The original tribe of eight was soon joined by veteran and notorious villain Russell Hantz and although the tribe enjoyed early success, they were disillusioned by Hantz' reputation and former tactics that eventually led to his elimination at the hands of the Zapatera Six alliance after throwing a combined Reward/Immunity Challenge. Soon after, the tribe started losing challenges due to a shift in momentum and the majority alliance began to turn on one another. Ultimately, they entered the merge without the numbers and were quickly eliminated in succession. Their tribe color is purple.
Zapatera came in with eight members, but were soon joined by Russell Hantz, who originally competed in Samoa and Heroes vs. Villains. However, his presence caused the tribe to immediately divide themselves. Everybody knew that Russell was a notorious player in both seasons, and he made the same gameplay from the start by making an alliance between himself, Stephanie Valencia and Krista Klumpp. At the same time, the rest of Zapatera made a six person alliance, but neither side could make a move as they won the first two Immunity Challenges, sending Ometepe to Tribal Council twice.
During this time, Russell tried to look for a Hidden Immunity Idol like before, but Ralph Kiser beat him to the punch by claiming it first. Without luck finding an idol, Russell decided to have Stephanie carry her bag around, to fool the opposing alliance into thinking they had the idol. Before the third Immunity Challenge, the Zapatera Six planned on throwing the challenge on purpose in order to vote out Russell. Although Julie Wolfe was hesitant on the idea as it could give Ometepe some momentum, the six stuck to the plan and purposely lost the challenge, sending the tribe to Tribal Council. In order to make sure neither Russell nor Stephanie had an idol, the Zapatera Six decided to split the vote against them, but Russell tried to sway Julie into joining his alliace. However, at Tribal Council, Julie stuck with her original alliance, and they split the votes. A 3-3-3 tie between Russell, Stephanie, and Ralph occurred, and on the revote, the remaining alliance members voted Russell out 5-1-0. Russell was sent to Redemption Island where he lost to Matt Elrod in the second Redemption Island duel.
Although Zapatera was able to bounce back and win the next Immunity Challenge, the tribe was still fractured as Stephanie and Krista, the remaining members of Russell's alliance, showed no loyalty to the tribe and even planned on flipping to Ometepe in the merge. During the fifth Immunity Challenge, Stephanie was named the caller by Sarita White, but this proved to be a bad move as Stephanie struggled to have her tribe listen to her, causing confusion. Zapatera lost in a close race, meaning they had to go to Tribal Council for the second time. Although Sarita was pinned the blame for making Stephanie their caller, resulting to their defeat, the Zapatera Six still stuck together and debated on who to vote out next, Krista or Stephanie. At Tribal Council, the six voted Krista out 6-2 despite the latter trying to stir chaos.
By Day 15, cracks in the Zapatera alliance was starting to show as Sarita's complaining about a tooth irritated David Murphy, who considered flipping on the alliance. David and Stephanie conspired to break the alliance by voting off Sarita, but Stephanie's attempt to apologize for her actions were not deemed viable by Steve Wright. After a horrible shut out lost against Ometempe, David and Stephanie began lobbying for Sarita's elimination. However, their attempts did not work as Sarita's loyalty outweighed Stephanie's strength, and the latter was voted out 5-2.
By this point, both tribes were even 6-6, and Matt was dominating the duels, causing the elimination of both Krista and Stephanie. David's turn against the alliance caused more distrust between him and Sarita, and Ralph wondered if the former was going to flip on Zapatera come the merge. At the final tribal Immunity Challenge, the lead was shifted back and forth, but Zapatera lost the challenge. Once again, the debate went over loyalty and strength as it could be either Sarita or David going to Redemption Island. In the end, strength won as Sarita was voted out 4-2.
On Day 19, both tribes were called into the Redemption Island duel, the one that would let either Matt or Sarita back into the game. Ultimately, Matt won and Sarita was eliminated. With Matt back in the game, the tribes merged, and Zapatera faced a 5-7 disadvantage.
- Zapatera's camp was previously used as the camp site for Espada and Libertad in Survivor: Nicaragua.
- Zapatera is the first tribe to experience a three-way tie vote at Tribal Council.
- Zapatera is the only tribe Russell Hantz was ever voted out of in his three seasons.
- Julie Wolfe is the only female member of Zapatera to make the merge.
- Zapatera ties with Sook Jai and Galu for the longest elimination streak of an original tribe, with seven of its members being eliminated consecutively.
- Coincidentally, all three tribes were purple.