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.
- 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