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“It's a bargain, for all that you get...”

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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Masaya
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 1 July 2011

I enjoyed everything about Mariposa - the food, the classes, the tours, the staff and other students, the accommodation (both the homestay and the hotel itself). I really couldn't find anything to complain about if I tried.
I told the owner that the experience was worth more than what she was charging. The hotel itself has very comfortable rooms, including hot water showers, and maid service (i.e. they are cleaned every day). Paulette (the owner) is also helpful with extra little things.
Homestays don't have all the comforts of the hotel, but can be a valuable way of becoming immersed in the community. I would recommend trying it for at least a week to see how typical Nicaraguans live. The family I stayed with was very friendly. Bring earplugs though, because at night the roosters can be very loud!

Stayed: June 2011, travelled solo
1  Thank Geoffrey9156
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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355 - 361 of 447 reviews

Reviewed 1 July 2011

During a two week trip to Nicaragua in June, my sister-in-law & I spent one lovely week at La Mariposa. I would say it was the highlight of our trip! Although one week is too short a time to make great progress in language classes, I improved in that short time and hope to return for a longer stint. The language teachers were great, the kitchen and grounds staff were friendly and helpful, the rooms were spacious and comfortable, the food was vegetarian and delicious, the grounds were lush, and the community projects were inspiring. Paulette and her staff are doing a wonderful job. I'm saving my pennies to return.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
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Thank KMHannam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2011

La Mariposa is a wonderful place, in a beautiful rural setting. The Eco-Hotel uses solar panels, has an organic vegetable garden and is a refuge for an assortment of rescued animals including monkeys and tucans. Spanish classes are delivered by local spanish teachers, who provide one on one tutuion. They are very professional and the classes are fun!

The Eco-Hotel and Spanish school employs many people directly and they offer volunteering opportunities in local projects to support education, organic gardening and health initiatives. They also support local artisans, tour guides and small businesses in the area of La Concha. The owner of La Mariposa is passionate about Nicaragua and working with the community, which I really liked and I think this is reflected in the general atmosphere at the hotel and the openess of all the people who work there.

La Mariposa also has a fantastic library, which made my eyes light up. One of the things I really appreciated was the opportunity to learn more about Nicaragua. There were weekly discussions about local news and events (optional afternoon activity), and one of the regular visitors gave an informative talk.

Mealtimes are set, so all the guests at the hotel eat together. The chefs are very talented, and the food is healthy and delicious, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and a lot more variety than most restaurants here.

I had lots of fun, improved my Spanish and met some very lovely people during my stay, and after only one week I felt like I was part of a little community. Thanks La Mariposa!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled solo
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Thank 2katipo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2011

My wife and I chose La Mariposa because we were looking for an opportunity to study Spanish, live simply with a low impact on the environment, volunteer in the local community, and relax comfortably when not busy doing all those things. La Mariposa met all these expectations and more. Paulette has built a wonderful school and eco hotel and assembled an amazing group of workers and teachers who are committed to assuring that guests and students get the most out of their time. To give one small example, one evening when we came back a bit late, the night watchman invited us to a peek at the rare tree frogs in the pond near the kitchen.
The food is delicious and healthy made mostly from vegatables grown in their own gardens. The language instructors are serious about their work but also fun and playful which makes learning so much easier. One has the sense that everyone, workers and guests alike, is there because they love the place. It all makes for a very rich experience that we will certainly want more of. We recommend La Mariposa wholeheartedly.
Joe and Betsy

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank JCoppin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2011

Look to the positive responses as testament to the character and wonderful-ness of the Mariposa. This is a place that will truly value as an individual and active contributor. I came to the Mariposa for almost two months, from the end of February through April, to learn Spanish for my very first time. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for Spanish, cultural/language-immersion, and travel.

For 750 dollars for one month (slightly above the price of one semester of Spanish classes at my community classes at home – for a fraction of the hours, I might add), I stayed in a homestay (where I have formed lifetime friendships and established a real second home), had all my meals covered, volunteered in a beautiful farm amongst lovely people with whom I tried out my new Spanish, and received at least four hours of Spanish a day. On top of which, I was able to participate in activities easily, and assisted by the interns and Paulette in making travel arrangements suited to my needs.

Starting from zero, I’ve been able to measure my Spanish progress pretty well. Thanks to all the teachers here at La Mariposa (I’ve studied with almost all of them), I’ve come quite a way. I’ve compared notes with friends who’ve studied Spanish in University and this is comparable, if not better with the one-on-one classes the Mariposa offers. Just be sure to voice your needs – I really got the most of the classes when I requested certain teachers or voiced what worked best for me.

The people and ambiance are wonderful! The Mariposa is a peaceful pocket filled with animals, great food, and amazing personalities. Take advantage of getting to know the great staff, animals, and their outreach into the community. I really liked being able to participate and get to know the community better through their many projects. As a person wanting to learn more about international development, I appreciated the open and willing discourse facilitated by the Mariposa, as well as their complete transparency, including the many hurdles they’ve had and have to face.

I can’t recommend this place more, but do highly suggest you check out the website www.mariposaspanishschool.com (and click on the link to their blog as well) before coming. The Mariposa is a great travel spot for a variety of people (I’ve befriended people and families of all ages in my stay), but as they’re definitely different than a normal vacation spot/hotel. I would be sure to check out their philosophy, and understand better how they’re set up (with a latrine, limited water supply, etc) so you know what to expect. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled solo
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Thank kwern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2011

This place is really over rated here on tripadvisor.


The afternoon activities were ok, some better than others. The lessons were ok, but not great. They certainly can't compare to some of the classes I had in Granada and Antigua. As for the meals well they were pitiful. The hotel rooms were very basic. Freezing cold outdoor shower and a smelly concrete toilet for those staying in the huts. In the hotel rooms there were lots of creepy crawly and there was quite a bit of mold in the showers. This place could use a good cleaning. I didn't do a homestay but did visit someone who was in one and I couldn't believe the conditions they were living in. Wow! My homestays at other schools were nothing like this!


I like animals but did not like the conditions some of these animals were living in there. Some of the birds were in cages that were obviously too small for them to live in for years and years on end. I found the living conditions of these animals and birds very depressing.

Stayed: February 2011, travelled with friends
6  Thank aprilS72
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 reviewResponded 14 June 2011

Is this reviewer seriously suggesting that the 65 Mariposa guests and students who have rated us "excellent" (not to mention the 8 "very goods") and have written "can´t wait to return", "amazing in every way" and "every day a peak experience" are all being hoodwinked in some extraordinary way?
The Mariposa is situated in a very poor community (much poorer than, for example, Granada where some of the houses and therefore homestays are quite grand!) and we undertake a number of iniatives to direct income into the community. One of those is placing students with families - but our website could not be clearer about the (often, not always) basic living conditions, especially in regard to the latrines. There are even photos! By the way, our latrine is scrubbed every day - it couldn´t be much cleaner!
I think for those who like to eat steak and drink expensive red wine with every meal the food at the Mariposa is not suitable - but again this is made super clear on the website.Those who enjoy a healthy, planet friendly diet may like to know that most of the veggies we eat now come from our own organic farm (again, check the website).
The animal accusation is really unfair. We have released over 150 birds and animals back into the wild (recently one of our workers travelled all the way to the local nature reserve to set free a couple of rabbits!). Cages in my view can never be big enough but ours are hardly tiny! - again there are photos, including some on tripadvisor, of some pretty cheerful looking monkeys and parrots. The animals and birds which we do not release are simply those too tame to be safe in the wild.
As for the creepy crawlies - check out the section on the website entitled "Are there insects at the Mariposa?"

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2011

Far beyond my expectations, I would HIGHLY recommend this school to anyone interested in learning Spanish AND experiencing the Nicaragua’s wonderful culture.

After 2 weeks at this remarkable place and found it very hard to leave, which seems to be a common experience. I have been to several excellent Spanish schools in Mexico, and this one easily tops them all, offering great teaching as well as a very full, complete and real experience.

Paulette (owner) and Bergman (school director) are truly remarkable; a real pleasure. Through their dedication and love of Nicaragua, have managed to create a place that is truly unique. They have created a fabulous environment that is super conducive to learning and to falling in love with Nicaragua.

Mariposa is an impressive model of sustainability, amazing that such an operation as this can be run on solar—nice to see so much care and thought go into the creation of this place, a manifest vision.

My classes were excellent, the teachers extremely skilled, it was exciting to realize a daily progress in my ability to communicate, and to understand more. I was thrilled to get the one on one instruction, which could sort out my particular needs and areas of interest; it made learning easy and fun. The outdoor classrooms were great, such a beautiful environment to learn in. The ecolodge is comfortable and nicely designed. I enjoyed the variety of trees, flowers there, and the all rescued animals too- dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, capuchin monkeys! (VERY entertaining).

Another important aspect of the school is its dedication to supporting the community, offering not only good steady employment to the locals, but support to a great variety of local development projects. There are great opportunities to plug into some of these projects if you have a bit of time and are so inclined.

The variety of activities organized by the school were a huge highlight, they were well planned and added a lot to understanding the culture. They were also an excellent Spanish learning opportunity. (*tip: any trips out with Bergman or Paulette should not be missed!). Especially enjoyed the trip to the Chocoyero Reserve, the horseback rides and the opportunities to visit people inside their homes, and learn more about their lives, their history and their work. Also enjoyed a trip to Leon to see a good art museum and revolution history museum, and the discussions about energy, resources, and history. There were some wonderful little processions and celebrations for Semana Santa, and without all the crowds. I appreciated the school’s location, it was also easy and comfortable to venture out on my own and explore the small pueblos nearby, and fun to practice my new Spanish skills with the locals. Fascinating place, wonderful people.

Though I eventually did travel to see the some other areas of the country (also wonderful), the school time remains a highlight. You may want to leave room in your schedule to stay longer than expected…

I will definitely be planning to return—as soon as I possibly can.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled solo
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1  Thank sedora
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

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: £15 - £27 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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