10 former contestants (Malakal tribe) face off against 10 die-hard fans of the show (Airai tribe). The two tribes meet and are instructed by Jeff to get their boat and map and also must find 2 Immunity Idols that can only be played at the first Tribal Council. Jonny Fairplay finds the first idol, which is not for his tribe giving Yau-Man a chance to grab the real one. From the Fans tribe, Kathy is the first to find the idol.
The "Fans" arrive at their beach and right away start building their shelter. But as the tribe is getting to know each other, Kathy makes a few comments she should not have. Also, their shelter does not come across as planned especially when they are stuck in a rainstorm during the night. Over at the "Favorites", the entire tribe is helping out with the important things at the campsite. Also, Parvati and James start a little flirting while Eliza thinks Amanda and Ozzy have a very close friendship. This creates an alliance between Jonathan, Eliza, Yau-Man and Ami. Both alliances try to persuade others to vote between Eliza or Parvati.
At the Immunity Challenge, the "Fans" win sending the "Favorites" to Tribal Council. At the last second, Jonny claims that he misses his pregnant girlfriend and wants to be voted out.
The "Favorites" return from Tribal Council and reflect on the Jonny Fairplay vote. The next morning the "Fans" use their flint but have a hard time getting fire and then fight over where they will slee and build their new shelter. Later in the afternoon however, the tribe is successful in getting fire and boiling water and food. Mikey B and Mary begin a little flirting, meanwhile the "Favorites", Ozzy admits to really liking Amanda and Parvati and James continue to flirt themselves. That night Ozzy and Amanda kiss which makes Jonathan and Cirie nervous about their "couple alliance".
At the Immunity/Reward Challenge, "Favorites" win fishing gear and send 1 of the "Fans" to Exile Island and choose one of their own to join the exiled contestant. When Kathy and Cirie go to Exile they search hard for the hidden immunity idol.
Back on the "Fans" beach, the tribe discuss who to vote for between Chet and Tracy. But Joel feels uncomfortable that Mikey B. thinks he is in control. Then Joel turns the focus to vote Mary out to weaken Mikey. At Tribal Council, Joel is confident his plan will work.
After Tribal Council, Mikey B. assumes Joel is behind Mary being voted out and thinks the rest of his tribemates are weak. On the "Favorites", Ozzy and his alliance tell Eliza the order they have to vote people out.
At the Reward Challenge, the two tribes wrestle for the reward of their choice and the "Favorites" end up on top. When the tribe returns to their beach, Cirie reveals she doesn't feel secure with her tribe. So she goes to Amanda and Paravati to try for an alliance.
At Exile Island, Kathy and Ami aren't able to search for their clues as they believed a storm is on its way. That night, the "Fans" suffer through a terrible storm while the "Favorites" stay dry in their cave with their tarp. The next morning, the "Fans" are feeling down after trying to sleep through the storm.
After the Immunity Challenge, the "Fans" win. At the "Favorites" camp, Yau-Man is told that Parvati is the one who is going. Cirie wants Yau-Man out but Ozzy and Jonathan come to Cirie to try and change her mind and vote for either Eliza or Parvati. As a result of all the alliances on the tribe, three people are on the chopping block
After breaking the alliance Cirie had with Jonathan, the two argue at camp, and she is also not happy with Ami who gave her one vote at the last Tribal Council.
At the "Fans" beach, Natalie knows she has been working hard but thinks Chet hasn't worked enough. Mikey B. has also realized this and claims Chet as the next one to go. Back at the "Favorites", Eliza is feeling sick and as a result, feels she could be voted out. James and Ozzy both agree that Eliza should have been voted out instead of Yau-Man. Of course when Eliza hears this, she doesn't like it.
On Exile Island, Kathy doesn't feel like looking for the idol. But that doesn't stop Ozzy from looking for it, and is successful in finding it. After finding the idol, Ozzy creates a fake idol to put in its place.
Back on the "Favorites" beach, Jonathan hears Eliza telling Parvati that he needs to be voted out. But Parvati still feels Eliza is the next one to go. But at the Immunity Challenge, the "Favorites" win.
After the challenge, Mikey B. wants to vote Chet, while Joel wants Kathy gone. But Tracy tells Joel not to follow what Mikey wants and hopes to blindsight him at Tribal Council.
Jason from the "Fans" laments the fact that Chet was not voted off, as it allows the tribe to remain weaker and he doesn't think his tribe is physically strong enough. The next morning, the "Favorites" prepare to cook a chicken. Afterwards, Ozzy tells James, Parvati and Amanda that he has the Immunity Idol because he thinks he can trust them.
The two tribes meet and Jeff tells them that the tribes will be shuffled as "Fans" will be mixed with "Favorites". The new tribes then participate in a Reward Challenge. At the challenge, Ami, Jonathan, Parvati and Chet are all injured, and in the end the Airai tribe win a steak barbeque.
At Malakal, Joel thinks it's ironic that Chet is still with him on his new tribe. Erik is excited to meet Ozzy up-close, while Ozzy believes Chet should be voted out next. Over at Airai, Eliza finds the camp to be a disaster. Jonathan is still suffering from his leg injury and gets medical attention. The next morning, the tribe builds a new shelter in a new location.
At the Immunity Challenge, Airai wins immunity. At the Malakal beach, Joel is fed up with losing and tells Erik and Ozzy that the weaker people need to go, and Chet should be the next to go. Cirie on the other hand knows she will be voted out after Chet, and tries to convince Ozzy and Amanda to vote Joel out.
After returning from Tribal Council, Erik thinks he can't trust the other "Favorites" on his tribe and Tracy agrees with Erik. This gives Ami the chance to possibly create an alliance with the "Fans". Over on Airai, Jonathan thinks his knee is slowly recovering.
After Airai wins the Reward Challenge, the medical team looks at Jonathan's knee and recommends that he leaves the game. Jonathan agrees and so is out of the game in order to go to the hospital. But on Malakal, the "Favorites" complain about Tracy and Chet's work ethic during the challenge. Ami doesn't like all the negative comments and puts her trust in Erik and Tracy.
On Exile Island, Jason finds the decoy immunity idol and thinks it's the real one. At the Immunity Challenge, Airai wins and at Malakal, Chet tells his tribemates to vote him out due to his own injury. But Erik thinks it would be better to vote out one of the bigger threats instead.
On Malakal, Tracy thinks Ozzy is in control of the tribe and will win unless he is voted out. Erik bond with Ozzy grows as he is taught to climb trees and get coconuts.
At Airai, James thinks the women complain too much about the state of the camp, while Kathy is missing the comforts of home.
Malakal wins a spa reward at the Reward Challenge. Meanwhile, Airai suffer through a rough rainstorm which causes Kathy to become depressed and break down. She makes a big decision and leaves the game.
Back at Malakal, Cirie and Amanda discuss how they see Ozzy's arrogance after the tribe goes on a boat trip. Amanda thinks it may be best to vote Erik out because of his loyalty to Ozzy.
After the Immunity Challenge, Airai wins for the third straight time. At Malakal, the "Favorites" discuss which "Fan" should be voted out. Ozzy suggests Erik should stay, but Ami has a plan of her own to vote out Ozzy.
After Tribal Council, Malakal returns to their camp, leaving Erik as the last "Fan" on the tribe. Ozzy claims he doesn't feel like he is the leader but still has a target on his back. Early in the morning, Cirie and Ami go hunting for crabs and later, Ami lies to Ozzy about trying to save him from the vote.
At Airai, Jason catches a rat and saves it for later just in case. Meanwhile, James is missing the Malakal beach and Parvati is missing Cirie and Amanda but makes a plan with Natalie to vote out all the guys and have a female final four.
Tree Mail arrives asking both tribes to pick one person from the opposite tribe to receive individual immunity and go to Exile Island. After the combined Immunity/Reward Challenge, Airai wins immunity for the fourth straight time along with pizza and beer.
Over on Exile Island, Ozzy discovers his fake immunity idol has been taken. Meanwhile on Malakal, Erik feels he will be the next to go and tries his best to stay in the game by confronting Cirie, Amanda and Ozzy about trusting Ami. Before Tribal Council, the tribe is still divided on who to vote out.
On Airai, Jason tells Eliza he has the hidden immunity idol which allows them to believe they could go far.
The next morning, Tree Mail tells both tribes that they are moving to a new beach. Once the two tribes arrive at the new beach, they merge into one tribe. Once the tribes merge, Eliza does not feel she is in a good position after seeing that Ami was voted out. Everyone agrees to live on the Malakal beach and Erik suggests the new tribe name, Dabu. That night, Ozzy and Alexis's relationship starts to build up which bothers Amanda.
The new tribe arrives at their beach and after talking to Jason, Ozzy guesses he has the fake immunity idol. Meanwhile, after talking with Parvati, Eliza realizes the game is no longer fans versus favorites. Parvati then tells Amanda about the alliance she has with Natalie and Alexis, but Amanda never wanted that.
After the first Individual Immunity, Parvati is confident that Eliza will be voted out based on the way she has played the game so far. Eliza then confronts Jason about giving her the "immunity idol", but after she sees it, she realizes it's not the real idol. Meanwhile, Amanda tries to get Cirie to vote out Alexis.
At Tribal Council, Eliza tries to play the fake immunity idol, and after being rejected, she tells everyone Ozzy must have the real one.
After Tribal Council, the tribe reacts to Eliza playing the decoy immunity idol. The next morning, the tribe competes in a reward for a visit to Yap, another island in Micronesia. Ozzy, Erik, Amanda and Jason win the reward and enjoy a traditional experience with a feast.
On Exile Island, Cirie is having a rough time trying to live through a rainstorm. But while she is there, she has time to think about how she can get rid of Ozzy and his idol.
Back on the Dabu beach, while James is keeping himself busy, Parvati complains that he is making too much noise while she is trying to sleep. Later that day, James and Amanda discuss how Parvati's own alliance with Alexis and Natalie seems to be getting much more serious.
During the Immunity Challenge, Jeff tempts the contestans with food in exchange for dropping out of the challenge. After 5 hours in competition, Jason drops out after being given a guarantee from the rest of the tribe that he would not be voted out that night. But after returning to camp, everyone says they don't plan on keeping their promise and will vote out Jason. However, Cirie goes to the other girls behind Ozzy's back with a plan to blindsight him.
After Ozzy was voted out, Amanda and James are both angry and cannot believe that Parvati would organize that behind her back. Afterwards, Parvati tells James her plans for an all girl final 3 and is sorry for not telling him about the Ozzy vote.
The Reward Challenge is a Survivor Auction and after Jason is sent to Exile Island, the rest of the tribe thinks he's the lucky one for having the chance to look for a new Immunity Idol. On Exile, Jason is indeed successful in finding the new idol and believes his alliance with Natalie remains strong. Back on the Dabu beach, the girls strategize to get Jason voted out next even if he has the idol.
The next morning, it is Erik's 22nd birthday and the girls take that into consideration in their back-up plan to vote out James if they are unable to vote Jason out.
After the Immunity Challenge, Jason goes fishing and while he is away, Natalie looks through his bag to see if he has the immunity idol. She makes sure Jason is confident that he will not play the idol at Tribal Council, therefore the girl's plan is working properly.
The Survivor Medical Team looks at the cut on James's finger and tells him if it doesn't get better by the morning, he'll need surgery. Then the next morning, Alexis takes a bad fall and cuts her knee.
At the Reward Challenge, the castaway meet with their family members and compete for a trip to Jellyfish Lake which is won by Alexis. She picks Cirie and Natalie to go with them on the trip. After the challenge, the medical team checks James's finger again. Medical decides that James must leave the game to go to the hospital. Meanwhile, on Exile Island, Amanda finds all 3 clues and discovers that the hidden immunity idol is hidden back at Dabu camp.
Alexis returns from Jellyfish Lake and is shocked about James but worried about her own injury. Cirie states that because of the all-girl alliance at camp, they must beat Erik at the next Immunity Challenge. The next morning, Parvati says she would not be part of voting out Amanda no matter what the circumstance was.
After Erik wins the Immunity Challenge, Amanda and Parvati think Natalie for the vote while Erik, Alexis and Cirie think Amanda should go. Before Tribal Council, Amanda realizes she is the next to go and searches for the immunity idol under the camp flag.
At the Dabu camp, Erik thinks about teaming up with Natalie to find the new hidden immunity idol, but still doesn't trust anybody. One the other side, Cirie, Parvati and Amanda vow to stay together until the final three.
After the Reward Challenge, Natalie is upset with Erik for taking Amanda on his reward win. Then, after Erik returns from the reward, Natalie overhears him telling Cirie that he thinks Natalie and Amanda are the biggest threats for the jury's vote.
Erik wins the Immunity Challenge and once the tribe returns to the beach, Natalie tells the others she wants to be told if its her being voted out. Cirie confirms she is the next to go, but suggests she try to get Erik to give her the immunity necklace with promises of forgiveness.
During Tribal Council, Erik is willing to do anything to get the girls to forgive him. But what Erik doesn't know, is that depending on his decision, the girls are planning to vote him out.
What started as an epic battle between Fans versus Favorites comes to a dramatic end. Find out which castaway reaches their breaking point, and which one is left bursting with emotions at the Final Tribal Council.
The winner of season 16 is revealed, as the 20 castaways reunite to discuss their experiences while on the island.