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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
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Reviews (502)
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All reviewslearn spanishlocal communitytwo weekshome stayhost familyall agesafternoon activitiessan juanhorseback ridinglearning experiencevery special placecentral americanicaraguan historyother guestsfour hourspaulette goudgefellow students
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Reviewed November 27, 2013

I am originally from the U.S. but presently living in Costa Rica. My spanish was extremely week(previous experience was High school and college 35+ years ago) and needs a lot of work. I stayed one month at the school and after a month I feel like I have an excellent base to start working from and feel much more confident using the language. Teachers and staff were excellent and extremely professional. The one on one approach was great for me because I could pick my pace and was able to work on the areas I felt were most beneficial. I met people from all over the world and the daily activities the school provided gave me an opportunity to see some of the country and experience the culture. In addition, I was introduced to a number projects taking place for the local community(building community centers, helping with schools, supporting and paying the workers at the local bakery, providing wheelchairs for handicapped children etc. etc.) Accomodations at the school were good and the food was excellent.
Bottom line is this was a great life experience and worth every penny !!!!!
Rich V

Room Tip: Downstairs rooms are a bit more damp but I visited during the end of the rainy season where overall humidity was high.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Richard V
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 14, 2013

Rich...thank you SO much for this review. It means a lot to us to know that you learnt so much during your time with us! Stay in touch and let us know how it goes in Costa Rica, maybe see you again some day when you are up this way.

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Reviewed November 15, 2013

La Mariposa is a lesson full of possibilities about living with respect to the inter-connectivity of all life. The eco-built hotel is nothing less than perfection in co existing. The website is a 100% accurate portrayal of what you get when you go to La Mariposa. What they do not advertise is the soul cleansing that comes with each breath you take while surrounded in comfortable bliss of love manifested! I can not say enough good things about La Mariposa. I have plans of visiting every year even if after I become fluent in Spanish!

Room Tip: I stayed in the cabin and loved every minute of it!
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Alexaundrea
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 14, 2013

This made us smile a lot, Alex...thank you! A web of life indeed it is!! And thank you again for sending us the parcel of goodies. Hope you come back some day!

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Reviewed November 11, 2013

I found the school and hotel to be beautiful and well kept. The food is local and organic with a perfect mix of traditional Nicaraguan recipes and healthy fruits and vegetables. You will be surrounded by a large staff of Nicaraguans who make you feel right at home and help you improve your Spanish. They are working to protect the environment and collaborate with the surrounding community. If you visit you will spend your days with warm and friendly people who are serious about their commitment to sustainability. I will take my family here and would recommend this place to anyone who wants to know the real Nicaragua. You can step just outside your comfort zone without ever feeling unsafe. Go and see!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Alison M
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 14, 2013

Thank you for this review, and especially for the photos of the views from the study centre. Love the pink zinnia!! You are of course more then welcome any time with your family and we hope to hear from you again!!

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Reviewed October 10, 2013

This review is long overdue, as I visited in April/May of this year. It was fantastic. I spent 5 weeks with La Mariposa/ in San Juan de la Concepcion.

For those looking for a brief review - I went on my own, volunteered, took Spanish & lived with a homestay family. It was fun, rewarding & exciting, I felt safe the whole time and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Very memorable and I cannot recommend La Mariposa enough for anyone looking to experience Nicaragua & its culture.

For those looking for more detail, here goes.

The first few days I took Spanish classes and enjoyed some of the activities, and stayed in one of the rooms at the school. Staying there is like being in the jungle - lots of jungle noises - but a great experience, and the rooms were clean, the food was tasty & the staff was great. The activities were interesting - I visited some of the local pueblos, tried some new foods, saw some beautiful views, etc.

The next few weeks I spent living in a homestay and volunteering in the morning at la Escuelita Ruben Dario, reading with the children (grades 1-3ish are there in the morning) and working with the librarian who is employed by La Mariposa (and much needed at this school to improve the literacy of some of the students). I had a fantastic time with the kids. I took the local microbus 5 minutes down the road to the school (you get used to waving it down from the side of the road and cramming in with about 20 other people who are on their commute). Everyone at the school was welcoming and it was so rewarding.

For a few days I also volunteered at the organic farm run by La Mariposa. This was very different - I worked with 5 guys doing physical labour helping to build a farmhouse or watering the crops. It was really interesting to see the type of construction there and the guys were a lot of fun, happy to help me practice my Spanish and show me what I needed to do if I was unsure.

The Spanish lessons themselves were great. I took them in the afternoons after I finished volunteering. I finished my trip vastly improved and the teachers were always patient and worked well with me.

The highlight, however, may have been my homestay. My family was incredible and made me feel so welcome (I hope to visit them again!). They taught me how to make some of the food and drinks common in Nicaragua and I really felt like part of the family as well as part of the community while I was there. I highly recommend staying with a homestay family as part of your experience at La Mariposa, you will not regret it.

Finally - I want to make a note of how heartwarming it was to see how everyone at La Mariposa came together to help with a crisis. There was a forest fire in the protected Masaya National Park and Paulette, along with everyone else, rallied together to send volunteers and supplies to help fight the fire and try to save as much as possible of the Conservation area. It was a devastating event for the area, but I was happy to see an organization with so much passion for the local area and doing what is right for the community.

So - go visit La Mariposa! It is as simple as emailing them, saying you want to come, and they will respond right away and help you sort everything out. If you are flying into Managua, I recommend having them get you from the airport (definitely worth the little extra $$, and even thought I know how to taxi & bus there now, I would still do their airport transfer.) Bussing is definitely an option though, like if you are coming up from Costa Rica, and most of the drivers on the route know exactly where La Mariposa is and will be sure to drop you right in front.

Thanks La Mariposa for a great experience! xo

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank michellekatherine
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 14, 2013

Hey Michelle, what a lovely review, thank you. I am really glad you so enjoyed your time at the school, working with kids here is indeed super rewarding! Yes the fire in the Masaya National Park was certainly a big one and we were pleased to be able to help. We are all praying that we do not get another like it in the next dry season. Hope we see you again some day!

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Reviewed September 11, 2013

If there were an OUTSTANDING rating, I would give it to La Mariposa! I spent two weeks there this summer (21 June - 5 July), invited by a friend who wanted company. While reading the website, I immediately knew that it was the kind of place I had been looking for without realizing it. As others have said - read the website thoroughly! The dogs bark, the roosters crow, the music (from the town) plays, the monkeys howl, the food is vegetarian and deliciously simple, and "eco" means "eco".... it's all wonderful.
My friend and I stayed in the Cabin-"Treehouse" and enjoyed the feeling of camping out, with roof and walls and windows to open to the lovely treetop breezes, and the honestly "eco" latrine and outdoor shower & sink. I miss it!
The people we met (other guests and those who work there) were wonderfully friendly & interesting, engaged in the world around them, passionate about making the world better, and just a lot of fun to be with. The communal meals were wonderful times to share life stories, struggles with Spanish, the work projects/activities everyone participated in that day... and laughs!
My Spanish teahers were excellent. It was my first time studying the language
and I was uncertain how I would like the one-on-one classes ~ they were the best language instruction I have had. My teachers were patient, skilled, interesting to talk to, and very supportive - I AM still studying, Marvin & Richard!!
La Mariposa is a very special place... if there were more like it around the world, we would all be better off.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Mary P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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