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 14
We have arrived! This morning we held our orientation on the terrace of our hotel Ricon Escandinavo and had a local Ecuadorian lunch of sopa and popcorn with pollo y arroz.
After lunch we visited Mitadad del Mundo where the equator exactly passes through Ecuador. We learned about the indigenous people of Ecuador (who consist of 18% of the population!) as well as some unique equator physics. We tried to balance an egg on a nail to demonstrate the varying effects of gravity on the equator line – we think it was a trick because none of us succeeded except for Arnold!
After our visit to Mitadad del Mundo we visited a local artisan chocolate shop with THE worlds best chocolate. Later followed by some team bonding activities and preparation for tomorrows adventure – the Galapagos!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 16
Written by Jack & Liam
Today we woke up at the ripe early time of 6:30 in the morning. We started our fantastic day with some beautiful eggs, juicy watermelon, and fresh homemade rolls. After our delicious breakfast, we departed for Primicias to do some service work. Primicias is an ecotourism location where people come to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. We worked until 9-5 with short water breaks and a lunch break. We worked on three different projects: removing invasive blackberry bushes, clearing gravel from a lagoon where the tortoises soak, and the trimming and removal of various trees and bushes. In the water breaks between our work, we enjoyed juicy and sour passionfruit, mandarin, and guava which we picked fresh from the trees.
The work was physically challenging, but it an absolutely incredible experience to work just feet from the giant tortoises. After departing, we drove to a landmark called Los Gemelos, or the twins. The twins are a pair of sinkholes that have been present on Santa Cruz island for millions of years. The twins were likely around a hundred+ feet deep and had an unequivocal amount of vegetation growing in them. It was undoubtably a sight to behold. After enjoying the beautiful scenery we returned to home base for a much-needed shower.
As Ice Cube once said, “Today was a good day.”
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 18
Written by Pippi Johnson & Kiernan Souto
Today was an absolutely, positively super-duper day. We started off our day with a delicious breakfast consisting of eggs and Ecuadorian-style banana pancakes. Afterwards, we headed to the work site to continue dredging and widening a lagoon for the tortoises. Once we finished our work for the day we quickly changed into our bathing suits and headed to “Las Grietas” which are mini water-filled ravines. The water was creepily clear which made some students have minor fears of the fish below (aka Pippi Johnson).
Overall it was a beautiful place to swim with its turquoise water and surrounding rock walls. On our arrival home, we got ready to do a mini-Olympics competition called “Space Jam”. We competed in physical, mental and teambuilding games with the “Fishy Couches” versus the “Warm Trees” teams. Both teams competed fiercely, but the Warm Trees took the overall win. After our competition and diner we headed out to the town for some more unequivocally special and tasty ice cream. It was a long, adventurous, fun-filled day and we can’t wait for the next days to come! THE END.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 19
Yesterday morning we took a quick bus ride and a long hike to a wonderful, calm, and clear beach. We swam and snorkeled with the white tip reef sharks (non-aggressive) along the mangroves that lined the beach and built an epic sandcastle. After our snorkeling and swimming adventure, we hiked back to base through Galapagos terrain of cactus, volcanic rock, cedar trees, and more.
After lunch we planted various species of small trees and extended the tortoise lagoon – so much that we managed to make our own mini river! It was so fun to see our progress from the first day to the last and we think the tortoises appreciate it as well. We finished the day with a familiar and tasty dinner of fried chicken and French fries – and prepped for our next day’s adventure to San Cristobal!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21 & JUNE 22
Written by Isaiah Lorenzen & Liam Kennedy
We began our second day (yesterday) in San Cristóbal with a local breakfast at a nearby restaurant. Following our meal, we took a hike with our guide, Wilson, to the information center for a lesson on the history of the Galapagos Islands. After this, we continued our hike to the main event of the day, snorkeling. On the way, we took a small detour to a viewpoint of the ocean and town, soaking up the scenery before diving into the frigid waters of the Galapagos. In the water, we were able to observe many kinds of aquatic wildlife, such as a pack of playful Sea Lions, several Rock and Parrot fish, and a captivating Sea Turtle. Eventually, our time in the water came to an end, and we swam back to shore, playing with Sea Lions all the way, making for an unequivocally memorable experience.
After lunch we took some down time and headed to our recycling workshop with a local activist in conservation, in which we learned a bit about the conservation efforts on the island and sewed a keychain attachment out of recycled jeans. Post-workshop, we took a walk at sunset on the pier, which was a truly beautiful and entertaining sight, thanks to the loudmouth Sea Lions that dot the shore. After this, we went to dinner and later enjoyed our time at the Hostel with each other. We absolutely love San Cristobal!
Today we were able to yet again jump into the frigid waters of the Galapagos. We took a gorgeous boat ride along the shores of San Cristobal to the very wild Isla Lobos island. On the island we came face to face with even more sea lions, the famous Blue-Footed Boobies (and their chicks), and Frigate birds. It was truly magical to be surrounded by so much wildlife. After our visit to Isla Lobas we took the boat to a private beach and enjoyed the scenery, the water and – you guessed it – more sea lions!
After our eventful morning we had an afternoon discussion about conservation, our values and roles within it. We then headed to the local soccer pitch where we played basketball with local players, soccer and hung out in the popular community area. We ended the night with a rousing hour of ping pong – hosted by the local ping pong club and club master Cobita. It was a fun-packed day full of wildlife, learning, and games!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24 – Part 1
Instead of the planned snorkeling day, students decided to go to the market, find some yummy ingredients and learn how to make empanadas! Later they will have dance lessons, dinner, and a fun night activity (possibly karaoke!). Stay tuned for more updates from today!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24 – Part 2
Today was our last full day in the Galapagos. It started off with a visit to the local Mercado where we utilized our Spanish skills to buy food for our upcoming Empanada Cook Off. We had 30 minutes to buy our fillings and an hour to prep and fry all of our tasty empanadas. Each team created their own unique fillings that were judged by our guide and leader. Team 1 sautéd meat and veggies with cheese, team 2 made a dulce de leche (with ice cream!) and team 3 made their unique spin of pineapple empanadas. It was competitive, creative and definitely delicious!
In the afternoon we learned some new reggae tone and salsa dance moves with our guides’ son Andy. It was difficult and slightly awkward, but full of laughs!
We then headed to dinner to have a celebratory American style meal (aka pizza and hamburgers). After our meal we wandered to a nearby park where we found our very own giant sound system – their local amphitheater. With some singing and experimental acoustics we discovered that the amphitheater was wildly effective (you could hear someone whisper from 50 ft away.)
Overall it was a fun and culturally immersive day – were definitely going to miss it here!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Our first Galapagos group of the summer has come to a close. Yesterday and today they shared their last moments with one another, with the Galapagos, and with Ecuador (for now at least!)
It has been an incredible two weeks full of hard work and rainy days, laughter and jokes, ninja and games, conservation and culture. From hauling buckets upon buckets of soil to snorkeling with the sea lions, students worked hard and played hard.
The students (and staff) celebrated their last night with night games, random dancing, and an appreciation activity – although more giggling ensued rather than the activity!
Over the last two weeks, it’s been an absolute joy watching these students discover the Galapagos and new friendships. They will certainly be missed and the local and GLA staff wish them the best of luck in their future leadership endeavors!