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.
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 throughout the program during designated spaces of time we call ‘tech time’. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location. 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.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 17
All June 17th arrivals here safe and sound, yay! We had a busy day picking up students, getting them settled in, meals and fresh tamarind or maracuya juice throughout the day as different groups came in. Some of the early arrivals had some pool time and we all got to eat lunch together – the students enjoying learning where others were from, and excitedly waiting to see who their roomies on later arrivals would be. The last flight got back around 9 PM. We had dinner waiting for them, and got the tired travelers into their rooms.
We are going to hit the ground running tomorrow early – up to load the bus and head for the beautiful ferry ride to the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific and the first Homebase in Montezuma. When the last group settled in, some of the early arrivals had wisely decided to get some sleep, so we will get a nice group photo of all June 17th arrivals bright and early tomorrow. We did catch a few quick snaps of the students getting to know each other right before lights out. More to come!
Clint Ballinger, International Director
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 18
Written by Lucy Wood and Sasha Lilien
Today was awesome! We started bright and early at 6:30 and ate breakfast. Then we loaded up the bus and got on the road. We drove to the ferry terminal in the cute little town Puntarenas where the ferry departs. The ride was incredible and there were lots of strangely obese cows. There were a lot of green mountains and rivers everywhere. We got there early and had time to take a walk through town, see a few beachside trinkets stands, and relax with some icy fruit drinks to stay hydrated, and then we got on the ferry.
After an hour long ride in the ferry, in the rain, but with some beautiful views, we docked in Montezuma. It was very hot and humid and we were all in the rain but it was fun. The ferry was a long ride but when we made it, it was so worth it. Everyone got a bit wet but we were all laughing.
After arriving at our next stop, a beautiful beachside hotel, we ate a wonderful late lunch and got to know one of the servers, Kathy. She brought us all on a walk to a nearby waterfall and we all were in awe of the beauty. After, we had some downtime and rested up for dinner. After dinner, we all got to bonding and playing games. Everyone got to know each other and played mafia. We had an orientation and discussed the expectations for our trip. Then we headed off to bed! Goodnight lovely parents.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 19
Written by Nina Bonte and Rose Peurach
Good evening parents,
We woke up at our first home base to the sound of the rushing waterfall. For breakfast, Kathy set up coconuts with fancy straws, so that we could enjoy fresh coconut water. Gravy, our lovely bus driver (yes – that’s his name!), drove us to our first service site. We moved logs, branches, and fallen trees out of the way so the turtles could have a clear path and a safe spot to lay their eggs. Though it was very hot and humid everyone helped out and always had a great smile on their face. After several sweaty hours of service, we made our way to the beach and took our first swim.
The wonderful kitchen staff made us some delicious spaghetti. We made our way to the local surf town and got to visit the boutiques. We made our way to the beach right near our home base. We took our swim test, lucky everyone passed! Kevin and Jose (two locals) wanted to play some volleyball. It was pouring rain, but that just made the experience more fun. For dinner we enjoyed some local caught marlin. We then settled down with some cake to celebrate Sasha’s birthday. To finish off the night we met with our mentor groups and played some fun games. Now we head off to bed. Happy father’s to anyone’s father that is reading, hope you had a great day!
Oh, and our two late arrivals are finally here, yay! Haley and Brooke. They arrived after the same bus and ferry trip we did the other day and are having a late dinner. We can’t wait for them to join us tomorrow at service.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
Written by Maraya Grimsby and Emerson Root
Good evening parents!
We woke up bright and early to the sound of beautiful rushing falls. Today Cathy and her fellow workers put together a delicious breakfast of avocado toast and eggs. After breakfast we completed our second day of beach service. Using our leadership skills, we work together as a team to clean sticks and logs, in order for the turtles to more easily lay and hatch their eggs. After a sweaty 3 service hours we drove back to home base and ate a tasty lunch. We ate a common meal from Costa Rica consisting of rice and chicken. This meal is common with celebrations such as birthdays.
After lunch we walked a 20 minute hike along the beach in a direction we haven’t been, to a place called Piedra Colorada, where a stream falls down onto the beach, with stripes of dark red rock in the riverbed and giant round green moss covered boulders all over. At the falls we admired the sites and carefully climbed up *giant* rocks through the stream. At the pools we relaxed and watched the capucin monkeys that live there day to day, swinging on trees and eating tree fruits (we could hear howler monkeys too, they are super loud). In the pools there is mud to cover your skin and to use a natural exfoliate. Locals claimed it makes you look ten years younger- now your children are 5. Quickly we walked back to homebase and got ready for the bioluminescence night kayaking in the bay. As soon as it got dark we started kayaking. It took a while for the bioluminescence to show, but as soon as it did it was magical. Whenever you touched the water it glowed. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Written by Carly Halpern and Claire Tickle
What a busy day! A handful of students began the day with an early yoga session, which brought peace to those who participated. Following this, we got ready for our last day of service at this site. We headed down to the beach and continued what we started the past two mornings, which included clearing logs from the beach so that the turtles can safely make their way to shore.
After we wrapped up our service work, the group split up and some went to the beach, some to the little town for local snacks, while the rest of the group returned to home base to rest before the next activity.
We continued on our journey at the waterfall above homebase that we began on day 2. The group began at the top, working its way to the bottom and stopping to swim in pools located throughout the falls. We then continued down to another pool with cliffs surrounding us. The falling water on the last pool was so strong the air and spray blew like wind, and the current pushed us to the edge of the pool. We then finished off the adventurous hike all the way down to where the river meets the sea right at home base.
We split into mentor groups and had discussions, had chow circle, ate dinner, and shared many laughs. We were sad that our night turtle patrol had to be postponed due to a strong storm that made its way to home base. We had some other activities and we still had a wonderful night and everyone went to bed with smiles on their faces, ready to conquer tomorrow!!!!!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
Written by Trinity Borer and Maya Choksi
We had such an exciting day for our last day in Montezuma! Some of the students started off the morning with another early morning yoga session to take some deep breaths, calm the mind, and prepare for our adventures today. Afterwards, we all loaded up and headed off to Cabo Blanco National Park for a hike through the rain forest with some fantastic tour guides. Some of our personal favorite sights along the hike included a White Tailed Deer, two beautiful Macaws, and the footprint of an ocelot. We also got to learn some pretty cool facts about the nature in Costa Rica!
Once we reached the end of our hike, we headed back to our home base in Montezuma for a delicious lunch and a little bit of rest (and packing) time. After resting for a bit, we had the chance to travel into town one last time before we leave Montezuma.
Although it was our last day here at La Cascada, the wonderful kitchen crew continued to impress us with an amazing farewell dinner from the grill. Not only was the food delicious as usual, but we were even treated to a short but fun dance lesson before we ate.
Lastly for today, we headed back to the beach one last time for our first shift of night patrol. Although we didn’t get to see any turtles this time, everyone enjoyed the time together on the beach and under the stars. We can’t wait to see what new adventures our new location will bring tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Written by Joel Regina and Liam Billeaud
Today was a travel day – from Montezuma to Parrita. A few people woke up very early to catch the last sunrise over the ocean in front of basecamp. Some then watched the big blue birds that come to our hammock patio every morning looking for snacks. We woke up and ate our last breakfast in Montezuma, said our goodbyes to the locals (shout out Cathy), we all loaded the buses, and took off. We made our way to the ferry in Paquera where we had some time to try some local snacks, then got on the ferry to cross to Puntarenas. It was a bright sunny day and nice on the top deck.
We hopped back on the buses and drove to lunch near Tárcoles. Afterwards we made an extra stop to see the famous crocodiles below the Tárcoles bridge.
After another hour we made it to our new home base and started to settle in and explore the new area and all the hammocks between the palm trees. A quick swim before a big rain came, several games of pool and foosball preceded our first meal here of chifrijo, a Costa Rican specialty, and a passion fruit dessert, followed by our mentor group session. Wordddd.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
Written by Ava Zech, Rose Peurach, Lucy Wood
Hey beautiful parents,
Today was fun and action packed. We woke up at seven per usual and went to breakfast. Then we headed out to a sunny day of service on the beach. We met with a local expert, Mau, who informed us about the erosion problem in Costa Rica, and the importance that the roots of plants play in keeping the sand held together. We stayed at the service site all morning, digging up plants and replanting them along the beach. After a laborious morning, we returned to basecamp.
We ate a delicious lunch of fish and chips, then went to the pool and basked in the sun with virgin pina coladas, which were delish. Some people also went to the beach to play frisbee and football. Afterwards, we were forced 🙂 into a game of kickball, which we all ended up enjoying. We tied. Afterwards we jumped in the pool to cool off and played an assortment of games.
Then we had an incredible guest speaker who came in to give us a presentation on turtles, which was incredibly intriguing and I’m quite sure we all learned heaps. Then we went to dinner, which was some interesting noodle concoction, and we all munched up. We went our separate ways doing separate things, but we will meet for mentor groups half an hour from when we are writing this blog. I’m sure Luis and Ingrid have some special activity in store for us tonight. Peace out parents, you reside in our thoughts.
Update: We had an interesting task after dinner in little groups under the back thatched hut. We discussed the problems of turtle and beach conservation, with each group representing a different perspective, like business owners, tourists, conservationists, or locals. It was interesting to learn how complicated real world conservation is!
Oh, and you can see in the photo below, they worked all day and fixed our island’s cell tower – yay!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 25
Written by Catcher Sawyer and Jack Johnston
Today we started out with some beautiful rice and bean tacos to fuel for the service in the morning. We started by planting mangroves and almonds. The roots of these plants help to hold the island together! We ended our service by planting more roots from our first service day at this site to strengthen the first line of defense for the shore line.
Upon our return to home base, we happened to sight a barrel of monkeys partying in the trees. Upon closer inspection of said monkeys, we happened to notice that they were also intrigued in us. We learned a lot from the monkeys and they learned a lot from us. We learned that they use vines as fire poles, and we taught them that hats are not edible.
After our adventure we had time to recover and regain our energy with yummy lunch for the very draining dance lessons. We learned 4 types of dances (Salsa, merengue, bachata, and swing criollo) from our wonderful teacher Kenneth. We diversified our dancing artillery while bonding with each other in the process.
To round off the day, we did an activity to see how much we knew about each other by writing favorite/interesting facts and trying to guess who the fact originated with. Then disbanding to get a good nights rest for the busy day ahead.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Written by Audrey Hull and Cami Diaz
Hola families, friends, etc
Today we started off the day with a delicious breakfast. We then got ready to go ziplining. When we got to the ziplining place we got suited up in our harnesses and helmets. Then started on the trail of 11 ziplines which were all super fun especially the last one where we got in a full body harness and went across a zipline in superman position. We finished off our ziplining adventure by having a delicious meal at the place. Also – after we finished eating we went into a butterfly house they had and looked at rescued/problem crocs in an enclosure. Next on the way home our bus driver Gravy spotted a sloth high up in a tree and stopped so we could all get out and get a closer look.
Once we got back to home base we recharged and got ready to have a chat at chow circle and then eat dinner. After dinner we had pool time where we all hung out and played fun pool games like chicken fights. After pool time we had mentor groups and since it was the first night not raining we got out and explored the beach and played capture the flag on it. We also joined another group at the hotel and had a dance party with them. Now we are all getting ready for bed after our long day so we can get up bright and early tomorrow to go to Manuel Antonio National park.
Signing off with love,
Audrey Hull and Cami Diaz (aka the best)
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 28
Written by Sophia and Amelia
Today the we woke up bright and early so we could be on time to Manuel Antonio– the smallest national park in Costa Rica! Within the first 10 minutes of arrival we spotted our first sloth in the top of a tree. Our tour guides took us on a short trail through the park and made sure to show us tons and tons of wildlife. We saw frogs, dragonflies, colorful crickets, hummingbirds, deer, two fake owls, and the rare red-backed squirrel monkeys. After the tour we spent about an hour on a beach located inside of the park, but when the tides started to rise we decided it was time to take off for lunch.
We arrived back at home base, ate some rice, chicken, and beans; had some phone time, and were off to our cooking class. Our lively teacher, Lulu, taught us all how to make our own corn tortillas cakes (“chorreadas”) over wood fire sweet, thick, with sour cream on top if you want, eaten piping hot off a banana leaf, and they were delicious! We grated the corn and everything homemade. Some dancing s we all cooked too.
After cooking classes we had some chickpeas, beef, vegetables, and rice for dinner. At dinner we were informed that the our wonderful director, Clint, had set up a game of word assassin for the whole group to play in our last three days.
Afterwards the group had some free time which was spent playing some pool, Foosball, and just some good ‘ol talking. Then we headed to the dark beach for a cozy mentor group meeting around a beach fire. Here we all wrote down a person, object, activity, and place that had meaning to us and talked about it and threw them into the fire (not to be forgotten, don’t worry)!
We miss y’all so much and are looking forward to seeing your beautiful faces once more!
All our love,
Sophie Woodard and Amelia Lignugaris
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 29
Written by Haley and Sarah
As usual in Costa Rica, we woke up to the sun beaming, the birds chirping, and the sight of glorious dew drops on the grass. The ideal morning. We started off with breakfast then promptly got ready for our service activity of the day. We gathered our trusty shovels and trowels, then headed over to where we would collect tropical almond saplings (almendras). Once our buckets were full of the almond saplings, we slightly got sidetracked and learned how to gather mangoes and coconuts in the wild by using the environment around us. We learned how to create rope out of natural fibers and how to retrieve the mangoes safely. Dare I say it, they were absolutely delicious. Once we filled our stomachs, we drove to the nursery and planted the almond samplings into bags and got them ready to be transferred to their new homes for tomorrow!
We had a nice lunch and then moved onto our afternoon activities. After relaxing by the pool we split into groups for some friendly competition in the form of Beach Olympics. We competed in many different events that were focused around teamwork and fun. There were many unique beach games such as coconut bowling, which was a little more challenging than regular bowling. Eventually after a few practice runs we all figured it out. After all, practice makes perfect!!
Then we finished off the day with dinner, did some packing for tomorrow’s trip to San Jose, some pool games (not in the actual pool) and had one of our few chow circles left. We all shared some of our favorite moments together, and remembered all of the good moments. In the end we were tired, but were happy with what we had accomplished. Just another perfect day in Costa Rica.
Sincerely and with much love,
Haley Helms and Sarah Steele