5 Most Memorable 'Survivor' Locations
Ben Watson
Ben Watson
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
One of the best things to happen to Survivor in recent years is HD television. Sure, you get to see more clogged pores and bug bites on the castaway's skin than you want to, but you also get to soak in the breathtaking scenery. The arrival of Survivor in HD, beginning in January 2008 with the Gabon season, shot much needed new life into a somewhat stale series. It's safe to say that Survivor in HD is one of the many reasons to be excited about watching the 10 year old, 21 season-long competition series.
As I was watching the season 21 premiere last week, and marveling at the beauty of Nicaragua, I started to wonder about where the best and worst seasons of Survivor were shot? I'm not talking about the best season of the series (Borneo, Samoa or Palau), or the worst season (Thailand); I'm talking about the elements that allowed for the best and worst locations.

Five Notable Survivor Locations

Worst Weather: Samoa
Survivor seasons have had their fair share of bad weather, but it was last year's Survivor: Samoa where things really got ugly. It seemed like it rained non-stop for the first six episodes. It would have been funny to see most of the contestants doing their interviews from inside a hollowed out tree if it wasn't also so hard to watch. Jaison Robinson's hand's became so shriveled they looked like they were about to fall off. And while everyone was busy shivering, Russell Hantz was on the prowl snatching up hidden immunity idol's left and right. (Runner up: Survivor: Africa)  

Most Beautiful: Palau
I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but few would argue that the Palau season wasn't one of the prettiest locations Survivor has ever been. Survivor hadn't even started filming in HD, but that didn't stop the water surrounding the camp from looking magnificent. The beauty of Palau even helped me get over Ian Rosenberger making one of the series dumbest moves. (Runner up: Survivor: Micronesia--Fans vs. Favorites)  

Most Difficult: Guatemala
Up until Survivor's 11th season I kind of thought I could do the show. In fact, I thought I was a ringer. I fancied myself as somewhat of a strategic player who could coast along on my charm, until it came time to step up and win challenges Ozzy Lusth-style. But when I watched the season premiere of Survivor: Guatemala - The Maya Empire, my Survivor hopes were dashed. In that initial hike to camp, led by returning favorites Stephenie and Bobby Jon, people were throwing up and fainting all over the place and I wasn't sure we'd make it to a second episode. As the season progressed, bugs, heat, Judd, and no comfortable place to rest made this season the toughest yet. (Runner up: Survivor: China)

Least Challenging: Cook Islands
The season that divided tribes up by race didn't seem to have too many challenges location-wise. There was a significant amount of in-water challenges (including an awesome zip line challenge) but there wasn't much else. Now, just because the weather and location cooperated more than most doesn't mean this wasn't an amazing season. It's just that the Cook Islands looked more like a vacation spot than a desert island. (Runner up: Survivor Panama - Exile Island)

Most Unique: Africa (Kenya)
The third season of Survivor was unlike most seasons of the show. Sure it was hot and desolate like others, but there was a catch: there was no large body of water for contestants to congregate around or strategize in. Contestants bathing and scheming in the water is now a Survivor tradition, but on Survivor: Africa the castaways had to get creative. I guess that's not completely true, Big Tom did find a mud puddle to wash off in. This presented an enormous challenge that I believe led to one of the series top five seasons. Because there wasn't an abundance of water, challenges had to be very creative and therefor interesting. People have long debated whether or not the show should do a season in a cold climate. The common complaint is that some believe the reason people watch is to see people in their bathing suits all day, and no one wants to see contestants bundled up. I've got three words for you: Hot Tub Reward! (Runner up: Survivor: Gabon - Earth's Last Eden)

So now with that out of the way, where will Nicaragua stack up? They'll be there for the next season as well so let's hope it brings some eye candy and/or weather drama! Sound off below on where you think Survivor shot it's most notable locations.

(Image courtesy of CBS)