EY Law Central America > San Jose, Costa Rica > Firm Profile

EY Law Central America
EPIC Corporate Center, 5 floor
San Rafael, Escazú
San José
Costa Rica

Costa Rica > Real estate Tier 1

The market-leading team at regional firm EY Law Central America leverages the bench strength of eight offices in seven countries (including the March 2022 opening of a Pacific Coast office in the Guanacaste province) to advise multinational corporates, asset managers and hospitality chains on the implementation of long-term projects and large-scale developments, integrating multiple lines of service to assist clients with related tax planning, due diligence and exit strategies. The team is jointly led by Alejandro Antillón, an authority in transactional, financing, regulatory and operational matters, and Arturo Apéstegui. The team is supported by senior associate Ana Sáenz and associate Monserrat Alvarado, a specialist in condominium regulations.

Practice head(s):

Alejandro Antillón; Arturo Apestegui

Key clients


Jacobson Family Investment

Victor Lee – Princeton

Desarrollos Ecológicos El Canal

Fideicomiso Inmobiliario Green City

RC Inmobiliaria

Reserva Conchal

Enjoy Hotels and Resort

Karam-Arab Family Trust

Fat Cat

Work highlights

  • Advising Sunvesta on the development and construction of a luxury resort in Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica, under the brand One & Only for upwards of $350m.
  • Advised Jacobson Family Investment on the legal and environmental due diligence and purchase of land on the south Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
  • Advising Victor Lee – Princeton on the construction and development process of a hotel in Santa Teresa with a residential real estate component.

Costa Rica > Corporate and M&A Tier 2

The multidisciplinary corporate and M&A group at regional firm EY Law Central America leverages the bench strength of eight offices in seven countries (including the March 2022 opening of a Pacific Coast office in the Guanacaste province) and coordinates with its real estate and finance teams to advise local and multinational corporates involved in complex, cross-border transactions. The team’s comprehensive service includes distribution and franchise agreements, joint ventures and restructuring. The practice is led by corporate law authority Hernán Pacheco, free trade zone specialist Fernando Vargas and senior manager Ana Sáenz, an experienced economist. Other key figures include real estate practice co-head Alejandro Antillón, who brings his expertise to assisting hospitality chains and developers.

Practice head(s):

Hernán Pacheco; Fernando Vargas; Ana Sáenz


Without a doubt, EY Law is a very high-level firm and stands out both on a human and professional level.

One of the great qualities of the lawyers at EY Law is their professionalism, ethics and the ability to understand the business and the problems that clients bring to them. Specifically, Fernando Vargas stands out.

They have an interdisciplinary team that provides timely and innovative solutions. It is characterised by collaborating with the client’s requirements immediately.

Hernán Pacheco has extensive experience and is a leader in his field.

Key clients

Comercializadora de Mani

Distillers United Group

The Raymond Corp


Distribuidora Isleña de Alimentos


EVONIK Costa Rica

Work highlights

  • Advised Distillers United Grupo in its sale of the Ron Diplomático brand, production facilities and distribution to Browne Forman for the approximate sum of $730m.
  • Advising Kimberly Clark on corporate, commercial, data protection, consumer protection, competition and other matters relating to the day-to-day activity of its subsidiaries in the region.
  • Advising Distribuidora Isleña de Alimentos on a wide range of matters, including corporate reorganisation and general corporate issues, potential joint venture alternatives, and the review and negotiation of distribution contracts of international brands.

Costa Rica > Environment Tier 2

The environmental practice at EY Law Central America leverages the bench strength of its regional offices and the expertise of its team (all certified environmental auditors) to assist with construction and land planning developments, industrial plants and fruit plantations, and complex environmental litigation and procedural matters. With an active client base which includes such key market players as Unilever and Abbott Medical and spans the transportation, manufacturing, food, electronics and construction sectors, the group’s comprehensive service extends to risk assessment strategies and support with the environmental health and safety aspects of M&A transactions. The team is headed by manager Marco Quesada, who brings experience representing clients in the Courts of Justice and the Administrative Environmental Court. Key support is provided by senior associate Jéssica Castro, who advises clients on environmental compliance administrative procedures before state authorities.

Practice head(s):

Marco Quesada


A consistent team with good judgment in customer relations and business relationships.

Availability, assertive and direct responses to our immediate requirements, good treatment of clients and takes time to answer questions and obtain recommendations.

Marco Quesada is always available to answer questions and provide support. He has extensive knowledge of our company’s processes.

Key clients

Distribuidora Cummins

Industrias Martec

Baxter Productos Médicos

Florida Ice and Farm

Zollner Electronics

Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo

Abbott Medical Costa Rica

Unilever Costa Rica

Unilever Nicaragua

Flex Costa Rica

Work highlights

  • Assisted Distribuidora Cummins with environmental health and safety audits for its operations in Costa Rica and Panama in order to review compliance with local laws.
  • Advised Industrias Martec on its compliance with environmental health and safety regulations.
  • Provided Baxter Productos Médicos with an updated and accurate environmental online matrix, containing all the legal and regulatory requirements applicable to its industry.

Costa Rica > Tax Tier 2

The tax group at EY Law Central America leverages the bench strength of eight offices in seven countries (including the March 2022 opening of a Pacific Coast office in the Guanacaste province) to provide a comprehensive range of services to national and multinational corporates involved in high-value, cross-border transactions. Assisting with transfer pricing, business tax, international tax, tax policy and controversy, transaction tax and tax compliance reporting, the firm’s active client base spans the pharmaceuticals, beverages, logistics and apparel sectors. Rafael Sayagués, who is managing partner of the tax and legal practices in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, brings expertise to such matters as corporate restructuring and reorganisations, the design and implementation of cross-border transactions and tax incentive systems. Other key figures include Juan Carlos Chavarría, who has over 25 years' experience in the practice area, advising clients on transfer pricing, tax modelling and international trade and tax incentive systems; Antonio Ruiz Rojas, who leads the transactional tax and tax controversy practice in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic, specialising in the tax due diligence aspects of cross-border deals; and indirect tax, customs and global trade director Carolina Palma, who manages matters relating to free trade zone structuring and compliance.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Sayagués

Key clients

Destillers United Group (DUG)


Laboratorios Stein

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead counsel and tax adviser to Distillers United Grupo in the sale of the Ron Diplomático brand, production facilities and distribution to Browne Forman.
  • Advised Hapag-Lloyd on the Costa Rican tax implications of its $1bn acquisition of 100% of Chile-based SAAM marine terminal and logistics businesses.
  • Advised Laboratorio Stein on the tax aspects of the sale of its operations to Laboratorios Saval, a pharmaceutical company based in Chile.

Costa Rica > Banking and finance Tier 3

The team at EY Law Central America leverages the bench strength of eight offices in seven countries (including the March 2022 opening of a Pacific Coast office in the Guanacaste province) and the experience of its team to provide local and international banks, financial institutions and major multinational corporates with advice on day-to-day matters and cross-border transactions. With a range of banking and finance services covering such matters as mortgage banking, leverage buyouts and syndicated loans, the firm’s key figures include Arturo Apéstegui (who brings 25 years of experience in retail banking, credit and security structures and regulatory compliance) and senior manager Carlos Ayón, who advises on multi-jurisdictional litigation and project financing operations.

Costa Rica > Dispute resolution Tier 3

The litigation group at EY Law Central America leverages the bench strength of eight offices in seven countries (including the March 2022 opening of a Pacific Coast office in the Guanacaste province) to act for major multinationals in a diverse range of disputes. The practice’s full service covers distribution cases involving the modification, termination or restructuring of contracts, due diligence processes and pre-litigation advice. Experienced litigator and senior manager Allan Hernández and managing partner Hernán Pacheco are the key contacts.

Costa Rica > Labour and employment Tier 4

With eight offices in seven countries (including the March 2022 opening of a Pacific Coast office in the Guanacaste province), the labour and employment team at regional firm EY Law Central America draws on its deep bench strength to advise national corporates and household-name multinationals such as Kimberly Clark and Microsoft on a wide range of matters across the practice area. With an active client roster spanning the hospitality, software, tobacco, education, manufacturing, chemical, automotive and IT sectors, the group’s full service extends to due diligence, risk management, compensation scheme and employee policy review, and representation in administrative proceedings. The team is headed by Fernando Vargas and Laura Navarrete, who directs the firm’s employment practices in Central America, Panama and the Caribbean. At senior associate level, Karina Piedra was promoted in April 2022, while Guillermo Vargas joined from BDS Asesores in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Fernando Vargas Winiker; Laura Navarrete Hernández


The legal support received from the EY team has been very efficient, timely and accurate.

Laura Navarrete has been a great support in very sensitive situations, effectively addressing the challenges posed, with very solid legal judgment, real knowledge of the environment, and updated understanding of the latest jurisprudential trends, always seeking to manage risks with the appropriate balance. Fernando Vargas has been a great business partner, coordinating issues regionally, with real knowledge of the region, extensive experience in matters that impact the business and sensitivity to the time scale.

The comprehensive support provided by the EY labour department gives a lot of confidence and has been reflected in the result of each consultancy.

The team is not just one person and that makes it very valuable for a client to be able to depend on a firm and not a single lawyer.

Their level of knowledge is unmatched by others.

Key clients

Inchcape (Vehículos de Trabajo)

Boston Consulting Group

Kimberly Clark

Microsoft Regional Operations


National Convention Center of Costa Rica


On Process

Chestnut Hill Farms


Fundación Gente

Recicladora Imán

Green Hotels


Hospital La California



Lottus Education

Aquafoods Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted Advisory for Vehículos de Trabajo (a Costa Rican entity that forms part of Inchcape) in a restructuring process of the financial department, which involved several terminations and changes in the remaining employees’ responsibilities.
  • Providing day-to-day labour and employment advisory for Boston Consulting Group in its first year of operations.
  • Advised Smarsh on the constitution of a local NewCo and the transfer of employees after it globally acquired Micro Focus’ Digital Safe business operation.

El Salvador > Tax

Backed by a global network, the powerhouse tax controversy team at EY Law Central America remains a leader in the market, advising household-name multinationals on domestic and international transactions, and representing clients throughout audits and tax litigation before the Salvadoran Tax Authority. With a broad client base spanning such sectors as insurance, telecoms, banking and pharmaceuticals, the team assists clients with tax compliance and planning analysis, and the tax aspects of M&A, joint ventures, strategic alliances and restructurings. The practice is headed by Héctor Mancía, who brings to bear over 27 years' experience of the Salvadoran tax system, having previously worked at the Ministry of Finance, and senior associate Carlos Gaitán, who specialises in administrative and judicial disputes. Key support is provided by senior associate Daniela Vargas, who coordinates regional and international projects and engagements with teams located across the Americas and Europe, and associate Douglas Morales, who is well versed in tax assessment procedures before the General Directorate of Internal Revenue and the General Directorate of Customs, in addition to handling matters before the contentious-administrative courts and the Supreme Court of Justice. The team expanded in September 2022 with the additions of senior associate José Quintanilla (from an in-house role) and associate Gabriela Guzmán (from CENTRAL LAW El Salvador).

Practice head(s):

Héctor Mancía; Carlos Gaitán


Professional and independent in their analysis and conclusions.

The team offers very personalised service and has the best professional and personal disposition.

The firm stands out for the knowledge, close communication and 24/7 availability of Héctor Mancía and his entire team.’

Their understanding of administrative law and knowledge of our business area makes them exceptional in tax matters. The accessibility of the team in relation to business administration has facilitated the communication of tax problems and therefore the search for solutions.

Their experience with the jurisprudence gives them an advantage in any tax problem that our business has.

With the EY advisory team, we can work in an integrated and committed manner. They understand our processes, and they present us with accurate proposals and recommendations.

The team stand out for their trustworthiness, commitment, high-level experience, and their interest in understanding our operations and processes to provide the appropriate recommendations for each process.

We are extremely satisfied with EY Law’s professionalism and ethics. They are excellent.

Guatemala > Tax

Praised by clients for its ‘experience in all tax and customs issues‘, EY Law Central America leverages its regional and global networks to advise an array of multinational clients on tax matters throughout Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic. The team is widely recognised for its strengths in tax advisory work (particularly assisting with the due diligence and structuring of M&A transactions), compliance and transfer pricing, but also has a rapidly growing tax controversy practice. Guatemala managing partner Manuel Ramírez steers the team and has strong skills in international taxation and transactional tax; he is supported from the Costa Rica office by managing partner for Central America Rafael Sayagués and Randall Oquendo, who leads the tax controversy practice in the region. Experienced senior manager Ana Alfaro and manager Carlos Díaz-Durán are the key names to note for tax litigation.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Sayagués; Manuel Ramírez; Randall Oquendo


The experience in all tax and customs issues and the service is the best.’

Knowledge, attitude, service and punctuality.

Key clients

Aldesa Construcciones

Chevron Petroleum




Telus International





Central America > Corporate and finance

As the legal arm of the Big Four accounting firm, EY Law Central America stands out for its advice on corporate (and related tax) matters throughout the region, as well as in Panama and the Dominican Republic. In Costa Rica, where the firm has offices in San José and Guanacaste (the latter of which focuses on real estate and tourism matters), Arturo Apéstegui, who has extensive experience in advising local and international banks, is the name to note in the finance practice. On the corporate side, Hernán Pacheco, the managing partner of the firm’s Latin America North practice, and Fernando Vargas are the key contacts; the pair also oversee the firm’s operations in Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Work highlights

EY Law is an international law firm, part of EY global firm, with over 4,000 lawyers in 87 countries throughout the world. In Central America the firm has more than 100 lawyers with offices in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic. EY Law offers a different approach by delivering legal services that help minimise the gap between business advisors and legal counsel. Its lawyers work integrated with professionals from other service lines of EY, including local and international tax, strategic and financial advisory and investment banking, in order to provide to its clients integral value-added professional services.

The Costa Rican team is regarded among the best in the country, with a high-profile clientele comprised of multinational, regional and local clients doing business in Central America and abroad. The firm has recently reinforced its team and expanded its service offering, with strategic recruitments in different ranks and sectors, to cope with new demands and needs of its clients. Such is the case with data protection and data privacy, controversy, infrastructure and financial services. The firm has also built a strong digital platform of Legal Operarations Services, as a tool to provide value to its clients including GCs and in-house counsel, bringing high-end technology to the offering of legal services.

Through its global reach, EY Law’s multidisciplinary teams provide effective cross-border legal counsel to its clients, procuring effective solutions to multi-jurisdictional challenges by rendering a uniform and consolidated approach.

EY Law represents important multinational and regional clients — including numerous Fortune 500 companies in diverse industries: automotive and transportation, banking, capital markets and insurance, consumer products and retail, government and public sector, health and life sciences, oil and gas, power and utilities, private equity, real estate and hospitality, technology, media and entertainment and telecom.

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking &Finance Arturo Apéstegui Arturo.Apestegui@cr.ey.com + 506 2208 9800
Competiton & consumer Protection Alexander Salazar Alexander.Salazar.Solorzano@cr.ey.com + 506 2208 9800
Commercial/Real Estate and Hospitality Alejandro Antillón Alejandro.antillon.appel@cr.ey.com + 506 2208 9800
Corporate/M&A/Intellectual Property/Litigation & Abritration Hernán Pacheco Hernan.Pacheco@cr.ey.com + 506 2208 9800
Digital/Energy/TMT/Project Finance/Labour & Employment Fernando Vargas Fernando.Vargas.Winiker@cr.ey.com + 506 2208 9800
Environment Law Roberto Cordero roberto.cordero.cordero@cr.ey.com + 506 2208 9800
International Trade & Customs Carolina Palma Carolina.Palma@cr.ey.com + 506 2208 9800
Tax Rafael Sayagués Rafael.Sayagues@ey.com + 506 2208 9800
IBA (International Bar Association)
ABA (American Bar Association)
International Tax Planning Association (ITPA)
INTA - International Trademark Association
New York State Bar Association