Vacoas is one of the five main towns in Mauritius.
It has the fifth largest number of inhabitants. In geographical terms, Vacoas-Phoenix is the largest municipality of Mauritius. The town lies between Curepipe and Quatre Bornes in the western highlands region of the country, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Port Louis, the national capital. It was proclaimed a town in 1963 at which time it was joined with Phoenix. In 1968 it was raised to the status of a Municipality. The joint population of Vacoas-Phoenix is 103,564 (2003 census).
The boundary between Phoenix to the east and Vacoas to the west is Rivière Sèche, though other sources consider Avenue Père-Laval as the actual boundary. The promenade Père Laval is one the most beautiful places in Mauritius; it runs on the area between Avenue Père-Laval and Rivière Sèche. Though officially a walking trail, it has become popular with the locals as a place to play football. It is also a popular picnic spot with foreign Chinese workers employed at the nearby factories.
Both Vacoas and Phoenix consist of residential and commercial areas. The centre of Vacoas, that is the immediate area around Vacoas bus station, consists of a several old shops, owned mostly by Sino-Mauritians. Vacoas also boasts of its bazaar - vegetable market (active on Tuesdays and Fridays) and its 'Way' supermarket. The town has one of the most reputed girls' colleges, Dr Maurice Curé SSS. The rest of the town is devoted to residence, while the Gymkhana ground remains popular with joggers, football matches and military training. In addition, the Gymkhana has a special club for golfers.
While it used to be the driving force of the Municipality of Vacoas-Phoenix, Vacoas has now fallen behind its neighbor sister. Outside Port Louis, Phoenix is one of the most industrialized towns of Mauritius: it has specific areas like Petit-Camp and Valentina where several industrial estates have been built. This has not gone without any problem, however: the factories have been accused of water pollution and have been under fire for their effects on the health of people. Recently, a textile factory had to be relocated because of complaints. Some of the remaining landmarks of the town's industrial estate are Phoenix Camp minerals, where Coca-Cola products and the famous local Phoenix Beer are bottled. Phoenix is also where we can find the monument of the town (a phoenix placing its claws over a pandanus plant) and the seat of the Industrial Vocational Training Board (IVTB). Shortly after he was named Minister for Education in 1997, Kadress Pillay decided to move his ministry's seat from the capital Port Louis to the IVTB building in Phoenix. Since 1994, Phoenix possesses a major shopping centre in the Centre Commercial Phoenix, whose main attractions are its hypermarket, its food court and sports store (Allsport).
In spite of the absence of any real bus station, Phoenix is well linked to the other urban areas. It is one of the major stops for the "162 Express" line that runs between Curepipe and Port Louis, and is also well connected to Rose Hill.
Apart from the Dr. Maurice Curé SSS and the IVTB, other major educational institutions in the region are La Visitation Roman-Christian Aided Primary School and Aryan Vedic Primary School in Vacoas, and Phoenix Government School, Aleemiah College and Sir Abdul Raman Osman SSS in Phoenix. In addition, there are now the recently built Vacoas SSS and Phoenix SSS that act mainly as junior secondary schools.
Other landmarks include: Palmerston Bridge in Phoenix (an old bridge by Mauritian standards), The 7th Day Adventist Church, the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre, old retail shops alongside the Royal Road in Phoenix; the new police headquarters, the Special Mobile Force headquarters and the Mauritius Meteorological Services headquarters in Vacoas.
Phoenix hosted the Fed Cup in tennis on the 17th to 20th of April 2007 and the European/African Zone Group II and Group III on the 23rd to 26th.
The town Quartier Militaire is just some kilometers from Phoenix.