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“Back for a 5th Visit”

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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Masaya
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed December 31, 2011

Be forewarned - the Mariposa is addictive. I recently returned from my 5th visit in 4 years. Paulette Goudge’s vision and hard work has led to the creation of a rare place.

This year I stayed for 4 weeks and tried out a new lodging opportunity. I wanted to combine studying Spanish with getting some writing done for my work so chose to stay in La Casita – a lovely dwelling in the school’s organic garden. About a 20-minute walk from the school, it provided space and time for work and easy access to classes. It’s lovely – flowers, butterflies, brilliant hummingbirds, and more arugula that one could imagine - right outside the door. Lots of after-class opportunities to practice Spanish too with the kind and patient Carlos, Noel, Oscar and others – although not “official” teachers, each takes special care to help us along in our learning.

Food at La Casita was a great combination – some days I cooked, some days my meals were prepared by lovely neighbor Demaris Garcia, and some days I ate at the Mariposa (always fabulous). Staying at the casita was a wonderful experience – midway between a hotel and a home stay.

I continue to be amazed at the skills and commitment of Paulette and the other incredible folks at the Mariposa as they tailor each guest’s stay to meet his or her needs. Some people are experiencing their first international trip; others are seasoned world travelers but, regardless of travel style or degree of adventuresomeness, the details and arrangements that shape each individual’s experience are deftly and quietly handled as all come to know Nicaragua and her people.

And, finally, a special shout out to the amazing Ismael. He’s rarely in the forefront of the action but his touch is everywhere.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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Thank meridaven
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 reviewResponded January 17, 2012

Tranquila and the kittens are waiting for visit no 6!!!! Oh, and me too!

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Reviews (445)
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322 - 328 of 445 reviews

Reviewed December 20, 2011

With no spanish skills, no past travel experience to Central America and my two children, ages 9 and 11 in tow, I traveled to La Mariposa for three weeks in late November/early December. Flying into Managua late on a Friday evening, I was happy to see Louis at the airport, holding the butterfly sign to pick us up.
We spent our first week at the school in the Cabana, which was rustic, but lovely and conveniently located close to the monkey cage where my kids liked to spend most of their time. The second two weeks were spent in the hotel, where three twin beds were moved into a room and our mosquito nets hung, all while we enjoyed a day trip to Granada.
The school and the teachers were amazing and incredibly patient with our lack of language skills, and, at times our frustration. The highlight of our stay at La Mariposa were the afternoon and weekend excursions. As an inexperienced traveler, alone with my kids, I feel we were given the opportunity to feel immersed into a beautiful culture and landscape, while feeling safe and relaxed. Since being home, I have really enjoyed listening to my kids talk so excitedly about all of the local artisans we visited.
My kids were the only ones there for two of the weeks and I felt the school bent over backwards to make sure they were involved and happy. We especially loved all of the animals and my son spent good parts of the days rolling around on the ground petting the 9 sweet rescue dogs. The other guests were fun to visit with and also were very tolerant and sweet to my sometimes rambunctious kids.
The food was incredible and I can't say enough about how fresh, simple and delicious it is! Between the food at the school and the food we found on our hikes, I really feel like my kids made a connection about what eating locally really means.
I think it would be difficult for anyone to leave La Mariposa without a heightened social consciousness and without improved language skills. I highly recommend the experience!

Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
1  Thank doughdiva
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 reviewResponded January 17, 2012

Doughdiva....thank you so much for this review, I am really glad you all got so much out of your stay here. Please pass on to the kids that there is now solar heated hot water in the cabin shower so NO EXCUSES anymore for putting off that shower! Abrazos to you all from everyone at the Mariposa!

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Reviewed December 16, 2011

As a frequent traveller to Latin America, it was time to get serious about taking some formal lessons in Spanish. I selected La Mariposa ("butterfly") based on the comprehensive description of its programs and activities on the website. During my 4 week stay in November 2011 I not only advanced my language abiities but received a great education in Nicaraguan history and culture. The program is essentially 4 hours daily of one-on-one instruction from a very good team of teachers - grammar plus oral comprehension. All classes are in Spanish and tailored to individual needs. As a near-beginner I had no problems understanding the teaching staff. Each afternoon, many evenings and weekends the School provided a variety of discussion sessions and activities to enhance the learning environment - discussions of news items lead by a staff member, trips to local communities, museums, etc, accompanied by a staff member, . I chose to stay in one of the 8 "hotel-style" rooms at the ecohotel, but the School can arrange for homestays with selected families in the local community.

So much for the language training...This is a School with a wonderful social conscience and it has an extensive list of support programs in the surrounding communities. For example, we visited a local elementary school where children attending come from the poorest families. La Mariposa sponsors a reading assistance teacher. Several of the students during my stay actually volunteered to read to some of the children, and also produced and presented a puppet show (in Spanish). This is just an example of the many opportunities to complement the language classes with community activities.

La Mariposa offers an organic, vegetarian menu with chicken or fish available once or twice a week for those who choose. The cooks are very good and prepare a wide variety of Nicaraguan fare.

I chose to attend La Mariposa for the language program and experienced so much more...from Berman, Director of Instruction...to Paulette the School's visionary owner and social conscience...to all of the support staff...Thank you.

Room Tip: For city-dwellers, the "Cabana" is a little noisy due to the proximity to the enclosures f...
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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Thank BCCanuck30
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 reviewResponded December 19, 2011

What a comprehensive review, thank you so much! And I also appreciated learning from this reviewer useful tips about eco-building for our future study centre!

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Reviewed December 6, 2011

Out of my 2 months traveling in Nicaragua and Costa Rica my favorite days were spent learning and volunteering at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel. The teaching staff is amazing, patient and excited for the students to learn. The food was amazing prepared by local cooks with local ingredients. The accommodations ranged from nice hotel room, cabana or homestay, all clean and comfortable. Classes take place on the weekdays with optional volunteer opportunities in the community with locals and optional weekend activities to see more of the country...and practice the newly learned Spanish.
I wish I could have stayed longer.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Sublevation
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 reviewResponded December 10, 2011

Thank you so much for this review, I also think the teachers pick up on students' enthusiasm. Hope to see you back here someday!

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Reviewed November 29, 2011

My husband and I traveled to Nicaragua and La Mariposa for a week with our two daughters, 9 and 13. What a fabulous experience! The Spanish lessons are the best I've ever had; you really do immerse in the language and the one-on-one instructor is invaluable. They cater to your specific level, needs and interest. Also, during the activities, the staff are so good at repeating back questions correctly and then answering... I loved this attention to my learning. We all enjoyed learning a bit about the local community and projects La Mariposa supports, and I only wished for more time to participate further. We particularly enjoyed playing American football and futbol sala with the families at Casa de Cultura, who lost their homes in recent floods. It was a fun day of conversation and sports amongst all ages. We chose a homestay vs. a room at the hotel, which only furthered our chance of meeting the community and practicing our Spanish. Our hosts were wonderful and Nila a great cook! Paulette has created a rare opportunity with La Mariposa: quality Spanish lessons, a chance to participate in a small Nicaraguan community, a beautiful and comfortable hotel and classrooms in a natural setting, and a place to meet people from all over the world to share ideas and company.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank deeandrews
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 reviewResponded December 10, 2011

So glad you all enjoyed it so much - we are hoping to fill at least one future internship from your family!!! And loved the photos!

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Reviewed November 20, 2011

I stayed at La Mariposa for 4 weeks in October and November 2011. As this was the start of my first trip travelling alone I was pretty nervous, but already in the buss picking me up at the airport i felt perfectly save. Before coming to the school the driver felt it was necessary to introduce me to his hole family.We stopped outside his house, a small but nice home and I got to meet his wife and daughter, a beautiful little family that welcomed me to Nicaragua. A perfect example off how the rest of the staff is, warm, including and always able to make you smile.

Staying there for 4 weeks I got to experience almost all their daily trips (as far as i know), and they are all perfectly planned and interesting. You get to see everything from Vulcan's to the local schools to all the beautiful city's around in Nicaragua. And the teacher and staff who guide the tours are very good at explaining and showing the history of Nicaragua.

Berhmann (sorry if I spelled your name wrong) the principal of the school and Paulette is a perfect team running the school. How they plan the classes and that there actually is a curriculum is amazing. Every teacher makes the classes worth wile, and the fact that you switch teachers every week is perfect, you will not get bored. All of the staff are also trained to talk slowly, so you can practice your Spanish at any time.

If im not wrong it says on the website that there is not much to do here. Do not worry. I did not have any time to study on my own partially because there was always something going on, a trip to one of the cities nearby, to the pizzeria or to the bar and partially because of all my new friends who always wanted to share a beer. I never had a dull moment.

Last but not least I wanna thank Paulette and all of her staff and pets for making this the best possible start of my trip. Hope I will see you all again soon, I will definitely come back.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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4  Thank Arnevas
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 reviewResponded November 22, 2011

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, Arne, we appreciate it! And especially that you like our evenng programme! I hope you enjoy the rest of your travels and continue to make more friends!

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Reviewed November 12, 2011

I got lucky in choosing to attend this school. I spent a month here in late 2011. The school is much more than just a school: it is an oasis. There are home stays, of course, but there is the rare option to live on the property in a comfortable private room. I stayed in a detached cabin. The meals are over the top good - my Norwegian friend was surprised how good mostly vegetarian meals could be. There are activities every day if you choose to participate. The classes are 1 on 1 with patience capable teachers. The students numbered between 8 and 14 (mas o menos) while I was here and ranged the spectrum: males - females, young - older, from a wide range of countries. The atmosphere is quiet mellow and accommodating. The town itself is a bit sleepy, but there is amble transport to more bustling spots. Paulette has done a fantastic thing here - both for her students, but also for the community and locals she employes.

Room Tip: Stay in the building where you have a private bath with hot showers.
  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled solo
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3  Thank SquallyWally
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 reviewResponded November 15, 2011

Thanks Squally Wally. Glad you enjoyed your time here and sorry about the shower!

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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 5 Hotels in Masaya
Price Range: $20 - $35 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 16
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

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