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“Beauty, culture, and excellent classes!” 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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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Masaya
Santa Rosa, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Beauty, culture, and excellent classes!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

Although I have never before written a review on TripAdvisor, I just returned from three weeks at La Mariposa and decided that I had to share my excitement about what an incredible place this is. Everything promised on their excellent website was spot on! The food, classes, and activities were wonderful and the rooms were very comfortable (I stayed in the hotel, but there are other options, too, which require a bit more of "roughing it".) We're not talking a 5 star Marriott here, which is made very clear in the website, but a perfect spot to soak in the Nicaraguan culture, improve your Spanish skills, and meet like-minded travelers and their families who have an interest in really learning about the culture of the country rather than being presented with a "Disney" type glossy photo. Every staff member was wonderful from the teachers to the kitchen crew to the trip leaders to the kind and patient night watchman who more than once had to help me get back into my room because I had locked myself out! No night life here, but by the time it got dark I was ready to turn in! Each day was packed with activities if one chose to do them. Paulette has my undying admiration for her commitment to developing projects to help support the local communities....oh, and the La Mariposa dogs! One always has company on the back trails through the jungle. Lots of love to share around!

Room Tip: The hotel rooms are comfortable, convenient and have showers with hot water (as long as the sun shin...
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  • Stayed June 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
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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)
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English first
Chicago
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

I came here for the 1st week of a 3 month journey in Nicaragua in order to brush up on my Spanish. It is truly an amazing place, benefiting the local economy and people in so many way. The afternoon activities are great for getting you to see what life is really like in Nicaragua. Teachers are great. Paulette, the founder, is inspiring, as are all the staff she has assembled to run it. However, if you are looking for a pristine, resort-y experience where you don't actually experience any part of the country you are visiting, this is not for you. If you are up for it, you won't regret it. A highlight of my trip!

Oh, and the other bonus - you get to know the other guests at the communal meals and they are all so interesting and fun to talk with!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled solo
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Idaho
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2014

We spent 4 nights in a homestay and took classes. The experience was wonderful beginning with pick up at the airport. The family we stayed had two bedrooms for us and were so hospitable. Although our time was short at the school, it was maximized through excellent instruction by teachers who have impressive grammar skills and a great ability to customize. My husband and I both speak some Spanish and were looking to beef it up. Our daughters were newbies and their teachers entertained them with games in Spanish and trips into town which kept them very interested, never to be forgotten. The owner of the school, Dr. Goudge is incredible in her commitment to the community, employees, and students. We ended up with some tummy issues and received very attentive care. We highly recommend this school and all it has to offer. The homestay forced us to speak intense Spanish all day. Bring ear plugs as San Juan Del Concepcion has many barking dogs at night along with a variety of other noises. The school is an option for a more peaceful night if that is more important. The food at the school and our homestay were excellent. There is a very significant water shortage in San Juan. Be prepared for bucket showers at the homestay or shower at the school. We were fine with buckets and cold water was very refreshing in the heat. Great, great all the way around!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2014

During my recent trip to Nicaragua, visiting La Mariposa had not been part of my original plan. But I am so so glad I did!! After a rather disappointing visit to Granada (it is a beautiful town, but very touristy and less charming than I had expected), a friend who had previously studied at the Mariposa recommended it to me. The school in Granada just wasn't for me.. students were young, and the general atmosphere was more about fun-filled social outings, parties etc. I was therefore very pleased to find a more mature crowd at La Mariposa, and to see a diverse set of daily activities offered outside of class (a perfect mix of sightseeing & visiting social projects, allowing to get to know the country from different angles). My favorite trips include a hike to volcano Mombacho, and the Sunday caminatas with Julio. Classes are great! I only spent a week at the school, but really learned a lot. I particularly like that you get to study with different teachers (2 hrs grammar/conversation with each), which adds a bit of diversity and fun to your day. Everybody at the school- from the owner Paulette, the volunteers, the teachers, up to the night guard is genuinely friendly and helpful, and makes you feel very welcome.
I left the school at the break of dawn to catch an early flight. I still remember Paulette walking me out of the gate (she was really sweet in getting up at 4 am to make sure my ride to the airport had arrived). When departing, I felt a sincere gratitude for having been able spend such a wonderful time at one of the most peaceful and serene places on earth. Looking at the photos and reading the reviews of other travelers makes me want to return tomorrow!!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled solo
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Murrieta, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2014

My stay at La Mariposa was one of the most unique experiences of my life. I could tell from the email responses I got prior to my arrival that people there really care. And from the moment I arrived that is what I experienced - from Paulette, the staff, volunteers, and teachers. I was very touched by all of the expressions of kindness that I felt from everyone - it was a demonstration that is very rare in this world. And this was along with excellent quality in the teachings and how the school is being run and operated. I have chemical sensitivity and everyone went above and beyond to help me be comfortable. I really didn't want to leave, but the kindness of everyone there will be with me forever and I take that with me. Thank you for doing what you are doing.

  • Stayed April 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.
Taipei, Taiwan
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2014

We had a wonderful two weeks stay at La Mariposa. We were a bit unique in that we had our 3 year old daughter with us. When she didn't warm up to her first teacher, they immediately matched her with another one, whom she loved. The food is great, and we had a wonderful time during our stay. There are a few nice hikes nearby, and the school organizes some great outings for the students. Another bonus is that they invest in the community. You can tell they really care about the people.
Note: we were here in April 2013, but TripAdvisor doesn't allow us to go further back than the date I selected. Obviously I am very late in this review. Sorry!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2014

Had a fantastic month long stay at La Mariposa from late January to late February 2014.
To put in context - I am a 23 year old secondary teacher from the UK, female, was travelling alone, and came with good but rusty to Spanish, having studied it in the past and having spent some time in South America a few years back.
I volunteered in Panama school in the mornings, I loved working with the children and my Nicaraguan colleagues - they were so friendly and patient. I learnt so much Spanish and loved working with the kids.
The language school itself is a beautiful place that is doing fantastic work in the local community - a really outward focused organisation that is constantly looking to where and how it can help, in terms of educational support, animal welfare, providing & sustaining employment, promoting and facilitating community cohesion, sustainable development, practical community support - seriously La Mariposa does it all!
I loved studying here, outside in lovely temperatures with patient and engaging teachers. All the teachers are different and I really enjoyed the variety of learning styles (and walks through the finca next door to the school in my conversation classes!)
If you read the website, it really is as good as it sounds. It is fab for learning Spanish - I improved SO much - I have to say the homestay made a huge difference in this. I had the loveliest time ever living with a local couple and their daughter and grandkids and will definitely be back to visit them. If you want to party, this is not the place - it's a little village where you really experience Nicaraguan life. If you want to improve your Spanish and really learn about Nicaraguan culture, this is the place for you.
I would recommend without reservation, I hope to return within the next couple of years to brush up the Spanish and visit the friends I made.
I would like to add I learnt a LOT more than just Spanish language here - when you go you will see this for yourself!

  • Stayed January 2014, 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 1
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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