The new castaways are stranded in the unforgiving jungles of Guatemala, left to live inside the Mayan ruins in the new season of Survivor! The tribemates are split up into two tribes automatically and are greeted with a surprise as they approach host Jeff Probst -- two past Survivors are coming back to play the game again and serve as resource tools. Bobby Jon Drinkard from Survivor: Palau joins the Nakum Tribe (wearing yellow), which consists of Brandon Bellinger, Danni Boatwright, Margaret Bobonich, Cindy Hall, Jim Lynch, Judd Sergeant, Brooke Struck and Blake Towsley. Stephenie LaGrossa, also from Palau, steps up for the Yaxha Tribe (wearing blue), which is made up of Gary Hogeboom, Rafe Judkins, Morgan McDevitt, Lydia Morales, Jamie Newtom, Amy O'Hara, Brianna Verela and Brian Corridan. The new teams are set loose to complete an 11-Mile trek through the jungle, with the better campsite and flint at stake. Nakum finishes only moments before Yaxha, but Yaxha seems to come off with the better end of the stick when many Nakum members begin getting sick. The sickness and discomfort for Nakum proves to be an advantage to Yaxha, who wins the Immunity Challenge and sends Nakum to Tribal Council, where they vote Jim out of the tribe.
Both teams struggle to find food, and although Lydia's fishing skills proves an asset for Yaxha and some contestants consider eating ants, all are happy when the Reward Challenge is announced. Nakum wins the tricky game, earning fishing gear for themselves, and earning Blake a title of hero. Back at camp, Judd voices his dislike for Blake's tendencies to rest all day and then come off energized in the challenges. Nakum also wins at the Immunity Challenge, where Danni exposes Gary's secret of being an ex-NFL quarterback. However, he shrugs it off, and while his team is deciding who should go, it does not factor into the matter. On the contrary, Lydia, Morgan, and Stephenie are considered, all for different reasons, but Morgan pays the price for her laziness as she becomes the second person to leave Guatemala.
Nakum is awaken by a howler monkey, foreshadowing a tough day in the jungle. At the Reward Challenge, the monkey's screeches are forgotten as Nakum takes home some comfort in the form of blankets and other luxuries. The losing Yaxha makes the trek back home and tries to find some protein in termites while Nakum tribe members Bobby Jon and Judd begin to get annoyed at Margaret's assumed leadership position. The 114 degree heat takes its toll on everyone at the close Immunity Challenge, which grants safety for the Nakum tribe, a sprained ankle for Amy, and the fourth defeat in a row for Yaxha. Trying to find a way to better the tribe, the Yaxha players unanimously vote to eliminate Brianna.
In a twisted "reward" challenge, four players are sent out for a picnic lunch in the Mayan ruins as their tribemates are shuffled up with members of the opposing tribe. Thus, Yaxha is now composed of four former Nakum members and only three Yaxha members, and the current Nakum is made up of four of each tribe. Upon arriving home from their picnic, Gary, Amy, Judd, and Margaret are shocked to find out about the switch, and all of the survivors scramble to find a new alliance. Although most are drawn on former tribal lines, Judd fits in better with Stephenie and Jamie, and quietly makes a pact with them to turn on his old tribemates. Nakum loses the Immunity Challenge, and at Tribal Council, Judd is forced to act on his new alliance, doing so by being the swing vote and eliminating Brooke from the game.
At Nakum camp, Judd and Margaret have a heated debate about Judd's decision to vote with the former Yaxha members. Later, the pressure of a challenge loss falls on Jamie when he, given the responsibility of completing the first of three tasks in the reward challenge, is blown out of the water by Yaxha's Brandon. The reward that he single-handedly loses for his team turns out to be a phenomenal one that allows the winners to actually swim in the ocean - it is a croc-proof deck. While hanging around the deck, the Yaxha tribe begins to grow weary of Blake's fantastical stories and arrogant attitude, and Nakum's constant losses bring Stephenie to tears. Though rather sullen, Nakum pulls through with a win when it comes to the Immunity Challenge, thanks to challenge star Lydia, and at Yaxha's tribal council, Blake's attitude catches up with him as some of his old tribemates turn on him and vote him off of the island.
At the challenge, Jeff announces that this week two contestants will be going home, and that the competition would determine which tribe receives reward and gets to participate in a second challenge in which one player is rewarded with individual immunity. The Nakum team members push a giant ball to victory, at one point causing an intense argument between Bobby Jon and Jamie. Yaxha is sent back to their camp while Nakum competes in the second challenge, where Judd inadvertantly helps Rafe secure himself immunity. Back at the Mayan ruins, Judd invites a disagreement when he drinks too many beers, and that comes into account at Tribal Council when the rivalry between he and Margaret comes to a head, resulting in Margaret's elimination. Later, Rafe is given the right to give one of the Yaxha members Immunity, but his choice of Gary turns out to have no impact on the results when everyone votes out Brian.
The physical nature of the game takes its toll on Yaxh when they cope with bangs and bruises from the Reward challenge the week before. At this weeks challenge, the teams play for a sweet reward, chocolate and a zip line tour through the jungle. Nakm panics and falls behind while Yaxh springs ahead and takes the ride of their lives through the Guatemalan jungle. For Dannis birthday, Yaxh invites Nakm over to their camp for a pool part, but Jamie gets rather paranoid about his tribemates making friends with the others. For the Immunity Challenge, the tribes race to unearth pieces of a puzzle, and despite a close competition, Nakm assembles their puzzle first. Back at Yaxh, Amy feels that she is the next to go, but Brandon and Danni, still undecided, try to figure out whether they should off Bobby Jon because Amy is more deserving of the final prize. With Amy and Bobby Jon at risk, the tribe votes out the weaker of the two, Amy. After the reveal, Yaxh is thrown for a loop upon hearing that the two tribes, Yaxh and Nakm, will become one effective immediately.
Tensions flare in the Mayan temples when Yaxha and Nakum merge into Xhkm and Bobby Jon instantly clashes with the abrasive and stand-offish Jamie. The following morning, the former Yaxha tribe members immediatley get to work while the powerful former Nakum members, who outnumber Yaxha, sit back and relax, conspiring who would be best to vote off next. Later, the players are shocked to discover that somewhere in the jungle is a hidden immunity doll that could secure one of the players safety until the final four. At the Immunity Challenge, Jamie lays everything out on the table as he makes it clear that the former Nakum tribe, six strong, will be voting as one, picking off each of the four former Yaxha members one by one. Despite Gary's victory, this is exactly what happens at Tribal Council when Brandon's torch is snuffed, although Jamie now has almost everyone against him.
At the reward challenge, everyone learns that they will be eating a meal, but the challenge will decide who eats what. The players must throw an arrow into a bullseye, with the closest to the center eating the best meal. Jamie, last to throw, receives foruth place, but decides to take last place to make up for his behavior at the last reward challenge, but all wonder whether he did it for strategy or out of the kindess of his own heart. Judd wins the best dinner, steak and beer, and Gary gets annoyed at Judd's gluttony. At the immunity challenge, a desperate Jamie gives his all, and in the end, it pays off when he wins Immunity. At Tribal Council, Gary reveals the hidden Immunity Doll that he has found in the jungle, which throws a loop in the former Nakum team member's plans to vote him out. Forced to pick someone else, Bobby Jon becomes the victim of bad luck and earns his place as the first Guatemalan juror.
Jamie's paranoia about his alliance's loyalty reaches an all-time high, annoying many of his allies. In the team reward challenge, Gary, Judd, Stephenie, and Danni win an overnight stay in a mansion. While there, Gary and Danni try to persuade the other two to switch sides and vote to keep the strongest in the game. Later, Rafe emerges as an honest threat to the others when he wins his second individual immunity, keeping him safe from the vote, and allowing him, Stephenie, and Lydia to betray and blindside Jamie by axing him from their "group of six" by voting him off of the island.
Growing frustration between other tribemates begin to form - Judd feels out of the loop since the rest of the tribe voted Jamie out. The next morning, Gary attempts to form an alliance with Lydia in a conversation that is overheard by Judd. At the reward challenge the castaways that went to the overnight stay in the last reward challenge are taken out by those who have not won rewards yet, Cindy, Lydia, and Rafe. Cindy eventually wins the challenge and picks Rafe to join her on a waterfall picnic. Stephenie expresses her anger to the remaining four at camp about being the first eliminated from the competition. At the immunity challenge, Rafe narrowly outruns Gary to win immunity again, and at tribal council Lydia calls out Steph about her running the show and Gary calls out Judd about his immunity doll lie. Gary is voted out 6-1 by his tribemates and becomes the third juror of Guatemala.
At the Reward Challenge, the players are given money with which to bid on items at the Survivor auction. The auction begins with luxury foods but midway through, Jeff offers the contestants an advantage at the next immunity challenge, which Danni bids the most on, and wins. At the end of the auction, the players are shown one last item to bid on - their loved ones. Judd pools his money with some of his tribemates, ensuring him time with his wife (and giving him the opportunity to pick two other players and their loved ones to join him) while the other three unpicked players are sent away to the former Yaxha camp with no hugs, kisses, or conversations with their relatives. These three, Danni, Rafe, and Lydia, form a new alliance out of resentment that Judd did not choose them, and at the Immunity Challenge, Danni secures a win by using her "switch positions with any player" advantage. With the Immunity out of the way, Rafe is able to convince Stephenie to vote out Judd with him and the others, and a pissed-off Judd is sent packing.
The tribe is now down to Five. At the Reward Challenge, the Survivors are given a chance to win a car. Cindy ends up winning the car but is surprised by a twist: Jeff reveals that the winner of the car has never won the game, and some fans have claimed that the pattern is a curse. To thwart the superstition, Jeff gives Cindy the option to give up her newly-won car and give one to each other player in the game. A distraught Cindy decides to keep her own car and chooses Stephenie to come with her on the Reward, an overnight stay at an archeological dig. In the Immunity Challenge, Stephenie manages to unwind herself from a series of poles before the others, pulling off her first individual challenge victory ever, securing her a spot in the Final Four. At Tribal Council, the "car curse" continues when Cindy's irritated tribemates vote her out of the game unanimously.
A surprise from a local family quickly shakes up the Final Four in a traditional Maya ceremony. Later, a surprise thunderstorm sets the Survivors wondering if a decision they made upset the Maya gods. Two Survivors question their alliance and agree on who should be eliminated. Will this decision work to their advantage? With only three days left, the Final Four face off in an intense battle to make it to the end. Who will outwit, outlast and outplay to become the Sole Survivor?.
It's the moment of truth: Jeff Probst walks into the Reunion Show, taped live before a studio audience, and announces who wins the million and the title of Sole Survivor.