Monday, June 3, 2013

My Top 10 Favorite Challenges of All-Time

Survivor has been on air for more than a decade now. Season 26 just wrapped up and a couple of new ones had been confirmed on the horizon (in fact, Jeff is somewhere in the Philippine Islands filming the 27th installment of the Reality TV show franchise!). There are a few things that has helped the show prove to be a success such as the strategy, the breathtaking locales, and the characters that are fun to watch! However, for me personally, the challenges are one of the things that have drawn me to watching Survivor. The intense competition that transpires when the castaways are put in situations wherein their physical and mental toughness are tested is undoubtedly a pleasure to watch.

Over the years, I've made a mental note of some of my favorite challenges from seasons past. I love watching these challenges over and over again! I have TONS of them but I have narrowed down the Top 10. You can check them out below and see just how exciting these challenges are for yourself:

10. Survivor Borneo Episode 2 Immunity Challenge

This challenge is a favorite of mine because it was the first time they did this kind of gross eating challenge, which eventually ended up being a classic. What I love about this challenge is that it is an equalizer. It requires no brawns or brains. It is all about the mental power! Gervase had a tough time, but he did end up eating the grub although he was outplayed by Stacy at the Final round to win it for Tagi!

9. Survivor Marquesas Episode 6 Reward Challenge

I can clearly remember this episode and why I loved this challenge. During Episode 4 of Survivor Marquesas, the episode after Hunter got voted off, the tribal switch took place. In an effort to shake things up as Maraamu was on the face of being decimated, the newly formed tribes got even more lopsided. In this particular challenge, to show you the disparity of the competition, a young and fit Boston Rob had to race through the jungle against Paschal during the first leg of the competition. Good thing, Gina and Kathy did an excellent job at the rowing portion of the competition to edge out a more athletic Rotu (though not one without some controversy as Rotu was initially proclaimed winner but they broke some challenge rules, causing Jeff to change his call for winner).

8. Survivor Vanuatu Episode 5 Reward Challenge

This is the first reward challenge since the Men vs Women tribe had been switched up. The reason why this challenge stuck out for me is purely because of the difficulty of the task. It is simple by design by difficult in execution. Castaways had to dive down for up to 50 feet or more in depth in order to retrieve a ring colored in their tribe flag that is tied to a rope that is stretches out to the bottom of the ocean floor. If you're a true Survivor fan, you know which challenge I'm talking about. And you know what they get for such a difficult challenge? Pringles and beer!

7. Survivor Pearl Islands Episode 6 Immunity Challenge

This challenge is a personal favorite of mine because not only was the first time that they had done it, but it was also the first win for Morgan after being nearly trumped by Drake in the competition. Andrew Savage, who literally carried his team to victory after this challenge, was fired up to win it for Morgan after Johnny Fairplay had previously told them that Drake had thrown the previous immunity challenge in order to vote off Burton. Savage was literally in tears when the challenge is over.

6. Survivor Africa Episode 1 Immunity Challenge

The main reason why this challenge made it into my favorite challenge list is merely because this season had several spectacular challenges in what I thought was one of the most difficult editions EVER! The best thing about this challenge is that it requires total team work in order to succeed. Plus, the challenge production utilized the natural landscapes and features of the land. If you're not convinced how difficult this challenge is, watch for yourself, and see Diane nearly collapse due to exhaustion. That's brutal!

5. Survivor Australian Outback Episode 2 Reward Challenge 

Here's another tough one... The earlier seasons of Survivor seemed to make full use of the locale's natural landscapes in their challenge conceptualization, which also explains I have a lot of favorites from the old-school Survivor. In this particular challenge, castaways had to jump off a steep cliff and swim to a buoy one at a time. Now that's some adrenaline rush right there! Watch the video for yourself to see how exciting this is!

4. Survivor Heroes vs Villains Episode 2 Immunity Challenge

This challenge has two elements - brawns and brains. The first stage involves the use of brawns as tribemates had to push a large crate back to their starting mat. Then, there is a puzzle on the latter stage that requires brains, obviously. There is also a teamwork aspect to it because the crates are heavy, it requires nearly all tribe members to move the crates (also serving as the puzzle piece) around to build the puzzle. This challenge was originally done in Survivor: Tocantins and then just recently in Caramoan; however, this is my top pick because it is most competitive. This is also the controversial animosity between Stephenie and James started from.

3. Survivor Palau: Episode 3 Reward Challenge

Water challenges are my weakness. But wrestling challenges on water? Even better. Palau had some really excellent challenges because probably half were done on water. And this one stands out for me because it was pure adrenaline rush even while I was watching on my couch.

2. Survivor Palau: Episode 3 Immunity Challenge

This is one of my favorite challenges of all time. They had done this again in several succeeding seasons and most recently in Caramoan. However, this is my most favorite run of this challenge because it was highly competitive. Can you tell that Palau is also one of my favorite seasons of all-time? Too bad, Jeff got injured before this challenge or else I'd think Koror would have a hard time beating Ulong on this one.

1. Survivor Guatemala 11 Mile Hike Challenge on Episode 1

This is, for me, hands down the best challenge that Survivor has ever had - and the toughest too! It requires no props or use of other equipment. It's just humans vs nature. The castaways had to endure over 12 hours of hike through a dense jungle that had even the toughest men during the season on their knees after. All it takes to survive and win this challenge is team work, persistence, and endurance. Nakum won this challenge and set the stage for what was going to be a physically tough season. Even Bobby Jon, who played in Palau a season before, said Palau was a piece of cake compared to the harsh elements of Guatemala.

What's your favorite challenge/s on Survivor?


  1. It's clear all your personal choices are group challenges. But I wonder why the group reward challenge in season 25 - Episode 10 I assume, in which Pete, Carter, Malcolm and Abi won, didn't make your list. This challenge was simple, unique and it can get confusing.

  2. Great choices Bianca. Your #1 challenge was brutal and I would put that up in my top 5 of all challenges too. Earlier seasons of Survivor had the great challenges and the group challenges were definitely the best but like Dean, a little surprised you didn't stick a Malcolm favourite in there somewhere :)


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