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Dave, do you already have an itinerary? because knowing where are you planning to go it will be easier to give you advice. Anyway, after three pretty long (4 weeks, 3 weeks, 2 weeks) travels to Costa Rica, I have found that wildlife is much more photogenic, and easier to find, then landscapes. Or forestscapes. Yet anything shorter then 300 mm and slower then f4, just forget. As for the food photography, well, most of the staple food of Ticos is quite unassuming: a casado which is a plate of rice with beans, some vegetables and a meat of your choice. There are also plenty of upscale restaurants catering for wealthy people, and I am talking US upper level prices here.
People is generally friendly, and does not object to be photographed. Out in the country anyway. A zoom lens is very usable (mine was 16-85 on a DX body) as trey might be across the street, on the horse, etc.
Tripod is pretty much useless if not for photographing from the set place (like blinds). Monopod ditto. But good for shooing away a few-de-lance .
It is humid, even in dry season (rain forests do not grow without plenty of rain) so bring along a lot of silica gel. And put your gear in a nondescript backpack, and have it on you all the times. Petty theft is a norm down there.
Hope that helps. Again, let us know your itinerary for better feedback.