Editors Note: This is an article written by our friends over at Lost in Sound. They experienced some malicious activity on their website a few months ago and are doing their best to get it back online. We are happy to publish this preview about Envision Festival for them.  Featured Image by Daniel Zetterstrom

Envision Festival is one of our favorite festivals of the year at Lost in Sound. It’s not just the festival that keeps us going back but the entire journey once we land in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is inspiring. It’s a natural beauty, teeming with wildlife, jungles, beaches, and waiting for an adventure. It is one of the most beautiful countries, home to one of the most precious and beautiful ecosystems, and is one of fifteen countries in the entire world without a standing army.

Envision Festival in Costa Rica is the perfect fit!

The festival is in Uvita, but most of you will fly into San Jose, the nation’s capital. In the same epic location as last year with lots of shade and beach access, this year marks the fifth consecutive festival. Uvita is a coastal town on the Pacific side of Southeast Costa Rica surrounded by a lush jungle. This small town 11 miles south of the popular surf spot in Dominical is less touristy than many other beach towns. With a natural oasis of beach, jungle, and waterfalls, Uvita is the perfect serene environment to enjoy nature and connect with fellow Envisionaries.

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You will find Costa Rica a small country with a big focus on sustainability and conservation. Twenty five percent of the country’s land is part of a growing national park reservation, protecting this tropical paradise from much of the problems associated with tourism and commerce. This is the largest percentage of protected areas in the world out of any country. Pretty much any where you explore in Costa Rica will be breathtaking and pretty glorious.

PRO TIP: The sun down South is no joke. Make sure to wear protection or you’re looking to get fried lobsters.

Getting there:
Uvita is about a three hour drive from the airport, and if this is your first time traveling to the country we highly advise booking a shuttle from the airport to Dominical. For about $60, this will make your life a lot easier. There are local buses that are cheap and an experience in and of themselves but with the shuttles, you’ll avoid lugging all your gear and arrive in a timely manner. Taking a shuttle is the safest and easiest way to get to Dominical. Shuttles are also a great way to connect with other Envisionaries traveling to the festival. The Envision shuttle runs the 24th to 27th and brings you right to the gate starting on the 25th… Click here for more details! Keep in mind that the shuttle passes are one way.

If you’re feeling more adventurous or want more freedom to travel the Southern coast as you make your way to Envision then consider renting a car. Envision works with one car company in Costa Rica, Toyota. This exclusive partnership gives you access to discounts that make the prices unbeatable. They also include insurance and you’ll avoid getting hit with numerous hidden charges that a lot of other companies will force you to add at the time of checkout.

PRO TIP: Renting a vehicle? Get an all-wheel/4-wheel drive vehicle with slightly higher clearance. Outside of the cities you will encounter rocky and unpaved terrain.

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As mentioned, there are buses that will take you to Uvita inexpensively (about $15 each way) but keep in mind these are local buses and we only recommend them to more seasoned travelers or those looking to travel like a local. You will have to find the TRACOPA bus station in San Jose and catch the bus to Uvita, which will take about 4 hours. That being said, the buses are quite efficient and they depart from San Jose at 7:30 am, 10:15 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 4:30 pm daily. The bus is especially convenient if you have loosely constructed travel plans and you don’t want to commit to an expensive car rental, although it should be noted that the bus does not drop you off at the entrance of Envision. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Envision travel team. These guys are more than happy to answer any questions and will be glad to point you in the right direction or even help you make travel arrangements. You can contact the Envision team via email at: travel@envisionfestival.com.

Whether you take a shuttle or rent a car, we strongly recommend doing all of your food and beverage shopping in San Jose. It is absolutely the cheapest for goods, gear, and the rest of your needs. There are many large grocery stores that you can stop at before you leave the city. Yes there are small tiendas along the way and in Uvita, but prices will be higher. *Be sure to get sun screen! The price of sun screen in Dominical/Uvita is ridiculous.

PRO TIP: We all like to be on time, but in Costa Rica they are on Pura Vida’ time, meaning sometimes unexpected delays occur and may take longer than anticipated. Try to just enjoy the ride through paradise.

Where to stay:
We strongly advise each and every one of you to camp on-site your first year. Immersing yourself into nature and in the community is the most rewarding experience of all. Trust us, by the time the festival is over you will call the grounds your home and your neighbors your family.

For those who’d rather have a bed and air conditioning, there are plenty of options off site. Though, if you are traveling thousands of miles to one of the most eco-diverse places on Earth to hide in an air conditioned room all week, you’re doing it wrong. It’s important to mention that there are no lodging options within walking distance to the campgrounds.

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The sense of community that is built around the campsite makes the humidity worthwhile. Share food and make community meals, explore the town together, share stories and attend workshops in groups. The environment creates and caters to a very real sense of family and cohesiveness with those around you.

The town of Uvita offers plenty of places to stay, if you’d like to find accommodations and aren’t sure of where to start, check here for more info or contact the Envision travel team at: travel@envisionfestival.com.

What to do/What to see:
***On Feb 25, there is an ‘Action Day‘ to help with a permaculture project for the local area in Puntarenas. This is a great way to get involved with the local community, practice your Spanish, and do something positive. If you are in the country, we hope to see you there… Find more info on the permaculture Action Day here.

While the country has only about 0.1% of the world’s landmass, it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Meaning that Costa Rica is teeming with life all around you; soak it up while you’re there. Envision has prepared two amazing tours as part of the Envision experience for those who would like to explore more of what Costa Rica has to offer.

There is much to do and more to see than you can imagine in the Dominical/Uvita area, including gorgeous beaches, rich jungles, awesome surf, epic waterfalls, and all within close proximity. Marino Ballena National Park is near by and it offers tremendously secluded beaches as well as being known for whale watching. Find out more details about whale watching, scuba diving, snorkeling, or the boating tours that this national park has to offer here.

For those who consider themselves seasoned travelers, there is one national park that stands out as the most ecologically diverse and biologically intense place on the planet. At least National Geographic describes it as such. Corcovado National Park is located on the Osa Peninsula in Soutwestern Costa Rica. This national park is roughly 2 hours away from Uvita and entry to the park is $10. Corcovado conserves the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coastline and one of the last remaining sizeable areas of lowland tropical forest in the world. Permits must be reserved in advance. You must have a permit to stay overnight at Sirena. The park no longer allows overnight or day hikers to enter the park without a reservation permit. Sirena is the only ranger station that offers dormitory lodging and hot meals in addition to camping, so if you’re not carrying your own gear this is your only option. La Leona and San Pedrillo offer only camping with no food service. It is possible to secure park permits directly from the Ranger Station in Puerto Jiménez, but they do not accept credit cards, so it requires visiting Banco Nacional in Puerto Jimenez to make the payment. For more information on Corcovado, and other national parks in Costa Rica, please click here.

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Check out the Monteverde Cloud Forest. With cooler air, you can explore the rainforest, take a canopy tour, and go ziplining above the forest (the longest one is up to 2,525 feet long!).

For the best hot springs action travel to La Fortuna in the North. There are a few established resorts you can pay for, but the best access is free. Take a taxi or get to Tabacon. Across the street, a small road will take you right to a naturally flowing hot spring river, which is a local favorite and secret.

There is so much to do in Costa Rica, we could go on forever. Just remember to keep an open mind and a sense of adventure!

Safety/Security:
Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Central America with the lowest crime rate. It is also very well setup for tourists to easily travel with many options everywhere you go for lodging, transportation, and food. That being said, you should still be aware of your surroundings and avoid putting yourself in harms way. Small thefts do happen if you are not careful. Try not to bring expensive gear and try not to wear expensive jewelry or clothing. Ticos are very friendly and if you are unsure, just ask. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you’d be amazed at how much communication can happen with a few words and gestures.

Above all, we don’t recommend that you bring expensive electronics, or luxurious valuables. We encourage you to limit all distractions, and reliance upon gadgets while traveling across Costa Rica. This beautiful country has amazing things to offer, and we guarantee you will see much more if you aren’t relying on your electronics for entertainment.

Being aware of your surroundings is an essential part of being safe anywhere in the world. If you are renting a vehicle, make sure to take all backpacks/valuables out of the car before leaving it unattended. If you wouldn’t do it at home, then there’s no reason do it abroad. This is a good way to avoid regrettable incidents.

If you are traveling by bus, or public transportation, try to carry as much cash as you need and no more. ATM’s are easy to find, and this way you avoid losing your money or putting yourself at risk of a pick-pocket. Also try to keep your bags with you, theft can occur from unattended luggage below the bus.

PRO TIP 1: Make photocopies of your passport. Keep a picture on your phone.

PRO TIP 2: Be aware of what you have hanging around your hostel or hotel room. Always keep valuables and cash in a safe spot or secret compartment if leaving the room and your gear unattended.

PRO TIP 3: Keep most of your cash hidden deep in your bag or somewhere safe, with just spending money for the next day or two in your wallet.

PRO TIP 4: To enter the country, Costa Rica needs proof of exit, so have a printed copy of your flight itinerary ready when you enter. They have gotten rather strict over the years, so don’t forget.

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Must bring:

  • SUN SCREEN
  • Rain gear / tarp
  • Essential oils
  • Flashlight / headlamp
  • Towel
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Yoga mat
  • Bathing suit
  • Sandals
  • Ziplocks
  • Photocopies of your passport
  • Small pocket English-Spanish dictionary
  • Printed version of your flight itinerary
  • Printed Envision music & workshop lineup

 

Words to know:

  • Store – tienda
  • Here – aqui
  • Local Costa Rican – tico
  • Help – ayuda
  • Beer – cerveza
  • Beach – la playa
  • Water – el agua
  • Waterfall – cateratas
  • You’re very nice – muy amable
  • Thank you – gracias
  • Excuse me – con permiso
  • Buy – comprar
  • Can I – podria
  • How much – cuanto
  • Next – adelante
  • I am from – soy de
  • What’s your name – como te llamas
  • Pleasure – un placer
  • This – este
  • Where – donde

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One of the core elements of Envision 2014 was the communal sunset gatherings on the beach. Each day you would encounter a collection of various awe inspiring impromptu jams of all sorts, drum circles, hang drums, sitars, didgeridoos, trumpets, and every other instrument you could think of. Hundreds of people gathering together to bathe in the last glorious moments of the lowering sun, cheering, hooting and hollering as the lifeblood of the day left us, bringing the celebrations and coolness of the night. The sunset beach gatherings remind me of a vague notion I have of “the good ol’ days” that a senior member of the tribal (comm)unity would describe; recalling tales of beach life based on the bliss of the moment where human connection means more than the flow of currency. The fact is, each of us got to experience this tropical pacific beach’s magical atmosphere surrounded by unification of the warm blue ocean waters and the magical lush jungle mountainscapes.

And if all of that sun, beach and community isn’t enough, consider joining the Tribal Alliance Retreat at CafEnergia or The Roots Gathering at Punta Mona. Both of these incredible retreats take place on the weekend after Envision and focus on a deeper dive into the aspects of community, permaculture and spirit.

Envision and events like it are extremely important in these coming times. Metaphorically, we as a world have dug ourselves in a pretty deep ditch. For some, Envision is the catalyst to become aware of where we are standing, for others it is a place to learn new ideas and cultivate new friendships. The world’s problems are vast and cannot really be solved by any one individual, but with a community mindset, together we can begin to spread knowledge and activism about a globally sustainable future. Gathering in the tropical jungle with space held for intention, healing, the sacred, creativity, and CELEBRATION resonates a vibration that each person feels at their very core. We all leave attuned with this new resonance that we carry with us. We go and do what we’re doing but now have an inspired pulse. Others can sense this energy. This new resonance is the transformation. Envision is important because it inspires our lives. It’s a place where we can begin to change our self, deepen our roots, foster new connections, and live inspired lives. Envision creates this container and then we go from there. We envision our world and go about to create it.

We hope this prepares you for your trip to Costa Rica and Envision Festival 2015, we’ll see y’all soon in paradise!

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As a bonus, SolPurpose is offering a sweet little discount if you buy your ticket using the coupon code

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