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“Exceeded all expectations” 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
Windsor, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Exceeded all expectations”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 May 2014

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!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Suzie G
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
Canada
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 May 2014

Spent 2 weeks studying Spanish at La Mariposa. Good communication and organization. Did a homestay and volunteered at a Reading program for a week, and stayed in the Eco-cabin taking part in afternoon/weekend activities for the second week. A great mixture.
Absolutely loved my homestay with Nora and her family. They were so friendly, interesting, and interested in talking to me. So helpful in my language practice. Loved the food, the family and the home was clean and close to the school. Would definitely do another homestay, and highly recommend Nora and family!
The eco-cabin was cute - I was on the 2nd floor - it was like my own little tree-house. Not for everyone - as the bamboo walls are not "critter-proof", but truly enjoyed my time there too.
During my 11 days of classes I had 6 one-on-one teachers (they switch the teachers each Monday). I really liked this aspect, as for me speaking is my main goal, and having 6 different people to listen to and speak with was a good learning experience. Certainly you connect better with some than others, but a really good experience.
It was the end of the dry season, and the bugs were aggressive and I would expect this to increase with more rain, so be prepared with some heavy duty DEET. The gardens were wonderful, and I would think they would be spectacular with some rain.
Enjoyed the variety of activities available. Also really enjoyed making my way to my volunteer time at the Reading Corner - the kids were great, and even with my limited Spanish we were able to connect and help each other.
Would recommend this school/eco resort. But be sure to read the information on the website well to ensure the environment is one that is suited to you before deciding.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lisacard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 April 2014 via mobile

I stayed at the school for a week. I would have stayed forever if I could. I love animals and the way animals are treated and cared for restored my faith in people. During my week there Paulette took in a parrot who needed a home. And a street dog with a broken leg. What makes this place different to anywhere else I've lived is the fact that people care - for the environment, animals, each other. I did volunteer work in the mornings and Spanish lessons in the afternoon. My teachers Edwin and Miguel were helpful and friendly. I would definitely recommend this place. Again and again.

Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
Helpful?
Thank Blink S
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, 27 April 2014
Thank you so much for this review. It has been great having you around too and , if I have the right person, we owe you a big thank you for actually taking care of the parrot during his first rather delicate week here!! He will miss you as will we all! Hope you get to come back again someday and help design T shirts!!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palo Alto, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2014

Paulette has created a very well run, interesting, creative, friendly, thoughtful and professional location which is a residential spanish school. By being residential it creates a very positive family like feeling with 12 street dogs to befriend, loads of wonderful people who you are likely to share a lot in common with including staff and other language learners. The staff and teachers are great, kind and thoughtful. The interns, Ruth, Amanda, Max, work very hard to make everything run smoothly. Paulette is always adding to the school/hotel with new additions, improvements and ideas for outreach programs. You will learn a lot more than spanish here. You will not want to leave because a really sense of community is created. The rooms are lovely, spacious, have everything you need. I appreciated the two bedside wall mounted reading lights - again, Paulette is always thinking. This is a truly unique and wonderful place.

Room Tip: If you get a downstairs room and leave the windows open a chicken may come in and lay an egg for you...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
    • 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?
1 Thank Peggy G
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, 27 April 2014
Thank you very much indeed for this review....we all appreciate feeling appreciated!! One of the best things actually about running La Mariposa is that it is really rewarding to put in place little improvments here and there - whether it be a new light in the hallway or rebuilding the monkey cage or training up the Spanish teachers in the subtleties of the Subjunctive or adding a new recipe. I th
ink this is because we are small and personal and so one one can see the difference. Hope you come back again and see whats new!!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ithaca, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2014

i took my 10 year old son with me to La Mariposa and we had an amazing time. It was an ideal way for a child to see a country because La Mariposa felt very safe and easy to manage and yet, it's very much in the center of life of La Concepcion -- from the interaction in the hotel with local staff and teachers to the homes just outside and excursions to projects and venues. The food, the monkey cages and dogs, the gardens and walks around the hotel, the rooms, the Spanish lessons, the excursions -- everything, though not designed specifically for kids -- was kid friendly. The staff went out of their way to make sure we could see and do what we wanted, even organizing a cooking lesson with the hotel cooking staff. A highlight was the Charla that Paulette Goudge, founder of the hotel, gave just for the kids (my son and 2 others). she talked about eco-tourism, social responsibility. It's a talk that will have an impact on their lives and it was so generous of Paulette to devote an hour to answering their questions. I left this vacation relaxed, fulfilled, more socially conscious, and best of all, able to speak some Spanish. A special thanks to the great interns at La Mariposa for all they do behind the scenes to make the visit special. A few tips if you're bringing kids; the night hike was a bit of a stretch for my 10 year old; be sure to bring a water bottle -- we used the hotel's filtered water for tooth brushing; the teachers did a nice job of adding variety to the Spanish lessons (playing games in Spanish, taking the kids for walks) so 4 hours was fine; there is wi-fi if that matters to you -- my son was able to download books on his iPad; he ate the ice cream at the Eskimo store in town and it was fine; be prepared for some excitement in transportation -- bumpy rides in the bed of the pickup truck to get to the farms, local buses that hold way more people than you'd think they can (or should); we didn't try the homestay but, if it's open to families, I think I would try that out (for maybe 2 days?) next time I'm there with my kids. Anyway -- one of the most perfect vacations I've ever had.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank RebeccaJoffrey
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, 27 April 2014
Thank you very much indeed for this review....we all appreciate feeling appreciated!! One of the best things actually about running La Mariposa is that it is really rewarding to put in place little improvments here and there - whether it be a new light in the hallway or rebuilding the monkey cage or training up the Spanish teachers in the subtleties of the Subjunctive or adding a new recipe. I th
ink this is because we are small and personal and so one one can see the difference. Hope you come back again and see whats new!!!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 April 2014

First of all, let the fact that I have never posted a review on a single other place I have visited be a testament to how incredible this place is because after 8 months of being home, I am still motivated to share my fond memories of La Mariposa. While I was searching of an eco-friendly place where I could immerse myself in not only a Spanish, which I barely knew, but a culture rich in heritage, volunteer if I should choose to do so, have a list of adventures on a whiteboard to choose from each week with pre-arranged transportation while supporting the local economy and native population, I admitted to myself that I was being a bit too idyllic. But, that was antes de fui a la escuela de La Mariposa. After living for two months with a Mariposa host family in Nicaragua, studying, and traveling, I am able to use Spanish on a daily basis with my patients. There is no doubt that La Mariposa has mastered the task of individualizing language acquisition and tailoring it to your needs, not to mention this happens surrounded by flora and fauna in the lush rainforest. If you are looking to study Spanish in a culture that welcomes you and encourages your efforts to learn-look no further. Even those who help run the Mariposa will practice spanish with you while they cook or garden or tend to the animals. Hands down, the one-on-one instruction is with the best teachers I have ever met.(I have two masters degrees and am a licensed health care provider in the USA, so I have had my fair share of teachers and professors, preceptors, and residents.) The food at La Mariposa is something I still dream about. Warning: if you are a carnivore, you might find yourself reconsidering vegetarianism. Though accommodations are not posh, I found them more than sufficient and luxurious compared to backpacking, camping, or sleeping in rustic cabins. If you have an appetite for adventure, bug spray, and are interested in expanding your life experiences, this is a "must-see" and "must-do" stop for you. Where can you study at your leisure, leave your own hand prints through a variety of volunteer opportunities, roam the jungle for ripe aguacates the size of small marsupials, munch on sweet pitaya, and explore a country where monkeys and volcanoes are easily accessible? La Mariposa! You won't be disappointed... until you have to leave one of the most dynamic and captivating places on earth-so soak up as much as you can while you are there.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AFingers
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, 27 April 2014
Thank you so much for your review...hope you get to come back some day! Take care.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 April 2014

My mornings of waking on my deck, with the birds and the "monos" , have become my time of reflection.
I feel a little melancholy about leaving La Mariposa in 4 days. It has been such a rich place and experience for me.

I wrote my children this morning, sharing what I have learned from Johanna about the love within families down here, of a mother for her children in particular.

Julio has shown me the natural beauty of this country, as well as a glimps of rural life. I suggest that his walks be named " the pineapple walks". I have been with him the past 4 Sunday mornings, and all have ended eating fresh picked pineapple, dripping through our fingers!

Jenny has shown me her intelligence - especially in her ability to perceive how I learn best, tailor her style to best serve me, and let me lead the way in terms of what I feel ready to study/when I feel ready to advance.

Johanna is my cultural and spiritual teacher - the culture I came hoping to learn about. The Spiritual is a pearl added to my string.

Paulette, you are the best of what a director can be. Your interns follow your example - greeting and showing everyone your smile, love of this place, the animals, the culture, the people. I hope you will find a balance in your life that gives you the personal time you want and need but keeps you attached to La Mariposa. No one could replace you. I am very happy to have been here while you are.

Amanda, you manage challenge with grace and gentleness. Thank you for always doing your best to accommodate my wishes and needs. You are also beautiful on the outside - a reminder of my own daughter.

Ruth, Max & Richard, I have had less interaction with you. But thank you for your commitment to this school. Paulette is fortunate to have your dedication, and you are all fortunate for this opportunity. I expect it will shape your futures as my own experience on an organic farm in Switzerland when I was young, shaped mine and in turn that of my children.

Thank you all for all that you do. I will be back someday I feel certain, and see you again, or hear of your lives.

Hugs to you all,
Cathy MacKay

Room Tip: If you are an outdoors lover, the cabana is very sweet (but you will see harmless spiders…), and use...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled solo
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Cathy M
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 April 2014
Dear Cathy....what a beautifully written review. Thank you from the bottom of our heart!! Of course part of the reason we are what we are is because of the kind of guests we attract....that make the hard work worthwhile! I do hope you come back someday.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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