This paper considers nineteenth Century British travel accounts of Colombia. By analysing how those travellers represented the country, it aims to explore the different ways in which “the tropics” were imagined, experienced and constructed. On the one hand, it is suggested that those representations helped to forge an image of the country as a promising nature inhabited by backward races, underpinning a widespread vision of the tropic: that of a vacant space abounding of exploitable natural resources waiting to be transformed by Europeans’ ‘civilized’ hands and endeavour. On the other hand, contested and often contradictory ideas that those travellers harboured about climate and European acclimatization are explored, suggesting that Europeans’ perceptions of the tropic resulted from a permanent negotiation between images brought from home and the landscapes they encountered. To conclude, it is argued that those constructions are revealing of how travel writing was above all a cultural practice, where the traveller’s vision is not exclusively determined by established paradigms, but transformed by the landscapes he encounters and interacts with.