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 JULY 8
Greetings from the Galapagos,
After a great day in Quito, we have finally made it to Santa Cruz. Quito was a bunch of fun. We walked around the Old Town and had the opportunity to eat some typical Ecuadorian chocolate. Now we are excited to be on the islands and to start service tomorrow. Our Home Base here is beautiful, and the food has been great.
We’ve spent our time learning everyone’s names, making friends, and getting an overview of what our time at GLA will look like. Some of the things we are most looking forward to are learning about conservation and the history of the Galapagos, the wildlife, working on our Spanish, being immersed in the Ecuadorian culture, doing service, and making friends. The GLA staff are super nice and funny, we can’t wait to get to know them better. It’s going to be a great two weeks.
Our first day in Santa Cruz we arrived on time for lunch and got ready for our first sightseeing around the island. We walked to the Charles Darwin Galapagos National Park where we learned about the unique species that call the volcanic island home. Our nice tour guide Fernando showed us the Tortoise Breeding Center which inspired us for the service we will do over the next 4 days. After the breeding center we explored the main street of Santa Cruz and got awesome souvenirs!
We returned to our beloved homebase for a delicious homemade meal provided by the family hosting us, and we finished our day with our mighty Chow Circle, where we had the opportunity to shout out friends and share the good things that happened during our day. We also had a powerful meditation activity guided by Isa.
We are excited for the adventures yet to come!
We hope you like our group picture. WIFI permitting, we will be uploading daily blog posts.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
We started with a 7:30 breakfast and then we headed to the worksite. We were then introduced to the tools and project that we needed to complete. We were digging and moving gravel from previous floods to make more room for a lagoon, recreating the tortoise’s habitat. As well as moving rocks and trees to make walls and protection for native plants from tortoises. We really connected as a team and we did an amazing job, our mentors were proud of us!
After we finished working we took a short detour through an amazing lava tunnel, we could see and feel the power of nature and of these volcanic islands.
We then headed back to the hotel, cleaned up, and went into town. We went to a skatepark where we played games and hung out with the locals. And also we saw some sharks and sea lions! Wow!
We are looking forward to our next adventure and to keep up with the service!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
Today we slept until 8:30 and had leaderships group activities in the morning. Isa and John brought us to the beach to make it even more fun for us! Thanks John and Iza! We played a game that allowed to learn and understand better our leadership’s styles (the relationship master, the driver, the architect and the spontaneous). After that we swam in the ocean and took pictures on the beach.
Straight after lunch we took a bus to service, we worked for about 4 hours to build home for tortoises in the Premisas National Park. Then, we drove back home and had a delicious dinner. After dinner we went to town to get some ice cream and had an awesome soccer game with the local kids.
We are really connecting as group, everyday it feels like more like a real community. It’s been great! Can’t wait for all the new adventures that are yet to come!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
Today the group woke up and had another excellent breakfast from the generous hostel staff. After breakfast the squad got on to the bus expecting another hard day of service at the tortoise park. But instead the GLA staff arranged a surprise for us due to the outstanding work we’ve been doing it. We were invited to go on hike into the Santa Cruz jungle to see a secluded lagoon. Our gracious local guide Fernando took us in a big adventure, we felt like explorers and had lots of fun as a group.
After finishing our journey into the wild, we went to our next destination: Las Grietas, a natural pool made by magma/lava between rocks with transparent water. With our snorkels we were able to fully explore the long and deep crack. We also did a diving competition judged by Signa and Justine, it was great.
We head home to have lunch and also to do another leadership activity, which we played different roles as a group. And created a debate representing different organizations and characters of The Galápagos Islands, such as: the natives of Galapagos, PEDA, National Park service and a local called Sam.
The teams discussed with passion and expressed themselves to defend its own points of view and perspectives. Allowing us to understand better the deep issues and challenging agreements the Galapagos community has as a whole. After eating another fantastic meal at homebase, we had another great time walking around town, some of us chose to get ice cream while the other group played basketball with the locals.
Another awesome day for the Galápagos Squad! 🙂
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
We started our day with our usual breakfast and followed this with packing for our beach trip. We then took a bus to the entrance of Tortuga Bay- a beach famous for it’s many green sea turtles. We walked on the beach until we reached a beautiful cove of water. We were all excited and quickly got our snorkel gear in hopes of seeing reef sharks which tend to be in the cove. Some of us took kayaks out in the cove and some of us snorkeled. While neither groups saw anything in the water at this time, when we all were back on shore we saw two reef sharks swimming. We hung out at the beach but eventually had to head back for lunch. We walked a hilly walk back home and were happy to be home.
Once our group was back to the hotel we where greeted with a delicious lunch, before we started an afternoon of service. We were assigned to plant trees and create a pathway extending to the road. We planted endemic trees and shrubs to the island to restore there decreasing population on the island due to invasive plants. Once we were finished with our hard work we went back to the hotel to finally shower and wash off all the grime that was accumulated. We also got a dinner of pasta and garlic bread.
Before going to our rooms we did a leadership activity where we rated our experiences on the first part of the trip. After that we started to do personal activities and pack for our move to a different hotel tomorrow. Once we finished the day we finally got to rest and rejuvenated for the next day ahead!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
Greetings from Galapagos,
Despite a slight hiccup in our travel plans, the crew still managed to have a fantastic day in Santa Cruz.
This morning we were notified that the docks were closed due to gas price protests, so we delayed our trek to San Cristobal until tomorrow. We spent the morning packing up our rooms and then walked down to the town to get açaí bowls. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of different flavours and textures.
After lunch we went to the local beach where we played games, swam, and sun tanned on the shore. Everyone played ball games together, including “jackpot”, and had fun splashing about in the sea.
You could say we had a pretty chill day. We ended our last day in Santa Cruz by getting ice cream after dinner and listening to music on the balcony of our hotel.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 14
After our plans delayed due to the protests in the islands, our group was able to finally travel to San CristoBal today! We woke up to board on a two and a half hour boat ride to the island. It was bumpy, but overall fun as we got to see the waves!
After we got off the boat, we brought our luggage to the hotel where we could rest a bit.
In the afternoon we went to get lunch at a local restaurant before heading to our first snorkeling adventure en Las Tijeretas!
We Walked a mile to the observatory where Fernando explained to us how tha Galápagos was formed and its very interesting history. We walked a bit further down to a crystal-blue bay where we would snorkel. After getting our wetsuits and life jackets on, we headed into the water to see what we would find. It took a few minutes but before we knew there were sea lions swimming around us and splashing! They were so playful, and blew bubbles at us and swam around us while we snorkeled. We also saw beautiful sea turtles!
After some relaxing time we head to our delicious dinner and Shannon’s birthday celebration! The staff managed to get her favorite cake and she felt happy and loved and so did we!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
We started our day with a nice breakfast of eggs and toast, then walked to the dock to take a short boat ride to a group of separate islands off of San Cristobal. While some of us chose to ride on the second floor of the boat, we all made it to the Isla Lobos and began our bird and sea lion watching adventure on the coastal shore. After witnessing the nesting of the Galapagos’ famous birds, the Blue Footed Booby and the Frigate, we snorkeled in the island’s bay with the many sea lions playfully swimming beside us in the water. After snorkeling and relaxing at a different spot, we went back to shore to relax and unwind with a nice lunch and then a trip to a nice beach with tons of sea lions. We shared the time with them and visited the lighthouse hosted on the beach, then went to a very cool UPCYCLING workshop turning old jeans into very awesome key chains. Most of us learned how to sew and did a great job!
We went to dinner and ate a nice fried rice plate, the group spent time in the town shopping and exploring then walked to the soccer courts to challenge the locals on a GLA vs. Local soccer game. Although we lost, we had lots of fun playing as a team and felt it was a great way to end another wonderful day here in the Galapagos!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Greetings from Galapagos!
Our last day in San Cristobal was a bless! We started our day with an awesome snorkeling at the beach La Loberia. We were literally surrounded by sea turtles and beautiful fishes, we had so much fun!
At the beach we also had time to do a leadership activity that made us work as a real team!
In the afternoon we had some relax time and had the opportunity to do more group activities and enjoy a beautiful sunset at the Sea lion’s beach. We ended up our day with a unforgettable karaoke night where sang and danced a lot!
We are very grateful for this trip, a little sad that is coming into an end. We all packed to head back to Quito!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
It’s time to say goodbye to this paradise. We woke up, got some breakfast and headed to the airport.
It was all day on flights, but very glad we arrived safely 🙂 We had a delicious empanada and dinner and got the chance to finish our day with a Gratitude circle sharing 3 things we are grateful for about this trip. It gave us a moment to reflect how lucky and happy we are for the great community we’ve created among this past two weeks. Friendships we won’t ever forget! And of course the breathtaking wild life 💓
It’s good to be back in Quito, heading to bed early because we will star our last day with salsa class! Yay!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
Hola from Quito,
We started of day with salsa class! Yay! It was so much fun!
After we headed to the Equator, INTI-ñan museum where we had the opportunity to learn about the quiteños, the ancestors that once lived here and also about the indigenous people and its traditions. We also got great pictures at the “Mitad del mundo” (half of the world), and learned about the polarities energies and differences between hemispheres.
After we headed to this delicious restaurant in Quito where we had one of the best meals! And we felt recharged to go check the cultural market! And We all bought some awesome souvenirs and cool outfits!
Finishing our day with our last leadership activities and Appreciation circle 💓
Can’t believe we are going back home tomorrow! Time passed so fast, we wilL miss our Galapagals’ crew!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Hasta luego Galapagals,
And just like that, it’s over. Can you believe it? So much has happened since our first days in Quito. Today was departure day and we had to say goodbye to this awesome community we’ve created along these trip.
The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of fun and adventure. We laughed, we loved, and we cried. We got far closer as a group than we’d ever hoped we would. We (Isa and John) hope all of you students had even half as much fun as we did. If so, you are going home more than happy. If we had a chance to do it all over again, we would do it in a heartbeat.
As we return home, we want to challenge you to remember all of the things we have learned over the last two weeks and to continue to incorporate them into our lives. Remember the goals you set during the OMG activity, including being more open to new adventures, opportunities and friendships. Live in the moment, be kind to others, appreciate what you have, and value your friends. Enjoy your time back home. We are sure you all have many more exciting adventures in your future.
We will always remember snorkeling with the sea turtles and sea lions at La Loberia, hiking to Darwin Bay, planting trees as the tortoises walked past in Santa Cruz, karaoke night in San Cristobal, and enjoying exploring town together, but most of all, we will always remember you for being you. You were an unforgettable group. You should all be very proud of yourselves, the way you’ve all dedicated theirselves during service was very inspiring.
Good job stepping out of your comfort zone, looking out for one another, shouting out one another for every good action you’ve done as individuals and as group.
Remember to be courageous, to live your values, to connect and influence, to voice your opinions, and as always, to have fun. And of course, be more chill!
Leaders aren’t born—they’re made.
John and Isa