2 Comments

Exploring Belize and Guatemala One Geocache at a Time

Mayan Ruins
Mayan Ruins

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

 Whenever you get the chance to travel somewhere new, do it. If you add geocaching to the mix, trips become even more adventurous and rewarding. I had the opportunity to travel to Central America  and explore two fascinating and beautiful countries: Belize and Guatemala. Along the way, I geocached underwater, through a rainforest and next to a smoking active volcano.  Here are six amazing geocaches that I found and believe all geocachers should add to their bucket list.

First stop was in Belize where the people are friendly, the way of life is chiller than an ice cube, and the geocaching is a blast. There are only 110 active geocaches in the entire country of Belize (yes that’s right, 110.)

 

  1. Kerstin and Melanie go deep (GC4V72V)-  Caye Caulker, Belize

The small island of Caye Caulker is the perfect place to sit back, grab a beer, and truly relax.  Home to only a few geocaches, you’ll be able to track down all of them in one day if you’re up for it. The only way to get around the small island is by bike or golf cart but bike is the preferred method.

Caye Caulker, Belize
Caye Caulker, Belize

GC4V72V requires swimming and complete discretion. This geocache is located at the famous “Split” where many locals and travelers alike swim and hang out. This can also be a challenging one (T2/D4 to be exact).

GC
GC4V72V
  1. The Best Guide Cache (GC324GD)- San Ignacio, Belize

San Ignacio is an amazing and unexpected treat tucked away in the rainforest. This little town in the Cayo district has some of the best day trips right outside the town. You can explore the nearby Mayan ruins, journey through ancient caves (ATM is a must-do!), and soak in the beautiful rainforest.

Cahal Pech in San Ignacio
Cahal Pech in San Ignacio

You may have to walk 1.5 miles to find GC324G in neighboring town Santa Elena, but the long walk is worth the find! Meet Feliz, the sweetest “geocache watcher” you will ever meet. She awaits geocachers in her little stone house and will shout clues as you search her front yard for the smiley.

Meet Feliz
Meet Feliz

Just across the border lies Guatemala, a country full of history, volcanoes, colorful textiles, and approximately 100 geocaches.

  1. Hot Jungle (GC2A86)- Tikal, Guatemala

Spend sunup to sundown in Tikal National Park where the ancient Mayan city will leave you in an enchanted daze.  Travel back to 300 BC when Tikal was a thriving capital with pyramids, temples, and competitive sports events.

Tikal
Tikal

GC2A86 was the first physical geocache placed in the country of Guatemala. It was hidden in 2001 and has been found by only 155 lucky geocachers. On the way to the geocache, you’ll encounter howler monkeys, wild turkeys, and some of the most spectacular structures you will ever come across.

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey

Additional find: Virtual geocache GCGCX7 takes you to Mundo Perdido or the “Lost World.”

  1. Bienvenidos a la Antigua (GC39G2Y)- Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua is a city of great historical importance in Guatemala (and it’s surrounded by three volcanoes.)You could spend days wandering the cobble-stoned streets, eating delicious food, and  learning spanish at one of the local schools.

Antigua
Antigua

Pack your walking shoes because Multi-Cache GC39G2Y will take you all over the city. The final coordinates will lead you to a stellar view.

History awaits
History awaits

       5. Volcan de Pacaya (GCGCXA)- Pacaya, Guatemala

 

The  volcano Pacaya is an active and complex volcano just south of Guatemala City. It first erupted 23,000 years ago and has erupted at least 23 times since the Spanish invasion in Guatemala. The last eruption was in 2010 and the evidence is there.

 

Pacaya
Pacaya

If you’re up for a challenging hike, this will be your favorite of the six geocaches.  You can choose to go at sunrise or  sunset, and they both are breathtaking experiences. The  molten rocks up at the top are very hot, so bring your leftovers to heat up or some marshmallows to roast.

Sunset
Sunset

          6. Santiago Atitlan (GC10TNF)Santiago, Guatemala

 

Lake Atitlan is a crystal blue lake located in the Guatemala highland. Atitlan is the deepest lake in Guatemala and also the most picturesque with its surrounding volcanoes. It is ringed by small lake towns, all great places to visit.

Atitilan
Atitilan

You can take a boat from Panajachel to Santiago to grab this geocache. Soak in the beautiful surroundings and enjoy the unique village of Santiago. You won’t regret it!

Myself and Lake Atitlan
Myself and Lake Atitlan

No matter where you go in the world, adventure is waiting and there’s always a geocache to be found. What is your dream geocaching vacation?

1 Comment

It’s Always Sunny in Geocaching HQ

 

There’s some serious Geocaching going on in this family.

Brothers Sterling and Ethan are avid geocachers, and it seems to run in the family. Their mother, Candice, wanted to teach a Geocaching unit to the 120 students in her school’s gifted children program. At the time, though, there simply weren’t enough caches within walking distance of the school.

edited
It’s always sunny at Geocaching HQ.
Sterling and Ethan are pictured in the middle, with dad David in the center back, and mom Candice on the far left.

Like a true geocacher, Sterling came to the rescue.

Once he had 100 finds, Sterling hid four geocaches that his mother could take her students to. The class was undoubtedly a success. Within several months, many of the students had over 100 finds (and their parents were getting in on it too). Sterling and his younger brother Ethan maintain their caches carefully, and Sterling himself now has over 200 finds, with 250 in sight.

We were so excited that Sterling, Ethan, Candice, and David decided to spend the day at Geocaching HQ…especially since it was Sterling’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Sterling, and best of luck to everyone!

 

 

 

7 Comments

Give Your Cache Page a Makeover

 

 

See this cache page? It’s pretty snazzy.

While the bright blue tiled image has the potential to disorient a geocacher, the photo in the center column and the color of the text tie the whole thing together.

jklhjikl
Bright blue looks good on Phil Harris…and this cache page.

 

How do you transform your cache page from blah to rah?

Can you say “Hypertext Markup Language” five times fast?

Check out GC57KW3...it literally sparkles.
Check out GC57KW3…it literally sparkles.

 

That’s right, we’re talking about HTML, baby.

And we’re talking about it with as much spice as possible, because we know some of you are about to fall of your chairs at the sheer boringness of it all.

handsintheair (1)
Even the HQ’ers think so.

 

HTML 101

HTML code is created using tags framed by the greater-than and less-than signs: < and > .  A piece of code usually uses two of these tags to change the text between them.

fjdsi;fa
You can have colors too. Keep reading.

 

To make a paragraph break

Enter <p> and </p> on either side of the text in your paragraph.

Give your eyes a rest. Take a (paragraph) break.
Give your eyes a rest. Take a (paragraph) break.

 

To make something bold

Enter <strong> and </strong> on either side of the text you want to emphasize.

fdsafds
Be bold. Is there any other way?

 

To add italics to your text

Do basically the same thing as with bold text, only use the <em> and </em> tags.

fdsafds
Italics add a little spice, I think we can all agree.

 

To add both italics and bold

Use both the <em> and the <strong> tags, with their closing tags: </em> and </strong>

27b84da215a411e39d3822000a1f90e8_7

 

To add an image to your page

Make sure your image is saved to your cache page gallery or is available on the internet somewhere. Find the URL of the image.
To find the URL, open the image in your browser, and right-click to get the URL.

fdsafds

For more information on how to add…

Fonts, hyperlinks, fancy spacing, and more, visit http://www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk/resources/htmlcodes.html

10488729_1438833359709606_491933015_n

Soon you’ll be embedding geocaching video games on your cache pages, like this cache of the week.

 

Walk the (Geocaching) Line

1025597_10202239986295624_1689647038_o

 

Keeping one’s environmental footprint to a minimum is a good rule to abide by while geocaching. Today, we mean that literally.

Unless you live on the moon, you’ve probably gone geocaching in some sort of natural area—food garden, arboretum, state park, nature reserve, etc. Most areas have designated walking or hiking paths, but it can be sorely tempting to march straight off into the bush looking like Kipling’s Mowgli.

Here are three reasons not to release your inner Tarzan unless you’re in your own jungle oasis (potted plant patio).

1) You are a big, strong human, and you will crush the plants.1606366_10202242626841636_814244427_o

Are you in the new King Kong remake? If not, then there’s no reason to blunder around crushing things. Your wanderings off the path are likely to leave a trail, one that another geocacher might follow thinking it leads to a cache. By the time the next person finds out your trail doesn’t lead anywhere, they’ve made it look even more like a trail that leads somewhere. You see where this is going. Big strong human, please keep all arms and feet inside the designated trails…

2) Stingy, bite-y, slimy things.

What’s red and green and stings all over? Poison oak, poison ivy, and stinging nettles. And they can really ruin a geocaching party. Keeping to the designated paths (and wearing your cargo pants) is key to avoiding these antagonists of the plant world. Nettles, like human children, are best seen and not heard disturbed.

3) Every step you take…the land manager is watching you.

Alright, so that may be unnecessarily creepy. But it’s the land manager’s job to make sure activities like geocaching are done in harmony with the environmental goals of the area. It’s the geocacher’s job to know what that means for geocaching. It’s true that geocaching in public natural areas is a privilege, not a right. Is this patch of hillside closed-off to protect sensitive species? Don’t go there human! No find is worth being kicked out of a park.

10310658_10154097479590244_2088041323414243857_n

Tell us (and share some pics)…what’s your favorite natural area to geocache in?

 

8 Comments

3 Reasons to Rediscover Your Home Coordinates

 

You might think this is an ordinary pier in Blaine, WA, but GC2VW16 is nearby.
You might think this is an ordinary pier in Blaine, but GC2VW16 is nearby.

You’ve read about geocaching in far off lands, on ships and mountains…even in space. Wild, exotic geocaching stories make the news so often, that sometimes they seem more common than, well, the commonplace.

 

But for once I’m tired of palaces and underground tunnels! I’m even tired of spaceships! We’re going geocaching in the most exciting place of all—this geocacher’s home coordinates.

The small town of Blaine is packed so tightly into the northwestern corner of Washington state that it looks like it’s hiding from the rest of the country. The town itself feels that way too—which is odd, considering a population of around 5,000 and the presence of two international border crossings. It doesn’t seem like the type of town where anything terribly exciting is likely to happen. I grew up in Blaine, so you’d think I would know.

Turns out, all it took was a weekend of geocaching in Blaine to completely derail my perspective.

Over the course of two days, my mom, dad, sister, and I made 15 finds and 4 DNFs. (For all you hard-core geocachers out there, stop your scoffing! These are impressive numbers. My 16-year-old sister had recently come into possession of her learner’s permit and was driving us for the very first time. For once I was appreciative of my town’s severely conservative speed limits.)

Those 15 finds were accompanied by three realizations about why my hometown was the best place I could possibly go geocaching—and why the same is probably true for you.

1)  Learning new things about old places

GCD65A, Canada, and the United States of America all share this area of land.
GCD65A, Canada, and the United States of America all share this area of land.

The Peace Arch (yes, there’s an actual arch) that stands on the international boundary between Blaine, Washington and Douglas, British Columbia, is supposedly one of the first earthquake-proof structures in North America. Had I not gone geocaching at the Peace Arch, it’s likely I would have continued to lose sleep over the fate of unsuspecting border-crossers in the event of an earthquake.

2)  Writing logs with a personal touch

It turns out writing a log for a geocache in a place you know is very different to writing a log for a geocache in a place that’s new to you. When caches take me to new places I find myself writing with much the same sentiment: “Beautiful spot! Never been here before, but now that I know it’s here…” And so on. In Blaine, I found myself adding my own memories of places to my logs. I wanted the CO’s to know that I too really loved this spot, because of that one time we jumped off this pier in the middle of winter…

3)  Revisiting old memories

Blaine is a small town. Spend fifteen years there and you’re bound to have a memory tied to every lamppost, street corner, and homeland security office. One geocache took me to the forest where I first met one of my best friends on a field trip. Another took me to the sewage treatment plant they built to replace the one near my house. Both good memories, happily re-lived in the name of geocaching.

So what’s the take-away here?

Blaine really is a lovely town, worth more than a drive through on your way to Vancouver or Seattle. Geocaching at home can be as rewarding an experience as something more fanciful and exotic. And, whoever decided that learning to drive at 16 makes sense clearly never met my sister.

 

What’s your geocaching at home story?

 

This is right between a sewage treatment center and GC3A175,
This is right between a sewage treatment center and GC3A175,