Long before all the madness around Pokémon Go, there were already many adventurous individuals that searched for hidden treasures around the world using GPS coordinates. I am talking about Geocaching, a game or activity in which people hide a box (called “cache”) for others to find it. The box contains a logbook (a book where players register the date when they found the cache) and low-value objects (such as pens, coins, pencils or others). When hiding the caches, players use the particularities of the surroundings (like vegetation) as camouflage. Those who hide it register the respective GPS locations on the Internet so other players can access them.
Related article: Montsec: Hiking and Camping with a View.
Let’s play a game!
To be able to be a geocacher (a person who plays geocaching), you must register at Geocaching.com. Once you have done that, you can pick caches that are close to your location and then start searching for them. The game itself is a little bit more complex than just treasure hunting. It has several types of caches from which we will only mention four: micro-cache, multi-cache, mystery cache and virtual cache. The first one is so small that usually it does not spare space to any objects but the logbook. The second requires that players visit more than one location to determine the final position of the cache. To find the mystery cache, one has to solve a puzzle to get to it. And, finally, the virtual cache – also known as Earth Cache – is like its name says, virtual, which means there is no physical box at that place and players should just take pictures and enjoy the landscape. Cool, right?
Related article: Hiking in Barcelona – Collserola National Park.
In 2013, Spain had 24.531 active geocaches and Barcelona was crazy for the game. The capital of Catalonia holds almost two thousand caches around. You read it right: two thousand! But where in Barcelona are those caches? It is impossible to point them all, so here are a few examples of places you can discover and enjoy while finding your caches.
This is the biggest park in Barcelona and, for many years, the only public park in the city. It is a very nice place to enjoy nature and cultural activities and, of course, to find or hide some caches.
La Sagrada Familia
This is one of the most famous monuments in Barcelona. Here you can find one geocache. It is a very crowded place, so be careful to not be seen by those who do not play the game (this is a very important rule for geocachers), otherwise, non-players (known in the geocaching community as “muggles”) might make them disappear.
There are at least four caches in this site. If you do not know this amazing park, this is a great opportunity to do so. Visit the gardens and the Gaudi’s House Museum and have a cool time there.
Related article: Things to do near Barcelona: hiking in Sant Cugat.
More than just a game
There is more to Geocaching than just finding hidden boxes: there is a community feeling and an environmental consciousness that encourage geocachers to enjoy and preserve nature. Respecting the motto “CITO – Cache In Trash Out”, these players should – if possible – gather some trash from the places where they find the caches, helping to keep those sites clean and in perfect harmony with nature.
Have you already found a place to stay in Barcelona? If you are coming on vacation, renting an apartment might be the most comfortable option.