La Mariposa Spanish School & Eco-Hotel in Nicaragua

La Mariposa Spanish School & Eco-Hotel in Nicaragua

This is what happens to your money:

  • The original investment in the Mariposa came from Paulette’s savings and pension – this has not been and will not be repaid. Paulette and the interns work without pay (Paulette has done so from the beginning of the Mariposa), just for accommodation and food.

  • First and foremost La Mariposa is an employment project; to that end we employ as many local people as possible. The average Mariposa wage bill is $3500 USD per week (tax and social security add another $500 USD per week). We also pay the legal requirements of 4 weeks paid holiday per year for the workers and a Xmas bonus of a full month’s salary for each worker (payable in Nov). This money goes directly into the local community. Unlike most tourist developments in Nicaragua not one dollar of your money leaves Nicaragua.

  • We pay homestay families $50 USD per week per student, your Spanish teacher receives the equivalent of $50 USD. Of the $225 USD paid by students living in homestay and volunteering, a further $50 USD goes to pay the wages of the worker working alongside you on the farm or in the grounds of the Mariposa. The remainder goes to help pay our overall wage bill - the kitchen staff (7 workers), administrative staff, maintenance staff, the team of 5 workers who look after the horses and the organic farm, the gardener and the two workers employed to look after our rescued animals. Our food bill each week is over $500 USD, partly because we do not shop in the cheaper wholesale stores (which are often not Nicaraguan owned) but in local more expensive family run markets and stores. Our philosophy is to contribute as much as we can to the local economy and so we cannot offer "free" volunteer placements.

  • Whatever money remains after all the above expenses have been paid is invested in repairs and improvements to the Mariposa. We have been open just over 5 years and are now beginning to break even.

  • Furthermore, and with the help of donations, we financially support a number of projects in the community - including building a pre-school area in an impoverished primary school; funding a teacher to help young children especially with reading; purchasing trees and seeds for re-forestation; we also spend a good deal on caring for our ever increasing number of rescued animals and we have other projects in the pipeline as soon as sufficient funding becomes available.

  • Very little of the food we consume is from supermarkets - we buy local, in season produce from local small farmers and in the market. This is more expensive but, again, is more helpful to the local economy.

  • And life in Nicaragua is NOT cheap!! Many Westerners have the idea that "Third World" countries must be cheaper than so-called developed nations - this is just not true. Labour may be cheaper but goods including food and gasoline are actually in many cases more expensive.

  • TIPPING - tipping at the Mariposa is entirely voluntary and much appreciated! You are welcome to tip individual workers but please remember that many workers work behind the scenes and are less visible to guests. They often don't receive any tips at all. Bearing that in mind it is preferable to give an overall tip which can be shared out (once enough money has accumulated) between all the workers.

  • Oh, you also happen to get a very good deal for your money at the Mariposa - but that you can check that out for yourself.

So - if you are tempted to ask us for a further discount, please think again and maybe even save up enough before you come to offer us a donation for one of our projects.


High Season: December through March, June and July

Week  (7 nights)
Month  (4 weeks)
Hotel, classes, activities
$450 USD
$1550 USD
Cabin, classes, activities
$400 USD
$1350 USD
Homestay, classes, activities
$400 USD
$1350 USD
Homestay, classes, volunteer work
$250 USD   No further discounts
$825 USD   No further discounts
During the high season we cannot take bookings for less than one week nor for the hotel only (unless you are prepared to pay the quoted price above.)

Low Season 2013: April, May, August through November

Week  (7 nights)
Month  (4 weeks)
Hotel, classes, activities
$400 USD
$1350 USD
Cabin, classes, activities
$350 USD
$1150 USD
Homestay, classes, activities
$350 USD
$1150 USD
Homestay, classes, volunteer work
$250 USD   No further discounts
$825 USD   No further discounts
There is a 15% IVA tax (value added tax) on the hotel portion of your bill (which usually adds up to about $5 - $15/week USD)

  • Please pay within three days of you arrival if possible. Talk to one of us if this is difficult.

  • Best for us is US dollars cash, we cannot yet accept credit cards. There are ATM machines accessible from the Mariposa but they sometimes limit daily withdrawals.

  • You can aslo pay using a PERSONAL check. THIS ONLY APPLIES TO checks of US or Nicaraguan banks. A check needs to be made payable to PAULETTE GOUDGE.

These prices includes:
  • In the eco-hotel, a simple but comfortable room with private bathroom and solar heated shower. Our choza (traditional word for cabin) is built of locally accessed eco-materials - volcanic rock, bamboo and palm thatch (the views are over trees and coffee bushes) and there is an outdoor latrine and warm shower. Homestays are with local families, clean and friendly with basic sanitation (homestays are also welcome to use the Mariposa latrine and shower).

  • All eco-hotel rooms have solar powered lighting and ceiling fans.

  • All eco-hotel rooms have garden view and access to the terraces and gardens.

  • Three freshly cooked Nicaraguan-style meals per day with locally sourced produce, mostly vegetarian. We also serve our own produce whenever available - including free range eggs and organic coffee. Students in homestay generally eat weekday lunch in the Mariposa and breakfast/dinner with their families.

  • 20 hours of formal Spanish classes - grammar and conversation. The classes are mostly one on one, max three students and are held in small classrooms or in the delightful Mariposa grounds.

  • Afternoon and weekend programme of interesting, fun activities/visits designed to get to know Nicaragua and continue to improve your Spanish. Horseriding is also included.

  • Use of the Mariposa library (books in Spanish and English), TV/DVD room.

  • Wireless internet connection

  • We can provide you with a local guide anytime to explore on foot, on horseback, by bus or just to chat in Spanish.

Add $80/$140 USD to the price for 6/8 hours of Spanish classes per day (30/40 hours per week)
Extra classes on holidays are $15 USD, weekdays $10 USD per hour
Massages $20 USD per hour
Airport ride / 1 person is $40 USD; 2 people is $60 USD; ove 3 $70 USD (1 way)

Masaya costs $20 for one person, San Juan del Sur $90 and San Jorge (for Ometepe) is $70. All prices are one way.
For extra trips the cost is $15 USD per person for half a day and $20 USD for a full day (minimum 3 per trip)

Guests pay for their own entrance fees to national parks etc and any food/drink consumed outside the Mariposa.
Please note that the prices above cover 3 meals per day, and a coffee/juice in the break. Extra drinks/snacks are NOT included. We do not charge for these, but we would ask you to consider an appropriate donation at the end of your stay.
Students in homestay pay for breakfast and dinner every day in their homestay. Mon. to Fri. lunch is at the Mariposa. All weekend meals are in the homestay.
Students in homestay pay and do EITHER the volunteer work option OR the activities option. If there is space then volunteers are welcome to do the occasional activity with the group, but you may be asked to contribute to the cost of the gasoline and driver.
Please do not forget to note your beers and wines and pay us a the end of your stay.


  • ONE DISCOUNT PER PERSON - this includes the monthly discount (see above)

  • 25% for 12 years and under

  • 10% - students (within the last year, proof required!); 2 or more adults sharing a room; group bookings of 6 or more adults.

  • Discounts do not apply to the daily rate.

  • Stays for part of a week (over one week) are charged pro rata

  • Per person per week (7 nights):           $250 USD

  • Per person per month (4 weeks):         $825 USD

  • This price includes:

    • Homestay with a local family

    • 3 meals per day - either with your family or at the Mariposa

    • 20 hours of Spanish class per week

    • Organized and supported volunteer placement (see Volunteering for more information)

  • A note on homestays:

    • the families are all known to La Mariposa, are helpful and friendly but please let us know if there are any problems you cannot resolve within the family.

    • in relation to security, the family members are trustworthy but please note that other people often pass through houses.

    • bathroom arrangements are basic (usually latrines and cold water bucket style showers) but clean and perfectly sanitary.

Please note that students who elect the homestay/Spanish classes/volunteer work package receive a significant discount for doing volunteer work and therefore forgo the afternoon activities program. Students wishing to participate in both volunteer work and afternoon activities will be charged the price for homestay/Spanish classes/activities and can help out during their stay (for example gardening, construction, English classes, animals), but we can not guarantee a volunteer placement. Volunteer placements are reserved first and foremost for students participating full-time in volunteer work.

Guests, students and volunteers are responsible for their own insurance; we do all we can to ensure your health and safety but cannot take responsibility for loss, illness, accident.

If you would like to help us continue our community projects,
please consider a tax-free donation
which can be given through our friend, Reverend Brian Peterson
at Ascension Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas.

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