad, served alongside an ice-cold tea. After dinner the adventure continued and night patrol pt.2 began. The group went out and ventured into the dark in the pouring rain in hopes of spotting a turtle. Even in the cold and rain, there was no complaining, and everyone enjoyed the peace, and the sound of the rain hitting the rooftops as they waited for the previous groups to return. And even with no turtles, the day ended in excitement for tomorrow’s adventure. On to Parrita!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 18
Written by Leaders of the Day: Megan and Theo
Today, we had toast and omelette for breakfast. This was our final day at Montezuma and our first day at Parrita! However, this of course means a lot of traveling, which first included an hour and a half on a bus to catch a ferry, which in of itself was another hour or so. While on this ferry, some groups just stayed and talked, some got food on the ferry itself, and others played a variety of games we had packed (the game Coup seems to be a group favorite!).
After the ferry, we got back on the bus and headed to lunch at El Jardín. The restaurant was a buffet style with many choices to choose from. Besides food, what also came with the restaurant was a gigantic souvenir shop. There were shirts, cups, and even little glass animals. After a solid 15 minutes of browsing shelves and choosing various pieces of merch, the group proceeded past the cashier and to the exit, to the bus yet again. From there it was only ten minutes away from Crocodile Bridge; thankfully no one fell in!
After a good ten minutes of ogling at the many crocs, the group got back on the bus for the final time, for the last ride to our final destination, Parrita. After long hours in the bus, we finally headed to our hotel, Hotel La Isla. The hotel consists of beautiful hammocks by the beach, many dinner and hangout areas, and a nice cooling pool. After dinner and some activities with our mentors, we stand here ready for a great night of sleep. Pura Vida!
P.S. Please note that there is no cell service in this part of Palo Seco, Parrita. We have wifi sometimes but it is unreliable. If you haven’t heard from your student, this is probably why. But we are happy and safe in our new home base! Hopefully tomorrow is strong enough for photos, too! ~Chelsea (International Director)
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 19
Written by Leaders of the Day: Quinn and Eva
Today, we had the choice of sausages, scrambled eggs, toast, and fruit for breakfast. This was our first full day in Parrita. Soon after, we went and helped out a local family whose property was affected by rising sea levels, which included filling bags with sand to combat the rising tides close to their home. Using the sandbags we built a larger wall to prevent further home damage. After this, it was lunchtime. We had a wonderful meal of burritos, french fries with a side of salad, the drink options for lunch were water and peach tea. After lunch we had free time. Some chose to swim in the pool, others relaxed in the rooms and played games. After the break, we had a guest speaker named Maurilio who taught us the importance of conserving sea turtles.
After the guest speaker finished we did another pulse check where staff members gave us questions on how we were feeling about the trip so far. We had a little time before dinner where we just hung out and played games such as pool and foosball. Dinner was a spectacular mix of Mac n cheese, garlic bread, and salad. We had a delicious treat at the end of strawberry ice cream. After dinner, we did a group dynamic to become closer. It started to rain so after we were done the group decided to play tag in the rain. We are ready for a good night of air conditioning and rest. Pura Vida!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
Today, we started our day with a delicious breakfast with French toast, hashbrowns, eggs, and beans. We then went to the plant nursery to continue our service. Half of us went up the road to pick seedlings of trees with strong roots that will stop erosion. The other half of us helped clean the dead plants and reloaded new bags for more healthy plants. We all later reunited to reload the bags and move the new bags.
Next we walked back to the hotel on the beach with big trash bags. We picked up lots of small plastics but the more notable items were tires and shoes. Then we were greeted by an amazing lunch of rice and a beef stew. Then most of us went to a grocery store and loaded up with snacks and groceries. This led to guacamole by the pool and pineapple freshly cut in the bus and loads of cereal and milk. Later, we all swam and played Colors.
Next, we had the time of our lives in our salsa dancing lessons!! Then we did a leadership activity where we learned about making compromises. Then we had a dinner of roast chicken and mashed potatoes. During dinner it started to rain immensely. We ended our wonderful day with mentor groups in a blackout using flashlights for light! Looking forward to an exciting day tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Written by Cassidy and Riley – Leaders of the Day
Today, we woke up and had breakfast at 7:00 am which consisted of scrambled eggs, potatoes, ham, and TOAST!!! We hopped on the bus to go ziplining which was so fun. We were able to hang upside down and spin like BEYBLADES LET IT RIPPPPPP. The course had a total of 11 ziplines along with a special one most of us participated in, and it was called the Superman zipline which was SUPER SPEEDY and totally tubularrr. We devoured the lunch at Canopy Safari #notsponsored. Everyone proceeded to hop on the bus where the wheels went round and round and round the wheels on the bus go round and round all through the town but everyone was just a bunch of sleepy heads and a couple of pranksters.
We arrived back at home base for a short break then competed against one another in a series of challenges refereed by our great mentor Natalie. The starting game was a relay race containing a math problem, slingshot competition, and racing, and to finish it off we all formed a human pyramid. Natalie’s group triumphed and completed the race first, taking the lead but quickly the lead was taken by Omar’s team which dominated in Capture the Flag. Then we all hopped into the pool to play more games and solve riddles which were close but Omar’s team got the win.
Next competition was a blind taste test in which 2 players from each team were given Oreos with toothpaste 😉 and Takis filled with ketchup. We continued to play games in the pool like Chicken Fighting and Keep Away which was a bunch of fun. We then were able to relax, completed a Pura Vida circle, and then ate dinner at home base which was noodles with chopped suey along with very creamy Oreo ice cream. We then completed our day at Hotel La Isla. Purrrrra Vida!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
Written by Leaders of the Day: Jack and Isabella
This morning we woke up to a sunny morning. At 8 am we had delicious breakfast burritos with a side of fruit and some water. We then made our way over to our service today we were helping pick up microplastic on the beach and paint victors turtle hatchery with the color blue. We had something very exciting happen! Victor had around 100 turtle eggs for us! We all learned how to put the eggs in the sand and protect them from pretors for optimal hatching. We then painted the fence and all of us got a little paint on us, to say the least. We then went back, had some free time to rest, and then we had lunch and a mini pool party!
After all that, we went to a fun cooking class with Lulu. She taught us how to make corn tortillas and another interesting and delicious dish. When we finished our cooking class we went back to the hotel and had a really good dinner – salad, meat, and rice and for dessert, we had the option of a strawberry ice cream. A few minutes later we had our Pura Vida circle, we played a really fun game about connecting with animals. Then we had a fun night with our mentor groups and fun games.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Written by Kai and Charlotte – Leaders of the Day
We woke up bright and early, had a nutritious breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes eggs, sausages, and hashbrowns. With little time to spare, we jumped in the bus and began our journey to Manuel Antonio national park. On the hour drive we relaxed to Bo’s music and arrived around 8:30. We met up with our incredible tour guides and away we went. We encountered all types of animals and plants.
We saw large iguanas and small grass hoppers; it felt like we were right next to them with our guide’s camera/ telescope. But our pleasant jungle stroll was quickly interrupted by nature. Rain began to pour down and we quickly found shelter under raincoats and umbrellas kindly loaned to us by our guides and mentors. But through the rain we saw even more majestic creatures such as a three toed sloth curled up under the rain and the colorful toucan finding shelter.
We eventually reached our destination and found a pristine beach swarmed by tourists. As we struggled to find a place devoid of tourists the rain which had begun to let up started pouring down harder than ever. Many of us decided it was not worth it to get in the water but others of us believed it was. But our beach day was quickly interrupted by powerful thunder and lighting around us and as the sky boomed and cracked we had to get out of the water. Saddened by this outcome we trugged through the beautiful jungle. While damp and tired, we made it out and ended up where we started the journey. We divided into two groups and some headed back to the bus while the others went to get ice cream and clothes shopping.
After about 10 minutes we headed back to the bus and ate our lunches of chicken sandwiches and as we began our drive back to home base Bo’s speaker lulled us to sleep. We got up as we arrived and the group dispersed for a four hour free time. Some slept (me and my partner), some swam, and some played a game called donkey. Apparently that game lasted 3 hours. We finished break time and went over what we want to accomplish with the experience gained over the trip and set goals we wanted to achieve.
We interrupted that with a beautiful sunset photoshoot (image) this went till diner and we rushed back at the request of our super awesome bartender and server Aluaro. We had a great dinner of lasagna and bread and finished setting up our goals as the power went out and we went to bed.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
International Director Chelsea here. In the excitement of our last day on the program, we didn’t get around to the blog last night. But it was an eventful day so let me recap it for you!
Of course, we started off the day with a protein-filled breakfast of ham and cheese omelets, fruit and toast. Then it was off to our final time of service along the beach. We went back to the tree nursery for 100 almond trees and assembly-lined them into the van. We walked down the road to begin planting them along the shore line to provide shade for the turtles. We learned while doing night patrol in Montezuma that the lights from buildings, cars and people walking by prevent turtles from coming up to the beach to lay their eggs. By planting these almond trees, the hope is that they will grow and block the light, encouraging more turtles to lay their eggs. Additionally, we planted 50 coconut trees along the beach to continue combating erosion along the peninsula and preserve the beach. What a productive morning!
After a couple hot hours working hard at service, we returned to the hotel for cold showers, final packing and lunch of chicken rice, salad, fries (those are always a big hit!) and a fantastic chocolate chip mousse.
We hopped into the bus and made our 3 hour journey back to Alajela/San José. A road trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop for snacks! Freshly stocked up, we completed our One Meaningful Goal as a community video on the bus and safely arrived to our final destination: Hotel Robledal.
Our final evening was a celebration of our community and time in Costa Rica. We had an Appreciation Circle and a few tears were shed. Our final dinner was chicken or steak, rice, salad and flan for dessert. Delicious!
We ended the night with a sorpresa for the students: Costa Rican dancing! After watch about a 30 minute show of traditional dance, the dancers invited us to join in! I was so impressed with students participation and enthusiasm! We had the best time.
What a beautiful final night together in Costa Rica after a fantastic two weeks with these students.
With some early flights the next day, we all said our goodbyes and went to bed. It’s time to go home! 😭😭😭😭