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.
- 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