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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
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Savings alert! 31% below average rates

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Reviews (502)
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All reviewslearn spanishlocal communitytwo weekshome stayhost familyall agesafternoon activitiessan juanlearning experiencehorseback ridingcentral americavery special placefour hoursnicaraguan historyother guestsyear old daughterpaulette goudge
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Reviewed August 5, 2009

My husband and I traveled to La Mariposa with two 18 year old girls and a 21 year old young man who haven't traveled in Latin America previously....middle class West Coast kids. It was a wonderful introduction to the people, the culture, the language and food - and a well-received wake up call to how different the world is outside of California.
Paulette has developed a wonderful space where you immediately feel part of a community. She helped us to make the most of our time there - including helping us to arrange activites we were interested in doing that were not on that weeks schedule. She was a wealth of information about the surrounding area and very patient and accomodating.
She is also employing the best of the best - Bergman, the lead teacher is a Jack of All Trades and MASTER of ALL. He never ceased to amaze the group in providing a hug, smile, helping hand and grammatical correction 24/7.
We all arrived with different levels of Spanish under our belts and Bergman placed us with teachers for grammar and conversation that met our needs. The classes were excellent, probably one of the strongest points of La Mariposa.
Two weeks would have been a perfect amount of time. Not knowing ahead of time how the kids would fare, we opted to keep it at 10 days, for our first visit. Hopefully, the first of many visits to come!
I would definitely recommend that you bring your bug spray - we had our share of bites during our late July to early Aug stay. AND I was happy to have my own pillow - the pillows in the room tend to be musty because of the dampness of the climate.
I also wish we had brought our own reusable water bottles - filtered water is always available in two locations at the School.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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Thank Glacier1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2009

There aren’t enough words to express how wonderful a place La Mariposa is. Not only is it a hotel, a Spanish school, a community outreach program, and a tour group, La Mariposa is a family. As a solo female traveler who had never previously visited Latin America and spoke almost no Spanish, I was shocked at how quickly I felt right at home at La Mariposa. Though I’d been worried about finding the driver in the airport, while I was waiting in line at Customs I could already see him through the glass door, holding the butterfly sign. I arrived at the hotel just in time for lunch, during which I quickly became friends with the other guests/students, who were warm and welcoming. The Spanish teachers are truly talented, and the classes, which were all one-on-one, take place outdoors in the lovely gardens. I have never had such an enjoyable learning experience. And the afternoon/weekend activities are so much fun!!! Not only do you get the chance to visit famous natural wonders such as the Masaya volcano, you also get to experience the culture and people of Nicaragua on a more intimate level by doing such things as touring a local pineapple farm and participating in a cooking class. And the website definitely downplays the food at La Mariposa – it is so delicious that it’s hard to believe it’s healthy; and you even get a dessert after every dinner! Overall, La Mariposa is a shining example of socially and ecologically responsible tourism, and I wouldn't trade my experience there for the world!
Some general tips:
-American money is widely accepted in Nicaragua, but often only in denominations of $1, $5, and $10 bills. Many places cannot make change for a $20 and also cannot give change in quarters.
-Bring Cipro or other antibiotic in case you get a parasite. (During my stay, about half of the guests experienced mild stomach problems at some point, but the antibiotics did their job right away so that nobody missed any classes or activities.)
-Bring earplugs so that the animals don’t wake you up at night
-If, like me, you are a runner, you can go on a short, mostly flat jog alone within the La Mariposa walls, or take a friend and head outside of La Mariposa for a more challenging, hilly workout.
-The manicure/pedicure include a wonderful hand/foot massage, but they do not include having your nails painted
-The massages are great and are quite inexpensive. But, even if you ask for a half hour one, you may receive (and hence be charged for) an hour long one.
-If you have a laptop, bring it; it’s nice to be able to check e-mail out on the balcony before dinner
-Don’t worry if, like me, you are allergic to animals. The dogs, though friendly, won’t go in your bedroom unless you encourage them to do so. And since you (and they) are outdoors most of the time, the dander likely won’t be a problem.
-Most importantly: stay as long as possible at La Mariposa!

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled solo
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1  Thank Enfys15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2009

My husband found this gem in a small article in Outside magazine. The school is top rate with instruction geared towards your level. Classes are small, and often it's just you and the instructor. The rooms are basic but clean and decorated with local crafts. As an eco-hotel, emphasis is placed on renewable energy and water conservation, however, there is hot water which is a bonus. The setting is just beautiful with many flowers, trees and animals running free. The food is amazing - mostly organic, fresh and vegetarian. The staff is warm, friendly and always willing to help you learn not only Spanish but about Nicaraguan life. The excursions that are offered are quite varied from viewing volcanoes, to hiking in natural reserves to visiting artisans in their homes to walking through the colonial towns of Granada and Leon. After two months we were very reluctant to leave and hope to return again soon.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank PeaksGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2009

La Mariposa is a wonderful little Eco Hotel in the rural Masaya area. My wife and I stayed there for a week in April and we both cannot say enough about how special this place is, from the owner Paulette, to the maestros doing the spanish teaching every morning, to the other guests we had the chance to meet. Paulette really does a great job of helping everyone there have a chance to experience and learn about the country and the people of Nicaragua through the daily excursions and activities. Bottom line, the rooms are clean and nice, the food is good, the language teachers are excellent, and the setting is beautiful. We highly recommend it, and plan on going back again!

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank soccermathius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank CoosBayFarmgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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