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.
- 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