Chasing treasures by geocaching
Childhood is often filled with dreams of adventures in faraway places and quests for hidden treasure. Unfortunately, as we age, we learn to put away juvenile dreams and bury innocent imaginations in favor of reality. But geocaching is bringing fantasy to life for kids and adults alike, and new technology is making it easier than ever!
What is geocaching?
Geocaching is a real-life treasure hunt using a GPS or a GPS-enabled device, such as a smartphone or smartwatch. Simply enter in the coordinates and follow the device to a location where some sort of box or capsule is strategically hidden. Inside is a present, token or message. The finder is welcome to either leave the item in the box for the next person, or take it and replace it with another small token or present for whoever comes behind him. It’s an adventurous gift exchange!
To get started, you will need to know where geocaching trails are. There are several great sites to find geocaching trails. For a great review of several sites, visit Top Ten Reviews. Geocaching is enjoyed by families of small kids and even skilled climbers or hikers, as the hikes are rated by skill and accessibility. Therefore they can be super easy or extremely challenging.
Several apps can also connect your smartphone’s GPS with geocaching coordinates. Here are some of the highest rated:
- Geocaching by Groundspeak: Rated four stars, the app is great for beginners and offers 18 different types of geocaches. You can also share your adventure with others by logging a “Found it!”
- CacheSense: One of the best parts of this app is its ability to sync with your Geocaching.com account. This simplifies the entire process and gives geocachers options on which app’s interface they prefer. It comes with a map, list of locations, compass, databases, list of recent finds and a personal profile. CacheSense is great for the weekend cacher as well as the hardcore geocacher. The app also has a 30-day trial period.
- c:geo: This free app doesn’t use the Geocaching.com interface, so if you don’t have a Geocaching.com premium membership, you won’t be limited by the restrictions placed on standard members. In addition, there is a service called Go 4 Cache which allows users to see the locations of other c:geo users. However, this app does have fewer features than the more expensive apps, but it’s fine for those who are new to the activity.
- Looking4Cache Pro: Looking4Cache Pro is capable of operating multiple accounts, which allows geocaching teams to log their finds simultaneously. If you recently converted from Android to iPhone, you will find that this app eases the transition as it is very similar to Android apps in terms of flexibility and functionality.
- Geocaching Buddy, $9.99: Geocaching Buddy is a handy little app that remembers every clue found, calculates new routes, and can even remember where you parked so you can return to your car after finding the cache. You can post a log and a photo, create a photo album, and even back-up your information via email. If you’d like to see how it works, you can watch the demo on YouTube or on the Geocaching Buddy support website.
- Geocaching Plus: This app is very popular among Windows Phone users and works well with Geocaching.com as well as Garmin. With a 4.5 star rating, Geocaching Plus improves your geocaching experience by allowing you to view caches on a live map, see details of the cache like its description, logbook, and photos, and pin caches to your desktop. The icons are also more modern, which makes for a more aesthetically pleasing experience. This app is well liked for its accuracy, simplicity and expediency.
- maaloo Geocaching: This app is great for newbies and pros alike. It has features to help users make notes and chart their progress. And, both online and offline access to several maps plus a transparent compass can make navigation much simpler. Geocaches can also be filtered by difficulty, terrain, type, owner and name.