Guest post: Caching Cuba

We’re taking a few weeks off here at the OCNA blog, but we have some interesting guest post content coming up.  Due to a 50+ year travel embargo, many Americans, be they Geocachers or not, are not aware that residents of most Countries in the world have always been free to travel to Cuba for leisure purposes (including Geocaching). Travel restrictions to Cuba have been recently relaxed for Americans by the Obama administration, but hold on, you won’t just be booking a hotel and chilling on the beach for so-called “leisure purposes”. Not yet, at least. But it is a lot easier to get there than in the past. Refer to this New York Times article from January, 2015. We at OCNA have zero caches in Cuba, but there are currently 98 listed on Geocaching.com, the vast majority of them placed by Candian and European tourists. This post first appeared on the LANMonkey’s GeoCaching Adventures blog on April 8th, 2015. Who are the LANMonkey’s? See a mini bio at the end of the post.


Recently we returned from an amazing vacation in beautiful Cuba. We wanted to share with you how to maximize your geocaching enjoyment while still experiencing everything Cuba has to offer.

It has been a long time since we posted here last – our attention has been focused on the YouTube channel and we realize that only gives part of the story! So back to the blog.

With travel restrictions from the US to Cuba imminently lightening, we expect it will be a more popular “North American” destination soon. One of the most amazing things about Cuba is the simplicity of life while visiting there. Hopefully that doesn’t change too much, although admittedly there are many people in the country who could benefit from an economic boon (such as increased tourism investment would bring).

Varadero is circled in red at the top of the map.

We stayed in the popular resort area of Varadero, the peninsula on the North-East of the island nation where the majority of the resorts are located. A quick look at the Geocaching map shows  a number of caches all along that strip.

You can easily spend a day just grabbing the 20+ caches along the Varadero Peninsula. We’d suggest renting bicycles from your resort as most of these caches are placed along or proximate to the highway that runs the length of the peninsula. 

You can also take the 5 CUC ($5 US) “Hop-On, Hop-Off” tour buses that run the length of the highway, but they are about 30 minutes between each other and will not be efficient.

Along this stretch is an EarthCache we highly recommend, Cueva de Ambrosio (GC2DDG4). This cache was our 5,000th find milestone, but it was also amazing to explore. Also 5 CUC (you’ll quickly find a theme in Cuba of 5 CUC).

Most importantly however, is plan some time to get away from the resorts and see the rest of Cuba. One easy way to do this is to take some of the excursions – I won’t kid you, they aren’t cheap (do your research ahead of time) but the country of Cuba is amazingly rich in history and natural beauty so it’s worth the investment.



Some of the excursion we took while in Cuba & Geocaches found:

Cayo Blanco Catamaran Tour

 

Cayo Blanco (Traditional – GC30VV2)

Cayo Blanco Beach Erosion (Earthcache – GC3BCWP)

Jeep Safari

 

Cueva Saturno – Karst Cenote (Earthcache – GC5NDGX)


Bellamar Caves

Cuevas de Bellemar (Earthcache – GC26P9D)


La Habana

 

 

 

San Francisco de Asis, Habana (Earthcache – GC53KP8)

Most importantly – ENJOY YOURSELVES!

There were several more traditional and Earthcaches in Habana, but we couldn’t get to many others due to a tight itinerary on our tour.

So hopefully this blog will help you plan an enjoyable, relaxing visit to Cuba, where you can also pick up a few geocaches and have fun – like we did in this video!

And remember to cache safely, and cache often!

The LANMonkeys


Who is LANMonkey?

The LANMonkeys are geocaching adventurers from beautiful British Columbia who’ve been having fun exploring and geocaching since Aug 2012. They love to share the great places they visit on their caching adventures on YouTube as LANMonkey’s Geocaching Adventures, and Mr. LANMonkey co-hosts the weekly geocaching podcast – Caching in the Northwest along with The Bad Cop and Witz End.

Follow their adventures on  Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram.

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OCNA after GW event at the Original Washington Monument

360px-Washington_Monument,_Washington_CountyGoing to GeoWoodstock XIII in Boonsboro, Maryland? Please join us at 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 23rd for a 45 minute exclusive to OCNA After GW event in Washington Monument State Park, a couple miles outside of downtown Boonsboro, and about 5 miles from the site of GW. It is designed to NOT interfere with 2 other evening post GW events in the area. These are the 6:00-7:00 PM After GeoWoodstock CITO – Doubs Woods Park event in a Hagerstown City Park, and the 8:00-10:00 PM Midnight Madness – Geocoin Event – GWXIII on the grounds of GeoWoodstock. Of course you’d have to leave the CITO early to make our event by it’s starting time, or at the stroke of 7:00 PM to make an appearance at ours.

WP_000565We are running a little low on OCNA promotional items, as we plan on having many new ones made up for our 5th anniversary in August, 2015. But we should have enough to go around (including some of the retired 1st edition Pathtags shown here), assuming a crazy amount of people don’t show up. Keep in mind there is a $2 parking fee to attend this for Maryland residents, and $3 for non-residents. This is collected in an unattended locked metal box on the honor system, so we’d highly advise bringing exact change. Here’s a link to the Event Page on our site again, and you can always check the event page out pinned near the bottom of the main page of our site under “Upcoming Events”, where it will remain until after it happens. Hope to see you there!

 

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OCNA Admin DudleyGrunt on The Geocaching Podcast 5/6/15

gcpcoverartOCNA’s longest tenured Admin, DudleyGrunt, is an official fill in host on The Geocaching Podcast, and fulfilled those duties for the first time on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 on episode 401. In addition to discussing our site’s new Challenge caches with host HeadHardHat and fellow co-host Taz427, they also discuss two Terracaching.com Cyber caches which support very worthy causes. Those being DG’s own 2015 Walk to Defeat ALS Cyber Cache (which supports defeating ALS, and more specifically, the team Ben’s Buddies in honor of DG’s Father) and St. Baldrick’s 2015 Cyber Cache (which supports childhood Cancer research, and more specifically, Team OConnellz). You can listen to (and watch) the video version of the whole show below. There is the usual pre-show banter, but the actual show starts at the 6:40 mark.


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More OCNA Challenge Caches released!

Business-2828Here we see one of our loyal users feverishly logging one of our new locationless type Challenge Caches. OK, not really, we had that image in our library from another post. But these site owned Challenge Caches have been getting rave reviews from some of our most active long time users, as well as on some Geocaching forums elsewhere on the internet. In the 8 days since they’ve been released, 10 different users have posted 48 find logs on them. Not only is that a lot by our standards, that’s just the people who’ve checked the website or blog in the the last 8 days. We will also announce them via a “bulletin” to all registered users of the site in the next day or two. By the way, we rarely use these bulletins, and you can opt out at sign up (or by following the instructions in the bulletin). The last time we sent one in August 2014, 15 people, mostly from Yahoo accounts, reported us as spammers! Don’t do that, we’re not spammers. :-)

So today we release 8 more, and you can see we now have a “C” in the Gulf of Mexico, to go along with an “O”. So obviously we will be spelling “OCNA”. Will we do more than that? We can’t say, but we will tell you there won’t be any more released until a couple weeks after Geowoodstock at the earliest. The 8 released on May 6th, 2015 are:

 

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Introducing OCNA Challenge Caches!!

challengebanner


One week to the day after the most popular Geocaching website in the world imposed a one year moratoriam on new challenge caches, we at OpenCaching North America our introducing our own! As the banner says, they are Locationless, so to speak. If you qualify, you can log it. They are owned by a special Admin account, OCNAChallenges, and are all Unknown (?) type caches. They are presented as Geo Art in the Gulf of Mexico. We plan on having 40+, but we are just releasing the first 12 today, Tuesday, April 28th, 2015.

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HikerJamz News

10959455_441553929326890_9203204107456042953_nUnfortunately, not the greatest of news. HikerJamz and CrazyCritter1966 have decided to discontinue their Geocaching Podcast in favor of their Nature Talk Podcast. James told us, “There are a few obstacles that we can’t overcome and our final decision has been to discontinue the show of geocaching. For one we have to travel so far now to find the caches now, two, it’s rattlesnake season and three, we don’t get any feed back from anyone. We put out a lot of effort to find cachers to contact us with just some short adventure stories and nothing comes back to us. Tina and I have done 23 episodes (5 months) worth of podcast’s and we feel that nobody wants to participate”.

Additionally, James went on to tell us that listenership numbers were not what they were hoping for. Fortunately, however, the numbers for Nature Talk were almost up to the levels of the Geocaching podcast after only 3 episodes! We and James have mutually agreed that the Nature Talk Podcast isn’t about Geocaching, and we will not be posting it to this blog. We wish James and CrazyCritter all the best with the Nature Talk Podcast. Be sure to check it out, Episode 4 will be released on April 29th, 2015, the day after this blog post. You can check out all the Nature Talk shows on Spreaker at Aftercache.com, as well as iTunes, soundcloud, blogspot, tumblr, and stitcher.

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