Types of Geocache – A guide to the differences

Types of Geocache
Types of Geocache – A guide to the differences

As a family we are big fans of the treasure hunting game Geocaching. Hunting out hidden treasures with the use of the GPS system, our mobile phones, and a handy little app. You can read more about what Geocaching is on the page what is Geocaching.

But geocaching isn’t just about following a little arrow on your phone app. There are caches that involve tools; caches that require puzzle solving; even some that involve getting your photo taken! Read on to find out a little more about the various different types of Geocache you might come across on your adventures.

Types of Geocache – A guide to the differences

Below are the names, and details of the types of geocache you can currently find on the geocaching website, and within the app. The first lot are live and can still be created. While the later ones you are no longer able to create, but might still come across.

Traditional Cache:

This type of cache is the most basic in terms of finding (usually) and will contain at least a log. Traditional caches come in all shapes and sizes they may be as small as a nano, or as large as the cache owner can manage to hide.  There are all manner of traditional caches out there, we’ve found pots, ammo cans, film canisters, key boxes and have heard of some amazing ones as well.


A Multi-Cache will involve visiting at least two locations, but maybe many more, depending on how sadistic the owner of the cache is. The final location will be a physical container (again of any size). Most Multi-Caches have a first stage with a clue that you then use to find the second and so on, but there are many variations, so make sure you read the cache details thoroughly.

Puzzle Cache or Mystery Cache:

When you first attempt a mystery type cache remember that the coordinates listed on the cache page/app are likely to be fake! The final coordinates will only be revealed once you have solved a series of puzzles or instructions. these can be great fun, but may involve a little maths (that is why we take Tubs, our little maths whizz) and you will likely need to take notes, so make sure you always carry a notepad in your geocaching bag.

Tubs and Zoe search ot a mystery Cache
Tubs & Zoe search out a Mystery Cache


EarthCaches are special locations that people visit to learn about a unique feature of the Earth. EarthCache pages have informative, educational, notes alongside the coordinates of the cache, the aim being to teach as well as encourage exploration. To log an EarthCache, you will, most likely, have to provide answers to set questions found only at the location. If you would like more information about EarthCaches visit Earthcache.org.

Letterbox Hybrid:

Letterboxing is not quite the same as geocaching. Instead of a set of co-ordinates, you use clues to find the treasure. However in some cases people who set up letterboxes also set them as geocaches. This means geocachers can also find them (the coordinates will be posted like any other cache). Letterbox caches will include a stamp, please leave these in the box, for letterboxers to record their visit.

Event Cache:

An Event Cache, rather than being a cache you can go and hunt for, is a gathering of local geocachers (or a geocaching club, organisation or group). The page will specify times and dates for the event and the coordinate provided will be the meeting location. After the event has ended, the cache will be archived.

Cache in Trash Out:

Cache In Trash Out is a great project, supported by the caching community, that is set up to help clean up our environment. The aim of this project is to clean up the outdoors areas that we get to spend time in when we go geocaching. From what I have heard (we have never seen one locally) these events are large gatherings of cachers whose aim is to clean-up litter, planting trees and vegetation, and build trails and much more.

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.

Hunting for a Micro (a traditional type of cache)
Hunting for a Micro (a traditional type of cache)

Giga Event Cache:

Sorry this one is pinched verbatim from the geocaching website as I’ve never heard of it until researching this post:

“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.”

Geocache website

WhereIGo Cache:

We have one of these near us, but have yet to figure out what we do for them, they involve something called a “WhereIGo cartridge” I assume these can be downloaded onto the WhereIGo app? these have  set of locations or interactions that you have to complete in the order stated in order to get to the final location, and log the cache; For more on WhereIGo visit WhereIGo.com

Geocaching HQ Cache:

Another one I’d not heard of until I started research:

“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 via hqvisits@geocaching.com. Appointments help us keep Geocaching HQ running smoothly. Visits are available Tuesday through Friday, from 2–3pm. For the ultimate HQ experience, we recommend scheduling your visit for Friday.”

Geocaching Website

GPS Adventure Cache:

There is clearly much I have to learn:

“A find of this type represents attendance at the GPS Adventures Maze Exhibit or a regional variation. GPS Adventures Mazes are designed to teach people of all ages about GPS technology and geocaching through interactive science experiences.”

Geocaching Website

Lab Caches:

Yeah OK, so I’m not sure there is much chance of me finding one of these but if you do well done:

“Welcome to Geocaching HQ Research & Development. 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.”

Geocaching Website

Night Cache:

Not strictly a type of cache these geocaches designed to be found only at night, in fact they may be impossible to find during the daytime.  Reflective strips or tacks, are often used to mark the trail for cachers to follow using a flashlight. While others will require the use of a U.V. flashlight to find clues that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. We have one of these local to us (Linford Wood), but it is in an area I’m not hugely sure I want to wander at night, but maybe one day we will.

Types of Geocache – All you need to know Pin Me.
Types of Geocache – All you need to know
Pin Me.

Some types of geocache can still be hunted but you can no longer create them on the Geocaching website. These are known as Grandfather caches. Why? Not a clue, but some of these look fun so I’m glad they still exist. But making new ones would be great. Anyway here are the Grandfather Cache types.

Virtual Caches:

Virtual Caches are all about the location, rather than finding a container, a bit like earth caches logging them usually involves being able to answer questions or provide a picture etc. Whatever the goal, the idea is that you must actually visit the location in order to log the cache. they were designed to be only used at very special places.

Webcam Cache:

The idea of these caches is that a WebCam watches the area and you must be caught on film by that camera (and screen capture that image) in order to prove you were there and then log the cache. They are often found at Universities and locations featuring webcams that are fed live to websites. easy right? No probably not.

Project A.P.E Caches:

These were special caches for the Planet of the Apes film:

“In 2001, fourteen geocaches were placed in conjunction with 20th Century Fox to support the movie Planet of the Apes. Each geocache represented a fictional story in which scientists revealed an Alternative Primate Evolution (A.P.E.). These geocaches were made using specially marked ammo containers and contained an original prop from the movie. Only one Project A.P.E. cache still exists today.”

Geocach website

10 Years! Event Cache:

When Geocaching celebrated its 10th birthday there were special events caches hidden, these caches are known as A 10 Years! Event Caches.

Locationless (reverse) Caches:

A what? Ah? OK, yeah I think I get it:

“A Locationless Cache could be considered the opposite of a Traditional Cache. Instead of finding a hidden container, you locate a specific object and log its coordinates. New locationless geocaches are now Waymarks.”

Geocache Website
Captured while out Geocaching
Captured while out Geocaching

So there you have it, all the types of Geocache you are likely to run into out there, I hope you have found this post useful or helpful in some way. Please let me know in the comments below if you did, and don’t forget to share it with your friends.

Happy Caching

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Types of Geocache - a guide to the different types of Geocache that you might find when out playing
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  • Sarah Ebner

    Love all the information in this post! My daughter really enjoys geocaching and I've done some with her, but I didn't realise there were quite so many types. I'm going to show her this and see if she even knew 🙂 #countrykids

    • AshleyBeolens

      I didn't realise until I started researching, I knew about quite a few, but then there are some that I was like "Huh? What is that?" it's always fun to learn though 🙂

    • AshleyBeolens

      I'm sure someone out there will frown on the game, but so far it has been nothing but fun and fresh air, so who can argue 🙂

  • Coombe Mill

    Oh my goodness I had no idea there was more than one kind of cache never mind all the groupings you mention here. Each has their own special value and Ii can see why they would get you hooked. I think I like the sound of the puzzle one and the environment one for their educational qualities and good to society, though the night one sounds fun too.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    • AshleyBeolens

      Some of the puzzle ones are great, some we sit there looking and just thing "nope, not a clue what this means" I guess that is part of the fun too, and I'm sure over time we will go back to those and understand completely and wonder how we missed it in the first place 🙂

  • Emma T

    Crikey it's so complicated. I never realised there were so many types. We've still not tried one, but I know there's 3 near us so we really should #countrykids #brilliantblogposts

    • AshleyBeolens

      There is a lot to learn, but you can get away with knowing very little to start with, which is why it is such a great hobby

  • Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    I never realised there were so many different types of geocaches or that there were events. So far I've only come across traditional caches, although there is a multi-cache near us as well that I haven't tried to find yet. So interesting to learn more about all the different types of geocaches 🙂 #countrykids

    • AshleyBeolens

      Glad you found it interesting. We started just doing the traditional ones, but the multi caches are our favourites 🙂

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