Astata (pop. 7,000) is near the midpoint (about 47 miles/76 km) between Huatulco  and Salina Cruz on Highway 200. This village is the closest thing to a metropolis along this part of the coast. The townsfolk proudly display their Chontal heritage with the big announcement Nañoje faá loj pijeda (Welcome to Santiago Astata) over the town entrance road.
By far the best time to arrive is during the Saturday tianguis, when the townspeople are so busy buying and selling that they are less likely to notice a few camera-toting visitors.
Folks will be even less self-conscious (and so distracted that they might not mind having their pictures taken) during the big local Fiesta del Señor de Piedad on the second Friday of Lent (second Friday after Ash Wednesday), usually in late February or March.
Even if you don’t arrive during any fiesta, you should still take a look inside the church, where you’ll find both of the town patrons, Santiago (on horseback, with sword in hand) and the Señor de Piedad.
Another favorite town diversion is splashing in the community spring, known locally as the aguaje (ah-GOOAH-hay). Besides all the fun, folks venerate their spring with a small chapel, La Capilla de la Rosa Mística. Find it at the roadside a block or two west of the town entrance arch. Afterward, enjoy a snack at one of the several comedores by the town highway crossing.