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“Mariposa return visit, this time with a friend!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel

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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
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De la Cancha, 200 metros al sur, 50 al este | San Juan de la Concepcion, Masaya, Nicaragua   |  
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Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Masaya
Chicago, IL
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Mariposa return visit, this time with a friend!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

After spending the better part of Northern summer 2012 at La Mariposa, I returned for my winter break with a friend to visit the folks I'd met and enjoy the festivities of la navidad.

When we arrived we easily found our transport at the airport in Managua (thanks to the butterfly sign!) I always apologize for the delayed flights from the states, but I think by now they know to expect that.

We were placed with my previous homestay family per personal request, meaning they ended up hosting not just myself, but 2 of my friends as well. The family embraced us all and enjoyed having us around.

It was a brief visit, but in the time we were there we got to enjoy the yearly holiday party for the staff. (December 24th, so put it on your calendar not to be missed for next year!) It was a gorgeous event at the new project with 2 live bands, a dj, dancing and delicious food. Even better was getting to visit with all of my favorite folks that I had gotten to know so well from classes and life at La Mariposa over the summer.

All in all, a wonderful experience and I will be doing my darndest to get back as soon as funds and time allow!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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289 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
Date | Rating
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English first
london
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

La Mariposa is a special place with special people working there. Us guests weren't bad either. My 13 year old daughter and I stayed there for 3 weeks over Xmas and the New Year: we were planning to come and go but had such fun there that we stayed there the whole time. It is a great and very friendly eco hotel, with one-to-one spanish teaching, vegetarian food, fun outings and various community projects. Best of all the staff bent over backwards to help us have a good time. The dogs, chickens, monkeys, iguanas and even the possom were a treat for my daughter. Especially important is the fact that the hotel is an investment in Nicaragua with the income it generates all being spent there.

Room Tip: upstairs rooms are airier
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Valencia, Venezuela
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

I stayed with the Mariposa for two weeks over Christmas break and had an absolutely amazing time. After an effortless pickup from the airport, I was set up with an extremely friendly host family for the first week. I also was a volunteer for the first week and was taken to meet the people I would be working with and felt so comfortable and truly was able to get to know the community of La Concha, Masaya, and Santiago. I took Spanish classes everyday which were one-on-one lessons of both grammar and speaking. I have never walked away with more Spanish and felt confident in speaking! It was hard, but paid off! The second week I stayed in the hotel and was comfortable with mosquito nets, warm water, my own bathroom, and the meals were out of this world! I am not a vegetarian, but considered becoming one after my stay! The staff was so accommodating and worked around the clock to cater to our needs, requests, and ideas. It started to feel like a small family. I will definitely be returning and highly recommend this place for Spanish, excursions, volunteering, relaxing, and getting a good sense of the culture of Nicaragua!

Room Tip: Not every family stay has a mosquito net, that might be helpful to bring. Read the website- it will...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philadelphia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

Although our family enjoyed other aspects of our stay (including Spanish classes), we would not return to La Mariposa unless something is done about the bathrooms: lots of visible mold and mildew as well as the stink of mold.

We tried 3 different rooms - were told by La Mariposa staff that the third room (on the top floor) was a "little less mildewy," and that accurately describes the mild improvement. We have traveled extensively and repeatedly across Nicaragua (as well as other countries in Central America) -- at the same price point as La Mariposa, other hotels have all been much cleaner.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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, January 10, 2013
Well I am sorry but not surprised to see this review. Fortunately most of our students can appreciate the Mariposa and all we offer and do without demanding utter perfection in every detail. As we say on the website if that is what you want go to a Holiday Inn. Though we have recently redecorated our bathrooms the rooms downstairs do suffer from some dampness at the end of the wet season. Hence the move to an upstairs room. And as we are genuinely an eco hotel we do try to minimize the amount of disinfectants etc that we use for cleaning. I do sometimes think that guests such as this family like the notion of an eco hotel but don't actually want to live with the reality! I would also like to add that this family wanted initially to stay here without taking any classes. We do not do this in the high season but, at their insistence, made an exception. They then asked for classes, always at the last minute and always wanting an immediate response (which they got). They did not arrive in time for a Sunday horseride so one was especially arranged for them (at no extra cost) during the week. They expected horse riding helmets (this in the second poorest country in the Western hemishere......horse riding helmets?????) but we searched high and low, eventually finding some bicycle helmets. They were not quite up to standard either.......I agree, please go somewhere more to your 'standards' next time!!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberta
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013 via mobile

My husband, four year old daughter and I visited La Mariposa for a week in December 2012. It was the highlight of our month long Costa Rica/Nicaragua vacation.

We had read the website and studied all the tripadvisor reviews before we went but on our way to La Mariposa we still had a feeling of "what have we gotten ourselves into?" I'm a bit of a picky eater and not a huge fan of dogs. My husband wasn't terribly keen on Nicaragua as a vacation destination. But we decided to just go for it. So glad we did.

We arrived and were welcomed immediately by Ruth and Amanda, two amazing interns who never stop working but who are always friendly and happy to help. We met Paulette soon after, a marvelous woman who has made an important difference in the area.

Our room was clean and roomy enough. It had an ensuite bathroom with toilet and the sink area/shower were combined. Beds were comfy enough and had mosquito netting which my daughter and I didn't use but my husband did. La Concepcion isn't terribly hot at night so sleeping was easy. Loud? I usually sleep with earplugs anyway because my husband snores so I never had trouble due to noise.

Food was really well prepared. There isn't a whole lot of variety but the ladies in the kitchen do a great job with what they have. Almost every meal had some variation of rice and beans. If I found that I wasn't totally saited, I would either grab a banana from just outside the kitchen or go to my personal stash in my room of meal supplement drinks. My four year old ate well there although she's a pretty good eater in general.

The grounds are lush and beautiful. As I mentioned, I'm not a huge fan of dogs but I was willing to deal with them for a week. But in the end, there are always people around to love on them so they never really bothered with me. My daughter was really wary of them in the beginning but within a day completely warmed up to them.

Our teachers were great and all classes were one on one. One of the reasons I chose La Mariposa is because they would take a four year old, so my husband and I could take classes and know that she was being looked after. Her teachers were great with her and would go for walks and do puzzles and pictures with her. I also really enjoyed my classes although sometimes I found myself wishing that there was another student in the class with me just to take all the heat off of me! Our teachers were well trained and professional. And I liked that we would go on walks or for a trip on the microbus sometimes instead of classroom time.

My favourite part of the day was the afternoon. Every day in the afternoon the school has a different activity planned. While we were there, we did a cooking lesson at a lady's house, we learned so much about Nicaragua's politics and history, we visited La Mariposa's projects and we did a day trip to Leon. All of this meant so much to my husband and me. For two people who knew very little about Nicaragua before we went and were a little hesitant, we came away with a huge appreciation of Nicaraguan culture and a feeling of respect and gratitude for what Paulette has accomplished in the community. And that was in just one week. We would have loved to stay longer and learn much more.

A few other points to note. Ruth was able to arrange a $15 one hour massage for me. And it was great. Also, we were lucky enough to have Bergman accompany us on a couple of our outings. The man knows a lot about the area and he definitely enriched our time there.

Another thing I didn't realize about the place was that outings are either done in the van or truck. For our very first afternoon out, I was surprised that we would all be sitting in the back of the truck. I think if it was just me and my husband, it wouldn't have been a big deal but we had our daughter with us. As a mother, it was an adjustment to go from making sure she's snug in her carseat at home to riding
in the back of a truck with her. But that's how things are done there. So that's what we did. But the driver was always slow and cautious and we never felt unsafe. I just wanted to head off any surprises for any parents out there.

We have been raving about this place to our friends. And we can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, USA
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

Although I travel a fair bit for work to both developed and developing countries, my husband had never spent time in a developing country prior to our 2 week trip to La Mariposa in December 2012. He was fairly nervous about the unknown: the potential for crime, seeing things that would haunt his dreams, and eating things that would make him sick. We've now returned to the creature comforts of our home in the US, and what's the verdict? He loved it and cannot wait to go back!

Neither of us had formally studied Spanish before, so we weren't sure how much we were going to learn in two weeks. We were pleasantly surprised. The teachers are patient, funny, and knowledgable. While it can be challenging for a complete beginner, they really do try to ease you into the language and encourage you to relax and enjoy yourself. Bergman, the head of the school, is a superstar.

Paulette, the owner, is really quite exceptional. Smart and saavy, with a heart of gold. Not only does she employ 65 amazingly devoted people from the local area, she is expanding La Mariposa's reach through meaningful development projects, the study center (20 minutes away, for groups), and home stays.

The interns are helpful and accommodating, always seeming to juggle a dozen special requests without the least bit of worry.

Of course, I have to mention the animals. Admittedly, I'm one of those crazy dog people, so when I arrived to 9 lovely dogs of all sizes and colors, I felt like I found home. Paulette employs a full-time animal caretaker who not only feeds the countless animals, but also has the tough job of coaxing those dogs into the bath on a weekly basis!

The other notable aspect of La Mariposa are the others who participate in the program. We met some truly fantastic people who I wouldn't be surprised if we see again in the future.

While we brought some school supplies and clothes to donate, next time we're going to take our donations to a new level. Definitely more school supplies and good quality clothing, but things like vegetable seeds, toothbrushes, good quality shoes, and more are on our "list." Be sure to look at the "How you can help..." section of La Mariposa's website before you head over! Consider having a fundraiser before leaving to raise money for a project there.

You may witness things in your travels that don't rest easy in your conscience, but that should make you want to spend even more money in Nicaragua as a small way to give back to a country whose people and natural enviroment have so much to offer.

La Mariposa raises the bar of what an eco-hotel and Spanish school should aspire to be. We cannot wait to return!

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Calgary
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

I was at Mariposa for 1 week and found it very well organized, good food, excellent teachers , friendly staff and lots of activities to do. Really enjoyed the hassel free trip to Leon and Granada.
The hike with a spanish teacher really made for a great spanish conversation enviroment.
The school has, very knowledgeable staff and are accommodating.
I can say, you won't be bored here with all the animals that are around, especially the monkeys, and interesting people who come to this school.

Room Tip: may need ear plugs for that rooster that goes off in the morning
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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
Location: 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 6 Hotels in Masaya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 11
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. Students can stay in the eco-hotel or our cabin. We use solar power - for heated water in your shower as well as 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 45 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 on our small organic farm, on a community garden scheme, in local schools, with a day care project. 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 8 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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