Despite my feelings that Tortuguero was a bit touristy, I still saw some incredible wildlife at a wonderfully close range. There are several lodges in Tortuguero so there's really no "off the beaten path" here, but Turtle Beach is about as far removed as you can get. Its the only lodge that has its own waterfront and is set back aways from the town and the rest of the lodges. This meant that our early morning canal ride to look for wildlife was met with silent waters and not another boat in sight.
The wake up time was early, but well worth it for the view as the sun was coming up. Plus, as all you photographers in the crowd know, much better lighting for photos! We spent about two hours silently motoring through the canal watching for wildlife. And boy did we see it! Not only was Danny excellent at spotting birds way up in the trees, but our boat captain, Gregory, had eagle eyes as well. We saw dozens of bird species, caiman, alligators, monkeys, and lizards - including my favorite, the Basilisk, or "Jesus Christ Lizard". So called because it walks on water!