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“La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel” 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
Quebec City, Canada
1 review
“La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

My 16-year-old son and I spent a week at the Mariposa from July 10 to 17th, 2013. The staff was amazingly friendly and helpful. The Spanish classes were super, the food delicious. The activities were educational and eye-opening. Both of us felt safe and had a wonderful time. I can't wait to go back! Thanks to everyone at the Eco Hotel.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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289 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Denver, Colorado, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

My husband and I wanted to attend a Spanish school for a portion of our honeymoon, and we couldn't have chosen a better location than La Mariposa. Everything from the setting (lush, tropical rainforest), the Spanish classes (individualized with mix of conversation and grammar classes), and the wildlife preserve (monkeys, birds, and dogs, oh my!) was top-notch. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, the activities were interesting and exposed us to fantastic Nicaraguan culture, and the Spanish classes were tailored to our specific learning needs. And, Paulette treated us to a massage to celebrate our honeymoon! All of this was for an incredible value. We can't say enough good things about La Mariposa, and we will likely return in the future.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Silver Spring, Maryland
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

I traveled to La Mariposa with my 16 year old son in July 2013. I wanted to find a place that offered a capstone language experience for him, after studying Spanish in an immersion magnet school in Maryland for 12 years. The experience at La Mariposa provided him an opportunity to learn more complex grammar and practice his language skills in a true immersion setting.

While he was in language classes in the morning, I worked hard to unwind and relax, laying in a sunny hammock reading a book, playing with the resident rescue dogs, feeding sunflower seeds to the monkeys, visiting with other guests and taking a delicious nap during the predictable daily rainstorm... speaking of which, I experienced the best sleep of my life here! After a delicious lunch each day, we participated in the afternoon activities, which included a mix of shopping, museum visits, and touring local places of interest like an active volcano, a crater lake, a wood carving studio, or restaurant. It was a great way to see and learn about the history of Nicaragua.

My son stayed an extra week to continue language classes and take on a volunteer job, which was to teach English to people in the community. He attempted a host stay, but he caught a stomach bug and returned to the hotel to be looked after and for a little more comfort and convenience (by the way, Paulette and her staff were extremely accommodating to both of us to ensure we were healthy, comfortable, and at ease).

One thing I learned is that guests can be as busy or as laid-back as you want. I enjoyed down time to play long leisurely games of chess with my son and visit with other guests, while other visitors enjoyed packing every minute with classes and volunteer jobs. You can design the experience to suit your expectations and needs. There is something for everyone! Thank you Paulette and your staff for the wonderful vacation and memories! -Susan and Kai

  • Stayed July 2013, 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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paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this review, July 28, 2013
Thank you Susan for this lovely review. I also enjoyed enormously the Barbara Kingsolver book you were so kind to leave for me BEFORE you had finished it!! I hope you both come back some day.
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Kenmore, Washington
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

In reviewing LA Mariposa I feel that I am reviewing an entire experience rather than just a Spanish school. I visited La Mariposa for 3 weeks in July of 2012 as a solo, 17 year old, female traveler. I opted to stay in a home stay while taking Spanish classes in the morning and teaching English in the afternoon. I stayed with Gonzalo's family (who is a driver for the school) and I believe that this choice had a profound impact on my experience as a whole in Nicaragua. If you are looking at possibly doing a home stay, I would definitely recommend it and think that it can make your experience 100x better. I felt completely safe walking through San Juan by myself every day. The staff at Mariposa is professional, fun, welcoming, and experienced. I learned more about Spanish grammar in my time here than I did in two years of high school Spanish. The set up of the school fosters a community environment and offers the opportunity to meet other travelers from all walks of life. Know that when you come to La Mariposa you aren't coming to a resort hotel with 5 star amenities, but also know that in sacrificing this you are gaining so much more by experiencing a different way of life. I would also recommend taking part in the activities that the school has planned at least for a week to learn more about the area, history, etc. Also attending the charlas and history talks are a great way to gain insight. I am returning to Nicaragua in September and plan to spend a year volunteering outside of Granada and I can positively say that my experience at La Mariposa influenced my image of Nicaragua and my decision to return. This is a do not miss experience!

Room Tip: Home stay!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
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paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this review, July 28, 2013
I hope you get time to drop by and see us whilst you are volunteering in Granada! It was such a pleasure to have you here.
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boston
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

I first went to the Mariposa for 2 weeks in July, 2012 and did a family homestay, took Spanish classes and volunteered at one of the community projects, a reading room/library at the Panamá School. I just returned from my second trip and look forward to going back again. This is the perfect location if you are looking for a "voluntourist" experience. The Mariposa makes no claim to be a resort type vacation experience, but is rather devoted to providing sustainable employment and income to the community of La Concha, Nicaragua. They do this by employing many members of the community and giving guests numerous opportunities to engage meaningfully with the wonderful people of La Concha. Your time at the Mariposa will be well spent and you will learn a lot about yourself, the history of Nicaragua, the Nica people, sustainable community programs and, of course, Spanish. Based on my 2012 experience, I had 3 friends join me in my 2013 trip and they had a wonderful experience as well.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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, July 28, 2013
Well Joshua what can I say? You do such a lot for our project at Panama school and the kids are so fond of you now.....you are definitely a part of the Mariposa!!! See you next year.
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Sarasota, Florida
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

I was actually here for four weeks in January 2012. The teachers are very good, and the hotel is beautiful (look it up on youtube). The surrounding area is fantastic; there are a lot of volcanoes and colonial towns to explore if you're up to it. If you're willing to sacrifice a few creature comforts, I would highly recommend that you opt for a homestay. They've gotten a good group of people to open their homes for this purpose, and you'll learn a great deal from them if you're new to Latin America.
The staff is strongly committed to the local community, and have clearly made a positive impact by providing jobs, arranging volunteer work, etc. There's a lot of mutual loyalty going on between the locals and the hotel. Getting involved is easy and rewarding, although I should caution you to avoid saying anything that might be construed as condescending or disrespectful toward the locals. While the staff is usually delightful, they are protective of their community's dignity. Leave your preconceptions behind, and be willing to learn.
This hotel attracts an interesting crowd, for whatever reason. Don't isolate yourself; get to know the other guests. You'll have many opportunities to do so.

Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, July 28, 2013
Thank you for your very interesting comments about interacting with the local community. I am sorry not to know the details of what happpened there as I suspect we might all learn from it!!! But it certainly makes for an interesting life here.....never a dull moment. Thank you for your kind review.
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Traveling
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

La Mariposa has such an overwhelming number of accurate, favorable reviews that it hardly seemed worth adding another.

But I felt like I should :-)

Today, I left after 3wks studying and staying at La Mariposa. While it's fresh in my mind .....

The Facility:

I stayed in the hotel the entire time -- too lazy to do the home-stay thing. My room was spotlessly clean, well maintained, perfectly comfortable, and very spacious. The furniture was in great shape, rather charming, and was more than I needed to settle in for my stay. My bathroom was also clean, spacious, and provided really nice hot showers (I have the shower thing down to about 60 seconds, when traveling; never a bad idea !).

The building really does everything you'd need it to do: it's easy to relax, easy to study, easy to have your classes, easy to eat together, and easy to just rest and be by yourself, when needed.

The property is a little chunk of jungle/rain forest (probably not technically true, but close enough) that provides beautiful views, great scenery, nice breezes, and moderate temperatures.

The Zoo/Menagerie:

I love dogs. I love animals. Okay, I _tolerate_ cats <grin>. The animals at La Mariposa are charming, endearing, affectionate, and ridiculously well-behaved. They're there when you want them, and leave you alone if that's what you need. Did a chicken walk into my room, periodically to check on me ? Yes. But I felt oddly comforted by that.

Monkeys and birds are just a fascinating extra at La Mariposa -- a really unique and incomparable diversion.

Relevant to both: I went to sleep early every night, and was _never_ awakened by rain, dogs, roosters, or other animals. I slept really well, there !

The Classes:

I probably got to know/work with about eight teachers, and spent a little time chatting with that many more. These are bright, educated, capable, passionate, motivated professionals who did a really fantastic job helping me un-learn years of bad Spanish habits, and progress in my abilities. They're well-informed, and stand ready to chat about really complicated, and sometimes very controversial, topics without ever being argumentative or dogmatic.

They're real, genuine, and dear, and they taught me a great deal for which I'll always be greatful.

And Bermann (whose name I likely just misspelled) is to be commended for the way he runs the language school part of the place. He's got an infectious personality, and really seems to be the consummate professional.

The Staff:

I liked each and every one of the LM people that I met -- from the kitchen staff (hard working, and creators of universally delicious meals !!), the "study center" people who let me go horseback riding on virtually no notice, the night watchmen (I'll always fondly remember my morning coffee with Chepe, before anybody else would wake up), the drivers (I miss you guys, already !), and the interns (Sage, Amanda, Yuki, and ... special mention ... Ruth ! Ruth ? You could run the EU, and they'd probably let you !).

Things run well. Things run seamlessly. Complicated issues are solved with no drama and no fanfare. They have their processes really well dialed in. You just get to relax, have fun, and learn Spanish.

Really well done, Ladies !!

Another special nod to Danillo -- a lecturer, a man I like, a man I respect. I attended just about every presentation that Danillo made. Happily, he's a story-teller, and loaded with information about the politics and history of Nicaragua -- his home, and a nation of which he's very proud. I miss him, already, too :-)

And Paulette -- I didn't spend enough time with her, but found her warm, extremely bright, dedicated, passionate, and extremely thoughtful. If I left LM missing one thing, I should have tried to spend more time with Paulette. She's good people.

I DID, on the other hand, spend a nice chunk of time with her daughter, Guillermina, who ... never failed to make me smile, and whom I will also miss.

The Activities:

Everything was well thought out, well designed, very appropriate for the students (of all ages, and families), and -- again -- went off without a hitch. I participated in virtually all of them, and enjoyed them all immensely.

I'm fairly easily entertained, but was really quite happy with the variety of activities that they offered, and -- just once in a while -- to hang out at La Mariposa and just chat with people instead of participating in an activity or two.

The Students:

You tend to catch the sort of fish you're baiting for, so I DO think it's appropriate to comment on my fellow students, here, since La Mariposa was conceived, executed, and organized a certain way, and -- because of that -- tends to draw in a certain kind of student with a certain kind of sensibility.

I loved and just thoroughly enjoyed all my fellow students:

-- "We older folk" (I'm 49),

-- The parents, traveling with their absolutely wonderful kids,

-- The Late-20's/30-somethings, and

-- The abundance of college/grad school/fairly recently graduated (add in a couple of really outstanding high schoolers for good measure).

There was simply a hodgepodge of really bright, really energetic, really educated, really well-rounded, and just really enjoyable people with whom I had the pleasure to spend a great deal of -- if not enough -- time.

You -- my classmates -- from beginning to end -- completed the La Mariposa picture, for me. I hope to see you all again -- somewhere and sometime -- down the road.

I won't prattle on (nobody who met me would ever believe that !) too much more....

Lots of what I've said has been well covered in other reviews. I just want to affirm that my experience was as universally positive as the experiences of many (most ?) reviewers who came before me.

Do I have anything negative to say (if only to make myself appear more balanced) ??

Mosquitoes love me. It's not mutual, but ... they do love me.

For the first week, I was itching a lot. After that, it got a LOT better. I don't think I EVER got bitten IN my room (I never used my mosquito net, incidentally), but most of us DID get bitten while we were on property, out and about.

But DEET did a really good job of keeping that manageable, and some sort of anti-itch cream -- a really good idea to bring -- was a great fallback option for the spots that I missed when I sprayed repellent on myself.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with anything La Mariposa has or has not done. It's just a heads-up for those considering a trip: take the mosquito thing seriously, and ... TRY not to scratch the bites.

Too much ;-)

I'd go back to La Mariposa. In fact ... I quite likely will .......

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 3
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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