Types of caches
Current Cache Types
Note that these cache types can come in an assortment of cache sizes.
A traditional cache is the most common type of geocache, described in what is geocaching. It is a container of some sort containing a logbook. The coordinates of the container must be posted in the cache description.
A multi-cache involves two or more locations, the final location being a physical container. There are many variations, but most multi-caches have a hint or a set of coordinates to find the second "waypoint", and the second waypoint has hints or coordinates to the third, and so on.
Offset caches are a special type of multi-cache. The coordinates for an offset cache are the location of an existing monument, plaque, or other object. Information on that object is used to calculate the coordinates of the cache container.
As the name might suggest, Puzzle Caches require you to solve a puzzle of some kind. Typically, the cache container is not at the posted coordinates, but is within a couple miles.
These caches are also called Mystery Caches or Unknown Caches. There are many creative variations.
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. To read more about letterboxing, visit the Letterboxing North America web site.
An event cache is a set of coordinates along with a date and time to meet there. People can indicate on the website if they plan to attend, and log a "find" if they actually do. Event caches are great ways to meet people, trade hitchhikers, and swap caching stories.
Grandfathered Cache Types
Geocaching.com no longer allows new caches of the following types, but existing caches are grandfathered.
Virtual caches are created in locations where placing a traditional cache would be impossible. There is no container of any sort at a virtual cache site. Instead, a hunter finds the location that the coordinates take them, and then prove they were actually there by taking a picture of themselves and their GPS unit or by answering specific questions about the location. Listing guidelines for virtual caches vary by listing site.
A webcam cache is a location with a public web cam. Finding the cache is locating the webcam and capturing from the cam a photograph of you. Webcams can have a photograph archive system from which to retrieve the photograph. If not, you will need to have someone watching the webcam on a computer to "capture" you at the loation.
Locationless caches are sometimes referred to as "reverse" caches. In a locationless cache, the "hider" posts a description of a site without supplying coordinates. "Finders" try to find locations that match the description, and they post coordinates to those locations. Not all listing sites accept this kind of cache, but terracaching.com and GPSgames.org welcome locationless caches.
A traveling cache is a cache that travels from place to place. Before Groundspeak started selling and tracking Travel Bugs, a number of geocachers released physical caches that finders could pick up and move to a different location. A number of these caches are still active, but new traveling caches are no longer allowed to be listed on Geocaching.com. Other sites, such as GPSgames.org, welcome traveling caches. GPSgames.org even hosts a specialized geocaching GeoPoker game that features a traveling cache.
If a finder decides to move the cache to a new location, they are required to provide updated coordinates and sometimes a new hint. Some contain a logbook and a single item, such as an action figure or stuffed animal, that is supposed to stay in the cache. Depending on their size, they sometimes contain additional trade items.
An Earthcache is a special kind of virtual cache. The location is a place where people can learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth.