Envision this: You are gently awakened by the distant sound of waves, and the near sounds of birds chirping in the trees above you. You unzip your tent and step out into a tropical wonderland. After getting dressed and drinking a morning coconut, it’s time for yoga. After yoga you take  a quick swim in the ocean, grab some breakfast and then rush out to make it to hula-hooping class. You spend the afternoon relaxing with your friends, maybe you take a hike to a neighboring waterfall or catch a workshop. You make it back to the beach just in time for another perfect sunset, and then it’s time to dance all night to some of the hottest live and electronic musicians on the scene, while circus performers swirl above you like wild monkeys.

Sound like the life? Oh, it is!

These are some my memories of last year’s idyllic premier Envision Festival in Costa Rica.  The eco-conscious festival centered around art, yoga, sustainability, movement, and music. It was set in the middle of Dominical, a small surfer town on the South Pacific coast. I’ve been to my share of festivals, from 100-person camp outs put on by friends to the all out Burning Man Festival, and Envision really impressed me. I’m glad I knew many of the people involved, and was able to be there from the beginning as a volunteer, as it really showed me how lovingly and energetically the whole event was orchestrated.

But March 1-4 get ready for a whole new and improved production.  This year, with some experience behind its belt, Envision is growing up!  It is moving from the small jungle lot in the center of town behind Bamboo Yoga Play (of which the wonderfully inspiring owners, Brendan and Sophia are two of the co-producers of the event) where it took place last year, to the center of Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, an insanely beautiful preserved park set above the Oso Peninsula where the lush jungle meets the sultry ocean.

Based on the location, since I’m such a good old-fashioned festival girl, and because I’m broke, I’m just planning on keeping it low-key and camping out in my little yellow backpacking tent.  However, if you really want to go all out, there are houses, villas and mansions to rent in the area. If you can’t afford a villa but the thought of lugging around a tent and having less room for your party clothes makes you sad, then you can even rent one.  Habitations, plane tickets, and more are all available through the new Envision Travel Agency.

However you choose to enjoy your festival, make sure to read up on what to expect in the Costa Rican tropics, and always do your festival research to maximize your experience.  That way you can use your time worrying about more important things, like reforestation, or what DJ is going to be on next.  This year boasts some big name festival headliners such as Beats Antique, Lucent Dossier Experience, Random Rab, Govinda, Opiuo, GAUDI, Ill-Esha, Digital Rust and Mycho Pan Coco.  Get ready to dance!

Besides the expected and anticipated yoga (which is great for your sore muscles from dancing all night) there will also be movement classes in aerial arts, hula-hooping, stretching, partner dance and more yoga. If you want to exercise your mind and get down with your inner hippie, then there are numerous workshops scheduled on healing bodywork, reforestation, urban farming, sound healing, and psychedelic science, just to name a few.

The tradition of sustainability will continue… after last year’s successful festival, many of the proceeds were used to help implement a year round recycling program in Dominical, and a large amount of trees were planted in a section of previously clear cut rain forest via the organization Community Carbon Trees. This year 5% of all proceeds will also go back to Community Carbon Trees.

You heard it from me first, this is going to be a mind-blowing four day weekend. Whether you are going for the community, the music, the workshops, the location, or just to party your booty off, you’re going to get the whole package.

Special things I’m planning on bringing: big hammock (for mid-day siestas), colored eyeliner (packs better then face paint for jungle decorations), reusable water bottle (for water, rum or whatever), tiger balm (to stop mosquito bites from itching), fire dancing equipment (showing off/sacred dance), carabiners (for strapping things you might lose onto yourself and to hook your clothes up to trees so they’ll be safe from the tide during midnight skinny dipping sessions), headlight (it’s hard enough to find the bathroom), and some comfy yoga pants (call me a princess, but it’s difficult to remain zen with the constant urge to adjust myself while doing downward facing dog in my little bikini bottoms).

All right! Is it March yet? The count down has begun. Now get your tickets here and I’ll see you out there.  Pura vida…

photo credits:  envision website 1, 3-8, 12  me 2, 9-11, 13, 14