La Dehesa is an exceptional place where you can feel the isolation of this wild landscape that has been adapted to grazing, with juniper forests and walls to keep herds within their pastures. In the middle, you have the intimate Virgen de Los Reyes sanctuary, which is the starting point of the Camino de la Virgen, used for the Descent of the Virgen every four years.
This rock is hardly hundred metres from the sanctuary and has been left there by the authorities that collect the Virgen from the sanctuary at the beginning of the Descent. Since the ancient rulers were called regidores, the rock is still called by this name. Here, the Virgen is collected by the town of Sabinosa, which is the first to carry the statue during the Descent.
This place has high symbolic value as it is the last point on the path leading to Valverde from which you can still see the sanctuary on the slopes of El Cres, before entering the streets of Binto. The cross here was erected by a traveller from the Americas who disembarked on the island and left behind this cross as a sign of thanks for his being healed. It is now one of the stops of the Virgen de los Reyes during the Descent.
Here, Sabinosa hands over to the first of the many towns that will take turns in carrying and dancing with the Virgen. It is handed over to the town of El Pinar that is responsible for a large section of the Camino, which is interrupted when it hands over to El Golfo.
One of the few water sources of El Hierro's hills is located nearby.
This is the highest point of the island, where the vegetation is sparse and scourged by the almost constant wind and as the name Malpaso indicates, it is difficult to traverse. It provides spectacular views of the whole island and is representative of a volcanic landscaped marked by lapilli (or picón as it is known locally) and volcanic ash.
On this slope, the faithful on the island receive the Virgen and the groups from all the different towns dance together to celebrate the Descent of the Virgen. Families on the island hang up fabrics and enjoy a meal together, which serves as the main pause during the Descent.
At this raya or ray, the dancers from El Golfo carrying the Virgen de los Reyes hand over to the town of El Pilar, which has already carried the Virgen and takes over once again in La Llanía - this gives us an idea of how complicated it is to organise the Descent and of the rigorous protocol followed in transporting the statue.
This rock is called Dos Hermanas and is an important point in the Descent. Here, the Virgen detours from the Camino to bless El Golfo and rejoins the path to Valverde a little further on.
Once again, the Virgen is handed over the town of El Pinar and in this section, the statue traverses the Brezal forest, El Bailadero de las Brujas with its legends and the impressive Fileba basin, which is one the most interesting places on the island from a geological point of view.
Many people come together at this point in the Descent to witness El Pinar hand over to Isora. This raya, in the El Jorado area, was a recent addition in the mid-1900s. It has traditionally been a flamboyant location and a definite point of contention between both towns.
In the Nisdafe plateau, the inhabitants of San Andrés take over from the town of Isora. The vow of the Descent states that all inhabitants, except those with a legitimate impediment, should accompany the Virgen; therefore, there are stops along the path. The Parada de 4 Esquinas is one such stop.
This is the shortest raya in the Camino de la Virgen. It came into existence 150 years ago, when the northern towns (Mocanal, Echedo and Erese) asked to carry the Virgen. Till then, they had no opportunity to accompany the Virgen as it did not pass through their area.
At this last raya, the town of Valverde collects the Virgen. The statue is entrusted to the municipal council and it travels the last section of the Camino on the shoulders of the councilmen.
- Respect the animals. Do not bother them or feed them. If you see an injured specimen, you can call the emergency number: 112. Do not pick flowers or plants.
- Do not pick up or take away stones or any other item from the natural environment. And do not move them to pile them up into sadly famous 'towers'.
- Respect the signposting along trails. Leaving the set paths causes damage to the environment and could also be dangerous for you and anyone with you.
- It is safer to keep your pet on a lead.
- Try not to alter the peace of the environment with excessive noise (loud music, yelling, etc.).