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LIME All roads in Puerto Rico lead to San Juan, the economic and cultural hub of island life. It's got something for everyone: beaches, bars, delicious food and raucous nightlife. Spend your days soaking up the sun at Condado Beach, famous since the 1920s, and offering parasailing and jet- skis. Nearby Isla Verde Beach offers great snorkelling, while the prettiest beach by far is Ocean Park, a sandy gold oasis just east of Condado. Once the sun goes down, head to SoFo – aka South Fortalez St – in Viejo San Juan; this former Spanish colonial stronghold is an intriguing maze of cobblestone byways. SoFo is lined with bright and breezy eateries like La Querencia, Parrot Club and – a favourite late- night/ early- morning spot – La Bombonera. PUERTO RICO LIMELITE 16 lime January - March 2009 LOVE It all boils down to beisbol and politics in Puerto Rico. Islanders are passionately attached to their sports teams, but PR's strong ties to the US mean the New York Yankees get as much love as the local Santurce players. As for politics, it's all about the age- old question of independence: should PR separate itself from the US, or maintain its century- old commonwealth status? If words fail you on both topics, you'd better be a good salsa dancer. Head to Nono's, El Batey or Café Hijos de Borinquen and let your feet do your talking. LIVE Puerto Rico can be crossed in under a day, but there's enough excitement on the island to keep you occupied for weeks. Start off with an underground exploration of the Parque de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy, a network of 268 caves. A tram will take you down to Cueva Clara, full of toothy stalactites, river crabs, hairy tarantulas, and more than 100,000 bats ( they only come out at night). From there it's an easy drive into the highlands to check out the Arecibo Observatory, a massive satellite station with the world's largest radio telescope. On the other side of the mountains you'll fi nd El Parque Ceremonial Indigena Caguana, a well- preserved Taino site with stone monoliths and a series of small bateys – ceremonial ball courts over 800 years old. Don't miss the island's three biggest natural wonders: El Yunque, a stunning rainforest full of croaking coqui frogs and misty palm trees, Guanica's Dry Forest, a bizarre stretch of 10,000 dusty acres packed with more than 600 desert creatures, and La Parguera, a seaside village with the island's best snorkelling and – a stunning sight – a phosphorescent bay full of dinofl agellantes, natural sea life that give off a sparkling light at night. LEARN Like most Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico's history is inextricably linked to Spain. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the jutting, brooding face of El Morro, the ancient Spanish fort that hangs from a cliff at the tip of Old San Juan. Other hidden wonders in Old San Juan include the Capilla del Cristo ( Christ's Chapel), a tiny sanctuary near El Parque de las Palomas where the faithful leave behind little silver statues of saints, and La Casita, the bright yellow gatehouse that greets visitors at the San Juan dock. If all that history leaves you parched, sign on for the Bacardi Rum factory tour. You'll get two free drinks and an informative overview of the Bacardi distillery. THE INSIDE TRACK ON GETTING THE BEST OUT OF ISLAND LIFE BY GINGER OTIS