The trail starts off at the Tindaya hermitage which is devoted to the Virgen de Candelaria. This modest church dates back to the 18th century and has a single rectangular nave covered by a three-sloped shingled roof. The belfry made from brown stone stands out again the rest of the white facade.
As you leave behind the Las Tabaibas mountain on one side, you arrive at the head of Vallebrón where you have an excellent view of Tindaya mountain. At 400 metres, this tiny peak is imposing against the Esquinzo plains.
The Majos, the original inhabitants of the island, considered this mountain holy. The most significant sample of foot-shaped carvings in the Canary Islands are distributed at the peak.
You hardly begin your descent into the valley that you are surrounded by the gavias, a traditional cultivation system native to Fuerteventura. These terraced plots are closed in by mud walls through which water from the ravine is channeled in pipes. The gavia is filled with water so that the soil can 'drink', after which water is channeled over to the next plot.
The cadenas can be seen on the slopes of the valley. These stone walls are built parallel to the gorge and break up the slope. In this way, they retain both soil and water, making rain-fed agriculture possible while at the same time, preventing erosion.
These houses occupy the sunny side of the valley, at the foot of the Enmedio mountain that divides the upper half of the basin in two. Surrounded by gavias, the houses create a urban landscape in the middle of palm trees that blends in perfectly with its natural surroundings and very cleverly does not disturb the cultivation of fertile soils.
When starting your climb and after you have passed some traditional houses, you will reach a small set of gardens with some fruit trees on a small ridge alongside the trail. They are nateros, another ingenious method devised to catch run-off water. The silt that washes up along the slope forms little peaks that look like cream or nata when filled with puddles of water - thus giving rise to the name natero.
The stone walls that break the flow of water lead to the accumulation of silt and create small plots where it is possible to plant fruit trees that flourish thanks to the retained moisture.
The elongated, pointed knolls that separate the valleys are called cuchillos (knives) in Fuerteventura. The narrow hillock of barely a few metres that you will cross to go from one face to the other is what is called the blade of the cuchillo and has gained this pointed form due to constant erosion. These chains of cuchillos which are typical to the leeward side are characteristic of Fuerteventura's landscape.
The village of La Matilla is surrounded by gavias and in the centre, you have a square plot. Perhaps you might find it strange to see an old basketball hoop and a concrete court in the centre of this mud plot. The size of the plot however, tells of how important agriculture was on Fuerteventura which was considered the bread-basket of the archipelago in the years when it received good rainfall.
The central plains of Fuerteventura are the largest geographical formation on the island, stretching from La Oliva almost all to the way to the beginning of the isthmus of Jandía. This open expanse is broken by small rises and dotted with towns like Tefía which are closed in from the sea by the mountains along the coast. You can end the trail in Tefía by visiting the La Alcogida Ecomuseum which describes the traditional, rural way of life in Fuerteventura. This will be a good way for you to end your tour of the old cultivation areas of the island.
- 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.).