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“Heaven on earth” 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
1 review
“Heaven on earth”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2014

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, traveled solo
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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, April 27, 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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289 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    6
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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
Palo Alto, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 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, traveled solo
    • 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.
paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this review, April 27, 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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Ithaca, New York
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 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, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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, April 27, 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
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 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, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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, April 27, 2014
Thank you so much for your review...hope you get to come back some day! Take care.
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 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, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this review, April 9, 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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Konstanz, Germany
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2014

I visited La Mariposa in January 2014 for 3 weeks. I was able to advance my language skills and I learned a great deal about Nicaragua. The school is fabulous with one-to-one lessons. The teachers are all well-trained, friendly and helpful. I stayed in the Eco Lodge. My room was simple, clean and had a private bathroom with hot water. The excursions were fun and helped me to become acquainted with the country and its people (my first time) before continuing my travels with my girlfriend.
Thank you Paulette for your warm welcome (sorry it took to so long to finally write my review). I would definitely consider returning and highly recommend La Mariposa for all who are searching for this type of environment.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, April 9, 2014
Hey Susy, thank you so much for your review......I am really glad that being at the mariposa gave you a bit more confidence to travel around Nicaragua which is still a very lovely country. Come back and see us again!
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Calgary, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2014

We're a family of four with two teenagers, and have been studying Spanish at the Mariposa off and on for about eight months - August 2013 to present - while living in our own home in a nearby community.

We have nothing but wonderful things to say about the people, the language program and the setting. Paulette has done an excellent job of creating a welcoming, comfortable and effective educational environment. The staff are friendly and willing to go out of their way to accommodate guests and students. The teachers are well-trained and are great encouragers, making learning Spanish a truly enjoyable and even fun experience. We so appreciate their patience and flexibility with our differing needs, and the way they helped to ease our transition when we were nervous newbies in Nicaragua with almost no knowledge of Spanish, Nicaraguan culture, etc. The Eco-hotel grounds are a beautiful, cool retreat from the tropical heat, with sun-dappled patios and walking paths, shady ranchitos and lots of trees and flowers.

We've also stayed for lunch occasionally, and the food has always been delicious, loaded with fresh produce grown using organic, eco-friendly methods on the Mariposa farm.

One thing we've thoroughly enjoyed is meeting fellow students/guests/volunteers of all ages from all over the world and from every walk of life. It's wonderful how the Mariposa draws people together from every demographic imaginable.

All-in-all a great experience and we highly recommend La Mariposa, and this area of Nicaragua as well, which is beautiful with a wonderfully comfortable climate, and warm, friendly people.

Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
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, April 9, 2014
Dear Brian and family...it was a great pleasure to get to know you all and share some of lifes ups and downs over a few months. Thank you for the sweet potato contact which I hope I get to follow up, they were delicious! I am glad we will be neighbours and hope we can stay in touch.
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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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