Had a fantastic month long stay at La Mariposa from late January to late February 2014.
To put in context - I am a 23 year old secondary teacher from the UK, female, was travelling alone, and came with good but rusty to Spanish, having studied it in the past and having spent some time in South America a few years back.
I volunteered in Panama school in the mornings, I loved working with the children and my Nicaraguan colleagues - they were so friendly and patient. I learnt so much Spanish and loved working with the kids.
The language school itself is a beautiful place that is doing fantastic work in the local community - a really outward focused organisation that is constantly looking to where and how it can help, in terms of educational support, animal welfare, providing & sustaining employment, promoting and facilitating community cohesion, sustainable development, practical community support - seriously La Mariposa does it all!
I loved studying here, outside in lovely temperatures with patient and engaging teachers. All the teachers are different and I really enjoyed the variety of learning styles (and walks through the finca next door to the school in my conversation classes!)
If you read the website, it really is as good as it sounds. It is fab for learning Spanish - I improved SO much - I have to say the homestay made a huge difference in this. I had the loveliest time ever living with a local couple and their daughter and grandkids and will definitely be back to visit them. If you want to party, this is not the place - it's a little village where you really experience Nicaraguan life. If you want to improve your Spanish and really learn about Nicaraguan culture, this is the place for you.
I would recommend without reservation, I hope to return within the next couple of years to brush up the Spanish and visit the friends I made.
I would like to add I learnt a LOT more than just Spanish language here - when you go you will see this for yourself!
- 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