Maria Jeffrey was the last Belizean to capture the title in 2007
Destinee Dominique Arnold, 20, a Belizean whose studies at California State University are helping to prepare her for a career in family law, has captured the title of La Reina de La Costa Maya 2013 – the first Belizean to win the title in six years. Maria Jeffrey was the last Belizean to capture the title in 2007 – four years after Leila Pandy, in 2003.
Mexico, which has dominated for the past two years, did not end up in the top three this year, and neither did Guatemala, which won the title in 2010 and 2008.
The first runner-up was the delegate from Nicaragua, the country which took home the title in 2009.
The Costa Maya winners were announced on the night of Thursday, August 1, when it was reported that Destinee had won the 22nd edition of the annual pageant, which forms a part of the annual entertainment festival hosted on San Pedro from Thursday, August 1 to Sunday, August 4, 2013.
The 1st runner-up is Ariadna Orellana (Nicaragua), and the 2nd runner-up is Cleirys Velasquez (Panama), who also won Best National Costume.
Destinee Arnold, the third Belizean to win the pageant, is no stranger to pageantry. She won the title of Queen of the Jewel 2012-2013 for Roaring Creek, Cayo, last July. Destinee was also crowned Miss Belize California 2011-2012, in Los Angeles, California; and she is the winner of Miss Ethnic World 2013 (California). She also represented Belize in the Miss International Pageant in Okinawa, Japan, last year.
The 5’7″ woman is a model who enjoys dancing, reading, and spending time with family. She also does volunteer work in her spare time.
Organizers say that San Pedro’s International Costa Maya Festival is the only festival of its kind in Central America; and they add that it is the biggest festival in Belize, as well as the highlight of Ambergris Caye’s entertainment year.
“The festival continues to promote the culture of the Mundo Maya countries with their folklore dances, music, and food, while promoting tourism in the island of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize,” they add.
Gach Guerrero, Einer Gomez, Milo Paz, Marisa Salazar, Wil Alamilla, Ilna Nunez, Ada Graniel, Dorian Nunez, Marlena Gomez, Santiago Vasquez, Marivel Gomez, and David Marin, are listed by Costa Maya among the long-time organizers. Wally Nunez, Jan Brown, Mary Rodriquez, Greg Vernon, and Leilah Pandy are listed as new additions to the committee, assisted by a team of volunteers, as well as supporters – Bruce and Victoria Collins of the USA.