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Reviewed 21 April 2014

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.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank RebeccaJoffrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 27 April 2014

Thank you very much indeed for this review....we all appreciate feeling appreciated!! One of the best things actually about running La Mariposa is that it is really rewarding to put in place little improvments here and there - whether it be a new light in the hallway or rebuilding the monkey cage or training up the Spanish teachers in the subtleties of the Subjunctive or adding a new recipe. I th
ink this is because we are small and personal and so one one can see the difference. Hope you come back again and see whats new!!!

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Reviewed 11 April 2014

First of all, let the fact that I have never posted a review on a single other place I have visited be a testament to how incredible this place is because after 8 months of being home, I am still motivated to share my fond memories of La Mariposa. While I was searching of an eco-friendly place where I could immerse myself in not only a Spanish, which I barely knew, but a culture rich in heritage, volunteer if I should choose to do so, have a list of adventures on a whiteboard to choose from each week with pre-arranged transportation while supporting the local economy and native population, I admitted to myself that I was being a bit too idyllic. But, that was antes de fui a la escuela de La Mariposa. After living for two months with a Mariposa host family in Nicaragua, studying, and traveling, I am able to use Spanish on a daily basis with my patients. There is no doubt that La Mariposa has mastered the task of individualizing language acquisition and tailoring it to your needs, not to mention this happens surrounded by flora and fauna in the lush rainforest. If you are looking to study Spanish in a culture that welcomes you and encourages your efforts to learn-look no further. Even those who help run the Mariposa will practice spanish with you while they cook or garden or tend to the animals. Hands down, the one-on-one instruction is with the best teachers I have ever met.(I have two masters degrees and am a licensed health care provider in the USA, so I have had my fair share of teachers and professors, preceptors, and residents.) The food at La Mariposa is something I still dream about. Warning: if you are a carnivore, you might find yourself reconsidering vegetarianism. Though accommodations are not posh, I found them more than sufficient and luxurious compared to backpacking, camping, or sleeping in rustic cabins. If you have an appetite for adventure, bug spray, and are interested in expanding your life experiences, this is a "must-see" and "must-do" stop for you. Where can you study at your leisure, leave your own hand prints through a variety of volunteer opportunities, roam the jungle for ripe aguacates the size of small marsupials, munch on sweet pitaya, and explore a country where monkeys and volcanoes are easily accessible? La Mariposa! You won't be disappointed... until you have to leave one of the most dynamic and captivating places on earth-so soak up as much as you can while you are there.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank AFingers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 27 April 2014

Thank you so much for your review...hope you get to come back some day! Take care.

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Reviewed 8 April 2014

My mornings of waking on my deck, with the birds and the "monos" , have become my time of reflection.
I feel a little melancholy about leaving La Mariposa in 4 days. It has been such a rich place and experience for me.

I wrote my children this morning, sharing what I have learned from Johanna about the love within families down here, of a mother for her children in particular.

Julio has shown me the natural beauty of this country, as well as a glimps of rural life. I suggest that his walks be named " the pineapple walks". I have been with him the past 4 Sunday mornings, and all have ended eating fresh picked pineapple, dripping through our fingers!

Jenny has shown me her intelligence - especially in her ability to perceive how I learn best, tailor her style to best serve me, and let me lead the way in terms of what I feel ready to study/when I feel ready to advance.

Johanna is my cultural and spiritual teacher - the culture I came hoping to learn about. The Spiritual is a pearl added to my string.

Paulette, you are the best of what a director can be. Your interns follow your example - greeting and showing everyone your smile, love of this place, the animals, the culture, the people. I hope you will find a balance in your life that gives you the personal time you want and need but keeps you attached to La Mariposa. No one could replace you. I am very happy to have been here while you are.

Amanda, you manage challenge with grace and gentleness. Thank you for always doing your best to accommodate my wishes and needs. You are also beautiful on the outside - a reminder of my own daughter.

Ruth, Max & Richard, I have had less interaction with you. But thank you for your commitment to this school. Paulette is fortunate to have your dedication, and you are all fortunate for this opportunity. I expect it will shape your futures as my own experience on an organic farm in Switzerland when I was young, shaped mine and in turn that of my children.

Thank you all for all that you do. I will be back someday I feel certain, and see you again, or hear of your lives.

Hugs to you all,
Cathy MacKay

Room Tip: If you are an outdoors lover, the cabana is very sweet (but you will see harmless spiders…), and use a very clean outhouse, and shower a short walk away. Staying at La Mariposa is convenient and very nice, however home stay will give you more spanish immersion.
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled solo
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Thank Cathy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2014

Dear Cathy....what a beautifully written review. Thank you from the bottom of our heart!! Of course part of the reason we are what we are is because of the kind of guests we attract....that make the hard work worthwhile! I do hope you come back someday.

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Reviewed 6 April 2014

I visited La Mariposa in January 2014 for 3 weeks. I was able to advance my language skills and I learned a great deal about Nicaragua. The school is fabulous with one-to-one lessons. The teachers are all well-trained, friendly and helpful. I stayed in the Eco Lodge. My room was simple, clean and had a private bathroom with hot water. The excursions were fun and helped me to become acquainted with the country and its people (my first time) before continuing my travels with my girlfriend.
Thank you Paulette for your warm welcome (sorry it took to so long to finally write my review). I would definitely consider returning and highly recommend La Mariposa for all who are searching for this type of environment.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled solo
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Thank SusyQ2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2014

Hey Susy, thank you so much for your review......I am really glad that being at the mariposa gave you a bit more confidence to travel around Nicaragua which is still a very lovely country. Come back and see us again!

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Reviewed 4 April 2014

We're a family of four with two teenagers, and have been studying Spanish at the Mariposa off and on for about eight months - August 2013 to present - while living in our own home in a nearby community.

We have nothing but wonderful things to say about the people, the language program and the setting. Paulette has done an excellent job of creating a welcoming, comfortable and effective educational environment. The staff are friendly and willing to go out of their way to accommodate guests and students. The teachers are well-trained and are great encouragers, making learning Spanish a truly enjoyable and even fun experience. We so appreciate their patience and flexibility with our differing needs, and the way they helped to ease our transition when we were nervous newbies in Nicaragua with almost no knowledge of Spanish, Nicaraguan culture, etc. The Eco-hotel grounds are a beautiful, cool retreat from the tropical heat, with sun-dappled patios and walking paths, shady ranchitos and lots of trees and flowers.

We've also stayed for lunch occasionally, and the food has always been delicious, loaded with fresh produce grown using organic, eco-friendly methods on the Mariposa farm.

One thing we've thoroughly enjoyed is meeting fellow students/guests/volunteers of all ages from all over the world and from every walk of life. It's wonderful how the Mariposa draws people together from every demographic imaginable.

All-in-all a great experience and we highly recommend La Mariposa, and this area of Nicaragua as well, which is beautiful with a wonderfully comfortable climate, and warm, friendly people.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
1  Thank all41and14all
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
paulettelamariposa, Owner at La Mariposa Spanish School and Eco Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2014

Dear Brian and family...it was a great pleasure to get to know you all and share some of lifes ups and downs over a few months. Thank you for the sweet potato contact which I hope I get to follow up, they were delicious! I am glad we will be neighbours and hope we can stay in touch.

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