When most people think of Envision Festival the first thing that pops into their mind is probably transformational music & art festival or international yoga retreat or maybe even ultimate conference for hippies. What likely isn’t going through most people’s minds when they think of Envision is surfer’s paradise. Playa Hermosa and Playa Dominical are home to some of the best waves in the country of Costa Rica. It doesn’t matter if you're new to the sport and have never stood on a board before or you're a veteran rider who seeks out massive swells. Envision Festival does their best to facilitate all who would like to get out and ride some waves. They do this by providing surfboard rentals on site as well as lessons if you feel like you could use a little guidance before hitting the waves.
Bordered by lush green jungle the beaches of Playa Hermosa exemplify the meaning of tropical paradise. The beach is alive and constantly buzzing with activity. People the length of the beach can be seen frolicking in the warm surf as it comes rolling across the soft silky sand. The sound of laughter echoes across hundreds of smiling faces and the sound of music fills the air as impromptu jam sessions materialize and then dissolve. The joy is palpable as festival goers and locals alike swap stories and share in the collective happiness. Connections are made and friendships are formed, some may only last 15 minutes but many more will last a lifetime. From sunrise to sunset surfers can be seen out in the waves patiently awaiting their moment as they bob up and down with the rhythm of the ocean. Once that moment comes they spring into action and seem to dance along the tops of the waves. Anticipation builds as the sun sinks closer and closer to the horizon.
Envision is already a pretty unique festival, from its tropical location to its commitment towards expanding eco-awareness, the fact that you can surf while you are there makes it that much more special. The surf of Playa Hermosa seems to accommodate all skill levels depending on what time of the day you are out at. From big cresting swells to tiny little rollers and everything in between there is something for the new rider and the experienced one alike. If you don’t like the way the waves look, walk 5 minutes down the beach and you are likely to find something more suitable for your skill level. Once you get out there though the connection you'll feel as you look back towards the land and its dense jungle is impossible to ignore. There is something very calming, and slightly surreal, watching people glide on the tops of waves. They're completely in-sync with the ocean and relishing in the present moment. They're in the zone and going with the natural flow of things, working with nature instead of against it. A lot of parallels exist between the values learned from surfing and the ones Envision Festival strives to promote. Things like patience, resilience, eco awareness, and a willingness to go with the flow are shared by both.
After spending the majority of the day playing in the waves its nice to relax on the beach and take in a breathtaking Costa Rican sunset. Every evening, as the days wind to a close, there is a mass exodus from the Envision grounds to the beach. The sunset ceremonies held each evening were the highlight of the festival for me. It’s not often in life when so many people are absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of nature. The deep reds, oranges and purples that streak across the sky, like a masterful brush stroke made by the creator, are absolutely stunning. Everyone stops what they're doing, just for a few moments, and they become completely still as they watch the golden disk sink into the ocean. It’s as if the sun is being extinguished by the ocean waters as it disappears from view leaving a beautiful orange glow in its wake. As the last rays of sun sink below the horizon a primal cry of absolute joy escapes from deep within and ripples outwards across the beach reaching every individual. As the light fades, tiny orbs of yellow and orange burst into existence as the flow performers light up their toys and begin to play. Fire spinners of every variety can be seen practicing their art in front of awe struck faces. As the darkness begins to take hold and the night creeps in, everyone begins to make their way back to the festival grounds before the beach closes. Each night we said salutations to the sun, until tomorrow old friend.