Guide to geocaching: what is it and how to get started

The biggest treasure hunt in the world is right on your doorstep. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s called geocaching. Our beginners guide to geocaching explains what it is and how to do it.

Cache hidden in a tree trunk - Getty Images

Enjoy a modern day treasure hunt by searching for geocaches around the UK. Our guide explains what geocaching is and how to do it.

What is geocaching?

Geocaching is a modern treasure hunt to find hidden geocaches using a GPS and a map.

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Children geocaching - Getty Images
Children of all ages will delight in finding geocaching/Credit: Getty Images

How do you find geocaches?

There are geocaches everywhere. We found our first geocache on the way home from school this winter. It was just 300m from our front door, tucked behind a fence on a public footpath.

With over 2.7 million caches globally, there’s bound to be a cache near you, wherever you live. Even tiny towns have one or two caches, so you won’t have to drag the kids up the nearest mountain to try it.

What is the reward of finding a geocache?

Your reward? Finding the cache – some are extremely difficult. You swap treasure – take something small, leave something small, jot your code name in the logbook, then enter your find onto the website.

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Geocache hidden in a glass jar/Credit: Getty Images
Enjoy the delight of finding a hidden geocache/Credit: Getty Images

What equipment do you need for geocaching?

To embark on this exciting blend of virtual and real-world exploration, you will need a GPS activated hand-held mobile device, such as an iPhone, Android or Windows Phone. This will act as your navigation system. Using this you can download the free official geocaching app, and you can choose a hidden geocache to navigate to.

A map and GPS - Getty Imahes
A GPS device and map is all you need to start geocaching/Credit: Getty Images

How to go geocaching

1. Go to geocaching.com and put in your location. Discover caches near you and choose one to hunt for. Note the coordinates (or save to your smartphone or GPS).

2. Get outside! Find it? Jot down your note and leave your treasure.

3. Go home and log your find.