Spent 2 weeks studying Spanish at La Mariposa. Good communication and organization. Did a homestay and volunteered at a Reading program for a week, and stayed in the Eco-cabin taking part in afternoon/weekend activities for the second week. A great mixture.
Absolutely loved my homestay with Nora and her family. They were so friendly, interesting, and interested in talking to me. So helpful in my language practice. Loved the food, the family and the home was clean and close to the school. Would definitely do another homestay, and highly recommend Nora and family!
The eco-cabin was cute - I was on the 2nd floor - it was like my own little tree-house. Not for everyone - as the bamboo walls are not "critter-proof", but truly enjoyed my time there too.
During my 11 days of classes I had 6 one-on-one teachers (they switch the teachers each Monday). I really liked this aspect, as for me speaking is my main goal, and having 6 different people to listen to and speak with was a good learning experience. Certainly you connect better with some than others, but a really good experience.
It was the end of the dry season, and the bugs were aggressive and I would expect this to increase with more rain, so be prepared with some heavy duty DEET. The gardens were wonderful, and I would think they would be spectacular with some rain.
Enjoyed the variety of activities available. Also really enjoyed making my way to my volunteer time at the Reading Corner - the kids were great, and even with my limited Spanish we were able to connect and help each other.
Would recommend this school/eco resort. But be sure to read the information on the website well to ensure the environment is one that is suited to you before deciding.
- 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