The game of geocaching isn’t only searching for Tupperware in the woods & signing a piece of paper. While there are caches like this, there are also several other types of geocaches, which enhances the fun of the game and gives players reasons to enjoy going Geocaching. Some geocaches may have you go to multiple location coordinates only to find more coordinates to the final cache! Others are clever puzzles that you have to solve in order to decipher the coordinates to the cache. Bring your “thinking cap” for these puzzle caches, because you will be using your brain to crack the code to the geocache! But there are many other types of geocaches beyond these.
Read more: What is Geocaching?
Types of Geocaches You Need to Know
So to help make it easy for our readers to understand all the different types of geocaches out there, we’ve compiled this post that includes information from the official Geocaching site as well as links to some of our popular stories related to many of these types of geocaches.
This is the original type of geocache and the most straightforward. These geocaches will be a container at the given coordinates. The size may vary, but at minimum, all of these geocaches will have a logbook. Larger containers may contain items for trade and trackables. To see an example, check out our post Geocaching in Central Park – New York City.
These geocaches involve two or more locations, with the final location being a physical container with a logbook inside. There are many variations, but typically once you’re at the first stage, you will receive a clue to the whereabouts of the second stage. The second stage will have a clue for the third, and so on. We found a great example of a multi-cache here in Atlanta last summer. Click here to the full story Geocaching Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA – Just a Walk in the Park.
Puzzle Cache Geocache
The “catch-all” of geocache types, this type may involve complicated puzzles that you will first need to solve to determine the correct coordinates. Mystery/Puzzle Caches often become the staging ground for new and unique geocaches that do not fit in another category. An example of a puzzle cache is one that we found in Idaho a couple of months ago. Check out the story here: Geocaching Idaho’s Most Favored Geocache.
Earth Caches Geocaches
An EarthCache is a special geological location people can visit to learn about a unique feature of the Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources, and how scientists gather evidence. Typically, to log an EarthCache, you will have to provide answers to questions by observing the geological location. We have also written about EarthCaches and why we think they are so cool, and a perfect combination with our travels around the world. Check out some of our top EarthCaches from around the world.
LetterBox Hybrid Geocache
Letterboxing is another form of treasure hunting that uses clues instead of coordinates. In some cases, the letterbox owner has made their container both a letterbox and a geocache and posted its coordinates on Geocaching.com. If there is a stamp inside a Letterbox Hybrid, it is not an item intended for trade. The stamp is meant to remain in the box so that visitors can use it to record their visit. To read more about letterboxing, visit Letterboxing North America.
An Event Cache is a gathering of local geocachers or geocaching organizations. The Event Cache page specifies a time for the event and provides coordinates to its location. After the event has ended, it is archived. To read a story about an event cache, check out our recent story from the Maker Madness Geocaching Event we attended.
Mega Event Cache
A Mega-Event Cache is an Event Cache that is attended by 500+ people. Many Mega-Events offer geocachers a day of planned activities. There are often several days of additional activities surrounding a Mega-Event. These large events attract geocachers from all over the world and are often held annually. We have enjoyed going to some fun mega-events over the years. To learn more about them, click here to read our story Geocaching Events: What is a Mega Event.
Cache In Trash Out is the environmental initiative supported by the geocaching community. The main aim of this program is to clean up and preserve the natural areas that we enjoy while geocaching. These events are larger gatherings of geocachers that focus on litter clean-up, removal of invasive species, planting trees and vegetation, and trail building. We actually attended a CITO event last weekend to celebrate Earth Day. We really enjoyed ourselves and felt good about giving back to the community by helping to clean up one of our favorite state parks. Click here to read about our CITO experience!
Wherigo is a toolset for creating and playing GPS-enabled adventures in the real world. By integrating a Wherigo experience, called a cartridge, with finding a geocache, the geocaching hunt can be an even richer experience. Among other uses, Wherigo allows geocachers to interact with physical and virtual elements such as objects or characters while still finding a physical geocache container. A Wherigo-enabled GPS device is required to play a cartridge. Learn more at Wherigo.com.
Geocaching HQ Geocache
The Geocaching HQ Geocache is located at Geocaching HQ in Seattle, Washington. Geocachers interested in visiting HQ to log the geocache should make an appointment at least 48 hours in advance. Appointments help us keep Geocaching HQ running smoothly. Visits are available Tuesday through Friday, from 2–3 pm. For the ultimate HQ experience, we recommend scheduling your visit for Friday. To read more about things you can do while visiting Seattle, check out this post: Geocaching HQ GeoTour.
Lab Caches Geocaches
A Lab Geocache is an experimental and extremely rare geocache type. These geocaches are a way for us to innovate and test—often at the molecular-level—new ideas to make geocaching even better. By finding a Lab Geocache, you’re helping shape the future of geocaching.
This is one of the rarest geocache types available. A Giga-Event Cache is an event that is attended by 5000+ people. These events are similar to Mega-Events and may include activities, could last several days and are usually held annually. Since Giga-Events are so rare, they attract geocachers from all over the world. Watch Munich Germany’s 2015 Giga Event.
Retired Types of Geocaches (Grandfathered in & Can No Longer be Hidden)
A Virtual Cache is about discovering a location rather than a container. The requirements for logging a Virtual Cache vary—you may be required to answer a question about the location, take a picture, complete a task, etc… In any case, you must visit the coordinates before you can post your log. Although many locations are interesting, a Virtual Cache should be out of the ordinary enough to warrant logging a visit. To learn more, read our story Geocaching on the Abe Lincoln Parkway, Kentucky.
These are geocaches that use existing web cameras that monitor various areas like parks or business complexes. The idea is to get yourself in front of the camera and save a screen capture from the website where the camera is displayed in order to log a find. New webcam geocaches can be found in the Web Camera category on Waymarking.com.
*** Icons and definitions in this post were obtained at Geocaching.com
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