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“A wonderful week!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel

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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Masaya
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
U.K.
2 reviews
“A wonderful week!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2011

A week was much too short for everything The Mariposa had to offer and I would certainly make a repeat visit. The individual Spanish language teaching which took place in the gardens was excellent and there were an variety of interesting excursions on offer for the afternoons and weekends. One of my best days was when I went on a guided hike around the local area. The views were spectacular and I learned a lot about the local geography and way of life. I would also recommend the talk about Nicaragua's history and politics. Paulette and her staff were extremely helpful. The food was excellent with tasty fresh fruit and vegetables. I met some friendly, interesting and like-minded people there and soon felt at home. The whole ethos of the Mariposa is commendable and it benefits the local community enormously.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank MargEvan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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428 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (100)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kentucky
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 March 2011

I found the Mariposa on the internet, but I couldn't have been luckier to find the perfect place for me. , If I was doing it over, I would do exactly the same trip. I was with the school for 5 weeks, and noticed many repeat guests/students. There were so many wonderful things about the Mariposa which I'll list below. Unlike most travelers to Nicaragua, I was an inexperienced traveler. The Mariposa has such a well thought out program, that it suits the needs of both the experienced adventurers and the nervous neophytes. I planned my trip to stay in the homestay for the majority of the trip, and the eco-hotel for a smaller part of the trip, so I can comment on both.

Terrific things about the Mariposa:
1. Professionally run excellent Spanish classes, almost always one-on-one.
2. The entire staff (which consists of many people!) from the teachers, to the cooks and gardeners, are very friendly and helpful, and provide additional opportunities to speak in Spanish.
3. The school has interesting things to do every day. We went to Leon, Granada and Masaya. I spent two relaxing days swimming and kayaking at Lake Apoyo with the school. We visited many home workshops, as well as schools. There were discussion groups and a dance class. We went to a pizza parlor run by former street kids. The list goes on....
4. The hotel is beautiful with wonderful gardens. It is a sanctuary of sorts, with chickens, turkeys, monkeys, parrots and other beautiful birds, and horses.
5. The food was delicious with homemade fruit drinks at almost every meal. It is mostly vegetarian.
6. The school fit both the needs of the adventurous and those who needed more support, like myself. I had reliable pick up and drop off at the airport. My conversation teachers, and other staff accompanied me on my first walks in the towns, and answered my many cultural questions like "should I say hi to people on the road?" "Are the vehicles honking because you are pretty?" (No, they were just being polite to let us know they were behind us.)
7. I had plenty of opportunity to mingle with local people, and get to know Nicaragua.
8. The school is very well respected and well liked in the community and supports many local projects.
9. Volunteer opportunities were varied. The staff tries to match activities to the interests of the students who wish to volunteer. I taught English one-on-one to local adults, which was perfect for me. (I had just received my teaching certificate.) I had a chance to meet many wonderful Nicaraguans.

Advantages of the homestay:
Homestays gives you a chance to understand the culture and lives of regular families in Nicaragua. Living in the homestays mean speaking more Spanish! I felt very comfortable, and safe in my homestay (as well as at the hotel). The family took excellent care of me and I gained invaluable knowledge of Nicaraguan customs and family life. Also, the homestay option is more economical.

Advantages of the hotel:
More opportunity to meet wonderful travelers of all ages from many different countries. (However, in the homestay, you still get to socialize with everyone during break times, lunch and school outings.) Wonderful food. And I loved my room and its view of the gardens with its trees and flowers.

My goals were to improve my Spanish, learn to travel and be more comfortable in Central America, get to know the people and something more of what their lives are like, make friends, have fun, and contribute something with my trip. The Mariposa was perfect for all of these things. - Christine

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank chanceyears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2011

Most of what has been said in other reviews tallies with my experience of three weeks at the Mariposa. It is a great place, but do heed the advice on their website, I can well understand why someone looking for nightlife, luxurious accommodation and and animal-free environment might be disappointed.

But if you're resilient, curious, like good food, enjoy meeting intelligent new people and are open to learning about another country, then you'd find it difficult to do better.

I didn't compare prices with other places, but felt that I got good value for money. It was comfortable enough and the food was fine. For me the best thing about the experience was the programme of activities after the Spanish lessons. These were varied and always interesting. For example, I doubt that I would have got anything like as much out of a visit to Managua had I gone alone. As it was I came away with a feel for both the geography and history of the town. And even the salsa dancing helped to improve my very rudimentary Spanish. I finally got "derecha" and "izquierda" fixed in my head during that session!

And the second best thing were the other students/guests. A varied bunch ranging from around eight to eighty-plus, all with insights and experiences to share.

In short, I had a good time and I learned a lot.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Wallace165
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Surrey, England
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 March 2011

Our week in Mariposa exceeded all our expectations. We had a large airy room with views of the hotel's beautiful garden. The food was good and plentiful. The Spanish tuition was excellent and the afternoon trips and activities greatly expanded our knowledge of Nicaragua, it's culture, past struggles and successes and current issues. But more than that we were privileged to share the very special atmosphere which has been created here by Paulette, the founder, her staff and the guests. It is a place to share views and experiences, debate issues and learn from one another. The projects supported by the hotel are really making a difference in the local community and we welcomed the opportunity to become involved.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank HaleSurrey_England
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
bristol uk
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2011

A truely wonderful, not for profit organisation with a concientious attitude to the nicraguan community. Every aspect of the hotel is designed to improve the life of the people in the local area and because of this being a guest there is an incredible experience. Excellent and well organised teaching and amazing home grown organic meals all take place in a tropical garden setting buzzing with well loved rescued parrots, toucans, monkeys, dogs and cats.
Of so many organisations that claim to be "eco-tourism", this one really is.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank BristolUkAnna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2011

The Good: The hotel is set up in a clever way and has lovely landscaping. I had several good caring teachers and as often mentioned in these reviews, the manager of the hotel/school Bergman is absolutely wonderful.

Some things to be aware of if thinking of coming here: This hotel is in the middle of nowhere, nothing much to do in the area. For some this could be a positive thing, others not so much. The mattresses are really horrible, metal coils poking into you all night long. For a place charging almost double what other schools are charging in the country this is just not acceptable. If you stay in a homestay, be prepared for really basic facilities. An outhouse latrine and a cold bucket shower with little privacy. Yes, this is the life of the local people and they are pleasant and try to make you comfortable but this is certainly something people need to be aware of. I have done homestays before and these are the most basic homestays I have ever seen anywhere. I was asked for money and gifts from the staff which was very uncomfortable and inappropriate.

The really bad: The owner of the hotel is an incredibly rude woman who has absolutely no concept of customer service at all. I can not even begin to describe the numerous instances of bad behavior by this person I personally witnessed.

Although there are some really good things about the school, I simply can not recommend it.

  • Stayed December 2010
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank where_am_i_now_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this review, 9 March 2011
I could only wish this reviewer had read the website before he came here! It makes it perfectly clear there is no "nightlife" as such - and there are several photos of the homestays we provide, some of them sent to us by very happy people who actually stayed in a homestay. There are also accurate descriptions of what to expect in terms of sanitation etc.

Of course we are the most expensive Spanish school in Nicaragua. We are the only one to provide, not only a room with private bathroom (and solar heated showers!), 3 healthy meals per day, but a planned activtity every afternoon and weekend. All included in the price - oh and the best Spanish classes in Nicaragua as well! We also employ approx 40 staff who clean, wash, cook, grow organic food, look after the animals, keep the garden beautiful - that all adds up to round about $350 per week per person. And whatever is left over goes into a whole range of community projects.

I have never actually had a complaint about the mattresses but we are in the process of upgrading them.

Now the personal attack on me. I am not, unlike some, a perfect human being and I do get tired, stressed and pissed off sometimes! And I definitely prefer open and honest communication which, in my experience at least, makes for a better working environment than the behind-the-back kind of whispered gossip clearly favoured by some. Suffice it to say that many of the staff have been with me since we opened ie nearly 5 years. And Bergman, wonderful teacher and manager (and personal friend to me) that he undoubedtly is, could certainly get work elsewhere. Why, I wonder, does he choose not to???
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2011

I have just returned from an 11 week stay at La Mariposa and I had a magical time and will definitely return.
The hotel/Spanish school is run by an old friend of mine and she is totally committed to environmental issues so if you want a posh hotel with all the trimmings then La Mariposa is not for you.
It was wonderful being looked after for nearly 3 months and the staff-cooks/domestic, maintenance and the teachers were all amazing, genuinely warm and friendly to us all.
The spanish classes were to a high standard and the environment was stunning.
A range of activities and outings were organised throughout the week and at weekends and in addition several of the visitors embarked on a variety of 'volunteering' opportunities. We had freshly cooked food daily and some of the produce came from the finca/allotment which the Hotel has where some students volunteered at in the mornings or afternoons. A real mix of ages were to be found, during one week the youngest was 10 and the oldest 85! I loved the dogs, all 7 of them and the 5 cats.
La Mariposa has very strong links with the local community and the current 3 interns are currently actively engaged in further community development activities. It a very poor community but there is no doubt that La Mariposa by offering employment to about 50 staff and through the 'homestays' and volunteer projects is helping to support the community financially.
I had a great time and intend to continue developing my spanish and I will be returning to La Mariposa. Thank you to all the staff and I enjoyed meeting many travellers of all ages.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Teresa67Brighton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel

Property: La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
Address: De la Cancha, 200 metros al sur, 50 al este | San Juan de la Concepcion, Masaya, Nicaragua
Region: Nicaragua > Masaya Department > Masaya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Masaya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
La Mariposa is a small, friendly non-profit Spanish school and eco-hotel, just outside the small town of La Concepcion, Nicaragua. Only an hour from Nicaragua's major attractions - Granada, the Pacific Coast, the Laguna de Apoyo, Masaya volcano - and 45 minutes from Managua airport, La Mariposa is surrounded by organic coffee, banana trees and flower gardens. Our cool, green climate (we are 500 meters above sea level - makes a real difference to the temperature) is ideal for studying Spanish! Our conservation efforts - though small scale - have vastly increased our bird population, butterflies and even frogs! We offer intensive Spanish classes in our purpose built classrooms or in outdoor classrooms in our delightful grounds, full of tropical plants and rescued animals. Classes are mostly one on one (max 2 or 3 in a class) and we cater for all levels form beginner to advanced, including specially designed classes for children. We have an extensive library with Spanish study materials and a selection of books in English on Nicaraguan history, development issues etc. We organize a full week (that includes weekends) of activities, including cooking and salsa classes, classes on the history of Nicaragua and a weekly update of what is happening in the Nicaraguan news. These are delivered in Spanish to help with progress in Spanish and with English translation if necessary. On 3 afternoons and Saturdays we offer trips out to local places of interest as well as the Masaya volcano by night, the Masaya markets and artesanias, Granada, Leon, the Laguna de Apoyo, the Pacific beach, Managua, Catarina, the Pueblos Blancos and more! The trips are rotated on a monthly schedule. There are various accomodation options - Students can stay in the eco-hotel (ensuite rooms) or our eco rooms (cheaper). There is a also a large (en suite) family room. Situated about 5 mins from the main school/hotel is our nature reserve. There are now 2 cabins in the reserve, each with two bedrooms, seating area, shower and compostable latrine, private terrace and garden, small kitchen (though you can of course eat all meals at the main hotel) - these are ideal for families with kids who like a bit more space to run around! There are of course a few friendly rescued dogs to keep the kids happy!! We use solar power - for heated water in all of the showers as well as to provide electricity, conserve rainwater,have a number of recycling schemes and have started our own successful organic farm which provides some of the eggs, veggies, coffee consumed at the Mariposa. And much more. We use our income to maximise the employment of local people (currently employing 80 teachers, maintenance and kitchen staff) and undertake a number of projects in the local community. You can opt to volunteer at one of our community or environmental projects, living in a homestay with a local family. Amongst other projects, we are currently offering volunteer placements in the nature reserve, in local schools, with a day care project or with disabled children. You are also welcome to help out the Mariposa workers - whether feeding our rescued animals or cooking up our healthy meals. All of which is a great way to improve that Spanish! We have also recently opened, on another but close by site, a study centre specifically designed to cater for groups of students. We offer an individualized curriculum which can include Spanish classes, activities and classes on the history, culture and environment of Nicaragua. We can also arrange community service work for groups. Accommodation is in two eco built dormitories, each of which has 10 beds (bunk style). The eating/meeting hall is a lovely structure built of straw bales and thatched roofing. Classrooms face a terrace with great views of the Masaya volcano. Meals are always freshly cooked, often using organic veggies from our farm. And of course there are solar heated showers and solar powered electricity. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
La Mariposa Spanish School And Eco Hotel Nicaragua/Masaya

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