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“Hotel, Spanish school, family visit, and so many activities all in one place!” 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
Davis, California
1 review
“Hotel, Spanish school, family visit, and so many activities all in one place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2009

Our family of five was just looking for a place to stay for a few days, but wow did we stumble onto to something wonderful at the Mariposa Language School and Eco-Hotel. In less than a day, we were sitting in on excellent Spanish lessons, riding horses to the rim of the Masaya volcano, visiting a national park, reading about Latin American history in the library, enjoying the monkeys and parrots in the aviaries, and riding along with the staff to buy food at the market. Paulette, the owner, was like a gracious mother to us, and we were part of her family. If we return to Nicaragua, we'll definitely come here.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 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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278 people have reviewed this hotel

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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 (60)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
SF Bay Area
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2009

My husband and I traveled to La Mariposa with two 18 year old girls and a 21 year old young man who haven't traveled in Latin America previously....middle class West Coast kids. It was a wonderful introduction to the people, the culture, the language and food - and a well-received wake up call to how different the world is outside of California.
Paulette has developed a wonderful space where you immediately feel part of a community. She helped us to make the most of our time there - including helping us to arrange activites we were interested in doing that were not on that weeks schedule. She was a wealth of information about the surrounding area and very patient and accomodating.
She is also employing the best of the best - Bergman, the lead teacher is a Jack of All Trades and MASTER of ALL. He never ceased to amaze the group in providing a hug, smile, helping hand and grammatical correction 24/7.
We all arrived with different levels of Spanish under our belts and Bergman placed us with teachers for grammar and conversation that met our needs. The classes were excellent, probably one of the strongest points of La Mariposa.
Two weeks would have been a perfect amount of time. Not knowing ahead of time how the kids would fare, we opted to keep it at 10 days, for our first visit. Hopefully, the first of many visits to come!
I would definitely recommend that you bring your bug spray - we had our share of bites during our late July to early Aug stay. AND I was happy to have my own pillow - the pillows in the room tend to be musty because of the dampness of the climate.
I also wish we had brought our own reusable water bottles - filtered water is always available in two locations at the School.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rochester, NY
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2009

There aren’t enough words to express how wonderful a place La Mariposa is. Not only is it a hotel, a Spanish school, a community outreach program, and a tour group, La Mariposa is a family. As a solo female traveler who had never previously visited Latin America and spoke almost no Spanish, I was shocked at how quickly I felt right at home at La Mariposa. Though I’d been worried about finding the driver in the airport, while I was waiting in line at Customs I could already see him through the glass door, holding the butterfly sign. I arrived at the hotel just in time for lunch, during which I quickly became friends with the other guests/students, who were warm and welcoming. The Spanish teachers are truly talented, and the classes, which were all one-on-one, take place outdoors in the lovely gardens. I have never had such an enjoyable learning experience. And the afternoon/weekend activities are so much fun!!! Not only do you get the chance to visit famous natural wonders such as the Masaya volcano, you also get to experience the culture and people of Nicaragua on a more intimate level by doing such things as touring a local pineapple farm and participating in a cooking class. And the website definitely downplays the food at La Mariposa – it is so delicious that it’s hard to believe it’s healthy; and you even get a dessert after every dinner! Overall, La Mariposa is a shining example of socially and ecologically responsible tourism, and I wouldn't trade my experience there for the world!
Some general tips:
-American money is widely accepted in Nicaragua, but often only in denominations of $1, $5, and $10 bills. Many places cannot make change for a $20 and also cannot give change in quarters.
-Bring Cipro or other antibiotic in case you get a parasite. (During my stay, about half of the guests experienced mild stomach problems at some point, but the antibiotics did their job right away so that nobody missed any classes or activities.)
-Bring earplugs so that the animals don’t wake you up at night
-If, like me, you are a runner, you can go on a short, mostly flat jog alone within the La Mariposa walls, or take a friend and head outside of La Mariposa for a more challenging, hilly workout.
-The manicure/pedicure include a wonderful hand/foot massage, but they do not include having your nails painted
-The massages are great and are quite inexpensive. But, even if you ask for a half hour one, you may receive (and hence be charged for) an hour long one.
-If you have a laptop, bring it; it’s nice to be able to check e-mail out on the balcony before dinner
-Don’t worry if, like me, you are allergic to animals. The dogs, though friendly, won’t go in your bedroom unless you encourage them to do so. And since you (and they) are outdoors most of the time, the dander likely won’t be a problem.
-Most importantly: stay as long as possible at La Mariposa!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Boston
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2009

My husband found this gem in a small article in Outside magazine. The school is top rate with instruction geared towards your level. Classes are small, and often it's just you and the instructor. The rooms are basic but clean and decorated with local crafts. As an eco-hotel, emphasis is placed on renewable energy and water conservation, however, there is hot water which is a bonus. The setting is just beautiful with many flowers, trees and animals running free. The food is amazing - mostly organic, fresh and vegetarian. The staff is warm, friendly and always willing to help you learn not only Spanish but about Nicaraguan life. The excursions that are offered are quite varied from viewing volcanoes, to hiking in natural reserves to visiting artisans in their homes to walking through the colonial towns of Granada and Leon. After two months we were very reluctant to leave and hope to return again soon.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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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Michigan
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2009

La Mariposa is a wonderful little Eco Hotel in the rural Masaya area. My wife and I stayed there for a week in April and we both cannot say enough about how special this place is, from the owner Paulette, to the maestros doing the spanish teaching every morning, to the other guests we had the chance to meet. Paulette really does a great job of helping everyone there have a chance to experience and learn about the country and the people of Nicaragua through the daily excursions and activities. Bottom line, the rooms are clean and nice, the food is good, the language teachers are excellent, and the setting is beautiful. We highly recommend it, and plan on going back again!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Coos Bay
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2009

I stayed at La Mariposa for one month and would recommend it highly. La Mariposa is a wonderfully designed ecolodge in a beautiful setting. The staff is exceptionally friendly and caring, the rooms are beautiful and clean (loved the hot showers!). And the food is great, a varied mostly vegetarian menu. I'm not a vegetarian, but I was very happy with the food. As a female traveling alone, I felt very secure here. I had a great experience with the spanish lessons and had a lot of fun going out birding in the path behind the hotel. Kudos to this socially responsible place!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled solo
    • 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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Chicago
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2009

I have just returned from a wonderful month at La Mariposa (December 2008, January 2009).

Here are my thoughts:

*Rooms: Comfortable, clean, and cool even on warm days.
*Service: Staff are friendly, helpful, and a pleasure to get to know.
*Food: Excellent!!! I’m vegetarian, so it was perfect for me, but great for meat eaters, too.
*Spanish Classes: Enjoyable and informative – I learned a lot.
*Trips: Amazing!!! Volcanoes, beaches, Granada, Leon, Masaya, wildlife outings, shopping, farm visits, museums, and so much more
*Atmosphere: Hanging out with other guests, staff, Paulette (owner), and Guillermina (Paulette’s daughter) was a lot of fun!
*Location: Perfect! Close to Managua, but far enough to be completely different (much better) and much cooler.

Tips:

*Book early. The hotel was full the entire month I was there. If they are full, ask about a home stay. Several people did those while I was there and loved them.
*Wireless Internet access is available outside the rooms on the second floor, but if you aren’t going to be using it a lot, just walk to Cyber Carmen in San Juan – walk takes less than 10 minutes and cost is very cheap.
*Cyber Carmen has a telephone that allows you to call the U.S. for 1 Cordoba per minute (about 5 U.S. cents) and Europe for approximately 2.5 Cordobas per minute.
*Microbuses are plentiful and cheap – you can get anywhere from La Mariposa quite easily.
*Mototaxis are very inexpensive and are great when you don’t feel like walking.
*Don’t bring shampoo or soap. They provide special organic shampoo and soap.
*Even though you may read that almost no ATMs in Nicaragua take MasterCard cards, mine worked every time.
*There is a great library there, so you don’t need to bring a lot of books to read.
*Beer is around $1 U.S. everywhere.
*Haircuts are about $1, as well.
*Good rum is about $5-$7 for 750ml (4-7 years), great rum is about $14 for 1750ml (12 years).
*If you are bringing back rum, buy it in the airport. It is cheap enough and they box it well for you so that it won’t break and you can easily get it through customs.
*Spend as much time as you can at La Mariposa. You’ll have a great home base, learn a lot of Spanish, eat great food, and meet wonderful people, not to mention take some very cool trips.

Thanks to all who made my stay at La Mariposa so memorable. I’ll return soon!

  • Liked — The wonderful owner, her daughter, the staff, and the great people I met.
  • Disliked — Loved everything!!!
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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): $
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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