Portuguese is the national language in Brazil. While it has many similaries to Spanish, there are many more vowel sounds! Some words are similar to both English and Spanish making it easier for some to learn. Brazilian portuguese is different from Portugals portuguese, so be careful when buying learning materials. We have collected a few books that we found useful while learning portuguese. There are many out there, but only a few are useful, and we hope the books we have picked out will help you out!
Learning Portuguese is like learning any language and takes practice and patience. You should be able to get by with limited Portuguese on your trip, but don't expect a great deal of english to be spoken, especially if you're not in the heart of Rio or Sao Paulo at top end hotels and restaurants! The friendly nature of Brazilians will make conversing in Brazil possible.
The further you venture away from the major cities, the less English you will encounter, and the more people will expect you to know Portuguese. In fact, if you start getting into many of the smaller cities they simply won't know how to deal with you, at least at first! They are friendly, so don't worry! Unlike many English speaking countries, Brazil has far fewer non-native speakers living there. That means their skills at understand broken English are limited. Your simple mistakes will often confuse them, while most English speakers can talk to anyone, from a heavy accent to a limited vocabulary due to our constant influx of non-native speakers. So be aware of this when talking with people, your Portuguese might be a lot better than you think, it all depends on how much experience with foreigners a person has had! It's fun learning a new language regardless!
Software for learning Portuguese is fairly limited unfortunately. However, there is one great online resource that we have found, www.livemocha.com. Here people from around the world learn second languages, including English and Portuguese. Exercises are marked by other members, who's native language you are trying to learn, and you are encouraged to help mark exercises of people trying to learn English (or your native language). It is a give and take environment, that is fun and works well. There are written, and oral exercises which get graded by native speakers, who try and help you understand where you've made mistakes.