The season was filmed on the Pearl Islands, off the coast of Panama, and had a pirate culture theme. The complete season, including the live Reunion Show, was released on DVD on February 7, 2006.
- Unexpected Start: The contestants were invited to a yacht under the impression they were going to take some publicity pictures to promote the season. Much to their surprise, they were told the game had begun unexpectedly, and that they would start it wearing only the clothes they possessed on their backs (with their luxury items and other personal belongings staying on the boat, besides the shoes that were given to them by Jeff Probst). After being divided into the two tribes, they were sent to a small fishing village with 100 Panamanian Balboas (roughly $100) to buy their supplies they would need for the next thirty-nine days.
- Looting: Aside from the actual prize that a tribe gets after winning a Reward Challenge, the Survivor's experience pirate life by pillaging from the losing tribe's camp. One member of the winning tribe is sent to the other tribe's camp to loot one item of their choice. This twist was not continued once the merge arrived due to the castaways living on the same beach and being one unified tribe and was inactive during episode one and seven pre-merge.
- Buried Treasure: Aside from looting items from the rival tribe, the tribe that wins a Reward Challenge also gets a third prize: a clue to the whereabouts of a hidden treasure chest buried somewhere on the tribes' respective islands. The clues were cumulative with each one being more useful then the last. There was a maximum of three clues for each tribe. Inside the chest once discovered would be luxury items to make life at camp more enjoyable.
- Entirely Distant Camps: Unlike previous seasons of the series where the two tribes would dwell on the same island (but on opposite sides), the two tribes lived on two entirely different islands, with an equal amount of resources. This went along with the pirate theme for the season as rival groups would not have shared the same island.
- Kidnapping: The Morgan tribe was given an additional advantage after winning the Day 12 Immunity Challenge. They were told that they could kidnap one member of the opposing Drake tribe until after the next challenge, and that player will skip his tribe's Tribal Council and will compete with them at the next challenge. They selected Rupert who was given the opportunity to stay at their tribe for the remainder of the day to enjoy the reward they won, but he declined.
- Outcast Twist: On Day 19, the ten remaining castaways faced a third tribe comprised of the first six departed castaways in a 3-way special challenge. If The Outcasts win, both Drake and Morgan will go to separate Tribal Council sessions and will vote one of their own. The Outcasts will vote two of their own back into the game, with the remaining four being eliminated for good. The two returning castaways will be granted immunity at their first visit to Tribal Council. If The Outcasts finish second, only one of them will be voted back in the game, and only the losing tribe will vote somebody out. If The Outcasts lose to both tribes, they are all eliminated from the game, and Morgan and Drake merge without voting anybody out.
- Jury Competing in a Challenge and Immunity-Free Tribal Council: At the Day 37 Immunity Challenge, while the final four castaways fought for individual immunity, the incomplete jury also joined the challenge as a team. If the jury beat the rest, none of the remaining survivors would have immunity. Having an obvious advantage, the jury beat the final four, and therefore everybody was vulnerable of being voted out that Tribal Council.
|Original Tribe||Outcast Twist||Post-Outcast||Merged Tribe|
24, Hermosa Beach, CA
|Morgan||The Outcasts|| 1st Voted Out|
23, Clarksville, TN
|Morgan|| 2nd Voted Out|
22, Washington, D.C.
|Drake|| 5th Voted Out|
42, Annapolis, MD
|Drake|| 6th Voted Out|
28, Los Angeles, CA
|Drake||Drake|| 7th Voted Out|
27, Boston, MA
Equity Trade Manager
39, Chicago, IL
|Morgan||Morgan||Morgan||Balboa|| 8th Voted Out|
30, Los Gatos, CA
|Morgan||Morgan||Morgan|| 9th Voted Out|
1st Jury Member
39, Indianapolis, IN
Troubled Teens Mentor
|Drake||Drake||Drake|| 10th Voted Out|
2nd Jury Member
26, St. Louis, MO
|Morgan||Morgan||Morgan|| 11th Voted Out|
3rd Jury Member
24, Los Angeles, CA
|Drake||Drake||Drake|| 12th Voted Out|
4th Jury Member
31, San Francisco, CA
|Drake||The Outcasts||Drake|| 4th Voted Out|
| 13th Voted Out|
5th Jury Member
22, Liberty, MS
|Morgan||Morgan||Morgan|| 14th Voted Out|
6th Jury Member
29, Los Angeles, CA
|Drake||Drake||Drake|| 15th Voted Out|
7th Jury Member
51, Loveland, OH
|Morgan||The Outcasts||Morgan|| 3rd Voted Out|
29, Fort Lewis, WA
The start of the game was announced as a surprise to the contestants, most of whom believed that they were on their way to a photo-shoot. After being told they would begin the game with only the clothes on their back, they were divided into two tribes of eight, Morgan and Drake, and were given some money and sent to a small village to barter and buy supplies for their camps in lieu of being given them as in seasons past. Drake, thanks to Sandra Diaz-Twine's ability to speak Spanish and Rupert Boneham stealing the other tribe's abandoned shoes to barter, was able to acquire better supplies than Morgan, and thus went on an early winning streak, dwindling Morgan to five members.
Despite Drake's winning streak, Burton Roberts conspired to throw an Immunity Challenge to eliminate some of Drake's weaker players. The reluctant Drake tribe threw the challenge, but Burton was voted off for his cunning. This resulted in a major shift: Morgan, led by Andrew Savage, experienced a renewal, and Drake began to splinter due to fighting between de facto leader Rupert and the conniving Jon Dalton. Morgan's newfound momentum led them to win the next two Immunity Challenges, leaving both tribes with five players each.
Upon arriving at their next challenge, the tribes were faced with the "Outcast" twist, where the six eliminated players competed against the remaining players for a chance to return to the game. The Outcasts beat both Morgan and Drake in the challenge, forcing them both to go to Tribal Council and resulting in two of The Outcasts returning to the game. Burton and former Morgan castaway Lillian Morris returned to the game, and joined the eight other castaways in forming the merged Balboa tribe. While Burton made up with his former tribe, Lillian's return was resented by the Morgan members. Lillian enacted revenge against her former tribemates, siding with the Drake alliance to eliminate Andrew.
While the Drake alliance had the upper hand, Jon, Burton, and Lillian decided that Rupert, as the strongest member of the Drake alliance, was an immunity threat, and worked with the remaining Morgan members to blindside him from the game. The three navigated between the Drake and Morgan factions to take out members of both sides, until they were the dominant alliance with only five players remaining. Lillian was swayed by Darrah Johnson and Sandra to break up the duo of Jon and Burton, and Burton was voted out for a second time. In another twist, the first five jurors were able to compete for immunity with four players remaining. They subsequently won the competition, and challenge threat Darrah was eliminated.
In the Final Immunity Challenge, Lillian beat Jon and Sandra to secure a spot in the Final Tribal Council. Knowing that she would likely lose for having already been voted out of the game, she chose to take Sandra to the end for she felt Sandra deserved the victory more than Jon. The jury ultimately awarded Sandra the title of Sole Survivor by a vote of 6-1.
|Episode||Air date||Challenges|| Eliminated|
|1||"Beg, Barter, Steal"||September 18, 2003||None||Drake|| Nicole|
| 1st Voted Out|
|2||"To Quit or Not to Quit"||September 25, 2003||Drake||Drake|| Ryan S.|
| 2nd Voted Out|
|3||"United We Stand, Divided We...?"||October 2, 2003||Drake||Drake|| Lillian|
| 3rd Voted Out|
|4||"Pick a Castaway... Any Castaway"||October 9, 2003||Drake||Morgan|| Burton|
| 4th Voted Out|
|5||"Everyone's Hero"||October 16, 2003||Morgan||Morgan|| Michelle|
| 5th Voted Out|
|6||"Me and My Snake"||October 23, 2003||Drake||Morgan|| Trish|
| 6th Voted Out|
|7||"What the...? (Part 1)"||October 30, 2003||None||The Outcasts|| Shawn|
| 7th Voted Out|
|8||"What the...? (Part 2)"||November 6, 2003||None|| Burton|
| 8th Voted Out|
|9||"Shocking! Simply Shocking!"||November 13, 2003|| |
|Rupert|| Ryan O.|
| 9th Voted Out|
1st Jury Member
|10||"Swimming with Sharks"||November 20, 2003|| |
| 10th Voted Out|
2nd Jury Member
|11||"The Great Lie"||November 26, 2003||Jon||Darrah|| Tijuana|
| 11th Voted Out|
3rd Jury Member
|12||"Would You Be My Brutus Today?"||December 4, 2003|| Darrah,|
| 12th Voted Out|
4th Jury Member
|13||"Mutiny"||December 11, 2003|| Burton|
| 13th Voted Out|
5th Jury Member
|14||"Flames and Endurance"||December 14, 2003||None||Jury3|| Darrah|
| 14th Voted Out|
6th Jury Member
| 15th Voted Out|
7th Jury Member
|Jury Vote|| Lillian|
^1 Due to The Outcasts twist, this Tribal Council was held to vote people back into the game.
|Survivor: Pearl Islands Voting History|
|Original Tribes||Outcasts Twist||Merged Tribe|
|Voted out:|| |
|►►||Sandra||—||—||—||Burton||Michelle||Trish||Shawn||—||—||Andrew||Ryan O.||Jon||Tijuana||Lillian||Burton||Darrah||None||Jury Vote|
|►►||Lillian||Nicole||Osten||Darrah||Ryan S.||Trish||Andrew||Ryan O.||Rupert||Tijuana||Christa||Burton||Darrah||Jon|
|►►||Darrah||Nicole||Ryan S.||Lillian||—||—||—||—||—||—||Jon||Ryan O.||Rupert||Burton||Christa||Burton||Lillian||Sandra|
|►►||Tijuana||Nicole||Ryan S.||Lillian||—||—||—||—||—||—||Jon||Ryan O.||Rupert||Burton||Lillian|
|►►||Ryan O.||Nicole||Ryan S.||Lillian||—||—||—||—||—||—||Jon||Christa||Sandra|
|►||Nicole||Ryan S.||Lillian||Ryan S.|
^1 Morgan was given the opportunity to kidnap one member of Drake, making them immune from Tribal Council. They selected Rupert.
- This is the first season to have the castaways start the game with the clothes on their back and not bring anything else, except for another pair of shoes.
- The Drake tribe won the first six challenges in a row, setting the record for most consecutive Tribal Challenges won. This record stood until the Moto tribe of Survivor: Fiji topped this feat by winning the first nine challenges in a row.
- This is the first time contestants were given a second chance to play the game after being voted out, and the only time outside of seasons that featured Redemption Island.
- Because Osten's departure from the show was regarded as less than honorable, his final words were not broadcast during the end credits as they would have had he actually been voted out (nor were they posted on the show's official website at the time). Osten's torch was excluded from the Rites of Passage ritual. It was instead shown lying on the ground at the Tribal Council area, after the final three had finished walking the path.
- This season marks the only time nobody won individual immunity at an Immunity Challenge. The Day 37 Immunity Challenge involved the jury, who defeated the castaways - another Survivor first.
- Sandra is the first (and so far only) Hispanic-American player to win Survivor.
- This season ended the Sole Survivor male-female pattern that existed in the first six seasons.
- It is the only pre Survivor: All-Stars season to be represented in Survivor: Micronesia. Jon Dalton returned for the later season, where he placed 20th.
- This is the only season where the winner of an individual Immunity Challenge does not wear a necklace. Instead, the winner wears a cutlass in a scabbard on his or her shoulder.
- This is the first season in which votes were cast for (and not against) players in a vote other than the Final Tribal Council. It was followed by Survivor: Palau.
- This is the first season to have tribe names derived from the English language.
- This is the first season to have an episode end with a cliffhanger.
- This is the first season where everyone wins at least one challenge.
- This season is tied with Survivor: The Australian Outback and Survivor: Cook Islands for being represented six times each in seasons that featured returning players.
- ↑ http://pearl-islands.com/the-islands/isla-del-rey/
- ↑ http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/donald-trump-disses-martha-stewart-apprentice-blames-her-for-his-own-ratings-problems-3770.php
- ↑ http://www.spottedratings.com/2011/12/spotvault-survivor-cbs-fall-2003.html
- ↑ http://resources.survivorphoenix.com/postnuke/html/print.php?sid=868
|Survivor (US) Seasons|
Borneo • The Australian Outback • Africa • Marquesas • Thailand • The Amazon • Pearl Islands • All-Stars • Vanuatu • Palau • Guatemala • Panama • Cook Islands • Fiji • China • Micronesia • Gabon • Tocantins • Samoa • Heroes vs. Villains • Nicaragua • Redemption Island • South Pacific • One World • Philippines • Caramoan • Blood vs. Water • Cagayan • San Juan del Sur • Worlds Apart • Cambodia • Kaôh Rōng • Millennials vs. Gen X • Game Changers • Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers • Ghost Island • David vs. Goliath • Edge of Extinction • Island of the Idols