Envision Festival 2014 – Preview & Survival Guide to Costa Rica

WRITTEN BY:
DIGITAL VAGABOND
KYLE ROBER
ZAC FABIANO

ENVISION WEBSITE
ENVISION FACEBOOK

Envisionaries, you’re not in Kansas anymore.

 

Envision Festival is hosted in Uvita, Costa Rica, home to one of the world’s most precious and beautiful ecosystems and one of fifteen countries in the entire world without a standing army as well as one of the first to announce plans to become a carbon-neutral nation by 2021.

This is Envision’s 4th consecutive year, featuring one of the best line-ups of 2014. The producers have carefully picked a beautiful new location in Uvita, just a few minutes walk from the beach. Uvita is a coastal town, on the pacific side of southeast Costa Rica and is surrounded by a lush jungle. This small town (11 miles south of a the popular surf spot in Dominical) is less touristy than many other beach towns. With a natural oasis consisting of the beach and the jungle, Uvita provides a perfectly serene and peaceful environment to enjoy nature and connect with fellow Envisionaries.

 

For those who haven’t had the privilege to visit Costa Rica, you will find it is a very 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, which protects this tropical paradise from many of the problems associated with tourism and commerce – in short, this land contains the largest percentage of protected area(s) throughout the world.

The Music

As one of the first festivals of year, Envision is setting the bar high with its monolithic line up. A banquet of sorts as we’d like to picture, with the global music and arts community sitting at the table. The biggest dinner of the year and “al fresco,” of course

“If music be the food of love, play on; / Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting / The appetite may sicken, and so die” -William Shakespeare

 

Truly, the centerpiece of this massive spread is not only one, but two sets of Tipper. The eye doesn’t have to strain much to see PapadosioThe Polish Ambassador featuring Liminus, and Nahko and Medicine for the People. We don’t need to reiterate the list. What is clear is the amount of love that has gone into this line-up. Curating an event like this is a monumental challenge, and logistically far more demanding than your average weekend festival. So to think that you could see these artists, (many of whom are hard to catch in the US) in one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse places in the world? The Costa Rican jungle will be the perfect incubator for this musical bird to hatch and will take flight across four days of beautiful and inspiring music. No need to pinch your arm – this is happening.

The list is long, but there are plenty of new surprises and LiS favorites this year. Rootz Underground, Kalya Scintilla, The Funk Hunters, The Fungineers, Pumpkin, Sugarpill, Wildlight, Stylust Beats, Heavyweight Dub Champion, Liberation Movement, Mr. Rogers, Whitebear, Merkaba, Goosebumpz, Mouldy Soul, Plantrae, Cualli, Living Light, Soulacybin, Patterns, Traveler, kLL sMTH, and Wala will all be new additions this year. If any of these names are new to you, we highly suggest doing your research. Pt 2 of our envision soundcloud playlist will feature many of the new artists.

LiS will be releasing the official Envision Festival compilation post festival featuring exclusive tracks from many of the Envision musical artists.

Of course, there will be some encores like Biolumigen, The Human Experience, Rising Appalachia, Kaminanda, Sonambulo, Santos & Zurdo, Andreilien, Phutureprimitive, JPOD, and The Polish Ambassador. If you were able to attend last year’s Envision, then it’s crystal clear that 2014 is going to be another experience as a whole. Some favorites are back, but the production team has done a tremendous job of transforming this line up.

To help paint the perfect soundscape, LiS has put together a soundcloud compilation inspired by this year’s artists. The setlist will be released in two parts, and this first installation covers the first half of the line-up. Listen as you read on and envision yourself there.

Getting There

The first to-do is to exchange your USD to Costa Rican Colones at your bank, in your home country. You will get the best exchange rate there, so call ahead and see if they have the Colon there already, otherwise some banks are required to make a special order. Do not wait – and do it at the airport, because you will end up losing a good percentage of what you bring. Once inside the country, your next best bet is to withdraw from the closest ATM. Keep in mind that 1 USD is approximately 500 Colones.

 

Uvita is approximately three hours from the airport, and if this is your first time traveling to the country, it is highly advised to book a shuttle from the airport to Dominical. For about $40, this will make your life a whole lot easier. And while the local buses are cheap and an experience in themselves, you will avoid lugging all of your gear around as well as arrive in a more timely fashion. The shuttle is the safest and easiest way to get to Dominical and provide a great way to connect with Envisionaries even before arriving in Uvita. The Envision team is happy to help you book trusted and reliable transportation. Click here for more details!

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 when you get to the airport. 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 will avoid getting hit with numerous hidden charges that a lot of other companies will force you to add at the time of checkout.

 

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 are recommended to more seasoned travelers or those looking to travel like a local.

enision 3You will have to find the TRACOPA bus station in San Jose and catch the bus to Uvita, which will take about four hours give or take. That being said, the buses are quite efficient and they depart from San Jose at 7:30AM, 10:15AM, 11:00AM, 12:00PM, and 4:30PM 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, it is strongly recommended that you do all your food and beverage shopping in San Jose. It is the absolute cheapest for goods, gear, and the rest of your needs. There are many large grocery stores that you can stop 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 sunscreen! The price of sunscreen in Dominical/Uvita is ridiculous!!).

Where to stay

As experienced Envisionaries, it is advised that each and every one of you to camp on-site your first year. Immersing yourself in nature and 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 this year which means that if you opt to stay off site, you should contact Envision for a weekend shuttle pass to get to and from the venue for $40.

For more information on shuttles click here.

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, contact the Envision travel team at: travel@envisionfestival.com.

For more information on housing and hostels click here.

What to do/What to see

While the country has only about 0.1% of the world’s landmass, it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity which means 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 experience for those who would like to explore more of what Costa Rica has to offer.

There is a Pre-Envision tour which consists of a 7-day excursion around Costa Rica’s most exotic locations, which includes white-water rafting, hiking trips through indigenous reserves, visits to several sustainable living communities, and even zip-lining. There is also a Post-Envision tour, so whether you are planning to travel before or after the festival, Envision’s got you covered with many of the unique aspects of Costa Rica.

This package is perfect for people who may not be comfortable traveling on their own or have no idea where to begin. It’s quite remarkable how much work the Envision team has put into ensuring the smoothest, safest, and most hassle free experience. Find out how to utilize these amazing travel opportunities here.

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

envision 6For 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 is one of the last remaining sizable 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 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.

For those who like higher altitudes and want to get out of the heat, head inland to Santa Elena and the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Here you will experience cooler air and be able to explore the rainforest, take a canopy tour, go ziplining through and above the forest (the longest one is up to 2,525 feet long!). From Santa Elena, you can take the bus boat bus to the town of La Fortuna, which is right next to Volcan Arenal. Even just traveling there are breathtaking sights to be seen… On certain days, upwards of a dozen rainbows can be seen upon the descent from Santa Elena. Once in La Fortuna, there are many groups dedicated to bringing travelers on hikes up the volcano and then to Tabacon – the natural hot springs spa. If you get in with the locals, you may even be able to find your way to the free hot springs, which is just as good as the resort itself!

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 aren’t 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.

PRO TIP GEAR

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 to 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.

Must bring
Hammock
Rain gear / tarp
SUNSCREEN
Wet wipes & baby powder
Bug spray
Flashlight / headlamp
Towel
Reusable water bottle
Yoga mat
Bathing Suit
Sandals (for hostel showers)
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

We hope this prepares you for your trip to Costa Rica and Envision Festival.
We’ll see y’all soon in paradise. Time to get #LOSTINtheJUNGLE!

ENVISION TICKETS
ENVISION WEBSITE
ENVISION FACEBOOK

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