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.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 26
After some long flights and delays, we finally got all the students here, some early enough to enjoy some Costa Rican “casados” near Liberia, which they loved. Some arrived in the night and had a late night pasta dinner at homebase. We all got a nice nights sleep and awoke early to the sound of howler monkeys above us. After some games, orientation, swim tests and lunch we are headed to the beach for some swimming, volleyball and exploring. ¡Pura Vida!
GLA Staff – Clint, Abby, Levi, and Lisa
BLOG POST FOR JULY 27
Written by Jasper Davidson and Nate Weingaertner
Waking up this morning was no easy task! The general wake up time this morning was 6:45. By the time breakfast came around everyone was just as tired as when they first woke up. Mason almost slept through breakfast! We were debriefed about the house rules, and then shortly later were let go to explore the camp. Lunch came around, and we had some absolutely magnificent quesadillas. Thank you to the chefs!
With full stomachs, everyone was looking forward to going to the beach. Prior to loading on the buses, we played a quick game that was based around communication, with one man being blindfolded and three others forming a team to help the blindfolded man navigate. The beach was no disappointment! The waves were colossal, and the shade provided from nearby trees were perfect for cooling down. Before leaving we all paid a trip to the tidal pools where we interacted with a lot of snails and hermit crabs.
After the beach we stopped by a local store in pursuit of local snacks that could fulfill our hunger. I, personally, went 0 for 3 on my snack/beverage selection. Was not a fan of any of my purchases. No hard feelings though, because after hitting the store we went to a football field and ran some footy with the locals. This was my favorite part of the day, with Nate and I both putting up MVP level stat lines. Despite losing in overtime to a gut wrenching penalty kick by a local 10 year old phenom, it was a great time that everyone loved.
To wrap up the day, we came home and took some much needed showers. For dinner it was freshly caught fried Mahi-Mahi fish with a side of fresh vegetables, rice, and beans. I thought the day would wrap up after dinner, but we were pleasantly granted our 30 minutes of screen time (which felt like 15).
To end the night we did an activity called “expanding your comfort zones” and afterwards had mentor groups and talked about what we want to get out of this experience, then headed for bed.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 28
Written by Charlie Miller & Alex Cordes
Nothing beats waking up at 6:30 preparing for the long day ahead! To start the day we had breakfast burritos and fruit. Following breakfast, we went Avellanas beach and mangrove preserve to help restore the wildlife and surrounding area. During this 3 hour adventure we helped pick up a total of 51 pounds of trash! Along with this we saw multiple cool creatures like geckos, iguanas, and crabs. Whilst cleaning up we were encountered by beach vendors who sold us delicious rambutan, empanadas and batidos (sort of between a smoothie and a shake). After we finished our service work we headed back to the main base to have lunch.
Lunch today was chicken fried rice with a side of beans. We followed this with some free time. Some took naps, some swam, some hung out, and others played cards. Next, we had a fun surf excursion at the same beach we had just cleaned. It was super fun with falls and laughs. We headed home after our exciting experience but of course we had to stop at a supermarket for snacks and drinks, trying some local things.
When we got home we got our tech time for the day, which flew by. Afterwards we had our small group meeting before dinner (chow circle) and had falafel salad bowls with sesame soy sauce on the side. When dinner finished we got to go to our rooms and got ready for our group meeting where we played an entertaining name game. Then we had a debate between ourselves about the safety of sea turtles in the surrounding community and what different groups think is the best way to help (small businesses, locals, environmental groups that all have different views). Finally it was time to go back to our cabins and get ready for bed after a long day.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 29
Written by Zephan Ryan and Quinn Harper
We woke up at 6:45 to eat breakfast and get prepared for our service project for the day. We went to do mangrove restoration and work with a project that is doing permaculture.
After the service we went to Reina’s chocolate and learned about all different kinds of chocolate. We got to taste a lot of varieties and to grind beans and see how the whole chocolate making process works.
We also walked through their exotic fruits garden and learned about different types of rare fruits. There was a lot of starfruit. Once we finished the chocolate tour we went to home base and ate Mahi Mahi tacos for dinner. We played sardines then went to sleep.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 30
Written by Will Musolino
This morning we woke up to the sweet sounds of loud birds and howler monkeys, a lovely morning started with eggs and potatoes. As everyone awoke we loaded up the bus and went to a fully sustainable garden while planting many things like mangoes, mangroves, and many other fruits and plants. The more we got tired from the humid heat the closer we got to leaving! Soon enough we had helped protect plants from erosion by stacking wood around trees, and then we were gone.
After a gourmet lunch of hotdogs and fries we had a quick one hour break while most chose to shlump over onto their bed and nap a little. Awoken by the knocking of Clint saying the bus was leaving, I found myself scrambling to find my cookout slides (grill master 3,000’s) and swimsuit. We bussed to the local beach as Gravy played a banger playlist, per usual. After arriving to the surf lessons my instructors joked with me in Spanish and then waves started to hit me like Mike tyson. I decided later to take a break and sat down at the surf club to chug a mango smoothie like my life depended on it while my fellow campers had fries and calamari, while Noah was talking to the locals. After a long lesson our savior Gravy picked us up and drove us home.
We had some games and mentor groups after dinner and then as the Group Leader I found myself unlucky enough to write this essay (during summer), and now I wish you all a good night.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 31
Written by Tanner Jones
Cabins 1-6 had laundry today, and the rest will have laundry day tomorrow. Service was measuring the amount of microplastics on the beach by taking random samples from square meters marked out at different locations. This information is uploaded to a global database so they can study the problem of microplastics in the ocean all over the world.
We visited a small town where locals brought food and crafts so we could buy local stuff. This allows us to get real local stuff and is good for them also. Some students had huge Costa Rican style tamales, others horchata and other things. I and many others got trinkets for family members back home, we hope you enjoy. We then went back to the beach where we previously surfed to see the sunset and enjoy the vibes of the surf club and beach. Later we played a little cards and went to bed early because tomorrow we get up extra early for a catamaran and snorkeling trip.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 1
Written by Hank Weingaertner, Nash Mora
Early wake ups are never easy for anyone so especially waking up at 5:45. Breakfast we had rice, beans, eggs, and plantains, we took an hour long journey – starting w some almost offroading on a dirt road we don’t usually use through the jungle and then the highway through the jungle and citys of guanacaste to get to the catamaran at Playa Flamingo. After boarding the boat we sailed over to Honeymoon Beach, seeing sea turtles on the way, on to where we snorkeled and swam. After the catamaran and snorkeling we had brunch- burritos with sides of sour cream and green onions and pineapple salsa.
We then sailed back on the catamaran, tacking left and right because we were headed into the wind. We got back to camp around 2:00 and ate a second lunch which was rice and chicken and potatoes which was consumed in a matter of seconds. We had some time to play some cards, and a huge rainstorm blew through.
Afterwards we had a very cool guest speaker which was Andrea Diaz, she was the first generation woman surfer in Costa Rica who also started a non-profit organization to teach under-privileged kids how to surf. We learned lots of valuable lessons from her and she inspired us to keep following our dreams.
Then most of the group headed out to see the sunset on the beach and play beach volleyball. We went down the jungle path which was a hike through the wild jungle of Costa Rica. At the beach we played volleyball, which was an intense six on six match as the sun was setting and the last surfers catching waves in. Then we packed up our stuff and journeyed back to homebase to enjoy a nice dinner which consisted of pizza and homemade cake for Carter’s birthday! Finally, it was time to get ready for bed and head back to our cabins.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 2
Written by Evan Thorpe
Today we woke up to eggs and toast on our plates. We got up extra early because we had a 3 hour surf lesson to get to. We surfed the glassy waves at Avellanas all morning. Then before lunch we had beach Olympics. These were a series of beach games. Levi’s group beat Abby’s group resulting in 10 extra minutes of tech time. We went back to the surf club and indulged in smoothies and food.
We made our way back to home base where quesadillas where waiting for us. Right after lunch we were ready to start service when it started a sudden torrential rain. We had planned to survey micro-plastics on the beach but rain was so heavy we made our way to the local community center and painted signs for the people in the city. We came back to home base after and enjoyed some free time to rest and play cards.
After dinner we went to the yoga room to listen to the owner of the retreat we are at tell the story of how he started it. He talked about his life story and how he had a difficult time when young and turned his life around and started this place and found his inner peace. He shared ways to channel aggressive energy into healthy assertiveness and led us through some exercises on this.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 3
Written by Mateo Ratheau
This morning we woke for service and after a quick breakfast left for service. We went to a covered community area in Las Delicias next to a soccer field to help fix some tables and chairs for the local school. We started off sanding the furniture to prep it for paint. This was a long and tedious process, but with many people working on it, we got it done fairly quick. Following the sanding process we took the furniture outside to start painting. Between these two tasks we went into the school next door and got to play with some of the little kids which was very fun. After this break we finished painting the tables and chairs and cleaned everything and headed back to home base for lunch.
We had a light lunch today (yucca frita and fish) because we have a cooking class and planned to eat the things we were cooking. For this cooking class we made some traditional Costa Rican lunches which included corn tortillas and arepas over a wood burning oven. We also had some buñuelos which are sweet and saw some of the antique farmhouse tools people used to use here, like a canteen made from the shell of a giant fruit and a corn grinder made from volcanic rock. Following the cooking we also went out to a soccer field to play with some locals. After playing for a little bit we got back on the bus and headed back to home base.
Once we got back we had our tech time and went to dinner. For dinner we had some pasta which was very good. Following dinner we had a yoga session with the owner of the hotel we’re staying at. This yoga was a new and interesting experience that most of us very much enjoyed. This wrapped up our night and we all got ready for the next day.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 4
Written by Kaiden Armstead
We woke up at an early 6:30 to a combination of knocking from Clint and the screaming howler monkeys in the surrounding jungle. Then, the camp ate a delicious egg and cheese burrito along with passion fruit juice for breakfast.
Following breakfast, we drove to the local community center to finish our work of sanding and varnishing tables and stools for the local community. We also sanded and painted signs for community members to hang around the town. These signs ranged from protecting the river to slowing down while driving. Community service was short because of our pending excursion, but we progressed greatly. We worked up a sweat and completed the vast majority of the tables and stools.
Afterwards, we came back to Peace Retreat for an early lunch. Ensuing lunch, we had a bit of time to pack and get all of our belongings in order for our extensive road trip. I took this opportunity not to pack, but to take a refreshing nap. The nap was great… until I woke up and realized I was running pretty behind. I hastily threw my clothes into my backpack and set for the buses, where everybody was waiting. We set onto the road. A few minutes into the trip, we ended having to turn back because in my moment of hastily packing, I forgot closed-toe shoes. We retrieved my shoes and finally began the trip for reals this time.
The ride was enjoyable, but the roads in Costa Rica are bumpy and have a myriad of potholes. We arrived after a while El Jardín which had a buffet, a souvenir shop, and a mini-market. While the food at Peace Retreat is great quality, everybody enjoyed the big variety of Costa Rican dishes. I also enjoyed draining my bank account at the souvenir shop.
After another two hours of driving, we arrived at Blue River Resort. As we pulled in, honestly, it looked like a couple of shacks in the middle of the jungle. It didn’t scream resort. But this turned out to be just the front gate meeting point. Upon checking in and driving further into the property, it progressively got better and better. The dirt paths turned into tiled stone and the dark wood cabin-styled rooms surrounded by lush tropical plants became clear. We hopped out of the bus with our belongings in hand and waited to be assigned rooms. After walking into our assigned rooms, we further realized how nice this 24-ish hours was going to be. The beds were queen-sized with fancy bedframes. The showers were spacious and as a huge bonus, had hot water! We quickly settled in before heading out for our tour. We also had a TV!
The tour consisted of walking through a botanical garden with an abundance of plants along with signs describing the plants and their traits. We then continued along to the butterfly gardens which included many more plants (although really, there’s plant life everywhere in Costa Rica) and butterflies! The butterflies swarmed through the air and stuck to the walls. We walked further into the garden to find a butterfly nursery. A safe spot for caterpillars to form their chrysalises and begin their beautiful transformation into stunning butterflies. We exited the butterfly garden and continued on with the tour. We explored many of the natural volcanic hot springs, the pools (one even had a water slide!), and the mud bath (which smelled terrible, but felt amazing on the skin). We also explored a cave with a natural sauna.
We then had about two hours of free time to explore the resort and enjoy its amenities. Despite the sulfurous smell that refrained others from trying, I enjoyed the mud bath and felt its effects on my skin. I then hopped between hot springs, saunas, and the pools. Swimming in the rain was absolutely wonderful and it painted the brightest smile on my face.
We cleaned up and got ready for dinner. Dinner was wonderful. Incredible steak and pork chops and spaghetti with meat sauce and squash soup and salads. Which was refreshing. The food in Costa Rica is so amazing and it’s so insanely fresh.
After a long day of travel, sweat, and many laughs, we began to end the night. We all went into our rooms and got ready for bed. Many of us took advantage of the TV’s some as we fell into a deep slumber on the extremely comfortable beds and awaited what the next day had to bring.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 5
Here are photos from our Friday excursion!
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 6
Written by Mason Savell
We started out the day with a light breakfast, eggs and fruit. We left for our last day of service just after everyone cleared their plate and was ready to work. We arrived at La Huerta to see our friend Yerma standing in front with instructions on what to do. Since it was our last day, we got to show our creative side by painting and hanging up signs for the garden and community. The morning began slow, but quickly picked up steam when Yerma brought out her speaker and started jamming out. After work we said our goodbyes, and left La Huerta to go to lunch.
We arrived back at our home base to find burritos waiting on the table. After we finished we had free time and some went to the beach to play volleyball. Straight from the beach we went to our final surf lesson of this trip. We came to small speedy waves but with perfect clean conditions. After an hour and a half of surfing we stayed to watch the beautiful sunset and happened to run into a famous Tik-Toker. Soon after we headed back to home base for dinner.
Veggie burgers with plantain buns with a side of yucca fries were waiting for us on the table. Following dinner we got our phone time when a nice surprise was waiting for us in the kitchen. Kevin, the retreat owner gifted us a delicious chocolate cake for being such good residents for the past two weeks. After we munched we had a final group discussion where we talked about the impacts of the work we had done were. We also played a fun game (waiting for the final results tomorrow!). Afterwards we had a dance party in Casa Verde. We finally got to bed after our fun filled day.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 7 & 8
Last full day! After a morning visit from Sarah who led the group in yoga and lunch, we visited Tamarindo, the popular beach town. Spent the afternoon swimming, playing beach volleyball, and exploring town. Then back for the farewell dinner with a Guanacaste marimba band and a last group gathering and time together, then to bed for the early morning ride to Liberia and the airport.