Soil ecosystem service (SES) approaches evidence the importance of soil for human well-being, contribute to improving dialogue between science and decision-making and encourage the translation of scientific results into public policies. Herein, through systematic review, we assess the state of the art of SES approaches in tropical regions. Through this review, 41 publications were identified; while most of these studies considered SES, a lack of a consistent framework to define SES was apparent. Most studies measured soil natural capital and processes, while only three studies undertook monetary valuation. Although the number of publications increased (from 1 to 41), between 2001 and 2019, the total number of publications for tropical regions is still small. Countries with the largest number of publications were Brazil (n = 8), Colombia (n = 6) and Mexico (n = 4). This observation emphasizes an important knowledge gap pertaining to SES approaches and their link to tropical regions. With global momentum behind SES approaches, there is an opportunity to integrate SES approaches into policy and practice in tropical regions. The use of SES evaluation tools in tropical regions could transform how land use decisions are informed, mitigating soil degradation and protecting the ecosystems that soil underpins.