Most memorable moments from Survivor: San Juan Del Sur

Survivor: San Juan Del Sur was the 29th season of the show and aired in the fall of 2014. What were the most memorable moments?

Following up the legendary Survivor: Cagayan wouldn’t be an easy task and while Survivor: San Juan Del Sur wasn’t nearly as good, it still gave us a fun cast and overall, it was an entertaining season. Let’s look back at some of the memorable moments that occurred in the show’s 29th season.

Blood vs water… again

Survivor fans groaned as Jeff Probst announced that season 29 would be reusing the Blood vs Water concept that was literally used TWO SEASONS PRIOR. Seriously, it hadn’t even been a year since Survivor first used the concept before it was already brought back.

This time, however, it was an all-newbie cast who were playing with their loved ones. It also brought about a fun new twist that the first season of the same twist didn’t implement.

Duels between loved ones

San Juan Del Sur had duels each week where a tribe member from one team would step up to attempt to win something for their tribe. When Jeremy Collins volunteered in the first duel of the season, Jeff dropped a bombshell by informing him that he’d be competing against his wife, Val Collins. After Jeremy and Val dueled, the contestants knew this would be the twist so it became a fun strategic aspect to each duel.

Return of Exile Island

We hadn’t seen Exile Island since Tocantins, season 18, but it returned for San Juan Del Sur and honestly was a bit of a moot point. It was honestly just kind of there even though the Hidden Immunity Idol clue was available on Exile Island and it’s where the loser of the duel had to go. So, not only did someone humiliate their loved one in a duel, but then their loved one had to go to Exile Island with someone from the winning tribe.

It’s no surprise Exile Island wasn’t reinvented after it more or less crash and burned in San Juan Del Sur.

Welcome to Survivor, John Rocker

One of the biggest names to ever play Survivor was former MLB pitcher, John Rocker, who appeared on season 29 with his girlfriend, Julie. John didn’t think people would recognize him, but unfortunately several did, including Jeremy who outed him to his tribe. John wasn’t well-liked by the Hunahpu tribe to the point where he and eventual winner Natalie Anderson clashed after an immunity challenge.

John ultimately was blindsided with an idol in his pocket. It was a crazy ride for John and while the crew was likely hoping he’d make it further, he provided plenty of entertainment during his eight days in the game.

Bargaining with Jeff

The Hunahpu tribe DOMINATED in challenges and we soon found out why – They were eating way more rice than they should have been and not portioning it! This obviously gave them an advantage over Coyopa, but it ended up costing them.

First though, Hunahpu thought they had lost their flint, so they bargained with Jeff to get a new one. Later, they found their original flint and tried to bargain with Jeff again for whatever reason. When they were on their last bit of rice, they were punished SEVERELY, having to surrender pretty much all of their luxuries they had won and were essentially starting over.

Let this be a lesson to those of you planning to play Survivor someday – Probst doesn’t play around. Also, portion your food!

Entertaining cast

While the season itself wasn’t top tier, the cast was well-received and four have returned to play a second time. Jeremy, Keith Nale, and Kelley Wentworth were all selected for Survivor: Cambodia while Natalie returned for Winners at War. I mentioned John Rocker earlier as someone who was entertaining, but we also had Josh Canfield, Reed Kelly, Jon Misch, and Baylor Wilson, all of whom provided ample entertainment.

I’m surprised that Josh or Reed weren’t brought back honestly because they were good strategists and were entertaining. Remember Reed’s final tribal council speech to Missy Payne? My oh my.

Natalie’s tremendous win

What I liked the most about San Juan Del Sur was Natalie’s run to the title. Her twin sister, Nadiya Anderson, was the first person voted out of the season and that had to have been difficult on her. Instead, she used it as motivation and vowed to make it far for Nadiya.

Natalie had two REALLY memorable moves in her winning season with one being a really smart play on her end. Her alliance wanted to take Keith out and decided to split the votes between him and Alec Christy. Natalie wanted Alec out instead, so she voted for him and that was enough to get him out. While the rest of her alliance looked shock, she played stupid and pretended like nothing was wrong because as she explained to her alliance later, she thought she was supposed to vote for Alec. Brilliant.

Her other memorable move was blindsiding Baylor at final five and playing her Hidden Immunity Idol on Jaclyn Schultz in order to pull it off. Her line of “Jaclyn did you vote for who I told you to vote for?” is legendary to this day!

She also was the one who instigated Jon’s blindside, so getting Jaclyn to trust her after that was a prime example of how good of a player Natalie really was. She’s one of the best winners in Survivor history.

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Next: Ranking Every Survivor Winner

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Survivor: San Juan Del Sur brought back the Blood vs Water theme, which we simply didn’t need to see so soon after it was invented, but hey, it was entertaining. We got one of the best winners in the history of the show and some memorable characters along the way.

What were your favorite memories from season 29?