7 Stunning Survivor Locations that You Never Knew You Could Visit

7 Stunning Survivor Locations that You Never Knew You Could Visit

There’s more to Survivor beaches than scorching sun and torrential rain. Here’s the lesser-known but amazing side of the destinations that was missed out on screen.

Over the last 17 years, Survivor has marooned its contestants on secluded beaches all around the world. From the tropics of Oceania, to river banks in the Australian outback, and even volcanic islands in Asia, the award-winning CBS reality show is, at heart, a tough competition of man against nature. As we watch the food-deprived castaways suffer under the mercy of the elements on TV, these islands are open to anyone to visit. Explore these locations for a breathtaking experience that’ll bring you as close as you can get to Mother Nature. 

1. Pulau Tiga, Malaysia

Image credit: Tourism Malaysia

The site of the show’s maiden season Survivor: Borneo back in 2000, Pulau Tiga is just off the coast of Sabah in West Malaysia. While it is mostly uninhabited, the island is a popular day-trip destination for fans wanting to experience where the first-ever torch was snuffed.

Image credit: sunriseOdyssey

Besides that, Pulau Tiga is also famed for its mud volcano baths. After a large earthquake which erupted in the late 19th century, numerous pools of bubbling mud still remain on the island. Because of its rich minerals, it became an attractive natural spa for the island’s visitors!

2. Upolu, Samoa

Image credit: John Abel

Featured in four Survivor seasons, the island of Upolu in Samoa is one of the show’s favourite filming locations, and we can see why! With crystal clear lagoons and beaches that stretch vast and white, the island is simply postcard-perfect! Contrary to popular belief, Upolu is not an isolated area away from civilisation. The campsite of the Survivor castaways is an easily accessible half-day trip from the city centre.

Image credit: NeilsPhotography

When you get there, be sure to visit the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks. Fans will recognise this from one of the Survivor: South Pacific reward challenge! The cluster of small waterfalls is nature’s awesome version of a water theme park, suitable for all ages. Be sure to visit for a refreshingly cool escape from the tropical Samoan heat.

3. Yaxha, Guatemala

The campsite of Survivor: Guatemala sits amidst the ruins of the Mayan Empire. With its awe-inspiring characteristic pyramids and temple shrines, the archeological site of Yaxha definitely cements the civilisation’s name as one the greatest in the world.

4. Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

Image credit: Sailing Nomad

The mystical Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas islands, tucked away in French Polynesia. Used way back in Survivor’s fourth season, this island is perfect for hiking junkies because of its adventurous trekking routes and rewarding views at the end points. A favourite amongst tourists would be the impressive Vaipo Waterfall cascading down at Hakuai Valley.

Image credit: Semhur

If hiking isn’t your thing, do what the locals do! Immerse yourself in the Nuku Hiva culture by experiencing a traditional Roman Catholic church service at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Located in the island’s capital town Taiohae, the iconic cathedral building is by itself a stunning image as if taken from a page of a storybook.

5. Ko Tarutao, Thailand

Image credit: Vascoplanet

The next time you visit Thailand, take a break from thrift shopping on the mainland and visit Ko Tarutao for a quick getaway and a whole different experience. The largest of 51 islands in Tarutao National Marine Park was the grounds of a vacated prison and reformatory centre. Now, visitors can walk through the ruined buildings and abandoned cemetery while being surrounded by the natural landscape teeming with wildlife. Apart from that, one of the island’s popular tourist spots is the Jorakae Crocodile Cave. For the full experience, ride a traditional Southeast Asian long-tail boat into the cave to get up close to some stalagmite formations above the briny waters.

6. Palaui Island, Cagayan, Philippines

Image credit: Stanley Semilla

Image credit: Mik Watkins

Palaui Island isn’t only home to the massive blindsides and spyshacks from Survivor: Cagayan and Survivor: Blood vs. Water, it houses some little-known but remarkable architectural structures from the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. One such example would be the ruins of Cape Engaño Lighthouse, located at the northernmost point of the island.

7. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Image credit: ah zut

Another one of the show’s favourite locations is San Juan del Sur in sunny Nicaragua. The coastal city is a unique mix of rustic towns and gorgeous beaches. A must-see for visitors is the town’s landmark Christ of the Mercy statue which overlooks San Juan del Sur at a whopping 134 metres!

Image credit: NicaPlease

For the adventure-seekers, you can take a bus out of the city to Cerro Negro, an active volcano that last erupted in 1999. After a short hike up the steep rocks, you’d realise that the whole area is plagued with a thick layer of black volcanic ash. From the crater’s rim, you can then surfboard down the volcano. But be careful, this isn’t for the faint-hearted!

The finale of Survivor: Game Changers just aired last thursday! Whether it’s to walk in the footsteps of past players, or to be immersed in the rich untouched landscapes, these places are definitely worth the visit for an experience you’ll never forget.

About Author

Stephanie Lauw
Stephanie Lauw

Stephanie is an English literature and film student who has succumbed to the occupational hazard of over-analysing her favourite TV shows. She enjoys theatre and music, and dabbles with both by writing bad plays and experimenting with her band. Her current dream is to island hop the filming locations of all the seasons of Survivor.


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