Every geocache you find is classified into a "type". This will help you know the style of geocache you are looking for, or even if the cache is actually at the location shown on the map or GPS capable device you are using.
Some geocaches require extra work to be done prior to finding them and these types will give you an insight into what's needed.
The coordinates listed on the traditional cache page are the exact location for the cache and can be found in a container at the given coordinates.
These containers vary in size with smaller containers ("micro cache") having only space for a log book.
The general rule of thumb is, "If you take an item, leave an item, and write in the logbook." Some caches are themed, so make sure to read the description before going on a hunt.
A multi-cache ("multiple") involves two or more locations, the final location being a physical container. Most multi-caches have a hint to find the second cache, and the second cache has hints to the third, and so on.
Offset: This cache is similar to the multi-cache except that the initial coordinates are for a location containing information that encodes the final cache coordinates. An example would be to direct the finder to a plaque where the digits of a date on the plaque correspond to coordinates of the final cache.
Night Cache: These multi-stage caches are designed to be found at night and generally involve following a series of reflectors with a flashlight to the final cache location.
Mystery or Puzzle Caches
This cache requires one to discover information, or it can involve complicated puzzles you will first need to solve to determine the coordinates.
The coordinates listed are not of the actual cache location but a general reference point, such as a nearby parking location.
Due to the increasing creativity of geocaching, this becomes the staging ground for new and unique challenges, such as coordinates hidden in a sudoku puzzle, other caches might involve “Da Vinci Code” style clues, answers to general knowledge questions, crossword clues or mathematical puzzles. In other cases, additional information is necessary to complete the find, such as a padlock combination to access the cache.
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. For more information about EarthCaches visit http://www.earthcache.org/.
A Wherigo cache is similar to a multi-stage cache hunt that uses a Wherigo cartridge to guide the player. The player plays the cartridge and finds a physical cache sometime during cartridge play, usually at the end. Not all Wherigo cartridges incorporate geocaches into game play.
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.
Letterboxing is similar to Geo-caching, but you use a series of clues to find a container. Once you find the container (or letterbox), you take a carved stamp from the box and stamp your personal logbook. You then take your carved stamp and stamp the letterbox's log book.
Letterbox Hybrid: A letterbox is another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates. In some cases, however, a letterbox has coordinates, and the owner has made it a letterbox and a geocache.
An Event Cache is a gathering of local geocachers or geocaching organisations. The Event Cache page specifies a time for the event and provides coordinates to its location. After the event has ended, it is archived.
This is an event that is attended by over 500 people. Mega Events are typically annual events, usually attracting geocachers from all over.
Cache-In Trash-Out (CITO) Events:
While on a cache hunt, participants collect litter along the trails and properly dispose of it. Cache In Trash Out Events are much larger clean-up events that involve and benefit the larger community. This variation on event caching is a coordinated activity of trash pickup and other maintenance to improve the environment.
This is an event with an attendance of over 5000 people, attracting geocachers from all over the world.
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 cases, 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.
Virtual Caches are "grandfathered" meaning existing caches remain, but no new ones can be published. These are quite rare and sought after.
This is another grandfathered cache type.
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.
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.
At this stage, Lab-Caches are on available at Mega and Giga events