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“Family Vacation Destination”

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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Masaya
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed April 21, 2014

i took my 10 year old son with me to La Mariposa and we had an amazing time. It was an ideal way for a child to see a country because La Mariposa felt very safe and easy to manage and yet, it's very much in the center of life of La Concepcion -- from the interaction in the hotel with local staff and teachers to the homes just outside and excursions to projects and venues. The food, the monkey cages and dogs, the gardens and walks around the hotel, the rooms, the Spanish lessons, the excursions -- everything, though not designed specifically for kids -- was kid friendly. The staff went out of their way to make sure we could see and do what we wanted, even organizing a cooking lesson with the hotel cooking staff. A highlight was the Charla that Paulette Goudge, founder of the hotel, gave just for the kids (my son and 2 others). she talked about eco-tourism, social responsibility. It's a talk that will have an impact on their lives and it was so generous of Paulette to devote an hour to answering their questions. I left this vacation relaxed, fulfilled, more socially conscious, and best of all, able to speak some Spanish. A special thanks to the great interns at La Mariposa for all they do behind the scenes to make the visit special. A few tips if you're bringing kids; the night hike was a bit of a stretch for my 10 year old; be sure to bring a water bottle -- we used the hotel's filtered water for tooth brushing; the teachers did a nice job of adding variety to the Spanish lessons (playing games in Spanish, taking the kids for walks) so 4 hours was fine; there is wi-fi if that matters to you -- my son was able to download books on his iPad; he ate the ice cream at the Eskimo store in town and it was fine; be prepared for some excitement in transportation -- bumpy rides in the bed of the pickup truck to get to the farms, local buses that hold way more people than you'd think they can (or should); we didn't try the homestay but, if it's open to families, I think I would try that out (for maybe 2 days?) next time I'm there with my kids. Anyway -- one of the most perfect vacations I've ever had.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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2  Thank RebeccaJoffrey
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 April 27, 2014

Thank you very much indeed for this review....we all appreciate feeling appreciated!! One of the best things actually about running La Mariposa is that it is really rewarding to put in place little improvments here and there - whether it be a new light in the hallway or rebuilding the monkey cage or training up the Spanish teachers in the subtleties of the Subjunctive or adding a new recipe. I th
ink this is because we are small and personal and so one one can see the difference. Hope you come back again and see whats new!!!

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Reviews (445)
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182 - 188 of 445 reviews

Reviewed April 11, 2014

First of all, let the fact that I have never posted a review on a single other place I have visited be a testament to how incredible this place is because after 8 months of being home, I am still motivated to share my fond memories of La Mariposa. While I was searching of an eco-friendly place where I could immerse myself in not only a Spanish, which I barely knew, but a culture rich in heritage, volunteer if I should choose to do so, have a list of adventures on a whiteboard to choose from each week with pre-arranged transportation while supporting the local economy and native population, I admitted to myself that I was being a bit too idyllic. But, that was antes de fui a la escuela de La Mariposa. After living for two months with a Mariposa host family in Nicaragua, studying, and traveling, I am able to use Spanish on a daily basis with my patients. There is no doubt that La Mariposa has mastered the task of individualizing language acquisition and tailoring it to your needs, not to mention this happens surrounded by flora and fauna in the lush rainforest. If you are looking to study Spanish in a culture that welcomes you and encourages your efforts to learn-look no further. Even those who help run the Mariposa will practice spanish with you while they cook or garden or tend to the animals. Hands down, the one-on-one instruction is with the best teachers I have ever met.(I have two masters degrees and am a licensed health care provider in the USA, so I have had my fair share of teachers and professors, preceptors, and residents.) The food at La Mariposa is something I still dream about. Warning: if you are a carnivore, you might find yourself reconsidering vegetarianism. Though accommodations are not posh, I found them more than sufficient and luxurious compared to backpacking, camping, or sleeping in rustic cabins. If you have an appetite for adventure, bug spray, and are interested in expanding your life experiences, this is a "must-see" and "must-do" stop for you. Where can you study at your leisure, leave your own hand prints through a variety of volunteer opportunities, roam the jungle for ripe aguacates the size of small marsupials, munch on sweet pitaya, and explore a country where monkeys and volcanoes are easily accessible? La Mariposa! You won't be disappointed... until you have to leave one of the most dynamic and captivating places on earth-so soak up as much as you can while you are there.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank AFingers
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 April 27, 2014

Thank you so much for your review...hope you get to come back some day! Take care.

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Reviewed April 8, 2014

My mornings of waking on my deck, with the birds and the "monos" , have become my time of reflection.
I feel a little melancholy about leaving La Mariposa in 4 days. It has been such a rich place and experience for me.

I wrote my children this morning, sharing what I have learned from Johanna about the love within families down here, of a mother for her children in particular.

Julio has shown me the natural beauty of this country, as well as a glimps of rural life. I suggest that his walks be named " the pineapple walks". I have been with him the past 4 Sunday mornings, and all have ended eating fresh picked pineapple, dripping through our fingers!

Jenny has shown me her intelligence - especially in her ability to perceive how I learn best, tailor her style to best serve me, and let me lead the way in terms of what I feel ready to study/when I feel ready to advance.

Johanna is my cultural and spiritual teacher - the culture I came hoping to learn about. The Spiritual is a pearl added to my string.

Paulette, you are the best of what a director can be. Your interns follow your example - greeting and showing everyone your smile, love of this place, the animals, the culture, the people. I hope you will find a balance in your life that gives you the personal time you want and need but keeps you attached to La Mariposa. No one could replace you. I am very happy to have been here while you are.

Amanda, you manage challenge with grace and gentleness. Thank you for always doing your best to accommodate my wishes and needs. You are also beautiful on the outside - a reminder of my own daughter.

Ruth, Max & Richard, I have had less interaction with you. But thank you for your commitment to this school. Paulette is fortunate to have your dedication, and you are all fortunate for this opportunity. I expect it will shape your futures as my own experience on an organic farm in Switzerland when I was young, shaped mine and in turn that of my children.

Thank you all for all that you do. I will be back someday I feel certain, and see you again, or hear of your lives.

Hugs to you all,
Cathy MacKay

Room Tip: If you are an outdoors lover, the cabana is very sweet (but you will see harmless spiders…), and use...
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
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Thank Cathy 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 April 9, 2014

Dear Cathy....what a beautifully written review. Thank you from the bottom of our heart!! Of course part of the reason we are what we are is because of the kind of guests we attract....that make the hard work worthwhile! I do hope you come back someday.

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Reviewed April 6, 2014

I visited La Mariposa in January 2014 for 3 weeks. I was able to advance my language skills and I learned a great deal about Nicaragua. The school is fabulous with one-to-one lessons. The teachers are all well-trained, friendly and helpful. I stayed in the Eco Lodge. My room was simple, clean and had a private bathroom with hot water. The excursions were fun and helped me to become acquainted with the country and its people (my first time) before continuing my travels with my girlfriend.
Thank you Paulette for your warm welcome (sorry it took to so long to finally write my review). I would definitely consider returning and highly recommend La Mariposa for all who are searching for this type of environment.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
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Thank SusyQ2013
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 April 9, 2014

Hey Susy, thank you so much for your review......I am really glad that being at the mariposa gave you a bit more confidence to travel around Nicaragua which is still a very lovely country. Come back and see us again!

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Reviewed April 4, 2014

We're a family of four with two teenagers, and have been studying Spanish at the Mariposa off and on for about eight months - August 2013 to present - while living in our own home in a nearby community.

We have nothing but wonderful things to say about the people, the language program and the setting. Paulette has done an excellent job of creating a welcoming, comfortable and effective educational environment. The staff are friendly and willing to go out of their way to accommodate guests and students. The teachers are well-trained and are great encouragers, making learning Spanish a truly enjoyable and even fun experience. We so appreciate their patience and flexibility with our differing needs, and the way they helped to ease our transition when we were nervous newbies in Nicaragua with almost no knowledge of Spanish, Nicaraguan culture, etc. The Eco-hotel grounds are a beautiful, cool retreat from the tropical heat, with sun-dappled patios and walking paths, shady ranchitos and lots of trees and flowers.

We've also stayed for lunch occasionally, and the food has always been delicious, loaded with fresh produce grown using organic, eco-friendly methods on the Mariposa farm.

One thing we've thoroughly enjoyed is meeting fellow students/guests/volunteers of all ages from all over the world and from every walk of life. It's wonderful how the Mariposa draws people together from every demographic imaginable.

All-in-all a great experience and we highly recommend La Mariposa, and this area of Nicaragua as well, which is beautiful with a wonderfully comfortable climate, and warm, friendly people.

Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
1  Thank all41and14all
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 April 9, 2014

Dear Brian and family...it was a great pleasure to get to know you all and share some of lifes ups and downs over a few months. Thank you for the sweet potato contact which I hope I get to follow up, they were delicious! I am glad we will be neighbours and hope we can stay in touch.

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Reviewed April 1, 2014

I spent three weeks at the Mariposa in October 2013. I loved it.

I found this school on the internet and decided to visit based on the strength of the reviews. I felt well informed on what the experience would be like and had realistic expectations. My expectations were exceeded for sure.

I appreciated the quality of instruction in Spanish. The instructors are very good and will challenge you if you want. I certainly felt challenged most of the time. Learning a new language is a great humbling experience. I travelled for three more weeks in Nicaragua after the Mariposa and felt very good with my ability to communicate as a result of my time at the Mariposa.

Even for a picky eater, I enjoyed the food. It was very good. I appreciated the simplicity and healthful aspect of the meals.

The staff at the Mariposa were great. They were very laid-back, flexible, and accommodating to the students needs. I especially enjoyed the interactions with the other students and the side trips and adventures we had. It was almost like summer camp for adults. The diversity of the students really added to my experience.

I hope to go back soon to work on my Spanish some more.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Andrew P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2014

I have studied Spanish in Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Spain, but these teachers were the best ever. Having one on one instruction in such a beautiful setting is fantastic. I had two hours of instruction in conversation with Veronia and two hours of grammar with Alba. Both were excellent. Alba is the only teacher I've had who could thoroughly explain the different uses of por and para. I sure miss being able to walk in the woods on the property and eat mandarinos, and eat all those fantastic vegetarian meals with such nice people. The food is so healthful that I ate and ate and still lost weight. This place could be a fat farm. For snacks there was always a big bunch of bananas hanging outside the kitchen for helping yourself.

The outing to Laguna de Apoyo was just fantastic. We all loved the place and swam in the warm water as long as we wanted. Do not waste your time with the outing to see the Brothers Godoy concert in Managua. It doesn't start until 9:30, they aren't very good, and they talk too much and too fast in Spanish. You can hire a driver to take you to the beach at LaBoquita, only an hour away, for $15 per person, minimum of three. Definitely see the Masaya Volcano at night and hike in the bat caves--very cool! If it's not on the schedule you can probably arrange it through the school.

There is laundry service every day for next to nothing. I paid them many times what they were asking because it was too cheap. They don't iron clothes though so don't expect crisp and pressed. This is not a problem because everyone dresses very casual.

I am usually very careful about what I eat when I travel to developing countries. However, at La Mariposa I ate everything and drank large quantities of the water with absolutely no digestive problems. Do not hesitate to come here by yourself. More than half the students are solo and everyone is very friendly. This is not just a school for college kids, but all ages from children to people in their 70s (probably even older) thrive here.

Room Tip: My hotel room #1 on the end was large with two beds and windows on two sides. I brought ear plugs s...
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled solo
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Thank AnneG0772
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

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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