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“Great ecolodge and spanish school in rural Nicaragua” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel

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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Masaya
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Coos Bay
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great ecolodge and spanish school in rural Nicaragua”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2009

I stayed at La Mariposa for one month and would recommend it highly. La Mariposa is a wonderfully designed ecolodge in a beautiful setting. The staff is exceptionally friendly and caring, the rooms are beautiful and clean (loved the hot showers!). And the food is great, a varied mostly vegetarian menu. I'm not a vegetarian, but I was very happy with the food. As a female traveling alone, I felt very secure here. I had a great experience with the spanish lessons and had a lot of fun going out birding in the path behind the hotel. Kudos to this socially responsible place!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank CoosBayFarmgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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428 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    395
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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 (100)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Chicago
Level Contributor
38 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2009

I have just returned from a wonderful month at La Mariposa (December 2008, January 2009).

Here are my thoughts:

*Rooms: Comfortable, clean, and cool even on warm days.
*Service: Staff are friendly, helpful, and a pleasure to get to know.
*Food: Excellent!!! I’m vegetarian, so it was perfect for me, but great for meat eaters, too.
*Spanish Classes: Enjoyable and informative – I learned a lot.
*Trips: Amazing!!! Volcanoes, beaches, Granada, Leon, Masaya, wildlife outings, shopping, farm visits, museums, and so much more
*Atmosphere: Hanging out with other guests, staff, Paulette (owner), and Guillermina (Paulette’s daughter) was a lot of fun!
*Location: Perfect! Close to Managua, but far enough to be completely different (much better) and much cooler.

Tips:

*Book early. The hotel was full the entire month I was there. If they are full, ask about a home stay. Several people did those while I was there and loved them.
*Wireless Internet access is available outside the rooms on the second floor, but if you aren’t going to be using it a lot, just walk to Cyber Carmen in San Juan – walk takes less than 10 minutes and cost is very cheap.
*Cyber Carmen has a telephone that allows you to call the U.S. for 1 Cordoba per minute (about 5 U.S. cents) and Europe for approximately 2.5 Cordobas per minute.
*Microbuses are plentiful and cheap – you can get anywhere from La Mariposa quite easily.
*Mototaxis are very inexpensive and are great when you don’t feel like walking.
*Don’t bring shampoo or soap. They provide special organic shampoo and soap.
*Even though you may read that almost no ATMs in Nicaragua take MasterCard cards, mine worked every time.
*There is a great library there, so you don’t need to bring a lot of books to read.
*Beer is around $1 U.S. everywhere.
*Haircuts are about $1, as well.
*Good rum is about $5-$7 for 750ml (4-7 years), great rum is about $14 for 1750ml (12 years).
*If you are bringing back rum, buy it in the airport. It is cheap enough and they box it well for you so that it won’t break and you can easily get it through customs.
*Spend as much time as you can at La Mariposa. You’ll have a great home base, learn a lot of Spanish, eat great food, and meet wonderful people, not to mention take some very cool trips.

Thanks to all who made my stay at La Mariposa so memorable. I’ll return soon!

  • Liked — The wonderful owner, her daughter, the staff, and the great people I met.
  • Disliked — Loved everything!!!
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank CharlieChiWeenie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prague, Czech Republic
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2008

I stayed in La Mariposa for more than two month these year. ( from March to end of May). I came to Nicaragua with a dream "Learn Spanish". Truly I was beginner. After those two month I could say "Mission completed". Thanks to all professors in La Mariposa who have passion and patience with their students. They are real professionals. During my stay I had classes with all of them. Afternoon activities are real activities. Where you can learn a lot about everyday life in Nicaragua from all kinds of aspects.If you want you can participate on project which the owner is organizing for local community. I worked as helper in local elementary school "Escuela Panama". Best experience ever!!!.
Hotel is located in beautiful area close to volcano Masaya with excellent views marvelous garden full of tropical birds. Owner is very honest lady. Everything what she put on website is 100% true. Staff is very friendly. You can practise your spanish with them all the time. You will learn much more from them about Nicaragua as from books.
Rooms are great very clean, hot water all the time!!! and food is very dellicious.
I felt there as at home away from home.

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank gromisch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Goteborg
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 3, 2008

I think I will remeber my stay at the La Mariposa for the rest of my life, for many reasons. This probably the best spanishschool and hotel in Nicaragua because it has everything. It is situated far away from the "backpackers-track"(so you will not meet no other tourist in the charming little village San Juan de la Concha than the ones that are staying in La Mariposa)in a beautiful surroundings with hills and trees. When you stay at the hotel it feels like you are a big family that does everything together and that is such a nice feeling. You do different kinds of interesting and wonderful activites during the afternoon together such as visiting families that makes artcraft or you go to the beautiful laguna de apuyo(and lots of more activities). If you want to learn spanish you have a great oppotunity to do it at the hotel because it is also a spanish school. The teachers are great!!!! I had almost everyone of them (because I stayed there for almost 2 months) and they were all really, really good. When I came to Nicaragua I almost didn´t speak any spanish at all but during 2 months of hard working in the school I felt that I could understand really good and have a light conversation.
The rooms are really nice, clean and comfortable. And the food. Oh my good the food...it, is so good. You get three meals a day, that you eat together with the group. And it is fresh friut and homemaid youghurt and granola, all kinds of nice vegetables, gratains, puddings...
And the best thing is that the staff is so wonderful (the teachers, the workers and the owner Paulette).
I just have to say that it is a waist of money to not go La Mariposa, because you will have the time of your life!!!

  • Liked — the people and the sorroundings
  • Disliked — I don´t have anything to complain about
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Emmavu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2008

My husband and I stayed at La Mariposa for only a week, and I was incredibly sad to leave such a nurturing, familial learning environment. I had one-on-one Spanish language instruction for 4 hours every morning with great teachers, yet practiced my Spanish throughout the day as every employee is a teacher for the guests. To know the staff, meet their families and interact with the local community was a powerful travel experience that personalized and contextualized my entire trip to Nicaragua. On a practical note, the rooms are clean, the meals are delicious and plentiful, and the activities added value to the entire experience. I can't wait to return to this model for tourism in Nicaragua and asset to the local community.

  • Liked — The staff, animals, grounds and vision of the school
  • Disliked — Loved everything!
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank blueridgemtn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2008

I stayed at La Mariposa for two weeks in May, and my only complaint is the brief duration of my stay. In a nutshell, La Mariposa delivers precisely what it offers, so know what that offer entails before heading down there. To do so, visit the school’s website (spanishschoolnica.com), and make sure you read the pages titled “Please come stay if…” and “Please do not come stay if…” I have a feeling that the authors of the only negative reviews on Tripadvisor satisfy a number of the criteria on the “Please do not come stay” page.

As far as I’m concerned, the school gave me the best Spanish instruction I’ve had, the staff (and owner) are wonderful people, and any failure to engage with the “real” Nicaragua is the fault of the visitor rather than La Mariposa. In the last five years I’ve studied Spanish at the University of Colorado; Antigua, Guatemala; various parts of Colombia; and La Mariposa. Every instructor I had at La Mariposa was as good or better than any of my previous teachers. I must also note that my learning experience included fairly long chats with various members of the hotel staff, all of whom were more than happy to enlighten me regarding Nicaraguan politics, history, music, society, etc. We also discussed our respective personal lives quite a bit, and I never heard the faintest hint that anyone was terrorized by the owner. In fact, each employee I spoke with holds her in the highest regard and I know for a fact she feels the same about them. In the only instance of disagreement between staff and owner that I witnessed, the issue was handled in a perfectly respectable manner. The notion that the owner terrorizes the employees is absurd. I truly think most of them would be personally offended by Jeffgayguy’s review.

I have no idea what the “real” Nicaragua is supposed to be, but students and guests are perfectly free to venture out into the country anytime they please. I’m fairly shy, but during my stay I had a number of conversations with students in the nearby high school, briefly played basketball with some guys I met sitting in an alley, read a seven-year-old’s written summary of his morning routine as he explained the accompanying pictures, got teased by young girls in the market, received a social studies lesson from the local doctor’s son, helped the doctor with his English homework, and danced with a few hundred ‘real’ Nicaraguans at a local fiesta. If none of that qualifies as the ‘real’ Nicaragua I’m curious indeed about whatever I missed…

Bottom line: La Mariposa intentionally offers an experience very different from the typical hotel or Spanish school, and I heartily recommend it for anyone seeking such an experience.

  • Liked — The unique experience.
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank WPM7766
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Faversham Kent
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 29, 2008

I am very puzzled by the review posted by Jeffgayguy. I stayed at La Mariposa for the whole of February 2008, my second visit there and I have booked for 2 months next year taking a group of 6 friends who have decided to travel from the UK because of my enthusiasm for this very special place. I am a middle aged woman used to far too much comfort and luxury and the accomodation and food are simple but excellent including for example every room having an en suite and constant solar heated hot water. The staff of the hotel both teaching and catering are charming, friendly and say things like "Paulette has confidence in me" which scarcely indicates fear. The location is beautiful and gives a real opportunity to be part of a living Nicaraguan rural poor community in a way that is not yet over run or exploited by tourism. For young travellers it gives a safe space to learn Spanish and explore travelling and for older people like me it is an inspirational example of how it is still possible to make a worthwhile difference in a often depressing and materialistic world. Whilst I was there I read the visitors book from cover to cover and tthe only negative feedback in 18 months was from someone who likes to eat meat with every meal.

  • Liked — Very comfortable and locally made using local materials from sustainable sources
  • Disliked — Nothing to put
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Labiner
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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