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Backpacking Nicaragua tips– places... Ok for solo trip?

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Hi there!
I 'm travelling solo to Central America in March, flying to San Hose, and consider for later to enter Nicaragua from there, for a week - ten day trip -I have just started researching via forum and soon guidebooks.
Could you suggest some nice spots to visit in Nicaragua, mostly half south part of the country, at low budget levels of comfort?
Resorts and travel companies, are out of the question…
My interests would be beaches, culture, villages, forest, volcanoes… well, maybe too ambitious for backpacking? We’ll see…
I 'll move around with public transport, stay at simple hotels/ hostels, walk around cities and villages, have some daytrips to nature from there, possibly on our own with other travelers, or with the help of a local guide .
Safety is a concern for me also, as a solo traveller. When backpacking you are exposed more openly to the situations around you, and Nicaragua has some discouraging statistics on those....
Many thanks, happy travels to all!
Nikolaos

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