Concierge.com's insider take:
Hurricane Wilma hovered over Cozumel in October 2005, blowing sand out to sea and blasting the fragile limestone coastline and coral reefs. The wide white beaches fronting hotels on the northwest coast, including Playa Azul and Playa Santa Pilar, are gradually reappearing, however. WaveRunners, kayaks, and busy bartenders are back at the largest beach clubs—like Paradise (Carretera Costera Sur, Km 14.5, 52-987-871-9010, www.paradisecozumel.com) and Mr. Sancho's (Carretera Costera Sur, Km 15, 52-987-876-1629, www.mrsanchos.com)—and most hotels in the south.
The beaches on Cozumel's wild, easterly coast, such as Playa Bonita and Punta Morena, fared better during Wilma. Swimming off the east coast can be risky because of swift currents and strong surf, but there's no danger in lingering at beachside cafés like Coconuts (near Punta Morena) or Mezcalito's (intersection of East Coast Road with Av. Benito Juarez) for cold cervezas and fried fish—as long as you're with a designated driver.