You're out of the game but not exactly out of the game, you're back in the real world but not exactly in the real world.

David Murphy, Survivor: Redemption Island

Life at Ponderosa title card
Survivor Gameplay
Description: A sequester house for eliminated contestants
Appearances: Survivor: Micronesia-present

Ponderosa is a special holding area for Survivor contestants before and after being voted out, or in rare cases, after being evacuated for medical reasons or leaving the game voluntarily. It is usually a resort or a villa.


Contestants are sequestered at Ponderosa.

Immediately following a castaway's elimination, the contestant is whisked away from Tribal Council and interviewed by a psychiatrist for debriefing, after which they proceed to a medical tent where the castaway undergoes a medical examination, which includes treatment of wounds incurred during the game and comparison of pre-game and post-game weight. The castaway is then lead to "Ponderosa", which could be a rented private resort or hotel, where they can have access to amenities uncommon to the game of Survivor, such as food, creature comforts, and socialization with fellow eliminated castaways, and to a degree, locals. It should be noted that castaways are still prohibited to use phones, the internet, and ostensibly, their social media accounts.[1] However, television, local newspapers, cameras, DVD, VCRs, and video game consoles are available. Occasionally, the eliminated castaways are taken to a field trip to experience the culture of the country, buy souvenirs, and take pictures.

There are two batches of contestants sequestered in Ponderosa: Those who did not make the jury phase, and the jury and the finalists. Once all the pre-jurors are complete, they will vacate Ponderosa and be sequestered in a neighboring country until the end of filming;[2] after which the jury, and eventually, the finalists, will occupy Ponderosa. From Survivor: Micronesia onwards, the jury's stay in Ponderosa is chronicled through a web series called Life at Ponderosa, which can be viewed through the CBS website and YouTube channels. Scenes may include the castaways' reflections on their Survivor experience. This can also be an opportunity to discuss failed strategies and the possible outcome of the game with others.

After the Final Tribal Council, the finalists also get to stay at Ponderosa, albeit overnight. The next day, the jurors and the finalists will have one final meal, before heading home.