Update from Paulette
We have just started using the new choza (a Nahuatl word meaning thatched cabin) and it is rather amazing! We will get a photo up as soon as possible of the completed cabin. It gives us three more rooms (with an outside latrine and warm shower) which enables us to revise our price structure ie put them up! Except that is for homestay volunteers (and this aspect of the Mariposa is really taking off) who see a reduction in price!
Those of you who have been here recently will know that our wage bill is now in excess of $2000 per week (which is actually great news as the employment aspect always was the main idea behind the Mariposa and it is of course $2000 going direct into the local economy. But it does mean we need to raise prices somewhat. Below is the current information.
A note on our prices (revised prices take effect from 1st July 2010):
We know that many travellers travel on a limited budget but we would ask you to think carefully about your journey and how you are intending to spend your money. For most travellers the really expensive bit is, of course, the air flight and not your stay here.
Nicaragua is, as we never tire of pointing out, the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere after Haiti. The majority of Nicaraguans live on a REALLY limited budget – for example, over 50% earn less then $2 per day and a pound of rice costs almost a dollar! We are trying, in a very small way, to do something about that – the money you spend at the Mariposa goes DIRECTLY into the local economy and community – not one dollar is taken out of the country as profit.
This is what happens to your $350 per week:
- The central goal of the Mariposa is to provide as much meaningful employment in the local community as possible, we also pay above average wages and provide good working conditions. Our wage bill is over $2000 per week (and we only have eight rooms plus the rustic, thatched cabin so you can see how that adds up!).
- We financially support a number of projects in the community – including building a pre-school area in an impoverished primary school; funding a conservation teacher in the secondary school; purchasing trees and seeds for re-aforestation; 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.
- Oh, and you also happen to get a very good deal for your money at the Mariposa – but that you can check 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. ——————————————————————————–
PRICES: Per person per week (7 nights): / Per person per month (4 weeks)
- Eco-hotel/Spanish classes/afternoon activities – $350 / $1200
- Cabin (upstairs room)/Spanish classes/activities – $300 / $1000
- Cabin (downstairs room)/Spanish classes/activities – $250 / $800
- Homestay/Spanish classes/activities – $300 / $1000
- Homestay/Spanish classes/volunteer work (5 half days) – $225 / $750
- Daily rate per person (without Spanish classes): $25 bed and breakfast, additional meals $5 .
Please pay within three days of your arrival. We cannot accept credit cards as yet; dollars or cordobas, national or US cheque are acceptable. Do not bring travelers cheques as they are extremely difficult to cash in Nicaragua. There are ATM machines accessible from the Mariposa but please note that they have a daily limit on withdrawals (currently $400 in San Marcos).
This price 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 central 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 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 programme of interesting, fun activities/visits designed to get to know Nicaragua and continue to improve your Spanish. Horseriding is also included. Volunteers are welcome to do activities when not working.
- 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. All Nicaraguan taxes are also included.
DISCOUNTS: ONE DISCOUNT PER PERSON – this includes the monthly discount (see above)
- 50% for 12 years old and under
- 10% – students (within the last year, proof required!); 2 or more adults sharing a room; group bookings of 6 or more adults; employees of NGOs (proof required).
Discounts do not apply to the daily rate.
- Extra individual Spanish tuition is $8 per hour
- Pick up and drop off at the airport is $35 for one person; $50 for two; $60 for more than two – price is each way.
- We can help you plan your weekend trips for no extra charge; the cost of taking a bi-lingual Mariposa guide/driver is $20 per day plus exepnses.
- We do not charge for Saturday trips but we do ask guests to cover the costs of transport (whether public or the Mariposa bus) and the guide/driver’s lunch.
- Saturday and Sunday classes cost $10 per day for 4 hours.
- Guests pay for their own entrance fees to national parks etc and any food/drink consumed outside the Mariposa.
- Massages can be arranged for 300 cordobas per hour (about $15)
- Beer is $1 per bottle and wine $2 per glass.
PRICES FOR VOLUNTEERS:
- Per person per week (7 nights): $225
- Per person per month (4 weeks): $750
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.
INSURANCE: 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. ——————————————————————————–