|Filming Location||San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua|
|Season Run||September 15, 2010 – December 19, 2010|
|Filming Dates||June 14, 2010 – July 22, 2010|
|Runner(s)-up|| Chase Rice|
|Tribes|| ██ Espada|
██ La Flor
|Previous Season||Heroes vs Villains|
|Next Season||Redemption Island|
Survivor: Nicaragua is the twenty-first season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor. It premiered on September 15, 2010 at 8 pm, moving to the Wednesday timeslot for the first time since Survivor: Borneo.
The location of Nicaragua was announced at the conclusion of the finale of Survivor: Heroes vs Villains. This season and Survivor: Redemption Island were both filmed in San Juan del Sur. Jeff Probst has stated that he and the production crew were very grateful for the natives' warm hospitality.
These are the game-changing events of the season:
- Old vs. Young: The 20 contestants will be divided up into two tribes based on their ages. The Espada tribe will feature contestants over the age of 40, and the La Flor tribe will include contestants aged 30 years and younger. The producers deemed that they have a good slate of competitive older people, so they expected that the 'Battle of the Ages' format will not agree to the younger tribe's sheer strength.
- Hidden Immunity Idol: Similar to Fiji, China, Tocantins, Samoa and Heroes vs.Villains, one Idol will be hidden at both tribe camps. Jeff Probst, has also announced that the Hidden Immunity Idol will be hidden differently this season. Realizing that Idols have been found too easily the past two seasons (notoriously often by Russell Hantz), the clues of the Idol's location will be rebus puzzles rather than textual. They dubbed it as "The Russell Factor." Both Idols are usable up until the Day 36 Tribal Council.
- Medallion of Power : The two tribes will also vie for a new item, the Medallion of Power. The tribe that currently hold the Medallion will have an option to have an advantage in challenges (i.e. shortcuts, less workload etc.). They can either use it or save it until the next challenge. But once they used it, regardless of whether the host tribe won or lost the challenge, they must surrender it to the rival tribe. The premise of the Medallions is to further even up the playing field for the tribes defined by age. After the tribe switch, the Medallion was retired.
- Challenges: Aside from the Medallion of Power, challenges in this season will be more innovative and less physical, due to the Old vs. Young format. Instead of sheer strength, majority of the challenges will require teamwork to win. Jeff Probst said: "It's way less physical this season, so there will be no wrestling on the beach. Our challenge department has come up with some inventive ideas that are fair, still take skill and still take strategy. They're going to be the kind of things you think would be fun to do."
- Tribe Switch: Selected tribe members will be transferred to the rival tribe.
- Double Tribal Council: Both tribes will go to Tribal Council and will vote somebody out, with one member of both tribes possessing individual Immunity.
- Early Merge: Similar to Survivor: Samoa, the tribes will be merged with twelve people still in the game.
- Expanded Jury and Three-Way Final Tribal Council: Instead of the conventional "Final Two" facing the Jury of seven, the Day 39 Tribal Council was held with a "Final Three" facing a nine-person Jury.
|Contestant||Original Tribe||Switched Tribe||Merged Tribe||Finish||Votes Against|
48, Fromberg, MT
|Espada|| 1st Voted Out|
30, Lafayette, LA
|La Flor|| 2nd Voted Out|
67, Islamorada, FL
|Espada|| 3rd Voted Out|
48, Gloucester, MA
|Espada|| 4th Voted Out|
42, Inglewood, CA
|Espada||Espada|| 5th Voted Out|
26, Durham, NC
|La Flor||La Flor|| 6th Voted Out|
41, Kansas City, MO
|Espada||Espada|| 7th Voted Out|
43, Erie, PA
|Espada||La Flor|| 8th Voted Out|
23, Downey, CA
|La Flor||Espada||Libertad|| 9th Voted Out|
1st Jury Member
48, Mill Valley, CA
|Espada||La Flor|| 10th Voted Out|
2nd Jury Member
27, Miami, FL
|La Flor||La Flor|| 11th Voted Out|
3rd Jury Member
27, Los Angeles, CA
|La Flor||Espada|| Quit|
4th Jury Member
20, Mesa, AZ
|La Flor||La Flor|| Quit|
5th Jury Member
24, Los Angeles, CA
|La Flor||Espada|| 12th Voted Out|
6th Jury Member
56, Jackson Springs, NC
|Espada||La Flor|| 13th Voted Out|
7th Jury Member
63, Water Mill, NY
|Espada||Espada|| 14th Voted Out|
8th Jury Member
44, Eureka, SD
|Espada||Espada|| 15th Voted Out|
9th Jury Member
30, New York, NY
|La Flor||La Flor|| Second|
24, Fairview, NC
21, Venice, CA
|La Flor||La Flor||Sole Survivor||2|
Twenty new castaways embarked on a journey in pristine, yet treacherous Nicaragua. They were surprisingly divided into two tribes entirely defined by age, La Flor, and Espada. They also vied for ownership of a Medallion of Power that would help them in challenges.
At Espada, the males battled for tribe supremacy, with Marty Piombo ending up victorious; not only he successfully ousted his perceived threats Jimmy Johnson and Jimmy Tarantino, he also possessed the Hidden Immunity Idol, making him virtually invincible.
Despite dominating in challenges, La Flor also had their own share of conflicts. Two warring alliances (one led by Shannon Elkins, and the other led by Brenda Lowe and Sash Lenahan) emerged, with both alliances vying for Chase Rice's vote. A confused Shannon lashed out at Tribal Council, making some of his alliance members and Chase to turn on him, causing his elimination instead. The remnants of Shannon's group found themselves at the mercy of the majority alliance. Not only did they have the numbers, but Brenda and NaOnka Mixon successfully found their Hidden Immunity Idol, leaving Fabio Birza, Kelly Bruno, Alina Wilson and Benry Henry more vulnerable. However, their supposed eliminations were put on hold, as La Flor went on winning two more Immunity Challenges.
A Day 12 Tribe Switch caused allegiances to shift. At the new Espada, Holly Hoffman bonded with her new tribemates, and formed an alliance with them, causing Tyrone Davis and Yve Rojas' eliminations. At the new La Flor, the once-powerful Marty fell from grace, thanks to Jane Bright flipping to Brenda's alliance. Not only did Marty get blackmailed by Sash to give up his Immunity Idol, but he also became witness to the ouster of his closest ally, Jill Behm. On Day 19, the two tribes were merged into the Libertad tribe.
Sash and Brenda took control of Libertad, persuading the rest of the tribe to eliminate Alina and Marty. seeing that Brenda was running the show, Holly made her move by turning everybody else on Brenda (who even hoped that Sash will give her his Idol), causing her demise. Brenda's elimination, along with the voluntary exits of Kelly Shinn and NaOnka, left Sash alone and ally-less. Despite this, he managed to slither his way to Day 39, along with Fabio and Chase.
At the Final Tribal Council, Sash was ignored by the Jury because of his numerous deceptions; while Chase was castigated for his indecisiveness at several points during the game. Fabio on the other hand was chastised by the other two for seemingly coasting throughout the game, but he rebutted that he did that on purpose to not hurt anybody's feelings, and still stay longer in the game. In the end, Fabio's unconventional strategy earned him the title of Sole Survivor by a 5-4-0 vote.
|1||"Young at Heart"||September 15, 2010||None||La Flor||Wendy||9–1|| 1st Voted Out|
|2||"Fatigue Makes Cowards of Us All"||September 22, 2010||Espada1||Shannon||7-3|| 2nd Voted Out|
|3||"Glitter in Their Eyes"||September 29, 2010||La Flor1||Jimmy J.||8-1|| 3rd Voted Out|
|4||"Pulling the Trigger "||October 7, 2010||La Flor1||Jimmy T.||5-3|| 4th Voted Out|
|5||"Turf Wars"||October 14, 2010||Espada||La Flor||Tyrone||6-2|| 5th Voted Out|
|6||"Worst Case Scenario"||October 20, 2010||La Flor||Jill||Kelly B.|| 3-3-2;|
| 6th Voted Out|
|Holly||Yve||6-1|| 7th Voted Out|
|7||"What Goes Around, Comes Around"||October 27, 2010||Espada||Espada||Jill||3-2-2|| 8th Voted Out|
|8||"Company Will Be Arriving Soon"||November 4, 2010||None||Jane||Alina||10-2|| 9th Voted Out|
1st Jury Member
|9||"Running the Camp"||November 10, 2010||Benry, Dan,|
|Brenda||Marty||7-4|| 10th Voted Out|
2nd Jury Member
|10||"Stuck in the Middle"||November 17, 2010||Chase,|
|Jane||Brenda||8-1-1|| 11th Voted Out|
3rd Jury Member
|11||"We Did It Guys"||November 24, 2010||Recap Episode|
|12||"You Started, You're Finishing"||December 1, 2010||Benry,|
|None||NaOnka||No Vote|| Quit|
4th Jury Member
|Kelly S.|| Quit|
5th Jury Member
|13||"Not Sure Where I Stand"||December 8, 2010||Chase|
|Sash||Benry||4-2-1|| 12th Voted Out|
6th Jury Member
|14||"This Is Going to Hurt"||December 15, 2010||Chase|
|Fabio||Jane||5-03|| 13th Voted Out|
7th Jury Member
|15||"What About Me?"||December 19, 2010||None||Fabio||Dan||4-1|| 14th Voted Out|
8th Jury Member
|Fabio||Holly||3-1|| 15th Voted Out|
9th Jury Member
|Reunion Show||Jury Vote||Sash||5-4-0||2nd Runner-Up|
^2 Jeff bribed the winners of the Reward Challenge, that if one of them gives up his/her reward, the tribe will be given a new supply of rice and tarp. Furthermore, being singled out due to the odd number of players, Dan was chosen to sit out in the challenge, but if he guessed the winning team correctly, he would join them at their reward. Dan guessed the winning team correctly, winning himself reward as well.
^3 Sash used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating 1 vote against him.
|Survivor: Nicaragua Voting History|
|Original Tribes||Switched Tribes||Merged Tribe|
|►►||Fabio||—||Brenda||—||—||—||Kelly B.||Kelly B.||—||Marty||Alina||Jane||Brenda||—||Holly||Jane||Dan||Holly||Jury Vote|
|►►||Dan||Wendy||—||Jimmy J.||Jimmy T.||Tyrone||—||Yve||—||Alina||Jane||Brenda||—||Fabio||Jane||Chase||Fabio|
|►►||Kelly S.||—||Shannon||—||—||—||Kelly B.||Kelly B.||—||Jill||Alina||Marty||Benry||Quit||Fabio|
|►►||Brenda||—||Shannon||—||—||—||Kelly B.||Kelly B.||—||Jill||Alina||Marty||Naonka||Chase|
|►►||Marty||Wendy||—||Jimmy J.||Jimmy T.||—||Brenda||None||—||Jane||Alina||Jane||Fabio|
|►||Jill||Wendy||—||Jimmy J.||Jimmy T.||—||Brenda||Kelly B.||—||Jane|
|►||Yve||Wendy||—||Jimmy J.||Jimmy T.||NaOnka||—||Dan|
|►||Tyrone||Wendy||—||Jimmy J.||Jimmy T.||NaOnka|
|Jimmy T.||Wendy||—||Jimmy J.||Dan|
- NaOnka and Kelly S. quit at the same Tribal Council.
- This is the second season to have tribes split by age, the first being Survivor: Panama (which was divided by age and then by gender).
- La Flor is the third tribe in the show's history comprising only younger contestants that was purposefully assigned by the producers, following Viveros and Bayoneta from Panama.
- Espada is the third tribe in the show's history comprising only older contestants that was purposefully assigned by the producers, following Casaya and La Mina from Panama.
- However in Panama, then tribes had the four older and younger men and women in this season the difference in ages was bigger with no contestants 30 to 40 years old.
- This is the fifth season to take place in Central America, the others being Pearl Islands, All-Stars, Guatemala, and Panama.
- Nicaragua had several similarities with Samoa:
- Both seasons started with twenty castaways divided into two tribes of ten.
- Similar to Galu and Foa Foa, La Flor and Espada were merged with one original tribe at an 8-4 deficit.
- The first person eliminated after the merge was voted out by a 10-2 vote.
- Both seasons had two people removed from the game by means other than a vote.
- This season's Tribal Council set is patterned from a destroyed church, with a mock graveyard pathway where the eliminated castaways walk after being voted out.
- This season's Hidden Immunity Idol was a large wooden key.
- This season marked the return of the Tribe Switch, which was absent in the past three seasons.
- This season marked the fourth and fifth time that a contestant opted to voluntarily leave the competition. But this is the first time in the history of the series that two people quit at the same time.
- This season marked the second time that Jeff bribed a tribe for something after an unfortunate event at camp. The first time this happened was in Survivor: The Australian Outback, where the Barramundi tribe suffered miserably after a terrible storm, with their remaining food supply being washed up. Jeff bribed them to dismantle their shelter for a new supply of rice.
- This season has three episodes that breached the usual 3-day cycle. Company Will Be Arriving Soon, Not Sure Where I Stand and This Is Going to Hurt all covered four days.
- This season marked the second time that more than one player used a Hidden Immunity Idol in a single Tribal Council, being Sash and Chase.
- Sash is third contestant to use an Idol and only negate minority votes (not enough votes to eliminate them), following Matty Whitmore (Gabon) and Sandra Diaz-Twine (Heroes vs. Villains).
- Chase is the fourth player that drew an Idol, but no votes were cast against them, following Alex Angarita and Earl Cole (Fiji), and Russell Hantz (twice, once in Samoa and once in Heroes vs. Villains).
- This is the first time since Survivor: Tocantins that there have been all-male finalists, though this is the first time that the final three entirely comprised of male contestants, namely, Sash, Chase and Fabio.
- This is the fourth consecutive season that all finalists came from one original tribe.
- This is the first time since Survivor: The Amazon that the contestants' torches were designed with their tribe affiliations in mind. Original La Flor members had an etched flower design at their torches, while the original Espada had saber-like etchings on theirs.
- This was the first time that tribe names were prominently displayed on the buffs, though this would be the second time that buffs were customized for a tribe, following Survivor: All-Stars, where their buffs had their tribe insignia drawn on it.
- This season's Jury had the most female members, with six.
- La Flor only had one original male jury member: Benry.
- This is the first season since Survivor: Gabon where the difference in the jury vote was only one vote.
- It is the first season since Survivor: Cook Islands where the jury vote has been 5-4-0. There had been three seasons with a final three and nine jury members between Cook Islands and Nicaragua.
- This is the second season in a row where the oldest contestant gets 18th place.
- This was the first season since Survivor: All-Stars to feature two castaways quit in the same season. However, unlike the former season, the two contestants quit in the same episode.
- This is currently the only season where the Final Three is entirely male.
- This is currently the last season to feature a double tribal council where both tribes vote off one member.
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