Transformation in the Jungle: The Wild, Enlightening Experience of Envision Festival


Ask anyone who’s attended at least a handful of transformational festivals and they’ll be quick to tell you that each of them, like each one of us, has its own unique personality and character. As you wander into

the tropical jungle home of Envision Festival, you can’t help but notice that nature most definitely runs the show here. From the undulating buzz of the ever-present cicadas to the detoxifying semi-equatorial heat to the screaming green jungle canopy filled with rainbow-colored birds and curious monkeys, this gathering of consciousness is alive and vibrating with a very unique flavor of elemental energy that’s hard to find anywhere else in the world. Couple that with an endless stream of deeply transformational wisdom teachings and workshops with many of the world’s top conscious thinkers, healers, visionaries, and permaculturists, some of the finest organic, sustainable food in Costa Rica, and the pulsating rhythms of ultra-creative musicians and visual artists, and you’ve got a divinely intoxicating blend that penetrates straight to your core.

The Evolution of Festival Culture

And that’s exactly what festival founder Stephen Brooks is trying to cultivate with Envision Festival, now running into its seventh year deep in the southern jungles of Uvita, Costa Rica. “Our intention is to create an experience that truly spawns transformation over both short- and long-term horizons,” he shared as we interviewed him amidst the midday buzz of the festival in full swing, exotic aromas of tropical fruits and spices wafting in from the colorful nearby food stands. “We want to have an impact that penetrates people’s being… that’s what we are trying to create… that’s our goal.”  Clearly, Stephen and the Envision community don’t want this to be just another festival where people come to party and check out in a drug-fuelled haze, off the grid in some beautiful but semi-cliché part of the world. “Envision is an ignitor!” Stephen exclaims in a moment of passion, as a red-billed Toucan gently shares its song from above our heads. “This is a place for people to find their tribe… to hone in on their vision and their future.”

Indigenous-Ceremony-Envision-2016blending old and new, the envision team infused the event with a healthy dose of indigenous culture and spirituality. photo: manuel pinto

And we’d have to agree. For us, at least, the highlight of the festival—other than the truly stunning beachside jungle locale and open-hearted, welcoming conscious community hungry for deep connection—were the workshops, which are truly world class in every sense of the word. Envision attracts the crème de la crème of thought leaders in every area relating to consciousness, health, transformation, permaculture, the arts and movement, entrepreneurship and sustainability to share their wisdom and insight in an informal, highly practical, down-to-earth way. At any given moment there were at least three different participatory talks and workshops downloading enlightened ideas into the minds of attendees and spawning new neurological connections, tribe building, and inspired visions for a positive now and future for both Costa Rica and the world at large. In a more secluded corner of the canopy, at any given moment yoga, meditation and movement teachers from around the globe offered food for the body and soul amidst the at times intense daily heat under large, colorful shade structures for those looking for a quieter, more introspective festival experience.

Our next favorite thing about Envision was the food. Think organic, local, grass-fed, biodynamic, wildcrafted, gluten-free, all-natural, high vibe goodness from every area of the country—easily the biggest collection of healthy, nourishing food in Central America assembled in one place. From slightly chilled exotic jungle fruits, juices and smoothies from the surrounding communities to cool you off during the peak midday heat to handmade locally sourced organic, vegan veggie burgers served on banana leaves for a hearty meal at night and everything in between, Envision has something for every diet and every taste—all of the highest quality and sourced from permaculture operations throughout the country. Which, of course, should come as no surprise given that festival founder Stephen Brooks has been a pioneer in the growing permaculture and herbalism movement in Costa Rica, working to build sustainable communities based around organic, biodynamic and wildcrafted growing methods throughout the country for over 20 years. 

Envision-Festival-Yoga-2016a refreshing midday yoga class under the shade of the jungle canopy. photo: eric allen

As the founder of the internationally renowned, sustainability and permaculture-focused Punta Mona center for regenerative design and botanical studies in the beautiful southeastern part of the country, his work began in earnest in the mid 1990s as he witnessed the extraordinary environmental destruction that was occurring at the hands of big agriculture as they recklessly destroyed rainforests and sprayed petrochemical pesticides throughout the country, poisoning the people and planet simultaneously. Inspired to not just sit idly by while one of the planet’s greatest areas of plant and animal biodiversity was destroyed, he began working to infuse permaculture values and agriculture throughout the country.

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