San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Miss Costa Rica dressed as a giant, pink bird at the Miss Universe costume contest

Miss Nicaragua


Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization

Every few weeks a dispute crops up between Costa Rica and its northern neighbor. In the world of costume contests, Nicaragua can claim a rare decisive victory in its feuding with Costa Rica.

Miss Nicaragua Nastassja Bolivar took the top prize at the National Costume event during the Miss Universe pageant earlier this week. Bolivar integrated some indigenous charm to best 85 other competitors, including Miss Costa Rica Fabiana Granados.

Miss Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Granados dressed as a feather-obsessed roseate spoonbill, a bird native to her home town in Guanacaste. The outfit seems to have been re-gifted to Granadas from the San José Municipality. The costume was worn two years ago at the Festival of the Lights, an annual Christmas parade in San José.


Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization

On Saturday, the pageant will name its 16 finalists, and later, crown the winner. Channel 7 will air the event starting at noon. 
Costa Rica has never won a Miss Universe before but Granados’ supporters sound confident.

Gabriela Alfaro, who runs Costa Rica’s national pageant, gave a spectacularly petty backhanded compliment to Miss Nicaragua while discussing Granados with La Nación.

“I see every chance of entering the top 16…Nicaragua is not as pretty, but has much grace, so much energy. That’s what Fabiana must take to the maximum Saturday.”

Alfaro expects two of the top 10 finishers to be Latinas, but she’s probably not counting on much success for Nicaragua beyond the costume victory. Other pageant experts too predict a strong finish for Costa Rica.

Apart from El Salvador, the rest of Central America flaunted ostentatious, feather heavy outfits. Here are costume photos from the rest of the isthmus (Belize is not a participant in Miss Universe):

 Miss Panama


Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization

Miss El Salvador


Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization

Miss Honduras


Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization

Miss Guatemala


Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization

Many other countries brought garish and over-the-top costume designs. Miss France wore a miniature Eiffel Tower as a tiara. Miss Netherlands dressed as Amsterdam – complete with tulips, windmills, a bicycle and canals. Miss Sweden wielded a viking sword, Miss Denmark posed as the country’s famous Little Mermaid statue, and Miss Finland personified the Northern Lights.

Buzzfeed has an entertaining rundown of the best and zaniest national costumes. But we have our own opinions on the best, worst and, uh, creepiest.

Miss USA


Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization

She’s a … Transformer? All right. Is there more than meets the eye here? Don’t think so. This costume is hideous. Poor Erin Brady got dressed up as the famous Japanese-influenced toy line. We suppose this is a tribute to the U.S. tradition of importing products from Asia.  

Miss Peru


Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization

Does this costume scream Peru? Yes. Does this costume make you want to scream? Absolutely, it’s terrifying. Plastic baby dolls are horror movie props, not beauty pageant accessories.

Miss Curacao
She’s a gecko! A costume involving a gecko puts Curacao’s Eline de Pool as our odds-on favorite to win Miss Universe. Forget spoonbills, Costa Rica should invent its own gecko costume next year or maybe the Halloween frog could work too. 


Courtesy of the Miss Universe Organization

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