Ever heard of geocaching? Me neither, until one random day in Vancouver…
I found myself with a whole day to kill in one of Canada’s most incredible cities and, on a recommendation from an overly friendly barman, I ended up taking a lovely hike around Stanley Park, a big old forested area just outside town.
About an hour into my walk, I spotted a group of hikers huddled around a tree.
My first thought was that they’d found a dead body and, having seen Stand By Me multiple times and knowing no good comes of such situations, I decided to give them a wide berth. As I got closer, they seemed to be searching for something up a tree – it looked quite bizarre – so I slowly approached and asked what they were up to.
“We can’t really tell you…”
The oldest among them piped up and I started backing away, thinking about my loved ones, when another guy chimed in:
What followed was an excited and relieved exchange (them = excited, me = relieved I wasn’t about to be murdered) whereby I learned all about this madly passionate community of millions.
Geocaching turns the whole world into one massive treasure hunt.
It’s an “any day, any time adventure that can take you to amazing and beautiful places”. The idea is that you hunt for these caches by using clues you find in the Geocaching app – just load it up wherever you are and the app will direct you to your nearest cache.
There are currently 3 million geocaches in more than 190 countries – the chances are there’s one near you right now.
The treasures people have left for others to find range from small, funny trinkets to books to an $800 dollar diamond watch! With most though, the treasure is actually finding the geocache itself because, more often than not, you’ll have to solve a series of challenging clues to find it.
It essentially turns you into a real-life Indiana Jones (if Indy preferred using an iPhone instead of a whip). I don’t know about you, but embracing adventure like Indy sounds pretty good to me.
Since finding out about this strange pastime, I’ve found geocaches on the streets of Mombasa, near an abandoned lighthouse in Hawaii and the most beautiful of all: by a bin near Cardiff City’s stadium. If I’m ever at a loose end on holiday, Geocaching gives me the opportunity to spend a few hours seeing a new area in a completely different way.
Now, the itineraries on Flash Pack trips are already brimming with awesome activities – so it might be difficult to go off piste to find these – but I’ve cherry-picked six of the best looking geocaches in some of the areas a Flash Pack trip may take you.
Think of these as outstanding examples – but your group could try this on a ‘free day’. You never know, there’s probably an incredible geocache waiting to be found down the road from your house right now. Here are my top six:
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
I’m sure you’ve heard of Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon but in my humble opinion, you’ve not experienced it properly unless you’ve hunted down a jar of messages before plunging your body into the lagoon’s bright blue mineral baths. This one is more challenging than it looks.
Flash Pack adventure: Into the unknown of Iceland
Asura Caves, Nepal
The Asura Caves cache is just outside of Kathmandu. It’ll take you to the edge of beautiful cliffs and let you visit an old meditation hut before solving a series of riddles to get the final coordinates. When was the last time you had to get coordinates for something?! Brilliant.
Flash Pack adventure: Hike the Everest trail
The ‘When It Feels Natural’ cache, located just North of a village called Mucuyché. It even has instructions on what gear to use when driving to the location. The cache is near an amazing natural cenote (a ‘sinkhole’) that you can actually swim in.
Flash Pack adventure: Wild swim the Yucatan peninsula
Just outside Helsinki, Finland
Finnish geocachers are a bit more extreme and there’s a good few of them that call for experienced climbers. The ‘Burning Bridges’ cache warns people “DO NOT attempt to log this cache without proper safety equipment”. I mean, that just makes us want it to get this one so much more.
Flash Pack adventure: Break free in summertime Finland
Read more: 5 ways to make every day an adventure
The ‘Cast-a-Way’ cache clues in Cartagena are written entirely in the first person which suggests a lot of effort has gone into it and also the possibility we’re dealing with a cursed sentient cache. Be warned, adventurers.
Flash Pack adventure: A brave new world in Colombia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
This one is some serious, straight-up Lara Croft/Nathan Drake tomb raider adventuring at the Angkor Wat temple, the oldest religious monument in the world. You’ll make your way along an old stone wall to find this cache location but, be careful, as some seekers have encountered scorpions when hunting around. It’s unclear whether the scorpions are part of the treasure but I highly doubt it.
Flash Pack adventure: Kayaking, cooking and sunrise temples in Vietnam & Cambodia
And those are my six. As a fellow adventurer, I hope geocaching brings you as much joy as it has for me. And, anyway, who doesn’t love a good old treasure hunt? See you in the log books.
Unleash your adventurous side with Flash Pack:
- Explore Inca valleys, trek through dense jungle to Amazonian lodges and conquer the peaks of Peru
- Paddle board across mythical lakes, master canyoning in deep ravines and then stay in wooden glamping huts on our wilderness weekend in Slovenia
- Spot elusive leopards, elephants and sloths on a safari, experience the world’s most beautiful train ride and release baby turtles in epic Sri Lanka
Images: Flash Pack, Shutterstock, Gav Murphy