Sixteen people were sent to the Amazon to compete to win one million dollars. For the first time ever, the initial tribes were divided by sex. The two initial tribes were the all-female Jaburu (named for a native stork) and the all-male Tambaqui (a native fish). They were eventually merged into the Jacaré (Portuguese for "alligator") tribe. It started and ended as a battle of the sexes. The winner of Survivor: The Amazon was Jenna Morasca, a 21-year-old swimsuit model from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who defeated Matthew von Ertfelda by a vote of 6-1. The season finale included the announcement of the winner and a live reunion of all the season's contestants at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, on David Letterman's Late Show stage which was decorated to look like the set in the Amazon.
The season is noted for having the first reality show contestant with a disability, the hearing impaired Christy Smith.
Another notable moment in this season was a challenge that tested players' endurance against temptation. While all the players were standing on a pillar, in a typical endurance Immunity challenge, the players were told that they'd be tempted with various rewards for hopping off voluntarily. Almost immediately, Jenna Morasca and Heidi Strobel offered to take off all of their clothes if they were provided with chocolate and peanut butter. Probst complied with their request, and a very naked Jenna and Heidi exited the challenge and ate a plate of Oreo cookies and peanut butter. Their escapades earned them a cover shot and a nude pictorial in a Playboy spread.
Jenna Morasca and Rob Cesternino later competed in Survivor: All-Stars, where they placed 16th and 15th respectively (Jenna quit the game in order to return to the U.S. and be with her mother, arriving 9 days before Mrs. Morasca died after a long battle against cancer).
The complete season was released on DVD exclusively through Amazon.com on November 22, 2011.