Far beyond my expectations, I would HIGHLY recommend this school to anyone interested in learning Spanish AND experiencing the Nicaragua’s wonderful culture.
After 2 weeks at this remarkable place and found it very hard to leave, which seems to be a common experience. I have been to several excellent Spanish schools in Mexico, and this one easily tops them all, offering great teaching as well as a very full, complete and real experience.
Paulette (owner) and Bergman (school director) are truly remarkable; a real pleasure. Through their dedication and love of Nicaragua, have managed to create a place that is truly unique. They have created a fabulous environment that is super conducive to learning and to falling in love with Nicaragua.
Mariposa is an impressive model of sustainability, amazing that such an operation as this can be run on solar—nice to see so much care and thought go into the creation of this place, a manifest vision.
My classes were excellent, the teachers extremely skilled, it was exciting to realize a daily progress in my ability to communicate, and to understand more. I was thrilled to get the one on one instruction, which could sort out my particular needs and areas of interest; it made learning easy and fun. The outdoor classrooms were great, such a beautiful environment to learn in. The ecolodge is comfortable and nicely designed. I enjoyed the variety of trees, flowers there, and the all rescued animals too- dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, capuchin monkeys! (VERY entertaining).
Another important aspect of the school is its dedication to supporting the community, offering not only good steady employment to the locals, but support to a great variety of local development projects. There are great opportunities to plug into some of these projects if you have a bit of time and are so inclined.
The variety of activities organized by the school were a huge highlight, they were well planned and added a lot to understanding the culture. They were also an excellent Spanish learning opportunity. (*tip: any trips out with Bergman or Paulette should not be missed!). Especially enjoyed the trip to the Chocoyero Reserve, the horseback rides and the opportunities to visit people inside their homes, and learn more about their lives, their history and their work. Also enjoyed a trip to Leon to see a good art museum and revolution history museum, and the discussions about energy, resources, and history. There were some wonderful little processions and celebrations for Semana Santa, and without all the crowds. I appreciated the school’s location, it was also easy and comfortable to venture out on my own and explore the small pueblos nearby, and fun to practice my new Spanish skills with the locals. Fascinating place, wonderful people.
Though I eventually did travel to see the some other areas of the country (also wonderful), the school time remains a highlight. You may want to leave room in your schedule to stay longer than expected…
I will definitely be planning to return—as soon as I possibly can.
- 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. There are various accomodation options - Students can stay in the eco-hotel (ensuite rooms) or our eco rooms (cheaper). There is a also a large (en suite) family room. Situated about 5 mins from the main school/hotel is our nature reserve. There are now 2 cabins in the reserve, each with two bedrooms, seating area, shower and compostable latrine, private terrace and garden, small kitchen (though you can of course eat all meals at the main hotel) - these are ideal for families with kids who like a bit more space to run around! There are of course a few friendly rescued dogs to keep the kids happy!! We use solar power - for heated water in all of the showers as well as to provide 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 80 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 in the nature reserve, in local schools, with a day care project or with disabled children. 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 10 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