La Mariposa Spanish School & Eco-Hotel in Nicaragua


Land Appeal letter

Dear Friends

There have been many changes since La Mariposa first opened its doors to guests 6 years ago. Starting with 5 employees we are proud that we currently support a huge range of projects, employ 45 local staff, produce organic vegetables whilst providing a home for our much-loved rescued animals including: 13 horses, 8 dogs, 5 cats, 4 monkeys and 2 toucans! It was always the intention that La Mariposa would be more than your average 'language school'. Most would agree that we have succeeded in that respect!

This year we have an exciting yet financially challenging project ahead of us; after ups and downs (especially economically) we have decided that the way forward is to expand somewhat but in such a way that avoids exploiting any further our small and beautiful piece of land. The idea, simply, is to try and purchase the next door land (11 acres - the Mariposa has 2 acres). The main reason is our continuing goal of providing more sustainable employment in the local community. We plan to achieve this by -

    1. Establishing a small field study centre for groups of high school/college/university students. We have already worked very successfully with a couple of groups (see www.tripadvisor for reviews), providing an exciting range of courses and activities.

    2. Continuing our work of reforestation and conservation.

    3. Expanding the organic farm.

    4. Offering trails and more opportunities for our guests to walk, bird watch, enjoy the local trees and relax.

All of which are important goals in themselves! We hope that you, our good friends, will share in this vision and join forces with us to help La Mariposa raise the much needed funds. Over the next 12 months we have set ourselves the challenge of raising $120,000. Paulette, who has just reached the grand old age of 60 years, is going to use her pension pay off from the UK to cover approx half this amount.

The field study centre will offer customized courses ranging from the history of the revolution to medicinal plants and everything in between, and not forgetting our famous Spanish classes. During our 6 years of existence the Mariposa has encountered a wealth of local talent and knowledge which we would make good use of. As well as, of course, bringing a little more income into the community. Our research indicates that similar ventures e.g. in Costa Rica charge up to $2000 per person per week - we would aim for something around $800.

We would use the extra land to construct a couple of dormitory accommodations and an open air (Mariposa style) classroom. Our increasing expertise in using environmentally friendly building materials (volcanic rock, bamboo) will prove invaluable and any building will obviously be carried out with minimal destruction, no felling trees.

Reforestation and conservation - As a guest at La Mariposa you may have taken a stroll around this area of rich woodland and meadow that borders our school. This piece of land is home to 4 magnificent Guanacaste Trees, the vast majority of which have been felled for use in the furniture industry. The loss of trees in this area has already provoked rises in temperature. (One of the reasons guests enjoy returning to the Mariposa from outside trips is it is so much cooler here - the reason? Our trees!)

The land is also a refuge for wildlife, with Nicaragua's national bird the Guardabarrancos as well as butterflies, squirrels, frogs, snakes, iguanas… and a stunning hawk released two years ago by the Mariposa has taken up permanent residence!

Preserving this land may seem like a meager act in the face of rapid deforestation across Central America. Nicaragua's Government has made concerted efforts to address this problem, yet the fact remains that between 1990 and 2005 Nicaragua lost a devastating 21% of its forest cover. With your help we can act on a micro-level to protect our local environment here in San Juan, we intend to conserve this land, replant hundreds of indigenous trees, encourage wildlife. The end result will provide further employment as well as opportunities for conservation work and education with local groups, school children and guests.

The organic farm - Apart from the wooded hillside, the land also has a flat area which borders directly onto the Mariposa land, where we already have small organic patch producing peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower (the iguana ate all our cucumber!). This area could be extended, together with the planting of more fruit trees (mangoes, oranges, papaya) and more forest trees - Guanacaste etc.

So - in the next year we need to raise $120,000 to purchase this land. This may seem like an enormous feat but we are determined to succeed and for sure some things in life are worth the extra effort! So if you are passionate about helping the community of San Juan and conserving the environment please support us.

Even the smallest donation will make a difference.

You can safely and very easily make a donation on our website www.mariposaspanishschool.com just scroll down to the bottom of the webpage and look for the 'PayPal' button.

If you would rather mail a check (this only applies in the US) - please make it out to Paulette Goudge and send it to Brian Peterson at:
Reverend Brian Peterson
Ascension Lutheran Church
6420 Hart Lane
Austin, Texas 78731-3137
Re: La Mariposa Land Appeal

And one final plea, we are of course looking at a variety of ways to fund this project, so if you know of any potential funding sources or have any contacts that may be interested in supporting our work please do forward this email.

I hope you will be able to help.

Gracias por todo
Paulette and the Mariposa team.



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.


La Mariposa is not affiliated with any religious or political organisation.


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