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“One of those special places”

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La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Masaya
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Brooklyn
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“One of those special places”
Reviewed January 15, 2010

La Mariposa is simple one of those special places. By which I mean it's far and away more than the sum of its parts. My husband and I scheduled a week to further our (pretty skimpy) knowledge of Spanish. We did that, in spades. Our teachers patiently took us a solid stage ahead of where we'd been and by the end of our five day stint we considered them not only teachers, but friends. I guess that's what makes the place memorable. You feel as though everyone -- from Paulette, who has masterminded and created this inn/school, to the teachers, cooks, fellow travellers and even the many rescue dogs -- they all seem to take a real and personal interest in your well being! We didn't feel like tourists as much as guests. By day three, we were asking whether we could extend our stay. Our trips -- by foot, horse, and van -- into the barrios and farms of San Juan del Concepcion brought us into the lives of the local Nicaraguan farmer and artisan. We came away with a deeper understanding of the problems facing the country and generous spirit of the NIcaragua people.

I'm a nature lover and I was delighted to find that there were plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploration of the breathtaking Nicaraguan landscape. Among all the other memories, there's the sweeping vista across the plains to the lakes and volcanos of the Masayan region, taken in from the top of a ridge we horsebacked out to one afternoon.

And, oh, the food -- it was sublime. Several different veggie dishes per meal, lots of fresh fruit . Even my meat-eating husband was satisfied (esp when everyone went out to the local bar for roasted pig. Don't ask me about it. I wasn't there, but Al came back with a big grin.)

The grounds are delightful -- even surprising -- places for wandering. Local artistry and comfy hammocks fills the nooks and crannies of the open air classrooms and sitting areas and you can have meaningful exchanges with the monkeys and parrots who have their own rooms in the far end of the garden. I came out late one night among the lush plantings just to gaze at the stars. It's that kind of place. You're at home in foreign land.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank sooznham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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438 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (104)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
USA
1 review
Reviewed January 14, 2010

My boyfriend and I stayed at Mariposa for one week during our month-long trip to Nicaragua, and both of us were amazed at the quality of ourexperience. The hotel itself had everything we could hope for- hammocks and quiet reading areas, a fully stocked library, clean, comfortable rooms with hot water, lovely grounds. The animals are all friendly and I loved being able to play with the monkeys! The food was healthy and tasty, and the afternoon excursions all worthwhile.

The Spanish classes are unbeatable in terms of substance and price. We had one on one instruction for four hours a day! The teachers must accomodate a wide variety of language ability, particularly well demonstrated by the fact that I am fluent in Spanish and my boyfriend knew essentially nothing beyong bar terminology. While my boyfriend received a crash course in Spanish basics, I studied the nuances of "por y para" and reviewed complex grammar. Our teachers were energetic, friendly, patient, and pushed us when needed.

I wholeheartedly recommend Mariposa as a wonderful place to learn Spanish or just stay for a few nights. In fact, my boyfriend is considering returning to study Spanish for a month.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank buencamino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Panama
Level Contributor
31 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2010

A rustic Spanish language school with compassionate and dedicated owner and instructors. They want you to understand and appreciate the reality of Nicaragua. The tours were wonderful - especially the local tours to the real families and artisans who are working to make a living. Amazing effort to reclaim water, grow vegetables, and run a sustainable, environmentally friendly operation.

Additional arrangements are available. I especially enjoyed visiting the club in Managua, owned by the brothers Carlos and Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy. Luis Enrique is an amazing folk singer.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank PanamaBandito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 7, 2010

After attending a wedding on Ometepe Island, I had four days on my own to discover as much as possible. La Mariposa offered just the right combination of linguistic and cultural support I needed and it ended up being the perfect place for me to unwind, learn, and grow. New Years Eve was a blast dancing with my fellow guests and locals of La Concha. If I come back to Nicaragua, I would definitely like to stay at La Mariposa for longer. The daytrips were lots of fun and very informative and the property's dogs and monkeys are all very friendly. I recommend this place to anyone looking to experience the real Nicaragua.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank hedrotha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota, FL
1 review
Reviewed December 21, 2009

I stayed at La Mariposa for 4 weeks in November 2009. I went to study Spanish with no prior knowledge of the language. I learned much more than Spanish. I learned how one person, with the help of other committed individuals, can improve the lives of disadvantaged people and have a good time doing it.

Staying at La Mariposa you quickly become part of a wonderful extended family. The staff is warm and friendly and will do everything they can to make you feel welcome. The language instruction is highly individualized. The teachers made learning Spanish fun. The daily and weekend activities provided insight into life in Nicaragua that you could never get as a "tourist."

The surrounding area was breathtaking--volcanos, crater lakes, Pacific beaches, small villages, open air markets, and artisans. The food was basic, but delicious. The communal dining allowed you to get to know the other diverse and interesting guests.

La Mariposa changed the way I view the world and taught me Spanish, too. I wish I could have stayed longer. I hope to go back. I highly recommend it.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank KPatriarca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed December 16, 2009

La Mariposa is a happy, inspiring, accepting little haven, I will be recommending it to all of my fellow travelling friends. Practicing my Spanish while learning about different peoples' backgrounds and cultures is just wonderful, AND the staff is great at speaking slowly and being patient and encouraging through it all. My boyfriend and i spent a week here, and will definitely treasure the memories.

Ever since I was recommended this place, I have been pouring over the website to learn more about the programs they fund and how much they help the local community. Being here, I have gotten to see the positive impact first hand........its great! I had also been very excited for the spanish lessons and local activities, both of which were wonderful and lived up to my high expectations. We went on a beautiful horseback ride, explored a bustling local market, had a relaxed, sunny beach day, and Paulette gave a wonderful tour of the property/gardens. All of these were unique, fun experiences where I felt welcome and encouraged to learn/ask questions. Even with all of these activities, my favorite memories will be talking with the staff , teachers and fellow visitors here. La Mariposa has attracted a such a WONDERFUL group of people, I am so thankful to have been a part of it all.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank hadleyruth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Davis, California
1 review
Reviewed August 23, 2009

Our family of five was just looking for a place to stay for a few days, but wow did we stumble onto to something wonderful at the Mariposa Language School and Eco-Hotel. In less than a day, we were sitting in on excellent Spanish lessons, riding horses to the rim of the Masaya volcano, visiting a national park, reading about Latin American history in the library, enjoying the monkeys and parrots in the aviaries, and riding along with the staff to buy food at the market. Paulette, the owner, was like a gracious mother to us, and we were part of her family. If we return to Nicaragua, we'll definitely come here.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank tertial
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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