Winter’s coming, and though the holidays are stressful, the slushy months following them can be downright depressing. Relatives go home, work resumes, and Christmas trees, carefully selected only weeks prior, meet their fate on the curb. A mid-winter tropical getaway may just seem like the stuff of fantasy, but it’s not as difficult as you might think if you head to ultra-accessible Puerto Rico. Though it’s not a full state yet (though that could change soon, based on a Congressional decision), no passport is required, and English is an official language.

Like you, the Kipling Fundamental 25th Anniversary Large Backpack was not made to sit at home, counting the days until summer. With enough room for a guidebook, a water bottle, souvenirs, your wallet, and sunscreen, it’s the perfect companion for a rum-buzzed stroll around Old San Juan. But it shines off the beaten path, too, with plenty of space for a set of dry clothes should you happen upon a secluded waterfall on a hike through the El Yunque Rainforest. The backpack’s crinkle nylon is lightweight and durable, and comes in cheerful, bright colors to match Puerto Rico’s beloved architecture.  

Pack lightly; winter highs climb into the 80s, and visitors who might be snowed in at home can meet their vitamin D quotas in shorts, tank tops, and swimsuits.

Standout sights include Bahia Mosquito, a designated wildlife preserve on the island of Vieques, with one of the highest concentrations of phosphorescent dynoflagellates anywhere in the world. Sometimes referred to as “Bioluminescent Bay,” Bahia Mosquito enchants visitors with an all-natural light show anytime the water is disturbed. Guided tours take visitors out in non-polluting electric boats, but intrepid visitors can go it alone and observe via rugged Sun Bay Road. Swimming is safe and permitted.

A tour of the Bacardi Rum Factory in Old San Juan is a great adults-only outing. Learn the origins of rum, the history of the Bacardi family, and indulge in a couple of (complimentary) libations. A bottle purchased in the gift shop makes a great thank-you gift for your neighbor back home, shoveling your driveway.

If you find a Kipling under your tree this year, don’t wait until June to take it for a spin–the perfect destination is just a plane ride away.

Photo credit: Emilio Santacoloma / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: paula soler-moya / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND