Equilibrio: A Festival On The Beach – El Cuco, El Salvador
There is a festival in Costa Rica called Envision that takes place in March every year. About 5,000 people make the pilgrimage from their Western countries and surrounding latino ones annually. When a mammoth festival like this blows up, it tends to spawn many other tiny festivals along the wander road of hippies. Some of them are great and some of them heavily miss the mark.
Equilibrio is one such festival that has hit the bullseye. In it’s second year, the small but very infectious 4 day event takes place in El Cuco, on a private beach in the south of El Salvador.
La Tortuga Verde, a sort of hostel meets eco-resort, plays host to the event and it is the perfect mix of local hotel guests meets hippies meets New Yorkers that I have ever seen.
I was at the inaugural event last year where I partook in a plethora f workshops, yoga classes and dance floor revery. Workshops ranged from Travel Writing with Alex Baackes from Alex In Wanderland, to Reflexology and Acupuncture, a heat how-to on Natural Dye Making, flow arts, and of course more yoga than you can shake a stick at.
What set Equilibrio apart is a two-fold. First, the people who attend, also donate their skills to the event. I taught yoga and a workshop on soap making myself. Even the organizers contributed workshops, classes and DJ sets. When no one is a bystander than community creates itself. The second is that Equilibrio really does foster a sense of inclusion and balance rather than exclusivity.
I know ALL the hippie festivals are supposed to do that. But they don’t. It’s no ones fault, it’s just part of our tribalism. I love the hardcore, hoola hooping, community meal sharing, fire dancing, white dread having hippie festivals for providing an alternative (booze free) space for those who don’t fit in with the big box, corporate festival. But, I also feel alienated at least a dozen times at them for not having dreads, loathing trance music, and enjoying the occasional drink. When it gets to a large scale, it ends up becoming a different version of the same place we all left to begin with. Equilibrio manages to allow me a space to really be myself. And it seems to work for others to, since the hardcore city slickers from NYC who came down for a weekend get away had just as much fun as the wanderlusters sleeping in patchwork tents on the beach.
La Tortuga Verde provides an incredible backdrop for this a balance-themed event. You can camp on the beach in the newly added camp space, for free, or get a dorm bed for $10 a night or a fully air-conditioned private room for $25. Although there are shared meals for those who attend the festival, the La Tortuga is still in full swing on the weekend and their menu ranges from cheap beers to elaborate cacao smoothies.
At night, the main space comes alive with varied DJ sets (shout out to Myk Tummalo for that 90s rap infused sunrise Sunday set last year that had my booty shaking for days) set back from the beach overlooking a pool of partygoers and fire dancers enjoying each others company and fancy cocktails made in coconuts.
There was about 150 people in attendance last year, and I’m happy to see that this year, they are only projecting 200ish attendees. I made friends for life there last year, and not just one or two, almost everyone. Equilibrio has become my top festival of the past five years and my hands down happy place.
Oh and I’ll be heading up the yoga teaching this year, so if you like down dog and ocean breeze, then I got you covered.
For more info, click this. ticket info up real real soon.
Photos by: Jason Henry except the dreamy starry beachfront by night, that one’s by Lindsay Arden