I love this place... I carefully read La mariposa's website and the more I read the more I knew it would be the perfect place for me to start my visit to Nicaragua. My children are all attending university and my husband was too busy at work to travel with me so I was on my own.
La Mariposa is the perfect place for someone travelling on their own. I felt relieved the minute I saw Oscar outside the Managua airport late at night holding the La Mariposa sign and waiting to drive me to the school. All the staff were friendly and inviting. I enjoyed the diverse collection of animals that live at the school. They all love attention but they will also leave you alone if you are busy. I didn't find them to be very noisy and I think it was quieter at La Mariposa then a lot of other places I have travelled. The food was fresh, local and mostly vegetarian. It was delicious!
The school had a nice selection of optional activities during my visit. I signed up for everything as my time was limited. I went horseback riding, visited the Masaya Volcano at night, toured the some of the Pueblo Blancos and had dinner overlooking the Laguna Apoyo, joined a walk to different artisans in San Juan, drank beer at a neighborhood pub in La Concha, read stories to children at the reading corner, toured the community vegetable gardens and much more.
This was my third experience with spanish immersion classes as I have studied in Antigua Guatemala and Merida Mexico also. I felt that the school was well organised and that the teachers were professional yet friendly. The school does a very good job in determining your spanish level and then coming up with a plan to build on your knowledge. I learned a lot about the history of Nicaragua, the economy, education and health systems and had interesting discussions with my teachers about their experiences living in Nicaragua. I spent most of my time practising the subjunctive mood and I feel that my spanish is improving.
The wi-fi worked well. There were lots of workbooks, spanish books and english books to borrow in the student lounge area. Even thought the water is solar heated I had a nice warm shower every morning. There were very few bugs around when I visited and this was at the end of the rainy season. My ground floor room was a bit damp but that is to be expected when you are staying in the jungle in November.
Paulette is a friendly , approachable woman. What she has set up here amazes me. She has worked incredibly hard to ensure that La Mariposa adds to the community around it. I felt confident that the money I spent for my stay and on my outings into the community was spread around and that it benefitted many people.
One of the best things about this place were the people I met. The three interns (Amanda, Diede and Ruth) were very welcoming and helpful. The others travellers were interesting and engaging individuals as were the interns :) . I really enjoyed learning about them and their travels. I wish I could have stayed longer and I intend to return here in the near future. During the week I was there I met three people who had been at the school previously and returned for another stay. I think this says a lot about the quality of the experience here.
- 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