Results are presented from a study of land cover mapping undertaken in a tropical hillsides environment. The study area is located in the foothills of the Cordillera Central of Colombia, where a conventional maximum likelihood classification was performed upon Landsat TM imagery. A comprehensive accuracy assessment procedure performed on the resultant land cover map suggested that relatively low rates of classification accuracy were achieved. However, reported accuracy levels were found to vary substantially, depending on the specific methodology used to generate them. This suggests that caution is needed when making comparisons between classification accuracy figures reported by different workers, unless their methodologies are also clearly identified. It is further argued that a low accuracy land cover map still makes a valuable contribution to our knowledge of this hitherto little studied environment, provided that its limitations are understood and respected.