You have taken the plunge and decided to buy a ticket to Envision 2017. This may be your first festival or it may be your hundredth. Either way, you might be feeling anxious as your brain begins compiling a mental checklist of preparations for your international trip. Never fear. If you follow our simple plan, your travel to and from Envision can be easy and stress-free. In this step by step guide, you’ll learn how to make a trip to Costa Rica (a bit more like) a walk in the park.
Photo by Adam Straughn
Step 1: Preparing for International Travel
Envision is held in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Most of you will be travelling great distances to reach the festival as Envision plays host to people from all over the world. Last year, an overwhelming 76% of our participants came from outside Costa Rica and 54% of our participants came from the United States. If this is you, make sure that you have a current passport! You do not want to leave this to the last minute. To avoid any last minute complications, try to have your passport issued a month before your travel date.
If you are flying, book your flights using websites like skyscanner.com or expedia.com to compare flights and get the best deals. If you plan on driving, make sure that your car is tuned up and in travel condition. However you plan on getting there, keep in mind the rules for international travel to Costa Rica. To enter the country, you must be in possession of a return or onward ticket. You are allowed to visit Costa Rica for up to 90 days without applying for a visa. There is a departure Tax of $29 USD that can be paid with cash or credit card, so be prepared for that. Costa Rica accepts USD but their local currency is the colón. Visit your bank before you leave and let them know the dates you will be travelling; you don’t want them to freeze your account while you are away. Most ATMs in Costa Rica should be compatible with your bank card but you might want to exchange some money while you are at the bank, just in case.
LANGUAGE TIP: You will be able to get by without it, but if you have the time try learning some Spanish. The experience will be much more enjoyable for yourself and for the people you’re interacting with.
Photo by Matt Cole
Step 2: Getting to Envision
Once you land in Costa Rica, the journey is not quite over. You will now have to make your way to the festival grounds. Envision is located about three and half hours south of San Jose on the Pacific side of the country near Dominical and Uvita. The organizers of Envision have you covered with the Envision shuttle service! If you are flying into the San Jose airport, you can catch the shuttle at multiple times throughout the day. You can purchase a ticket for the shuttle on the Envision website for $60 USD. The shuttles start running on Saturday February 18th and they run up until Tuesday February 28th for your return journey.
If you are looking for a more economical route to the festival, the TRACOPA bus is probably your best bet. Tickets are around $15 USD and the journey, ending in Uvita, takes about 4 hours. The first bus departs from San Jose at 7:30AM and the last bus departs at 4:30PM. The bus station is about half an hour away from the airport, a $30 cab ride. Taxis are expensive in Costa Rica, so plan ahead if you are intending on using taxis to connect between cities.
Many people will be traveling from all over the world to take part in Envision and they all need to get there somehow. With a little bit of effort, it is easy to find a group of travelers who are willing to split the cost on a car. Try posting in groups on social media platforms like Facebook that are dedicated to ride shares to Envision. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new friends and potential camp mates before you get to the festival. For more information on car rentals and other travel options, visit our travel information page.
Photo by Jesse Green at J. Canaan Creative
Step 3: Accommodations and Reservations
With your general access pass you will be allowed onto the grounds on Thursday February 23rd until Monday February 27th. The GA pass includes camping within that timeframe, so plan your stay accordingly. There are lots of shady spaces to set up your tent, but these spaces get snatched up quickly. The earlier you show up to the festival, the more likely you are to snag yourself a nice spot in the shade. If you would like to begin camping on Wednesday, you can purchase an early access pass on the Envision website. Take note of the Envision box office hours of operation; you will not be allowed onto the property without a wristband which you pick up at the box office.
As Envision brings a lot of visitors to the area, make sure you plan your accommodations and make reservations beforehand. If you find yourself in the area earlier than Wednesday, or have a couple days to kill after the festival, there are many places you can stay within the towns of Dominical and Uvita, but we recommend extending your Envision experience with one of our retreats or tours so you can see the lands and learn from the people with our experts. If you are proactive, you can find a place to stay for as cheap as $10 USD a night – though this is less likely as the festival draws nearer on the calendar. Find a nice spot near a beach or hotel if you can, but this also gets harder as the festival comes up. The best way to setup accommodations to get the most out of your experience at Envision is with one of our easy and affordable camping packages. One of the greatest perks of camping at the event is you are sure to run into other festival goers too – another prime opportunity to make new friends!
Photo by JB Photo
Step 4: Planning out what to bring
The festival is less than two months away, so make sure to start your travel plans now. Start making lists of things you think you might need, but remember to pack minimally for ease of travel. If you are traveling with a group, coordinate your lists and delegate people to bring certain items. You are able to greatly ease the load on the individual by traveling with friends. If you are traveling alone, reach out to other solo travelers through social media and plan meet ups.
If you are planning to camp during the festival, make sure all your gear is in working order. If you would like to save space in your luggage, you can rent a tent, pillow, and sleeping pad from the Envision website. Costa Rica is generally hot and sunny with temperatures not dipping too much at night. Be prepared for rain. Torrential downpours can happen at the drop of a hat.
As long as you do a little preparation for the journey, the entire experience can be phenomenally fun and surprisingly easy.