The Thrill Of The Hunt – Geocaching In Hawaii

Drive By Geocaching... (Flickr ©RevDanCatt)

I discovered I could incorporate several activities I enjoy within a single hobby. I like spending time with my family and friends, solving puzzles, seeking out new adventures, exercising and being environmentally “green.” Geocaching is treasure hunting with a GPS receiver. You can search for geocaches online by zip code and download the coordinates into your hand held GPS unit. You seek out hidden geocaches based on longitude and latitude.

Sometimes the jackpot is as small as a prescription pill container with a piece of paper rolled up inside so you can log your visit. Some containers are so tiny; you need to bring your own pencil. Other containers are as large as a Tupperware food saver or an army surplus ammunition box filled with trinkets. Our geocaching equipment includes a bag of tchotchkes (swag) that we swap based on the theme of the geocache.

For me though, the fun is not in finding the treasure, but the thrill of the hunt. We geocache while in Hawaii as an activity to challenge our brain and seek out new adventures.

This is a hobby that both family and friends can participate in. My husband and I often take others with us to introduce them to the hobby. We took keiki with us to the Honolulu Zoo to find their first cache. When we returned to the island, their first question for us is “Are you going to go geocaching?” Other times we need subject matter expertise. One of the geocaches in the north shore required solving a puzzle to figure out the coordinates. Ten car logos were pictured from different auto manufactures around the world. After identifying the car model and country of origin, the digits of the location could be determined. I recruited a couple of world traveling gear heads to help figure out that one out.

While geocaching we learn about local history. A geocache is hidden on the estate of the last reigning Hawaiian monarch, Queen Lydia Liliuokalani. The site overlooks the drainage canal built to convert water logged taro fields into dry land becoming Waikiki.

A multi-stage geocache requires several stops. At each site you visit, you find clues to identify the next location. We learned about local leaders during a 5 stage history tour to five statues along Waikiki. Each statue had a plaque which told a story. There is Father Damien, who came from Belgium, to Hawaii in 1864. He devoted the rest of his life to the leper settlement on the island of Molokai before succumbing to the disease himself. He has been nominated for sainthood. During the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy led by U.S. business men, Princess Kaiulani spearheaded a campaign to restore the throne. Beloved native son, Duke Kahanamoku, born of Hawaiian royalty, was a swimming sensation earning 5 Olympic medals. “The Duke,” starred in Hollywood movies and is known as “The father of modern surfing.”

You can get a good workout in a day hiking up Diamond Head, the extinct volcano which stands at the east end of Waikiki. If you have comfy shoes, cache your way around the volcano on foot enjoying a heart healthy work out and spectacular views of the Pacific, Waikiki and downtown Honolulu.

Get away from the crowds and cache in Kailua. There are finds along both the busy and the quiet parts of the beach. Don’t forget your sunscreen and snorkel gear. You’ll be hungry after a day of swimming and caching. Check out the yummy handmade cookie store in town for a snack.

When you are on Oahu, you don’t have to go far to find these treasures. There are hundreds of local finds. From the crowded pedestrian malls of Chinatown to the top of Diamond Head to the shores of Kailua, there is a cache for every interest and ability.

While we are getting our exercise, learning about the area and catching up with friends and family, we also pick up trash. We carry in a couple of empty garbage bags to snatch up any litter we spy while we are out. This is referred to as “cache in, trash out.”

You can learn more about the hobby at I enjoy the opportunity to combine time with my family, brain exercise, and physical activity all in one hobby. If you like history, culture and the great outdoors, you should give geocaching a try.

A quick look at some geocaching in and around Honolulu:

About this guest blogger:
April M. Williams is a frequent visitor to Hawaii and a great friend of 808Talk.

Learn more about April by visiting her at the websites below.

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8 Responses to “ The Thrill Of The Hunt – Geocaching In Hawaii ”

  1. I’ve been geocaching on island for a while… so much fun. then my gps broke :-/ lol.

  2. Check out some of the new GPS receivers out there now! Many have improved functionality and accuracy. There is even an application for IPhone users.

    Our caching name is “Diamond Head”.

  3. I started geocaching in Michigan about a year ago. There are a great number of caches available with new ones released every week.

    Some have taken us quite a bit of time and effort to find, and others have just seemed to be obvious. We have visited several in cemeteries and I think those are the most fun, although sometimes the ones that you can almost snatch from your car are pretty good too.

    Here in Michigan, it is common for the owner of the cache to leave lottery tickets for the first person to find the cache. As you can imagine, new caches don’t remain unfound for very long.

  4. Hello William,

    I am sure lottery tickets make FTF (first to find) a race. It was so wet and cool here this summer that we did not get out caching often this season.

    There are several Hawaii cache we are still looking for especially the ones which state they are not at the location listed.

    We were interviewed by a fellow Michigan resident Darryl Wattenberg from Cache-a-manics podcast show # 112 You can listen to the replay online.

    April M. Williams

  5. I have noticed that we have a number of “virtual” caches showing up here in Michigan. These are locations, typically with a scenic view or historic location, that the cache owner wants to share. There is no physical cache or in many cases even a book to sign. To claim the cache, you go to the location, figure out what is important there and take a picture of it. You then either send the photo to the cache owner or post it on the message board.

    I’ve only done one of these virtuals so far, but it was interesting to try to figure out exactly what the cache owner wanted me to photograph. I had a choice between the historic marker or the canal beside it. Eventually I settled on taking pictures of both.

  6. While older virtual caches are grandfathered in at, members are no longer able to create new virtuals. Same with webcam caches. We had had fun adventures finding these types and will miss them as they become rarer.

    Have you placed any caches?

    April M. Williams

  7. Virtuals are of the past, replaced by the more active Waymarking “Game”
    You find a location or article of interest, a Category to fit it into and add a description and a couple of photos and build up your ‘Bingo’ squares. If you don’t want to post a page of your own just search under “Nearest Waymark” and post a “Visit”

  8. All you Geo-Cachers out there — stay tuned for the New Edu-Activity launching in January 2010…Treasure Hunts Hawaii will be launched by Hulawood Productions. Five years in the making, it is an interactive game of “treasure” hunting while learning about Hawaii’s history, cultures, and people. Participants will be invited to attend a Treasure Challenge after completing the hunt, to compare scores with other families for more fun and games. There will be (4) hunts to choose from: Royal Surf, Local Favorites, Pearl Palace, and A Maze-ing Place. For more information, please email me at or call 808-626-8598. Happy Hunting !!

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