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All reviewslearn spanishlocal communitytwo weekshome stayhost familyafternoon activitiesall agessan juanlearning experiencehorseback ridingcentral americavery special placeother guestsnicaraguan historyyear old daughterfour hoursinteresting people
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Reviewed 15 August 2017 via mobile

I chose mariposa because they were able to accommodate all the different needs of our family. My 13 year old daughter, having taken 1 year is Spanish, stayed with a family near the school, my 10 year old was a complete beginner, my husband needed medical Spanish and I'm fluent. The one to one instruction allows for customizing. Also, I loved that my daughter could live with a family at such a young age, but I was also close by. I highly recommend the school for families who want their kids to see a whole different way of life. My daughter gained a new appreciation for modern conveniences we take for granted (indoor plumbing), but she was also incredibly moved by the generosity and friendliness of the Nicaraguan people. The excursions with the school were fun and interesting, and the food was tasty and healthy. Overall a wonderful time for all.

Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
Thank Shana W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2017

I will never be able to say enough good things about La Mariposa! I am impressed by La Mariposa as an eco-hotel, a Spanish school, an employment project, an animal rescue/rehabilitation center and a biodiversity reserve. It is really all of those things! And more! I stayed for 9 weeks, and I only became more impressed by the school as I learned more about it. As I familiarized myself with the projects (children's projects in the surrounding communities, reforestation/biodiversity conservation) I felt really lucky to be able to experience all of the things that the school is doing and support the organization.

The best part of the school is getting to know all of the people who work there! The professors are energetic and excited to teach and get to know their students; the classes are personal, comfortable, and not boring. I learned so much Spanish!! The people who work in administration are friendly and helpful; I made a bunch of changes to my itinerary and they were happy to be flexible! The gardeners/maintenance workers, the cooks, the animal caretakers, the night guards, the conductors, the people who run the projects and the tour guides are all incredibly hardworking and never shy to converse and share stories (regardless of your Spanish abilities!).

An awesome part of La Mariposa is that it can accommodate all different types of visitors. I stayed in a homestay, which was one of the best parts of my experience, as I was able to practice Spanish, learn more about Nicaragua, and hang out with a family that I now love very much. I found the homestay perfectly comfortable, the food was delicious, and I liked expanding my experience beyond the hotel. But for people who prefer the hotel or the cabins, the beauty is in the options! The same goes for the choice to volunteer or do activities, as different people are looking for different experiences. It was really fun to have people of all ages (even a few babies!) and from different places all together, which was only made possible because people were able to choose what worked best for them.

I really appreciated the eco-friendly accommodations, such as the latrines, the vegetarian food, the overflowing forest, and the reminder notes to try to use less water and toilet paper. I felt much more comfortable existing in a place that is working to minimize the impact of its guests and spread environmental consciousness, rather than ignoring human impacts (as most hotels do). Additionally, I worked at La Reserva, the nature reserve, and we spent a lot of time planting trees which will later be used for reforestation. These efforts are just a small example of how the school is thorough in it's environmental objectives and claims.

Thank you to everyone at La Mariposa! I am grateful for the time that I was able to spend at the school; I learned a ton of Spanish, a ton about Nicaragua (and other parts of the world through talking with other guests) and I made a ton of friends! I wish I could stay forever!

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled solo
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Thank Jenny B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2017

I travelled as one of two leaders of a group of 8 college students, spending one week at the Group Study Center portion of La Mariposa Eco-Hotel. As a leader, one has the option to stay on the grounds of the study center or at a local homestay. I stayed at the study center itself in a small concrete house with 3 bedrooms and an outdoor salon, and use of latrines and showers just steps from the house itself. Spanish lessons and lunch occurred at the study center. My Spanish instructors were very invested in our learning. Pre-tests were given to indicate the appropriate level of Spanish for the week’s lessons. La Mariposa provided transport to the various volunteer sites each day. I engaged in equine therapy, aqua-therapy and assisted teachers at a school to help children learn their lessons. Because there is no WIFI access at the study center, transport was provided daily to an Internet café.

The study center includes a large classroom and a covered patio with plenty hammocks with a gorgeous view where I could meet with my students each day. There was 24/7 security at the center and I always had access to Mariposa personnel if I needed anything. Chester provided an amazing 90-minute documentary on Nicaraguan history that provided a context to understand much of why Nicaragua is like it is today. I was also able to schedule with Mariposa an excursion to Volcan Masaya and Lake Apoyo for my group and I.

This was an amazing experience! While there, I learned how typical Nicaraguans live and work, historical and cultural nuances, and gained significant confidence to functionally utilize Spanish language skills. As a leader, this was the perfect opportunity to prepare myself for on-going travel and volunteer work in Nicaragua. I highly recommend to any group leader of educational or volunteer endeavors to consider spending some time at La Mariposa. This is the second group I have brought to La Mariposa with grand success!

Room Tip: Rooms at the study center come with rural community sounds at night: honking ducks, roosters, barking dogs. Loved it but you may not.
  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with friends
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Thank BoggisT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2017

After reading all the positive reviews, I came to the Mariposa with high expectations and all I can say is that it was even better than expected.
It really feels like you are part of a community there, all teachers and staff make everything possible to make you feel welcome, and the other students all had great stories to tell.
My 2 teachers (conversation and grammar) were great (Alba and Ricardo, thank you so much!).
I enjoyed the different activities (Don't miss the night trip to the Masaya Volcano!).
The food was really good and fresh and perfect for me since I'm not a meat lover.

In addition to all of that, the school helps financing many projects in San Juan, the work they have down over there is incredible.

If you are looking for a simple place to learn Spanish and make new friends in a quiet setting, go, go, GO!

If you are looking for a place to party late and want to feel like in a resort, it is definitely not the right place for you.

A few additional info and tips:
- there are mosquitoes around but it was not as bad as I was expected. Bring some good repelant and you will be fine.
- I was there during the wet season and the air was so humid that it took forever to dry clothes. Bring several pairs of everything if you don't want to wear wet ones...
- Noise: i read some review before coming that it was a loud place and I was a bit worried since I'm a light sleeper. It is really not that bad. Everybody goes to bed early and yes you can hear birds and roasters, but I slept like a baby.

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled solo
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2  Thank juliancarax31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2017

This is a very special place. The entire community of teachers, guides, drivers, etc. are among the warmest and most welcoming I have ever met. Everyone has a smile and everyone is willing to help you learn and practice your Spanish (they are very patient!) and do whatever they can to help coordinate local excursions. Located close to volcanos, lakes, lagoons, the pacific coast, colonial cities and more. It was easy to combine learning along with some local tourism. I would love to go back!

  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled with family
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1  Thank Pagliardo
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 3 June 2017

Thank you so much for this kind review.....indeed La Mariposa is very lucky to be situated in such a friendly and welcoming community! We appreciate it and are glad that our guests do too. It was great to have you with us and hope you return someday.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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