The ultimate getaway packing list: Dancing Astronaut’s guide to Costa Rica’s Envision Festival
Envision Festival 2019 is just a few short weeks away, and as the festival gears up for it’s ninth edition—expected to be its largest to date—festival goers should be finalizing the logistics of making it to Uvita, Costa Rica, for what is widely considered to be one of the most unique, and refreshing festival experiences on the planet. This year promises a stellar slate of programming across the four-day event, running from February 28 – March 4. GRiZ, Tycho, Lee Burridge, CloZee, The Floozies, and Trevor Hall top this year’s musical billing, while the rest of the festival is weaved together by countless workshops, yoga classes, nature excursions, and performance art pieces. But above any of the programming or the unwavering sense of community that the festival has curated over the last decade, the festival’s location may serve as the centerpiece of the entire experience. Envision is hosted at Rancho la Merced, returning in 2019 for a fifth year at the venue. Rancho la Merced perches festival goers right where Costa Rica’s breathtakingly beautiful forest terrain meets the warm tropical waters of Playa Hermosisima—a setting unrivaled by most other festival experiences (real ones, at least).
Though what a tropical paradise like Uvita offers to festival goers is obvious on the surface, packing for the adventure, traveling to the festival safely and efficiently, and then maximizing one’s time at Envision Festival requires a lot of energy and focus, and for many, the journey is just as much a part of the experience as the destination winds up being. So for those who are prepping for their first Envision Festival, or even for seasoned pros making their returns to Rancho la Merced for this year’s event, Dancing Astronaut put together a list of packing essentials for this year’s Envision Festival.
A Bird’s Eye View
Packing for Uvita begins well before the suitcase is even broken out. Once attendees reach Envision Festival, the sheer volume of programming and the numerous experiences that await can be overwhelming if not thoughtfully considered beforehand. Plan out your festival experience, but leave room for adjustments. Planning out each day, from traveling logistics to festival activities, should serve as more of an outline than anything else. There’s a necessary fluidity that attending any festival requires of course, especially in a place as special as Rancho la Merced. Simply put—things are going to pop up. Moments of adventure waiting to unfold are sewn into the festival’s fabric, so allowing oneself to be flexible is important, but organizing a plan of attack each day can help make sense of all that Enivision as to offer from a programming perspective. Look at the festival from a bird’s eye view before packing for Costa Rica. Look at what each day at the event has to offer, the Envision website does a phenomenal job of offering scheduling information to attendees that cover the diverse array of workshops and movement sessions. Does the day start with yoga or a hike? When is the optimal time to head to the beach? With talks, and performance art, food, music, and so much more to consider, we recommend taking at least a methodical skim of each day’s offerings and making a mental note of points A, B, and C, and what gets you from each one to the next. If something interests you even a little, go check it out.
Image: Bradford Watkins
Your best friend on your trip to Envision Festival—we are eradicating dehydration in 2019. Bring a good, reliable reusable water bottle with you for two primary reasons. While the event’s lush rain forest and sun drenched beach venue are the perfect setting for crisp, cold tequila, March is typically the onset of Costa Rica’s dry season, and keeping oneself hydrated throughout the day is crucial. Since Envision Festival offers numerous watering stations across the festival grounds, the opportunity to fill up should never be passed up. The second reason a study, reusable water receptacle is necessary is largely related to the Envision ethos. One of the festival’s eight pillars is Eco Building—the tenet that attendees and organizers are committed to practices of sustainability and minimal impact, if any at all where possible. So bring a good water bottle, or Camelbak if that’s how you roll, and make sure your friends drink enough water. A hydrated festival weekend is a happy festival weekend.
Gotta Get The Gear
Here’s the issue: packing for the beach, the jungle, a music festival, and a yoga retreat all at once.
An incredibly simple solution: pack light, pack for comfort, and be intentional.
Envision Festival, and, more broadly Costa Rica, offer such an amazing multitude of things to do, but from Tycho’s sunrise set to a spontaneous trek through the jungle with fellow revelers, one thing is key—comfort. Closed toed shoes for traversing through the jungle are recommended, but flip flops for the beach are a must-have. Plan out packing space accordingly. Seasoned Envision attendees also recommend headlamps, small locks for personal items, and sturdy sandals as additional simple lifesavers that first timers typically overlook. Also, despite it being the early part of Costa Rica’s dry season, consider rain-proofing ahead of time; after all, you’re in jungle. Pack Ziplock bags or a small dry bag, bring a light water resistant coat, or even a plastic poncho, but remember—pack in, pack out.
Image: Manuel Pinto
Leave Extra Space
Envision Festival offers the attendee the chance to really steep themselves in Costa Rican culture, just take it from the festival’s founders, who have enveloped themselves in the Envision way of life. While festival goers are at Rancho la Merced, the opportunity to interact with locals, curators, vendors, and artists are frequent. Sure, a festival t-shirt or a lineup poster is cool, however when packing for Uvita, consider leaving a little extra space in the luggage to bring a small piece of Costa Rica home with you.
Experienced Envision attendees would advise first-time festival goers to bring more cash than they think they’ll need. ATM’s are few and far between, and having cash will come in handy—just plan ahead and have more than you might need. First timers may also look the opportunity to purchase local keepsakes and food, so having the proper amount of cash on hand is key.
An Open Mind
Back to the idea of looking at every piece of musical and cultural programming individually so as to not be overwhelmed by the collective mountain of it, first time attendees should aim to try and distill the Envision experience down as such: it’s an opportunity to try new things. Rancho la Merced offers the boundless adventure of sprawling rainforest to hike through and gorgeous beaches to wade in, the festival talent is perhaps one of the most diverse billings of the year so far, and Envision’s cultural appeals are some of the most sustainable and progressive offerings across the international events circuit. Opening oneself up to new opportunities is critical to the full Envision experience, from cleaning beaches and planting trees in Costa Rica, to intentionally making time for moments of meditative silence with a group of fellow festival goers. Make time to check out this year’s talks and workshops, covering everything from coastal regeneration to the medicinal benefits of mushrooms. Definitely head to Tycho’s sunrise DJ set, but also make time to check out the regional Latin talent that is gracing Envision’s stages with an applied emphasis this year. An open mind is key to maximizing days and nights at Envision Festival—there’s no telling where one could end up and what one might learn along the way.
Featured image: Eric Allen