As my taxi made its way along a bumpy road in the middle of the night I started to wonder if it had been worth travelling half way across the world for a festival in the Costa Rican jungle.
I had decided to attend Envision after watching a video that described it as a ‘crazy hippy festival’.
This idea sounded quite romantic and went against what a lot festivals are today – commercialised events owned by massive corporations.
After further research I discovered Envision’s aim was to focus on community rather than the individual and it also strived to ‘awaken the self to a higher consciousness in alignment with the natural harmony’.
That was one of eight pillars that defined the event, with others including spirituality, movement, art and music.
Despite all of this I was still filled with trepidation as I completed the three hour journey from San Jose airport to Uvita.
Would it all be worth it or had I just been duped by a great sales pitch?
Well, it wasn’t all a rouse. Envision delivered on its promise to create a community in jungle that made you feel like you were part of something more important.
I happily bought into things that I would not have if I was back in the UK. I’m not a yoga fan but I still found myself stretching on the ground with everyone else.
I’m not into meditation but I didn’t mind repeating mantras while I sat with my eyes closed.
Envision hired some of the best yoga teachers to lead classes so that probably made learning a bit easier.
Swedish yoga teacher Rachel Brathen brought her Yoga Girl brand to the festival and Life-Force Academy founder Jai Dev Singh, who is an expert in Ayurvedic healing, was also on the bill.
DJ Drez was on hand to help people move with his tunes, playing mystical hip-hop, reggae roots and Indian raga that provided the soundtrack to yoga sessions.
Once the sun went down Envision became more about partying and less about yoga, pilates, meditation and talks.
There was a bit of something for everyone, with the music categories split up in stages.
If you wanted heavy bass accompanied with out of this world performers then the Luna Stage was perfect for you.
Acts included French electronic and bass musician Clozee, Ecuardorian Nicola Cruz and US West Coast performer Random Rab.
Fans of house and techno were served at the Lapa Stage, with UK house and breakbeat DJ Lee Burridge, DJ and producer duo Bedouin and the piano playing Viken Arman performing.
If live bands are more your taste then you would have loved the Village and Sol stages, which featured US singer and song writer Trevor Hall, live electronic duo The Floozies, Grouch in Dub and young Indigenous rapper and activist Xiuhtezcatl.
Envision did not cheap out on stage design either, with all the sets looking brilliant and being accompanied with light shows, flames and acrobats.
There was also plenty of artwork on show, with a pop-up gallery on site and plenty of art installations and paintings dotted around the festival.
The people were the most important part of Envision, with everyone seemingly buying into the ideas of the festival.
I encountered visitors from different walks of life who were happy to commit to forming a new community for a few days where everyone was equal.
They included a young woman from British Columbia who was travelling through Costa Rica on her own after spending the summer earning money as a landscaper.
She had made friends with a like-minded lady from America and they were now on their way to explore the beach.
I met a bodybuilding couple who had come to Envision to get married. They had decided to get hitched on a beach in front of new friends they had made at the festival.
There was another woman who was half English and Spanish and was currently living in the Netherlands. She had heard about Envision while researching a trip to Costa Rica and decided to make it part of her holiday.
The beach was a must, especially at sunset.
I watched a father and son team performing with fire sticks as the sun went down, which is a visual I won’t forget anytime soon.
The view back towards the jungle, with the trees and mountains, was glorious.
The beach was somewhere where the festival goers and locals could mingle. If you had been camped out at the festival and not been able to visit the nearest town then this was the perfect place to get a taste of Costa Rica.
The local entrepreneurs set up stores, where you could buy cheap alcohol, souvenirs and food.
Where to stay
You have several choices when it comes to accommodation. It really depends on how much you want to spend and how close you want to be to the festival.
I stayed in and Airbnb 30 minutes away in Matapapalo that cost from £113 per night. It was comfortable and allowed us to see more of Costa Rica away from the Envision site.
Alternatively you could stay in the jungle, which brings both positives and negatives. You’re permanently around the positive energy of others but unless you get a good spot you could be awoken by the searing heat in the morning.
Options range from a tent for free, VIP bungalow for £831 ($1,100) or a VIP cabana if you’re willing to fork out £15,800 ($21,000).
How to get there
San Jose airport in Alajuela is the closest international airport to the venue at around three hours drive. Liberia International Airport airport is about six hours drive.
Envision puts on a free shuttle when the event is on that goes from the airport to the festival site.
An Uber from San Jose airport will cost around £90 ($120).
Envision festival takes place again next February and tickets can be booked online.