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“Extremely Disappointed”

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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Masaya
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
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
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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 reviewResponded 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???

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386 - 392 of 453 reviews

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
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Thank Teresa67Brighton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2011

My month at La Mariposa went all too quickly. I am on a mission to learn spanish and I can vouch for the teaching methods at this place, they really have fantastic teachers for the grammar and conversation classes, one to one, all in a beautiful environment. I felt that the teachers, gardners and staff here are genuinely lovely people. Bergman (head teacher) deserves a medal, he holds many hats, runs the teachers, teaches spanish, salsa (well, he tried, not his fault I have 2 left feet), guide, driver, vet, friend...

But what I learned there was more than just spanish. I learned about the history of Nicaragua during the weekly history sessions and visits to museums and other places of interest, I learned about the challenges the country faces today, I learned about the politics of Nica, from many different points of views. Paulette really has set up an amazing concept and has so many projects on the go to help surrounding villages, schools, not to mention all the staff the school supports.

And I made some wonderful frends - I reckon I'll be back...

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled solo
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Thank broomekim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2011

I have just finished a 6 week stay at La Mariposa where I spent 1 week in the eco-hotel and 5 weeks in a local home stay, whilst taking Spanish classes.
The hotel is lovely - whilst the location in San Juan, La Concepcion is in some ways not the most interesting of locations the setting of La Mariposa more than compensates for this. The beautiful garden and grounds and stunning countryside all around make it very tranquil (for Nicaragua) and a great studying environment.
The food is excellent, lots of fresh vegetables and very healthy, the rooms in the hotel are very attractive and the staff are very friendly and helpful. The local home stay families are also top quality and everyone who stayed in a home stay whilst I was there could not have spoken more highly of the experience.
The standard of teaching at the language school was also excellent and some of the more experienced teachers were definitely some of the best I have ever had.
Out of everything though, the most striking thing for me was the genuine commitment of the owner, Paulette, to sustainable development. A lot (possibly all, I'm not sure) of the profits from La Mariposa are invested both in paying the workers fairly and in local, genuinely sustainable community projects (of which plenty of examples can be seen). It is absolutely clear that Paulette is not interested in making lots of money and whilst La Mariposa is not the cheapest school you will find when all of this is taken into account I consider it to be extremely good value. My stay at La Mariposa was a unique and unparalleled experience, I could not recommend it more highly.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled solo
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1  Thank SarahinBristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2011

I was in La Mariposa last summer for a week. The surroundings were lovely and well kept. The garden was beautiful, there were trails to hike on, and the workers were helpful. I was quite impressed with the teachers and the classes. I felt that I got more in my week there than in the other classes I've had in the past that lasted more than a week. The activities were excellent. The scheduled outings are not to be missed. I wish I had a longer time there to be in all the activities. The food was healthy for sure, and the cooks are careful. But come early if you want sufficient portions. The rooms area good size and nicely decorated, but I came at a time when there was a lot of rain so the humidity caused molds and moldy smell. Needless to say, my respiratory infection began and persisted even after I returned to the US. I met wonderful people and felt safe in the area. I also loved the academic and intellectual discussions as well as the information on both Nicaragua and the environment. I learned more than the language and got a real feel for Nicaraguan culture in such a short time. So to Paulette, Berman, Guillermina and everyone involved THANK YOU! It's been a few months now since I was there, but my memories of La Mariposa is still fresh in my mind.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled solo
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Thank Mountain_Girl66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2011

La Mariposa creates a community that welcomes you to San Juan. With four hours of personal language classes and organized cultural activities and talks, you begin to form a bond with your language teachers. You also are able to spend time with other travelers over three delicious meals each day, in the common area or just hanging around in the many hammocks.

Paulette and Berman have sparked an interest in Nicaragua for me. I began to fall in love with the country at this school learning the language, the culture, the cuisine, and meeting some of the locals.

I am not a light sleeper, so I had no trouble with all the noises. I was sick for two days when I first arrived and Paulette and the kitchen staff did everything they could to care of me. They completely went above and beyond, I was so grateful to be staying in such a warm environment. I would definitely recommend this school to anyone interested in studying Spanish in Central America.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled solo
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1  Thank ohmegasquared
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2010

I spent two weeks studying Spanish at La Mariposa Escuela de Espanol in December, 2010, and I will return for another week of study during the last week of my travels in Nicaragua in January. Rooms in the hotel/eco-lodge are lovely, clean, comfortable, and private. The highlight of my stay was the Spanish school. Initially I wasn't sure how useful the school would be for me, as I am fluent in Spanish and just wanted to brush up on my skills; i.e., I wasn't certain whether I would be able to study Spanish at my level. On my first day of study, I was paired one-on-one with Nicaraguan teachers for my conversation session (two hours) and grammar session (1.5 hours). Immediately I realized that the program was organized, professional, and intensive; I was placed at a level appropriate for my needs and I was challenged immensely in my language skills. All the teachers are Nicaraguans trained as teachers; my two teachers were warm, generous, funny, and enthusiastic, and their teaching skills were excellent. The Nicaraguan leader of the school is warm and fun, and he was very flexible in accommodating my request to spend more time spent on grammar each day. Each day after class, the community shares a delicious, healthy lunch using produce and herbs grown on the property and/or in the local community. After lunch, the school has a daily organized event for the students and hotel guests such as a talk about the Nicaraguan revolution, a discussion about socio-economic problems (and solutions) in Nicaragua, a visit to a local farm/farmer, a visit to a local elementary school, or a trip to the nearby crater lake Laguna de Apoyo for a day of swimming. For all of these reasons, I found this Eco-lodge/Spanish school to be an incredibly rich and substantive learning environment that enhanced my appreciation for Nicaragua immensely. As importantly, the owner/director of the lodge/school employs only Nicaraguans; she does this on principle, to contribute to and build the local economy and sense of community in this region of Masaya. Thus, the exchange among tourists/students and Nicaraguans runs deep; the friendships here are the foundation of a sense of community that is very difficult to find while traveling. I can't wait to return to the community for another week of study in mid-January!

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled solo
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1  Thank raeinnica
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 - £26 (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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