In 1996, a decision was made to expand the Ms. Sea & Air Festival title. More emphasis, more effort was put into this beauty pageant. In 1996 it became a truly international event with particpants from the five Mundo Maya countries (Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador) involved with the festival. The pageant was held on the opening night of the festival and Maria del Socorro Retoloza Ulloa of Vera Cruz, Mexico was the first Reina de la Costa Maya.
Ms. Retoloza said that when she returned to Mexico she was inundated by the Mexican press when she deplaned. One of her prizes was a return trip to San Pedro; she visited during the first month of May of this year. Of course, she will return this August 19th to crown the new queen.
In Mexico, a proud Nuestra Belleza Mexico (they put on many of the beauty pageants in Mexico) has included La Reina de la Costa Maya on their internet page.