The Envision Festival was almost my first introduction to Costa Rica. Before I got there we stayed at a little place outside San Jose. Then a few crazy taxi rides and a long, pretty bus ride later we arrived for a night in Domincal.
The language barrier has been a little difficult and makes me wish I took more semesters of Spanish, but they have the same word for “pizza” here and that’s really the most important thing I could be communicating to anyone about (in all seriousness though, I’m trying to pick up as much Spanish as I can!) . Dominical is a bustling little town on the beach with hostels and other cheap accommodation that attracts lots of travelers. The gorgeous beach probably helps a little bit as well.
The following morning commenced with my first hitchhiking experience and it was very pleasant, just as every similar occasion since has been. Hitchhiking is generally safe in Costa Rica, but I probably wouldn’t do it alone. It’s also a good idea to ask around first, or make a judgement call, to make sure it’s not dangerous to hitchhike in certain areas. Having read most of “The Dharma Bums” by Jack Kerouac on the plane, I was all for giving it a shot.
We got to the festival site easily and with good conversation with a real estate agent. Arriving on a festival site early is like going to a town before it’s all set up. Staff housing was provided for us. It consisted of a bamboo/tarp structure with a row of rooms. There were open windows and curtains as doors, with the jungle right on the other side of it.
Most mornings we woke up to the sound of the howler monkeys, which was a sound I had never heard before. Some mornings I even saw them from where I was laying down. My boyfriend Jason got peed on by a monkey- twice, in one day, the second time literally right after he finished showering.
Working at a festival is definitely not just a free ticket into the event. Our job was to coordinate the volunteers (all 350 of them) and it was a lot of work, but we had a wonderful team!
Being staff does come with its perks though. Along with the housing, we were also provided with meals. Envision Festival is an eco-friendly festival that promotes re-use by telling everyone to bring their own dishes for the food. We packed way too light to include our own dishes, but a piece of bamboo worked really well as a plate.
People spend so much energy to build everything for a few days of festival then they tear it all down again. It was a neat process to see over the course of a few weeks. All sorts of people come together- artists, build teams, chefs, coordinators, performers… There’s so much behind the scenes that happens to make such a big idea a realitly.
It turns out that even at festivals we’re early to bed and early risers. We worked the early morning shift and were pretty tired by night, but we did make sure to experience the nightlife a little.
So far one of my favorite things about Costa Rica is one of my favorite things about home- the sun setting over the ocean. This was a popular time for festival go-ers to be at the beach. Everyone gathered around to watch the sun descend through the sky. The beach outside of Envision was kind of like its own mini festival. Locals came to vend handmade items and food. People danced and spun fire and banged on drums. Then right when the sun dipped below the horizon everyone cheered.
One of the last days we had the opportunity to go off site for a sunset swim at someone’s house up in the mountains. I was pretty excited to check “swim in infinity pool that overlooks the ocean” off my bucket list. There are no words that sufficiently describe how refreshing it is to take a swim after weeks of camping and working in the jungle.
All said and done The Envision Festival was a great experience, but I’m excited to explore other parts of Costa Rica now!