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“Wonderful!”

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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Masaya
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Alameda, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
“Wonderful!”
Reviewed January 26, 2014

I, like so many others, cannot praise this junglely garden of a little Spanish school, full of a million crazy and beautiful animals, enough. Everything about La Mariposa is true to its website depiction - its eco premise, local staff, community/environmental projects, cultural/educational activities for students, outdoor classes, organic gardens that fuel the delicious veggie meals, etc. My teachers, Veronia and Kinema, were exceptionally good at their jobs. They were effective yet flexible, open and warm, and just easy to work with. I would highly recommend this school for all ages and levels of Spanish - for families, couples, solo travelers like myself, etc. I met so many interesting people, and learned a great deal about Nicaraguan history and culture in just one week!

Oh yes, and my amazing homestay! I could not have picked a better family if I had the chance. Gonzalo and Miriam were so kind, warm, and accomodating - I felt so lucky. While I enjoyed the homestay dishes that included fried items (like fried salted cheese, por ejemplo), if it's not your thing, one can easily request non-fried, healithier mains. The hotel is lovely as well, but I would return to a homestay in a heartbeat.

Thank you, La Mariposa -- I really hope to -- scratch that, plan -- to return!

Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank Acacia Q
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 review, January 29, 2014
Acacia, it was such a pleasure to have you here and I will certainly pass on your comments to Gonzalo and Miriam, Verania and Kinema! Hope you manage to come back again and for more than just a week!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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433 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (101)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Orem, UT
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 25, 2014

I had a wonderful time at the Mariposa. They offered a lot of opportunities for getting involved with the area, and their Spanish teachers were fantastic. I did the classes and stayed with a host family for a month and it definitely took me from a beginner to intermediate level with my Spanish. If you're serious about learning Spanish, this is a great place to be.

Room Tip: Although I heard the rooms were great, I would definitely recommend doing their homestay options to...
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Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank Marlyse C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 17, 2014

From the beginning of my one month stay I was welcomed by such lovely staff and fellow students. My home stay family was very sweet and took me in like I was one of their own. The school offered great activities such as La Boquita beach which was my favorite, and day trips to Leon and Granada. I enjoyed these trips because I volunteered and took Spanish classes during the week. My first three weeks were great besides stomach issues and a server allergic reaction to mosquito bites. And, then I was on a mini field trip with my conversation Spanish teacher, less than five minutes away from the school she was very excited to show me a view point of the local volcano. We walked up the staircase, she told me a few facts about the volcano, I took a few pictures and we walked back down. While walking down the staircase my teacher asked me to put my camera away. I thought it was very odd because the school had raved about how safe the community is before 7PM. But, I did as she instructed. Less than a minute later a very suspisous guy with a MACHETE grabbed my teachers bag and she tried to pull the bag back from him while yelling for help. I was frozen, I could barely move. I couldn't believe this was happening. I was with a local, it was 3PM and we were less than 5 minutes away from the school. Eventually, he took her bag and my backpack. I didn't fight with him or plead for my possessions, I just handed him my backpack. Ultimately, I've never felt so violated. I thought I was doing such a great thing by going there to volunteer and help out the community, but none of that matters after you are robbed. Until I was robbed besides a few upset stomach aches and mosquito bites my trip was going very well. It was exciting to have traveled alone for the first time, but after I became uneasy every time I saw a man with a machete and I just wanted to go home. I only saw my teacher the next day after the robbery and I hope she's alright since she was robbed in her own community. If you decide to go avoid the staircase and no matter how many people say the community is safe, think twice.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Barbie_Penn
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 review, January 24, 2014
Well, Barbie, this review came as a great shock to us. It was of course absolutely terrible that you were robbed and we did our utmost to assist you with everything afterwards including visiting you in your homestay, making sure you were accompanied everywhere you went when you wished. As you yourself said to me such things can, sadly, happen anywhere ("even in the USA" - your observation) and the fact that, in general Nicaragua is safer than other Central American countries (do not take my word for it, look it up on the internet) does not mean such incidents do not happen.

One word which I consider most unfair is that the school "raves" about how safe the community is. I stress both on the website, on the information board and in person that such incidents can always happen but that they are rare, especially in daylight. And this is an accurate reflection of the level of crime here in La Concha.

Once again I am sorry this happened but I do not think La Mariposa deserves this review as a result of an incident which was essentially out of our control.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gothenburg, Sweden
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 16, 2014

Freaking awsome.
First of, this is a school, you here for the experience, not for a place to stay over the night. It's not really possible to rate the "service", "location" or the swimmingpool as TA wants me to do, haha.

I'm not keen on dogs, but even with all of them running around and barking this place was incredible. I really learned to know Nicaragua thanks to this place and quite a lot of spanish as well. And how to plant trees. And how to build concrete walls and floors. Stayed at homestay and the food there can always vary, but the lunches at the school were all vegetarian and really good.

Muy bien.

Room Tip: Homestay or hotel stay. Homestays are more fun (doesn't matter if you know any spanish you learn...
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Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank Meldlow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, USA
Level Contributor
51 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Last December we spent 10 days at La Mariposa and had such a positive experience that we decided to travel there again this December. I don't know what it is about La Mariposa, but it seems to attract the most interesting people. This year we had wonderful conversations about photography, astronomy, wildlife, politics, sociology, food, and much more!

The staff/interns do such an incredible job juggling all of the wants/needs of the group, they really do try to cater to individual needs.

The good news? This year I could speak a bit more Spanish which was a great improvement from last December considering that I arrived with none--not even high school Spanish! The teachers, as usual, were patient and low-key, but very professional.

La Mariposa is a special place. We'll be back for another visit this year.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank xtine27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Campbell, California
Level Contributor
31 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed January 4, 2014

I was looking for a place that I can quickly review and learn some more spanish during my winter break. I only cared about spanish classes before I arrived, but the school also offered so much more than their wonderful spanish classes. The sense of community is very strong at the school and people (including fellow students, staffs and Paulette) are genuinely nice, helpful and passionate about nature and environment. I really do feel fortunate that I am able to be-friended with all these wonderful people. The food here is simple, but superb! You can really taste that all the food are with high quality and rich in taste. I am especially spoiled by the desserts they served after dinner every day. I later decided to document the meals I had at the school, and please see the photos that are attached to this review.

The classes here are all one-on-one tutoring. Each day in the morning, you will have two hours of grammar and two hours of conversation. The two-hour conversation class is a great way to get familiar with the grammar one just learned and also a great way to enrich one's vocabulary reservoir. The teachers here are fun, smart and highly qualified. Through the class, I not only picked up quite a bit of spanish during my 3-week stay, but also learned a lot about Nicaragua in many aspects. In the afternoon/weekend, the school also offer many optional activities, such as history classes, hiking, touring nearby cities, or visiting school's projects. I personally like the history classes the most, but that is just because I am a history junky myself.

Overall, I had a great time at La Mariposa and will definitely want to come back for more lessons in the future.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank huangty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2014

I last visited La Mariposa 2 years ago, and on that occasion I stayed for 2 months and had arrived speaking very little spanish. By the time I left, I was speaking confidently and got to use my nw skills when I started working on a 4 month voluntary placement in Costa Rica and Nicaragua some 2 months later.

So when I decided to return to the school in November last year I was curious to see if the school would be able to provide me with as rich an experience as it had 2 years earlier.

Like many of the students who arrive at La Mariposa I was met and warmly greeted at Managua airport by Gonzalo, who remembered me from my previous visit, and his wife Miriam who had made the 60 minute trip from the school to welcome me back to Nicaragua and La Mariposa.

The drive from Managua out to the school in the trusty school minibus is an early highlight of the Mariposa experience, travelling through the various neighbourhoods that make up this part of the city, and then as you gradually climb out of the city you leave behind much of the noise and traffic but also the humidity and heat and the air becomes fresher the more you climb and the closer you get to La Mariposa.

Driving through the familiar gates and into the lush gardens of La Mariposa was a bit like returning home. And just as Gonzalo and Miriam had remembered me, this was a recurring experience over the next day or so as I would be greeted by hotel staff and teachers who'd treated me like a friend and family member before and welcomed me back in the same way.

I had an upstairs room with views over the front gardens, a very comfortable double bed and en suite bathroom with a very effective solar shower. The rooms are spacious by any standards, simply and comfortably furnished and spotlessly clean. A nice touch are the ornaments in the rooms which are made by local artisans. There are mosquito nets fitted above the beds in all the rooms but I never used mine, left the windows open at night and never had a problem.

Vegetarians and meat eaters alike will love the food that's prepared here using fresh produce, much of which comes from the school's own gardens with the remainder sourced from local producers. I'd forgotten just how delicious the meals are...starting with fresh fruit and cooked breakfast in the morning, great and varied lunches and superb evening meals. Meals are typically Nicaraguan but often with a twist and always skilfully prepared by the lovely kitchen staff and served with freshly made fruit juice. If you're a meat eater you'll love the mainly vegetarian food on offer but just to keep everyone happy, chicken or fish is served at least once a week for those who want it. I'm a meat eater but would happily eat the vegetarian food on offer every day of the week and definitely not feel as though I'm missing out on anything.

Spanish classes in the school are what most people arriving at La Mariposa will be interested in and having now experienced spanish language schools in Spain, Costa Rica and Peru, I can say that the style of teaching and the professionalism of the teachers is excellent and much better than I experienced elsewhere. Students have 4 hours of classes a day, made up of 2 hours of conversation and 2 hours of grammar. All the lessons are on a 1:1 basis, are tailored to the individual and take place in outdoor classrooms around the beautiful grounds of the school. I had 2 great teachers, Jenny and Eliza, and they were happy to work with me on areas of spanish that I needed to revise and practice, and like all the teachers at the school they seemed to have endless patience and made learning a language a lot of fun.

La Mariposa is keen that students better understand the culture and history of Nicaragua as well as experience the beauty that the country has to offer. And so it has a superb programme of activities that take place every day, including weekends, the cost of which are included in the amount you pay for classes and accommodation. These range from guided trips to places like Granada, Leon and Managua, visiting the various projects that the school supports, visiting a local pineapple farmer or learning about the history of Nicaragua and much, much more. And on Sundays you can take a guided hike or horse ride in the beautiful countryside in the Masaya area.

If all that sounds energetic, there's plenty of opportunity to relax in a hammock in the lush, almost jungle-like grounds that the school is situated in, look at the many animals that have been rescued by the school, take a gentle walk to see stunning views of the nearby Masaya volcano or simply stroll into the local community to buy an ice cream.

Alongside the teaching staff and the people who make your stay the wonderful experience it is - by looking after the grounds, making delicious food and maintaining and cleaning the school - the whole operation is professionally run by 3 interns, Amanda, Ruth and Diede, who work tirelessly to ensure that students have a great time. All of this is overseen and directed by the owner, Paulette, who has put her life and soul into the school and her love of Nicaragua, all of which translates into an ethically sound business and a real labour of love. You know that if you come to the school every dollar you pay stays in the country and supports the various projects that La Mariposa sponsors, provides great employment to local people and supports the local economy.

Finally, in addition to all the other great things I've already mentioned, the thing that I think completes the package are the students who arrive here from all over the world, who come from different backgrounds and with varying experience of travel and spanish speaking and yet somehow seem to self-select into the nicest body of people that you could wish to spend time with.

So if you're looking to learn or improve your spanish, would like to visit a superb country with the friendliest, kindest people, are keen to be a tourist leaving as small an environmental footprint as possible AND have a great experience, look no further. I love this place and know that I'll return again, hopefully not too far into the future.

Room Tip: The rooms in the hotel, as opposed to the cabins, are all pretty similar although I preferred the on...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tim S
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
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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