Travel: Take a GeoTour on Your Next Vacation

May 31 2013, 12:52 PM

In this month’s issue, I wrote about geocaching, a modern-day treasure hunt of sorts that's gaining popularity now that nearly everyone has a smartphone with GPS capabilities. Using coordinates provided on geocaching.com or the Groundspeak Geocaching App, you can search for more than 23,500 caches (small containers with logbooks and, sometimes, a little gift) hidden in Colorado alone. If that seems overwhelming, dip your toes into this family-friendly outdoor activity with a more focused GeoTour (sets of caches hidden explicitly to help visitors explore a specific area). Two of just 22 current GeoTours operating in the world are within driving distance of Denver. Take a look:

Hyatt Regency Tamaya GeoTourSanta Ana Pueblo, New Mexico

Already an ideal vacation spot for adventure-seekers, the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa (pictured, above)—situated at the base of the Sandia Mountains and inspired by the Tamayame, members of the indigenous Native American tribe called the Pueblo of Santa Ana—was the first resort in the world to launch its own GeoTour. In between rounds of golf, spa visits, hot air balloon outings, and horseback trail rides, check out a GPS from the hotel and take off in search of 10 different caches. The free “Tamaya Journey” GeoTour will guide you around the resort’s Southwestern terrain on foot, into the Bosque (cottonwood) forest and along the banks of the Rio Grande. Answer seven or more of the included trivia questions (found inside the caches) correctly, and you'll earn a prize from the concierge. Bonus: The kids will be so caught up in the treasure hunt they won’t even realize they're learning about native wildlife, the history of the Pueblo of Santa Ana, and Tamaya culture and artifacts.

Colorado’s South Park GeoTour, South Park, Colorado

You may need more than one long weekend to find the 50 caches that have been concealed by the South Park National Heritage Area over 1,700 square miles of South Park. Before you leave home—with one or more fully charged smartphones in hand—download and print the GeoTour passport; along with tradable items, each cache has a five-digit code you’ll need to record. Once you’ve logged 20, mail your filled-out passport to the South Park National Heritage Area to receive a free T-shirt. Thirty or more caches gets you a limited-edition South Park Geocoin—a token imprinted with online tracking information you can leave behind in a cache for other geocachers to find, if you choose. The fun continues well beyond South Park as you monitor your Geocoin’s travels around the country—and even the world—on geocaching.com

More: Traveling farther from home? Check out the full list of GeoTours and find one near your next vacation destination.  

—Image courtesy of Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Follow copy chief Jessica Farmwald on Twitter at @JessicaKF.