i have definitely been sucked in. will be getting as much use as possible out of my ugly hiking boots (is there any other kind?)
we only stayed a few nights in one hostel in huaraz, the rest of the time we were hiking and camped. it's really nice though, and dirt cheap. clean and simple, nothing fancy. owned by an englishman and caters specifically to hikers and mountaineers so you can rent gear there, they will help you get organised, hire donkeys and guides if you want, which i would have done if i'd been with someone with less experience.
huaraz itself is really ugly but the food is excellent, and cheap. whether at the central market (full lunch for a dollar) or in the restaurants and cevicherias.
i ate guinea pig, rabbit, cow's heart (oh my god, soooo delicious), and so much yummy peruvian ceviche (they really do make the best). and the fruit and veg are incredible too.