What is geocaching?



Geo-caching is an international sport based around the idea of a treasure hunt with high tech assistance. Participants use a Global Positioning Satellite receiver or other navigational techniques to find small interesting containers called "Geo-caches”, usually hidden in out-of-the-way places in scenic or interesting locations outdoors. These have been put in place by fellow enthusiasts, who then publish the details on the web so that other people can find them.


A geo-cache is usually a waterproof plastic box containing - at the very minimum - a log-book and pen for visitors to record their visit. Caches often also contain other small trinkets or gifts initially placed there by the creator of the cache.


These include toys, books, photos of the cache owner’s family, CDs or special medals called “Geo-coins” or “travel bugs” which are often moved from one cache to another by collectors and tracked on specialist geo-caching websites so that the original owner can watch them travel around the world like a message in a bottle. Geo-caching etiquette usually dictates that any gifts taken from a cache be replaced by another of equal value, although occasionally a cache maker will leave a high value item as a special prize for the first finder of a difficult-to-locate cache.


To find a cache, a participant will usually visit a website such as www.geocaching.com which contains a database of caches that have been placed by other users. You can find details of caches listed by geographical region or in your local postcode area. Geocaching Wales specifically focuses on caches in the Principality.


These details can be an explicit grid reference which can be programmed directly into a player’s GPS, or a series of cryptic clues to give the experience a more challenging feel. Sometimes these coordinates lead to one of a series of caches with a set of clues to the next site. Once they have found a cache, players will often write a diary entry on the sites relating the fun they had finding it and a photo of themselves nearby, creating a community feel among players.


Users are also free to submit to the site details of caches that they have prepared themselves. The sites give helpful advice on what sort of container to use, and any legal issues arising from placing a cache on public land.